GUWAHATI, Aug 6: “The Aspirational Districts programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is an opportunity for us to rapidly develop the districts lagging behind in key development indicators. The seven districts of Assam shortlisted under this programme must be brought at par with the most developed districts of the nation to fulfil the Prime Minister’s vision of sabka sath sabka vikash.” Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday remarked while reviewing the Aspirational Districts programme carried out by Transformation and Development Department at his conference room at Janata Bhawan.
Notably, the Aspirational Districts programme, conceived by NITI Aayog, was launched by the central government in 117 districts of the country which aims to develop 49 key performance indicators where health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion and skill development, and basic infrastructure are its core areas of focus. To enable optimum utilisation of their potential, this programme focuses closely on improving people’s ability to participate fully in the burgeoning economy and achieve development in the targeted indicators within a stipulated timeframe. Darrang, Dhubri, Barpeta, Goalpara, Baksa, Udalguri and Hailakandi are the seven districts selected for the programme in the state.
Saying that the experience of implementing the Aspirational Districts programme would equip the state government with the expertise to carry out such developmental programmes in rest of the districts as well, Sonowal stated that Prime Minister Modi’s targeted intervention method in only seven districts of the state would make it possible to achieve the development targets within a fixed time frame. The chief minister also directed Agriculture Department to improve the performance in Fasal Bima Yojna and bring in procurement expert to manage procurement of paddy and rice from the farmers at the right price.
Asserting that Agriculture Marketing Board must be mandated to procure paddy from the farmers as the Board needs to broaden its horizon of responsibilities for improving agricultural sector, Sonowal said that the Agriculture Department must learn from states like Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh etc for implementing a successful procurement model. He also directed the department to have its own database of various crops, total land cultivated etc for making an action plan for agricultural growth and to double the farm income in the Aspirational Districts.
Highlighting the need for convergence of all concerned departments for bringing about rapid development, the chief minister directed the APDCL to provide domestic power connections to government schools instead of commercial connections so that the schools can continue paying electricity bills and power supply does not get disrupted. On being informed by the Health Department that around 3000 vacancies of doctors are there in the public health institutions of the state, Sonowal said that policy must be formulated to retain majority of 726 MBBS doctors who pass out annually from the medical colleges of the state for serving in the government hospitals. He also directed for using the platform of Gaon Sabhas to effectively spread health messages at the village level. He was also informed that the Health Department has achieved the 100 percent immunisation target under Mission Indradhanus.
On financial inclusion, the Finance Department informed that a total of 2,20,233 Jan Dhan Yojna bank accounts have been opened in the state exceeding the target of 1,94,296. On Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna, it was informed that total 119411 free LPG connections have been provided in the state till now against a target of 133138. The chief minister also stressed on the need to upgrade the skills of electrical contractors for improving the pace of providing power connections under Saubhagya scheme.