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Amitabh Kant CEO Niti Aayog addresses a press conference, at National Media Centre

Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Sunday said that the Centre’s aspirational districts programme, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018, has benefited almost 21% of the nation’s population and improved their quality of life.

“The UN has done an independent third party study and concluded that this program of aspirational districts, launched by PM in January 2018 has been a remarkable success story, aspirational districts have done better than non-aspirational districts. Because of this, almost 21% of India’s population has benefited and improved quality of life. This has been a huge transformational change at the grassroot level,” Kant was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Kant said that the program has been able to make difference to lives of citizens of India, in education, health, nutrition, financial inclusion, skill development and this has made a difference to some most backward and most geographically far-flung districts of the nation.

“I am very satisfied that what PM had envisioned for this program. We have come a long way, we have achieved substantial difference in making a qualitative difference to lives of citizens of India,” the Niti Aayog CEO said.

Talking about the state of India’s economy amid coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, Kant said, “I am a great believer that for this economy, we need to vaccinate fast which we are doing now, government has ordered a lot of vaccines to come in in subsequent months, so I agree with govt approach that by December we should have vaccinated entire population.”

An independent appraisal report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has lauded India’s Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) and said it has resulted in sectoral growth and improvements in governance and administration.

“A very successful model of local area development” that “should serve as a best practice for several other countries where regional disparities in development status persist for many reasons,” the report said.

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