Khagaria district in Bihar has been ranked first based on the overall performance assessment in the month of November 2021, according to Niti Aayog’s ranking under the ambitious district scheme, officials said.
On Wednesday, Niti Aayog’s managing director, Amitabh Kant, communicated it to Bihar’s chief secretary, Amit Subhani. This entitles Khagaria to receive an additional grant of ₹10 crore, says the letter from Niti Aayog.
This is a significant development for Khagaria, which is one of the most backward districts in Bihar and is hit by floods every year.
Khagaria District Magistrate Alok Ranjan Ghosh said: “He was ranked first overall as well as health indicators. There are five metrics, out of which Khagaria showed maximum improvement from his previous position in two, while in the other three he was ranked third or fourth. There is still a long way to go. In case of serious illness, people always go to Bhagalpur, Begusarai or Patna. We hope Khagaria can one day meet the health needs of its people in the district,” he said.
Ghosh said the district has focused primarily on health and education. “Health is an area where improvement can be seen in a short period of time, i.e. institutional delivery, anemia program, vaccination, operation of primary health centers, Covid care, etc In some areas, changes will only be visible over a long period of time. The district has tried to make small determined efforts for improvement. The district has also been ranked #1 twice in the past and we got ₹13 crore funds. Now another ₹10 crore means we can have more projects,” he said.
The DM said the district will now send proposals to improve the condition of agriculture and farmers. “Floods are an ongoing problem in the region, where 15 panchayats are located in riverbeds. As a result, health centers are also affected. We plan to send a proposal for special health centers for the places affected by the floods. They could be raised to ensure accessibility for people despite flooding. We also intend to plan the production and processing of maize so that farmers benefit from it. Two upcoming units for animal and poultry feed will contribute to this. The ethanol unit is also coming. There are also huge opportunities for banana cultivation,” he said.
Launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2018, the Ambitious Districts Program aims to quickly and effectively transform 112 most underdeveloped districts across the country, 13 of which are in Bihar. The outlines of the program are convergence (of central and state regimes), collaboration (of “Prabhari” officers and district collectors at central and state level) and competition between districts through monthly delta ranking . Along with additional funds, district magistrates in the enforcement districts also receive commendations.
Jamui and Purnia districts also achieved a good overall ranking, which entitles them to receive an additional allocation of ₹2 crores and ₹3 crore, respectively, according to officials.
Nawada district has achieved a good ranking in financial inclusion and skills development and is now eligible to receive an additional allocation of ₹3 crore. Begusarai has achieved a good rating in the area of basic infrastructure, which entitles it to an additional allocation of ₹3 crores.
The classified districts must now prepare project proposals in consultation with state and central officials and send them to the Niti Aayog for final approval.
Niti aayog has set up a project management unit made up of experts from the Asian Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to assist the districts in formulating their projects.