While maximum districts out of 112 districts under the programme have achieved nearly 70% of their targets under the health and education sectors, agriculture and financial inclusion are the main areas of concern for most aspirational districts as their average scores lie farthest away from the frontier. “Most of the districts are 40-90% away from their targets,” the study has found.
According to the study, in health and nutrition the economic impact of reducing severe acute malnutrition (SAM) among children is felt through the effects on productivity and lifetime learning. “The overall economic impact for all the states (only looking at aspirational districts) of reducing SAM is estimated to be a mammoth Rs 1.43 lakh crore,” the study said.
Similarly, the impact of providing household latrines is around Rs 400 crore, it added.
“These economic benefits can provide a strong rationale for the government in investing in programmes directed towards social benefits,” it said.
The government had, in January 2018, launched the aspirational districts programme (ADP) to accelerate improvement in the socio-economic indicators of the most underdeveloped districts of the country.
Currently, the programme has been implemented in 112 of India’s 739 districts spread across the country.
The study has recommended the government streamline the survey and collection mechanism, update plan of action based on new learnings, leverage data to design effective evaluation systems while driving targeted investments through partner ecosystems while engaging in customised local level interventions.