The focus of the Government of India on Regional Development and especially Districts (around 700 in number) has been a continuous exercise led by implementation and execution related targets and availability of data. In this regard, the Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) 2007, aimed at reducing regional imbalances and ensure ubiquitous development among diverse social groups, have now been replaced by the Aspirational District program to focus on 115 selected backward districts ( towards the vision of New India by 2022. Moreover, these Aspirational Districts are also ranked and monitored continuously through a comprehensive delta framework, database, and dashboard. Further, the SDG Index developed by the NITI Aayog ( also have various parameters that are internationally comparable and suited for measuring districts development. With the advancement of the ICT capabilities, now all the ministries and departments have their own dedicated databases- program MIS, dashboard, registry, survey, etc., which are largely administrative databases and are most effective for the success of the program.

The Coronavirus pandemic has posed challenges to the development of the Districts in numerous ways. With the Government’s push towards #AtmaNirbharBharat, Vocal for Local, One District One Product, National Infrastructure Pipeline, etc., the focus on the statistical architecture of the District becomes essential for measuring development and diversity. The urgent need for credible and more accessible dynamic data generated by the government especially in the framework for the development of districts has been raised by many policymakers. This special talk highlights the issue of District Development, Data and Diversity with the backdrop of the current COVID-19 Pandemic outlining lessons and way forward, towards ‘Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas Sabka Vishwas’.  

The webinar was organised on November 2, 2020. The details about the webinar could also be looked at


  • Prof Abusaleh Shariff, Executive Director, US- India Policy Institute (USIPI), Washington DC
  • Avani Kapur, Director, Accountability Initiative; Fellow, Centre for Policy Research (CPR), New Delhi
  • Dr Shreya Sinha, Post-Doctoral Researcher, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Dr Amit Kapoor, Honorary Chairman, Institute for Competitiveness, New Delhi
  • Dr Jyotsna Jha, Director, Centre for Budget and Policy Studies (CBPS), Bengaluru

Moderated by 

  • Dr Manorama Bakshi, Senior Advisor, TATA Trusts, New Delhi
  • Dr Arjun Kumar, Director, IMPRI; China India Visiting Scholar (CIVS) Fellow, Ashoka University

© 2024 Institute for Competitiveness, India


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