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Transformation of Aspirational Districts

This topic provides information regarding Transformation of Aspirational Districts.

India is on a high growth trajectory that is expected to lift millions out of poverty. However, presently the quality of life of many of its citizens is not consistent with this growth story, a fact reflected in UNDP’s 2016 Human Development Index wherein we are ranked 131 out of 188 countries. A closer look at the data reveals high heterogeneity in the living standards in India. There are significant inter-state and inter-district variations. By uplifting the districts which have shown relatively lesser progress in achieving key social outcome, India can move ahead in the human development index.

Launched in January 2018, the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ initiative aims to remove this heterogeneity through a mass movement to quickly and effectively transform these districts.

Core Strategy

The broad contours of the programme are Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts driven by a spirit of mass Movement. With States as the main drivers, this program will focus on the strength of each district, identify low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts.

Selection of districts

The 112 districts were identified from 27 states, at least one from each state, in a transparent manner by a committee of Senior Officers to the Government of India, in consultation with State Officials using a composite index of key data sets that included deprivation enumerated under the Socio-Economic Caste Census, key health and education sector performance and state of basic infrastructure.

Institutional framework

This programme is a policy priority of Government of India. NITI Aayog anchors the programme with support from Central Ministries and the State Governments. While NITI Aayog is steering the initiative in 30 districts, various central ministries oversee 50 districts besides the Ministry of Home Affairs, which focuses on 35 Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected districts. Officers at the level of Joint Secretary / Additional Secretary have been nominated to become the ‘Central Prabhari Officers’ of each district. States have appointed state-nodal and Prabhari officers. An Empowered Committee under the Convenorship of the CEO, NITI Aayog will help in the convergence of various government schemes and streamlining of efforts.

To get the list of Aspirational districts, click here.

Focus areas

The Government is committed to raising the living standards of its citizens and ensuring inclusive growth for all – "Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas". To enable optimum utilization of their potential, this program focuses closely on improving people’s ability to participate fully in the vibrant economy. Health & Nutrition, Education, Agriculture & Water Resources, Financial Inclusion & Skill Development, and Basic Infrastructure are this programme’s core areas of focus. After several rounds of consultations with various stakeholders, 49 key performance indicators have been chosen to measure progress of the districts. Districts are aspiring to first catch-up with the best district within their State, and subsequently aspire to become one of the best in the country, by competing with, and learning from others in the spirit of competitive & cooperative federalism.


Baseline Ranking

The objective of the program is to monitor the real-time progress of aspirational districts based on 49 indicators (81 data-points) from the 5 identified thematic areas. With the latest available data from the ministries concerned, NITI Aayog has completed a baseline ranking of 101 districts. Data was normalised, and a composite score was calculated. Going forward, districts will be ranked based on their progress on a real-time basis. Niti Aayog will subsequently calculate the ‘distance to frontier’ – i.e. the distance of each district from the state’s and nation’s best.

To access the Aspirational Districts Baseline Ranking Map, click here.

Sector Ranking

  1. Health and Nutrition (30%) - With 30% of the overall composite score on health & nutrition, the program has identified 13 indicators to focus on antenatal care, postnatal care, gender parity, health of new - borns, growth of children, contagious diseases, and health infrastructure.
  2. Education (30%) : The education sector accounts of 30% of the overall index. 8 indicators have been identified focussing on learning outcomes (transition rate from primary to upper primary, and subsequently to secondary schooling, average scores in mathematics and language etc.), as well as infrastructural (toilet access for girls, drinking water, electricity supply) and institutional indicators (RTE mandated pupil-teacher ratio, timely delivery of textbooks).
  3. Agriculture & Water resources (20%) : Agriculture is the backbone of India, with more than 50% of our workforce engaged in cultivation and allied activities. 10 indicators have been identified for the 20% weightage allocated to agriculture. The focus is on outputs (yield, price realisation etc.), inputs (quality seed distribution, soil health cards), and institutional support (crop insurance, electronic markets, artificial insemination, animal vaccination etc.).
  4. Basic Infrastructure (10%) : A roof over one’s head with water, electricity, and road connectivity is the priority of the Government. 7 important indicators have been identified including availability of individual household latrines, drinking water, electricity, and road connectivity. Districts are also tracked for the number of internet connected Gram Panchayats, and panchayats with Common Service Centres.
  5. Financial inclusion & Skill Development (10%) : Together, these two themes account for 10% of the overall index. 6 indicators have been identified in financial inclusion to measure progress in take - up of important central government schemes (Atal Pension Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana etc.), reach of institutional banking (number of accounts opened under Jan Dhan Yojana), and ease of institutional financing for small businesses (disbursement of Mudra loans). 5 indicators have been identified in skill development to keep track of the progress in skilling of youth, employment, and the skilling of vulnerable/marginalized youth.

To access the complete list of indicators, click here.

First Delta Ranking of Aspirational Districts

The NITI Aayog during June 2018 launched the first Delta ranking (incremental progress) for the Aspirational Districts, based on self-reported data of districts between March 31, 2018 to May 31, 2018, across five developmental areas of Health and Nutrition, Education, Agriculture and Water Resources, Financial Inclusion and Skill Development, and Basic Infrastructure.

The Districts started entering data from 1st April, 2018 in the Champions of Change Dashboard and 108 districts out of total 112, participated in this ranking. Data entry by remaining four districts is also in progress, though they are not part of this ranking.

This Delta ranking takes a step further and looks into specific aspects of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and analyses how districts have performed in last two months across important sectors. This grouping and positioning would aid the District Magistrates/Collectors to focus more on these sectors and improve their ranking in future.

To access the complete delta ranking of districts, click here.

Second Delta ranking for the Aspirational Districts

The NITI Aayog in December 2018 released the Second Delta ranking for the Aspirational Districts which measures the incremental progress made by them between June 1, 2018 and October 31, 2018, across six developmental areas of Health and Nutrition, Education, Agriculture and Water Resources, Financial Inclusion, Skill Development, and Basic Infrastructure.

The ranking factors in validated data from Household Surveys conducted by NITI Aayog’s knowledge partners, namely, TATA Trusts and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (IDInsight).

In the overall ranking, the most improved districts are as follows:






Tamil Nadu






Uttar Pradesh







The Second Delta ranking also details the following districts as Least Improved over the period of June – October 2018:



















The districts which have shown great initiative and displayed a qualitative jump in their scores between June and October 2018, have been dubbed as ‘Fast Movers’:

District, State

June 2018

October 2018

Kupwara, Jammu and Kashmir



Ranchi, Jharkhand



Siddharthnagar, Uttar Pradesh



Jamui, Bihar



Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh



To access the complete delta ranking of districts, click here.

Source : NITI Aayog

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