Focus on Creating World Class Facilities in Healthcare and Education in Aspirational Districts – Amitabh Kant
New Delhi: Union Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Information & Broadcasting and Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar today said that selection of genuine NGO is necessary for the success of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives. He highlighted that formulating a definitive action plan, setting up of accountable targets, selection of good NGOs and participation of people are essentialfor holistic development of Aspirational Districts. He also urged CPSEs to document their efforts, and create a CSR vision and mission to reap maximum benefits from their CSR initiatives.Prakash Javadekar was speaking at the valedictory session of a conference on Transformation of Aspirational Districts –CSR Initiatives by CPSEs in New Delhi. The conference was organized by theDepartment of Public Enterprises(DPE) under the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.
The Minister recalled the vision of the Prime Minister in renaming backward districts as Aspirational Districts and to see that these districts are expeditiously transformed and are part of development process. He said expenditure of 60% of CSR funds on themes of education, health and nutrition was mandated. Prakash Javadekar thanked the central government officials who visited remote villages spread over Aspirational Districts across the country to bringbasic services to the doorstep of people. He also lauded the efforts of district administration and CPSEs for their work towards development of aspirational districts.
The Minister also visited the exhibition put up at the venue by CPSEs as well as the implementing agencies to showcase their CSR projects/activities.
NITI Aayog CEO, Amitabh Kant in his key note address said that poor performance of the aspirational districts in the three areas of Healthcare, Nutrition and School Education are the reasons for the backwardness of these districts. It is only the Government, CPSEs and committed NGOs who will have to take up this cause in a mission mode to lift these hundred and fifteen districts out of backwardness. At present NITI Aayog is working with stakeholders in 112 aspirational districts as West Bengal is not participating in this exercise.
CEO NITI Aayog further informed that 49 key performance indicators in six sectors (healthcare, nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion and skill development) have been identified for theseaspirationaldistricts and a dashboard titled “championsofchange.gov.in” has been set up to monitor the work that is being done in these aspirational districts. He further informed that NITI Aayog has set up a Project Monitoring Unit (PMU) to assist the districts in formulating projects to address critical gaps. The PMU will comprise of sectoral experts from India and also foreign agencies like UNDP and ADB. The PMU will also help and support CPSEs and district authorities to conceive project proposals and create plan of action. NITI Aayog is also in the process of setting upa CSR portal, that will be operational very soon, where projects detail in the aspirational districts may be uploaded along with details of projects sanctioned and funds released.
CEO NITI Aayog urged that the CSR activities of CPSEs should focus on using technology to improve learning outcomes in educational institutions in the aspirational districts because it is only with the use of technology that quantum jump can be made in the field of education especially languages and science subjects. In the health sector, CEO NITI Aayog said that the focus must be on creation of modern district hospitals and referral units and he urged CPSEs not to do anything that is second class in healthcare sector, only world class facilities must be set up.
CEO NITI Aayog urged that a working group of the heads of CSR of 25 CPSEs may be formed who will work under the guidance of Secretary Department of Public Enterprises and meet frequently to ensure that thechallenges of aspirational districts are solved. He further noted that NITI Aayog will support the effort of Department of Public Enterprises and CPESEs in every way possible.
During the day long deliberations, presentations were made by CEO NITI Aayog; the District Magistrates / Collectors of the Districts of Goalpara, Ranchi, Vishakhapatnam, Nandurbar, Baran, Osmanabad; CMDs and other Senior Executives of NTPC, IOCL, PFC, CIL, and OIL, and IIT Bombay. These presentations highlighted the challenges and achievements of TADP and the role CPSEs play in expeditious transforming such districts. In addition to this, Senior Officers of the concerned Central Ministries/Departments sensitized the stakeholders about issues to be addressed for effective implementation of the CSR activities in aspirational districts under the theme of school education, health & nutrition. Some of the recommendations that emerged from the proceedings were creation of a CSR Portal to capture details of project sanction, release of funds and status of implementation of those projects, establishment of a Project Management Unit at NITI Aayog with experts from Asian Development Bank and UNDP that will assist districts in creation of project proposals. Another important recommendation that emerged was formulation of a working group of 25 CPSE CSR Heads under DPE to regularly review progress of CSR initiatives in aspirational districts.
Department of Public Enterprises in December, 2018 issued guidelines to all the CPSEs for spending 60% of their CSR funds on a particular theme every year with reference to aspirational districts. The theme for the year 2019-20 is Healthcare, Nutrition and School Education while for the year 2018-19 it was Healthcare and School Education.Every year, the average CSR spend of CPSEs is about Rs. 3500 crores and 60% of this works out to be Rs. 2100 crores and this amount can bring about significant improvement in the areas of healthcare, nutrition and school education sectors in the aspirational districts.
Department of Public Enterprises has been regularly sensitising the CPSEs through workshops seminars and trainings sessions for undertaking the CSR activities in aspirational districts and due to the efforts of the Department, CPSEs have started undertaking the CSR projects in almost all the aspirational districts in collaboration with the districts/local administration.
The Aspirational Districts Programme was launched by Prime Minister in January, 2018 with the objective to improve the socio-economic indicator of 112 relatively less developed districts in the country.It is a significant initiative for achieving the vision of New India 2020-22 through the guiding principle ofSabka Sath, Sabka Vikas aur Sabka Vishwas.