The District Development and Diversity Index Report for India and Major States, prepared by the US-India Policy Institute and Centre for Research and Debates in Development Policy, said that the financial allocation for development work is not adequate.
The report called ‘Mini Sachar’ released by Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Thursday states that though huge proportions of the development funds are earmarked for annual expenditures on essential programmes such as mass primary/elementary education, women and child development services, public healthcare and employment guarantee scheme are never appropriated.
It says the inequity at the level of the district is a serious issue and that there are many versions to it – based on occupations, education levels and also social identities expressed in terms of religious and caste affiliation. The report says that distribution of welfare benefits has become contentious at national-political level leading to promotion of discrimination at the grassroots.
The report, prepared by using 17 development and livelihood measuring variables such as education, health and material wellbeing, has compiled data of 599 districts. The indices are arranged as most developed, developed, less developed, under developed and least developed.
Economist and member secretary of the Sachar Committee, Abusaleh Shariff, told BusinessLine that the index tries to identify the level of development based on percentage of deprived communities and select critical districts for actionable programme.
“We have arranged all the 599 districts in order of percentage of deprived communities – the SCs, STs and Muslims,” Shariff said. He added that while in urban areas, Muslims seemed to have got the benefits of Government programmes, in rural districts the discrimination is apparent.
“The data can be used by the Centre to chart out a holistic approach of development without any bias towards socio-religious groups,” he said and hoped that the report will help district administrations to target their welfare measures.
In the economic Index, Mandla, Balaghat, Umaria, Betul, Dindori (Madhya Pradesh), Jamui, Munger, Sitamarhi, Sheohar (Bihar), Basti, Fatehpur (Uttar Pradesh), Mayurbhanj, Malkangiri, Kalahandi, Baudh (Odisha) Sirohi (Rajasthan), Senapati (Manipur), Sahibganj, Pakaur (Jharkhand) and Dohad (Gujarat) are the 20 least developed districts in the country.
Six districts in Delhi and Gautam Buddha Nagar and Gurgaon in the National Capital region, Daman, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Bhopal, Lakshadweep, Mohali, Andamans and Papum Pare of Arunachal Pradesh are the top 20 most developed districts in the country.