Rakesh Ranjan, Mission Director – Aspirational Districts Programme, NITI Aayog emphasized on how the programme is a promising step towards accelerating the country’s progress in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. Implementation partners of the programme Arvind Chaturvedi, Vice President, AISECT and Madhura Karnik, Haqdarshak were also present at the event.
Under the programme, NASSCOM Foundation is tapping into more than 100 aspirational districts out of which 55 districts have been identified as of now across 23 states. The states are Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Manipur and a few have already been established across the country. In a statement, NASSCOM Foundation says the programme is in sync with the core philosophy of TechForGood wherein technology initiatives are utilized to create positive social impact. Apart from strengthening the efforts to meet the SDG agenda, this will also prioritize economic development across communities in alignment with the PM’s vision of Digital India mission.
The aspirational districts will be equipped with Digital Resource Centres that will act as change agents and engines of development, ensuring they provide need-based information, resources and an array of government-based services that will positively impact citizens’ lives and their livelihoods. Community members will also be further trained to be digital ambassadors, and e-Governance tools will be made available to communities at large. By leveraging technology and digital knowledge, this programme will empower the youth to appropriately nurture their talents and also focus on aspiring women entrepreneurs to improve the quality of life at both community and society level. Another key focus area of the NASSCOM Foundation programme is to generate awareness of appropriate government schemes and e-governance services in addition to imparting quality training in digital skills.
“The Government’s Aspirational Districts Programme spearheaded by NITI Aayog has triggered equitable growth and development in every corner of the country. As an extension to the government’s initiative, NASSCOM Foundations’ Aspirational Districts Programme focuses on the two aspects of inclusive growth and meeting SDG commitments. We are confident that through our collective efforts to roll out people-centric digital initiatives we will be able to transform 55 districts and empower over 3.5 million lives and thus, make technology affordable, equitable and most importantly accessible to the last mile,” said Nidhi Bhasin, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation.
According to Ranjan there is no doubt that India is on a high economic growth trajectory and the key is to take the entire country along in this development journey. “With initiatives like NASSCOM Foundation’s Aspirational Districts Programme, I am confident that significant progress will be made towards equitable development. This is one of the first steps in ensuring a national inclusive development strategy that fosters technology and ensures that no district is left behind,” he said.