New Delhi: The Department of Public Enterprises under the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises is holding a day-long conference on Transformation of Aspirational Districts –CSR Initiatives by CPSEs in New Delhi today. The workshop was inaugurated by NITI Aayog CEO, Amitabh Kant.
The workshop is a step towards bringing stakeholders like NITI Aayog, concerned sectoral Ministries/Departments for healthcare, nutrition and school education activities, District Magistrates/District Collectors of aspirational districts, Central/State Prabhari Officers of aspirational districts and Senior Executives of CPSEs on one platform. Some non-governmental agencies which have been doing work in the areas of healthcare, nutrition and school education in different parts of the country are also participating.
Speaking on this occasion CEO NITI Aayog 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 these aspirational districts 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 up a 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 the challenges 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 workshop, presentations were made on the three themes of Healthcare, Nutrition and School Education by District Magistrates/District Collectors, CMDs of CPSEs as well as the concerned implementing agencies about their best practices, issues in implementation and difficulties/challenges faced by them. The objective is to replicate the good practices and addressing the hurdles to streamline the implementation of the CSR activities in the aspirational districts for their expeditious development. An exhibition has also been put up at the venue by CPSEs as well as the implementing agencies to showcase their CSR projects/activities.
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 of Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas aur Sabka Vishwas.
NITI Aayog is the Nodal Agency for driving this programme and it involves collaborations amongst various Central Governments, States and district level agencies.