Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh, Rajnandgaon in Chattisgarh and Osmanabad in Maharashtra figure in the top three spots of the ‘Baseline Ranking of Districts’ by the Niti Ayog on Wednesday. Haryana’s Mewat occupied the bottom-most spot in the ranking.

According to a report released by the Niti Ayog, the baseline ranking has been done taking into consideration 49 indicators and 81 data-points from six thematic areas — Health and Nutrition, Education, Agriculture and Water Resources, Basic Infrastructure, Skill Development and Financial Inclusion. Health and Nutrition and Education have been given a weightage of 30% each while Agriculture and Water Resources has been given 20%, Basic Infrastructure 10% and Skill Development and Financial Inclusion 5% each.


To facilitate all-round development

The ranking is a part of the government’s effort to facilitate the all-round development of 115 most backward districts identified and dubbed as “aspirational”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the districts are termed so because the term backward has negative connotations.

“We don’t have to do a competition of backwards but of forwards,” Mr. Modi had explained while addressing the National Legislators Conference at Parliament’s Central Hall on March 10, 2018.

Other districts in top 10 include Cuddapah (Andhra Pradesh), Ramanathapuram (Tamil Nadu), Udham Singh Nagar (Uttarakhand), Mahasamund (Chhattisgarh), Virudhunagar (Tamil Nadu), Korba (Chhattisgarh) and Khammam (Telangana). The bottom 10 include four districts from Uttar Pradesh — Shrawasti, Bahraich, Siddharthnagar and Balrampur — among others like Asifabad (Telangana), Singrauli (Madhya Pradesh), Kiphire (Nagaland), Namsai (Arunachal Pradesh), and Sukma (Chhattisgarh).

Going forward, Niti Ayog plans to rank each district based on their progress on a real-time basis, following which they will calculate the ‘distance to frontier’, which refers to the distance of each district from the State’s and nation’s best, said the report.

Though at least one district was to be selected from each State, Kerala, West Bengal and Odisha had opted out of the programme, according to PTI. This reduced the total number of districts in the list from 115 to 101.