Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday announced an ‘Aspirational Blocks Programme for areas which continue to lag under Aspirational districts. She also announced the ‘Vibrant Villages Programme for the border villages.
Presenting the Union Budget for 2022-23, Sitharaman said, “Our vision to improve the quality of life of citizens in the most backward districts of the country through Aspirational Districts Programme has been translated into reality in a short span of time. 95 per cent of those 112 districts have made significant progress in key sectors such as health, nutrition, financial inclusion and basic infrastructure.”
“They have surpassed the state average values. However, in those districts, some blocks continue to lag. In 2022-23, the programme will focus on such blocks in those districts,” she said.
In January 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Aspirational Districts programme aimed to quickly and effectively transform 112 most under-developed districts across the country. The broad contours of the programme are Convergence (of central and state schemes), Collaboration (of central, state level ‘prabhari’ officers and district collectors), and Competition among districts through monthly delta ranking; all driven by a mass movement.
The Finance Minister also announced the ‘Vibrant Villages Programme’ for border villages with a sparse population, limited connectivity and infrastructure and often left out from the development gains.
“Such villages on the northern border will be covered under the new Vibrant Villages Programme. The activities will include construction of village infrastructure, housing, tourist centres, road connectivity, provisioning of decentralized renewable energy, direct to home access for Doordarshan and educational channels, and support for livelihood generation. Additional funding for these activities will be provided. Existing schemes will be converged. We will define their outcomes and monitor them on a constant basis,” Sitharaman said.