Odisha Chief Secretary points out the areas of intervention to NITI Ayog

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Bhubaneswar: May 19: The Aspirational District Programme , a joint initiative of Central and State Government was set on track with a high level interactional meeting held under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary Sri Aditya Prasad Padhi in secretariat conference hall today wherein Chief Executive Officer of NITI Ayog Sri Amitabh Kant along with central Pravari officers had a brain storming exercise with Development Commissioner Sri R. Balakrishnan, Secretaries of different departments of State Government and Collectors of the concerned districts. Setting the tune of the discussion, Chief Secretary Sri Padhi pointed out the common basic requirements of the 10 identified districts on 5 thematic areas as outlined by NITI Ayog.
Chief Secretary Sri Padhi pointed out the urgent need for creation of banking facilities, establishment of data and digital connectivity, credit flow to agriculture and MS&ME sector from commercial banks, establishment of railway connectivity, timely flow of ST and SC scholarships, flexibility in the flagship programmes like Pradhan Mantri Matrubandana Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana suiting the state requirements. CEO Sri Kant in his response said, “State has given very practical, positive and pertinent suggestions. NITI Ayog will take up the issues with respective Ministries and find out appropriate solutions”.
Discussions in the meeting revealed that the transformation of Aspirational District Programmes focuses on 5 thematic areas like Health & Nutrition, Education, Agriculture & Water Resources, Financial Inclusion & Skill Development and Basic Infrastructure. Several indicators in each theme were discussed in the meeting. These included 13 indicators in health & nutrition, 8 indicators in education, 10 in agriculture & water resources, 7 in financial inclusion, 5 in skill development and 6 indicators in basic infrastructure making a total of 49 indicators. Tentative monitorable points on these indicators were also discussed in the meeting.
The Collectors from 10 aspirational districts namely Koraput, Gajapati, Nuapada, Kandhamal, Dhenkanal, Nabrangpur, Kalahandi, Bolangir, Malkangiri and Rayagada participated in the discussion over the video conferencing. The collectors appraised about the strength, potential, present status and challenges of their respective districts which were taken note by CEO Sri Kant. Mostly the collectors pointed out the challenges like lack of banking facility, upgradation of medicals, starting of health & wellness centers, data connectivity, additional grant to non-DMF and Non-OMBADC and extremist effected districts.
Development Commissioner Sri R. Balakrishnan, Advisor NITI Ayog Sri Rakesh Ranjan, Consultant Sri Rama Kama Raju, Principal Secretary Finance Sri Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Principal Secretary Water Resources Sri Pradeep Kumar Jena, Principal Secretary Panchayati Raj Sri Deo Ranjan Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary Agriculture Sri Sourav Garag, Secretary Higher Education Sri Bishnupada Sethi, Additional Secretary Government of India Smt Usha Padhi, Sri Sandeep Kumar Nayak, Sri Suresh Kumar Vashisth along with other senior officers from NITI Ayog, Government of India and Government of Odisha participated in the discussions.

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