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Transforming BIMARU to Aspirational Districts



  Aug 25, 2023

From BIMARU to Aspirational Districts


The transition from the "BIMARU" terminology to the concept of "Aspirational Districts" represents a shift in India's development narrative. While "BIMARU" categorized certain states as economically backward during the 1980s, the "Aspirational Districts" initiative, launched much later, seeks to focus on individual districts that have shown relatively lesser progress in key development areas. Here's a breakdown of this transition:
 

From BIMARU to Aspirational Districts

 

BIMARU:

Concept: The term BIMARU was coined in the 1980s and is an acronym for Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh – states that were then perceived as economically lagging compared to other states in India.
 
Significance: The term sounded like the Hindi word "Bimar", meaning "sick", indicating the perceived 'sick' or underdeveloped economic condition of these states.
 
Criticism: The BIMARU tag attracted criticism over time as it generalized entire states, which might have pockets of development and prosperity. Moreover, it was seen as a derogatory label by many.
 

Aspirational Districts:

Concept: Launched by the NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) in January 2018, the "Transformation of Aspirational Districts" program aims to quickly and effectively improve the socio-economic status of 112 of the most underdeveloped districts in the country.
 
Focus Areas: The initiative targets five main thematic areas for development – Health & Nutrition, Education, Agriculture & Water Resources, Financial Inclusion & Skill Development, and Basic Infrastructure.
 
Significance: By focusing on individual districts, the initiative aims to remove the broad brush categorization of entire states and zeroes in on specific areas that need attention.
 
Methods: The program adopts a real-time monitoring mechanism, where districts are ranked on a dashboard on key performance indicators. This data-driven approach provides district officials, policymakers, and the public a clear picture of where progress is being made and where more attention is needed.
 
In summary, the transition from "BIMARU" to "Aspirational Districts" showcases the evolving approach of the Indian government and policymakers in tackling developmental challenges. The newer approach is more granular, data-driven, and aims to bring about targeted and rapid development in areas that need it the most.


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