The Union Government has drawn up action plans for backward district programme to improve socio-economic profiles of 115 identified “most-backward” districts including 35 affected by left-wing extremism.
The action plans aims at providing these districts basic services like healthcare, sanitation and education as well as basic physical infrastructure like roads and drinking water supply in a time-bound manner.
These 115 districts were selected on parameters like health & nutrition (institutional delivery, stunting of children and wasting in children), deprivation (extent of landless households), education (elementary dropout rate and adverse pupil-teacher ratio) and infrastructure (un-electrified homes, lack of toilets, villages not connected by road and lack of drinking water).
At least one district has been included from each state under backward district programme. Jharkhand with 19 has highest number of districts under this programme, followed by Bihar (13) Chattisgarh (10) and 8 each in Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.
The government’s focus under this programme is to work with states to bring transformative change in these selected backward areas through rapid government-anchored programmes and interventions by 2022 i.e. till 75th year of India’s independence.
For this purpose, Government has appointed one additional secretary or joint secretary rank officer as “Prabhari” to work in collaborative manner with state and district teams to achieve effective convergence between various Central and state government schemes. The district collectors is nodal chief executors of action programmes in districts, which will be ranked annually based on their performance.
In 2016, India was ranked 131 among 188 nations in United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) human development index (HDI) with major inter-state and inter-district variations. Nearly 40% of children born in India are stunted or are underweight while almost 50% of women are anemic. On nutrition, India even lags behind neighbours such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and China.