ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Agricultural Transformation in Aspirational Districts of India

Comparative Analysis of Districts in Bihar

NITI Aayog is presently anchoring a programme to help develop 115 “aspirational” districts which can potentially catch up with the best district within the same state and subsequently become one of the best in the country. The composite index for identification of districts is problematic thereby excluding many relatively underdeveloped districts and including several that are more developed than the “aspirational” category in terms of per capita district domestic product or per capita agricultural income or yield of principal crops. However, a comparative analysis of the aspirational, non-aspirational and frontier districts in Bihar reveals that strategies for bridging the inter-district gaps should be sector-, location- and enterprise-specific. While irrigation, education, farm and non-farm diversification hold the key for acceleration of agricultural development in both aspirational and undeveloped districts, urbanisation, energy consumption and development of location-specific infrastructure would be essential for overall economic development.

The authors thankfully acknowledge the help received from Ankita Goyal, Council for Social Development, in the preparation of this paper.

The Government of India has recently identified 115 districts in the country as aspirational districts which lag behind the frontier/advanced districts in each region. NITI Aayog is presently anchoring the programme with the support from central ministries and the state governments to help develop the aspirational districts, first, to catch up with the best district within the same state and subsequently, aspire to become one of the best in the country (NITI Aayog 2018). Although agriculture and water resources have been given only 20% weightage in the whole scheme of development of aspirational districts, accelerated agricultural development may be one of the key determinants to overall development of aspirational districts. At the same time, India’s Vision 2022 for doubling farmers’ income cannot be achieved without accelerated and diversified agricultural development in aspirational districts. This paper discusses the issues in the identification of aspirational districts of India, and also analyses the key challenges and opportunities of agricultural development in the aspirational as well as non-aspirational underdeveloped districts of Bihar vis-à-vis the frontier districts and suggests appropriate measures for accelerated and balanced agricultural development in Bihar.

The study maps out all the aspirational districts as well as other non-aspirational backward districts of Bihar, based on analysis of secondary data for key indicators. The status of aspirational districts has been compared with that of frontier districts in a region and a road map for bridging the development gaps has been suggested.

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Updated On : 2nd Jan, 2019
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