by Mark Esposito
The Aspirational District Program is an initiative launched by the Government of India in January 2018 to accelerate the socioeconomic development of 115 districts nationwide. These districts have been identified as “aspirational” because they have shown the lowest indicators of development in the nation. The program’s main objective is to improve the quality of life of people in these districts and reduce regional imbalances by targeting their development needs by converging central, state, and local government schemes and resources around five main pillars: health and nutrition, education, financial inclusion, and skill development, agriculture and water resources, and basic infrastructure. This paper examines five innovative practices for local governance that have emerged from this program, which can be replicated in other parts of India and other nations: the “Jan Andolan” approach, public-private partnerships (PPPs), capacity-building, technology and digital platforms, and convergence of schemes. The ADP’s pioneering approach to local governance is an example of further development projects in India and the world.
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