The border district of Kupwara in north Kashmir has emerged among the top seven districts across the country for having achieved the distinction of making remarkable progress in various developmental parameters under the Aspirational Districts Programme during past 5 months.As per the Second Delta Ranking released by the NITI Aayog today, Kupwara has made a quantum jump from 108thslot in the first delta ranking released in June 2018 to 7th slot in the latest ranking achieving noticeable improvement on various parameters between June 2018 and October 2018.The ranking is based on the incremental progress made by the Aspirational Districts between June 1, 2018 and October 31, 2018, across six developmental indicators of Health and Nutrition, Education, Agriculture and Water Resources, Financial Inclusion, Skill Development, and Basic Infrastructure.“We have constantly endeavored to ensure transparent, real-time measurement of qualitative development in Aspirational Districts through the use of third-party validated data. This will strengthen the spirit of competitive and cooperative federalism on the foundations of evidence-based policy making,” said Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog while releasing the Second Delta Ranking.The districts which have shown great initiative and displayed a qualitative jump in their scores during this period, have been dubbed as ‘Fast Movers’ by NITI Aayog and Kupwara has achieved the distinction of joining the league.Baramulla, another Aspirational District in north Kashmir, has also improved its ranking from 55 to 30 in the latest rankings released by NITI Aayog.On the specific parameter of Financial Inclusion, Kupwara and Baramulla have bagged the 1st and 2nd ranking respectively across the country and in Skill Development Baramulla has walked away with 5th rank among 111 aspirational districts.
According to NITI Aayog, the rankings for the first time factored in validated data from Household Surveys conducted by NITI Aayog’s knowledge partners, TATA Trust and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The surveys were carried out in all Aspirational Districts during the month of June 2018 covering more than 1,00,000 households. These surveys were used to validate critical data-points and provide inputs for nine further data-points for which district-level data is not readily available at regular intervals.The delta ranking of the Aspirational Districts combines the innovative use of data science with pragmatic administration, keeping the district at the locus of inclusive development. “This positioning is expected to aid the District Development Commissioners to focus more on these sectors and improve their ranking in future,” Kant said.‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ programme was launched by the Prime Minister in January this year, to quickly and effectively transform some of the most underdeveloped districts of the country.The broad contours of the programme include Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts driven by a Mass Movement or a Jan Andolan. With States as the main drivers, the program focusses on the strength of each district, identify low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts.After several rounds of consultations with various stakeholders, 49 key performance indicators have been chosen to measure progress of the districts. Districts are prodded and encouraged to first catch-up with the best district within their state, and subsequently aspire to become one of the best in the country, by competing with, and learning from others in the spirit of competitive & cooperative federalism.