Report by Badal Tah; Rayagada: Ten districts from Odisha, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Rayagada, Gajapati, Malkangiri, Koraput, Balangir, Nuapada, Kandhamal and Dhenkanal, had been identified and listed as backward by the NITI Aayog. Termed as Aspirational districts, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2018 launched the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ programme aiming to quickly and effectively transform some of the most underdeveloped districts of the country, being monitored by the NITI Aayog, which will help in the convergence of various government schemes, streamlining of efforts and enhancing infrastructure facilities, health facilities, standards of living, etc.
The transformation of the ‘Aspirational District Programmes’ focused on five thematic areas of health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial Inclusion and skill development and basic infrastructure. Several indicators of development in each theme include 13 indicators in health & nutrition, 8 indicators in education, 10 in agriculture & water resources, 7 in financial inclusion, 5 in skill development and 6 in basic infrastructure making a total of 49 indicators.
According to NITI Ayog’s study report, in providing antenatal care to women, Rayagada has 80.14 per cent, which seems to be good. Similarly, for providing care to severe anaemia pregnant mothers, Rayagada has 20.88 per cent, which is very bad. So far as basic infrastructure scene is concerned, there is lack of internet and telecom connectivity in the far flung villages and gram panchayats of the district. While the Union Government is harping on Digital India and seeks to cover all the Gram Panchayats with internet, situation is not at all encouraging in GPs of Rayagada district for which financial inclusion in all these areas is posing bottlenecks.
In the 1st delta ranking by NITI Ayog done during December 2018, Rayagada ranks overall 94 out of 108 districts, making it last but one as far as Odisha is concerned. It is the least developed in Odisha in infrastructural development, 104 out of 108 aspirational districts. Fortunately it has reduced the incidence of stunted children under 5 years compared to NFHS-4(2015-16). But in the 2nd delta ranking done during October 2018, Rayagada has improved in overall rank by making it to 77 out of 112.
In the thematic area of skill development Rayagada stands 4 out of 112. Yes, it is in the most improved list. This has been possible for proactive roles played by govt and private institutions. Corporates like JK Paper Mills, IMFA and Utkal Alumina have jumped into foray of skill development at ground zero and facilitated absorbing the skilled persons in various sectors of industries and their ancillaries.
Recently with the financial assistance of Department of Science & Technology, GOI & sponsorship of Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India(EDII) of Ahmedabad, a three days training programme under the scheme Prime Minister Aspirational District Programme(PMADP) by Council for Professional Development Support(CPDS) from Athagarh was conducted at ANKURAN Barijhola Training Centre and inaugurated by Sri T.B.Kumar, Advisor, Zilla Sambadika Sangha, Rayagada for sixty five men, women and youth of the local area. The participants were motivated to be self-employed and entrepreneurs by availing bank loans. They were given certificates of competence by CPDS, which will help them to access to bank loans. Similar programmes were conducted in Kashipur and other blocks. According to Dr.Mahima Prakashan Sahu, CEO of CPDS, there is ample of potentialities among the members of self help groups(SHGs) & community based organisations which need to be explored both by govt, corporate, bank and other private institutions. Motivation is the key for these potential youth to open up for self-reliance and creating job opportunities for others. There needs to be a concerted effort by these facilitating agencies, said Sahu.