NEW DELHI: Top government officials went into a huddle on Thursday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked for a progress report on the 100 poorest districts in the country. The deliberation centred around three key areas: health, education and infrastructure. According to a senior government official, they are preparing an action taken report since the prime minister wants these districts to be developed before the 2019 general election.
“A joint secretary-level officer from each ministry has been appointed as a nodal officer to monitor the work on the ground, coordinate with other stakeholder ministries, and report to the Prime Minister’s Office about the progress. We have been told it is the topmost priority for the government,” the official said.
It all started in September, when Modi, during a meeting with bureaucrats at South Block, suggested that his government do something which had not been done since Independence — make India’s most backward districts prosperous.
“All the ministries must work together with focus on transforming the 100 poorest districts, and this effort should be made in mission mode. Reduce the delays in processes,” the prime minister had said. After the prime minister’s observation, the bureaucrats chalked out several strategies. Documents accessed by The Sunday Standard reveal the work has to start from the bottom by reforming the Aganwadis and identifying the least developed villages.
“One of the strategies is to ensure that all girls and boys in these districts complete free and quality primary and secondary education with the close coordination of the state health department to eradicate under-five mortality.
The concept of home schools could be explored to cover all habitations where there are no regular schools. Since most of these poor districts are located in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, the focus would also be on reaching out to landless households and providing them casual jobs for overall growth,” sources said.