Department of Planning, Programme Monitoring & Statistics Department, Government of Karnataka and United National Development Programme (UNDP), jointly organised a conference focused on Aspirational Districts of Karnataka State Raichur and Yadgiri.
The conference, which was held on Thursday in Bangalore, saw participation from the stakeholders from the city. The speakers discussed and deliberated the development factors such as health, literacy, sanitation among others.
Chaired by Dr Shalini Rajneesh, Principal Secretary, Planning, Programme Monitoring and Statistics Department, Government of Karnataka, the conference aimed on a strategic approach for a rapid progress and development of the two most backward districts of Karnataka, Raichur and Yadgiri.
In the opening remarks, Dr Rajneesh stated that Yadgir stood first as per the ranking of performance indicators and received Rs 3 crore funding from the Union Government, while Raichur district stood third.
She also mentioned that PSUs like Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Mangalore Refinery Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL) and NGOs like TATA Trust, Azim Foundation have made donations for the development of these districts. She added that there is a need to convert raw material (Manpower) into resources.
In his presentation, Rakesh Kumar, Additional Country Director, UNDP indicated the existence of UNDP in India since 1951 and that SDG is extended to 180 Districts of 22 States.
Kumar stated that the focus has to be laid on the factors like Training and Capacity Building on Nutrition, Cooking Fuel, Poverty Index and Sanitation in Raichur and Yadgir districts.
T.M. Vijay Basker, Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka, who was the Chief Guest of the Conference, observed that literacy was the focal point. He emphasised female literacy and empowerment of locals to generate manpower through local village level committees.
Bi-Annual trainings to be extended to village level committees and village water sanitation committees using VC facilities that are available at GP levels. He suggested for filling up gaps in usage areas of Nutrition, Cooking Fuel, Poverty Index and Sanitation by empowering Bala-Vikas and Village Health Samithies.
Setting up of dedicated teams on social media, preparing “think memes” on Health, Education, etc. are to be initiated; targeted SMSs using mobile numbers of connected users.
Kurma Rao, District Collector, Yadgiri exhibiting demographic statistics showed concern on low literacy rate especially among females, which, if improved, could enhance sanitation, health and living conditions.
“Focus should be laid on improving agriculture by employing micro-irrigation, de-silting of tanks, etc. Sheep and goat rearing should be improvised since these are regional traditional occupation,” Rao said.
He sought help from PSUs and NGOs for education in order to improve learning outcomes. Under health and nutrition, he suggested forming a support system of cooks and nutrition councilors. For improving the sanitation sector, he suggested enhancing functionality of toilets and under basic infrastructure, he emphasised on provision of WiFi and other common facilities.
V. Sharth, Deputy Collector (DC), Raichur deliberated more or less on the similar lines of DC, Yadgiri with regards to his expectations on the aspects of development in his district.
The Principal Secretaries of Agriculture and Horticulture, Industries and Commerce, RDPR, Social Welfare, Commissioners of Health and Skill Development Department assured their complete departmental support towards the development of aspirational districts.
Concluding the conference, Dr Rajneesh mentioned the priority sectors identified in the round table discussion were Health and Nutrition, Education, Agriculture, irrigation, Financial inclusion for the state development, Basic infrastructure Sanitation, skill development and creating employability centres, other best practices on nutrition and Health.
Technical assistance was the major issue required by the Deputy Commissioners for both Raichur and Yadgir Districts.
Principal Secretary, RDPR one of the biggest stake holders on this issue has assured in taking up water bodies rejuvenation for good water and good Health of the districts towards the prosperity of the people.
She also acknowledged for the response given by the State departments, PSEs, NGO representatives, and UNDP.