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Backward blocks of J&K UT await for funds 9 months after constitution

Last Updated on July 12, 2022 at 6:12 pm

The 44 most disadvantaged blocks of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are yet to receive funding to improve development in terms of different socioeconomic parameters like education, health and wellbeing, and overall living conditions of the people, even nearly nine months after they were identified. This is because the plans created by the District Development Commissioners (DDCs) are still awaiting approval from the Finance Department.

The Aspirational Blocks Development Program (ABDP) was designed to be similar to the “Aspirational Districts Programme” of the National Institute of Transforming India (NITI) Aayog. Out of the 285 total blocks in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, 44 were chosen as the most backward on the basis of 21 socio-economic parameters/indicators that addressed the four main pillars of human development: poverty, health & nutrition, education, and basic infrastructure. As a result, the Planning Development and Monitoring Department presented the idea to the Administrative Council, which is led by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, and it was approved on October 19, 2021.

The blocks designated as part of the Aspirational Blocks Development Programme are the most underdeveloped in the UT and need special attention to catch up to other blocks. The Government had declared shortly after the Administrative Council decision that the program’s overarching goal was to “enhance development in terms of numerous socio-economic indices and the general living circumstances of the people.

The development of these aspirational blocks would involve the fusion of several active UT schemes and centrally sponsored schemes, it was further said. While the Planning Development and Monitoring Department was required to continuously monitor the district-level progress of these blocks via a digital site, the District Development Commissioners were entrusted with creating a proper development plan.

Additionally, it was announced that funds would be clearly allocated across various development sectors, including poverty, health & nutrition, education, and basic infrastructure at the district level. In addition, it was stated that each block would receive Rs 1 crore after meeting certain requirements.

This year’s Planning, Development, and Monitoring Department asked the District Development Commissioners of each of the 20 Union Territory districts to create an Aspirational Block Development Plan and submit it to the Planning Department in order to request an additional Rs 1 crore in funding for further development following the accomplishment of predetermined targets and benchmarks in the chosen blocks.