Millennium Post

Below 40 benchmark

Below 40 benchmark
Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that in order to achieve the development goals in a time-bound manner, India should depute young IAS officers, below 40 years of age, to challenging assignments. True, young IAS officers have the desired motivation and energy to bring a turnaround in the country's most backward districts. But, senior IAS officers bring experience and continuity in delivering the government's agenda even to the last man. Fulfilling certain parameters to score high on the Human Development Index can be only a short-term approach. In order to truly bring about a turnaround, a sustained engagement over a long period of time is required. Development cannot be achieved overnight; it takes ample amount of time for things to change at the grassroot levels. The Aadhaar-based benefit transfer scheme is delivering money to the person intended without a middleman or a government functionary involved. Changes like these take time to evolve and become graciously adopted across the length and breadth society.
Inaugurating the National People's Representative Conference on the theme 'We for Development' in the Central Hall of the Parliament in New Delhi on March 10, Prime Minister Narendra Modi advised the Chief Ministers to post young and motivated IAS officers in the 115 most backward districts for quick results. He reminded the elected representatives that the time for the hardcore politics of agitation is over. He called for joining the forces to transform 115 'aspirational districts'. It is this kind of politics that will take precedence. The Prime Minister said that he is against classifying the 115 districts as backward for lagging behind in specific development parameters that determine the international ranking of Human Development Index (HDI). "Strategically, there has been a need to fine-tune our development model," he said. He also advised the elected representatives to choose some particular areas of work and things will start to change. "There is no need for a new budget. The present resources, manpower… if they work in a mission mode, it can lead to results. Work with dedication for one year and it will change the picture of the state and the country," he said. The Prime Minister said that India was ranked about 130 in HDI. "If there is an improvement in these 115 districts, it will automatically lead to an improvement in the country's rankings." The country is currently witnessing an atmosphere of competitive cooperative federalism and people are forcing states which are lagging behind in the rankings to do more on the front of social justice. People are forcing politicians to move away from hardcore politics. "People see who is with them in their hour of need, who is there to bring a change in their lives. This makes a big difference." He said that based on the 48 parameters, a comprehensive study was conducted to identify 115 aspirational districts. The study found that a district that was doing badly in five to ten parameters was also doing badly in most of the other benchmarks. Despite similar resource allocation, one district surges ahead of the other in a state. "Resources are not the problem; good governance is a problem, coordination is a problem, and focused activity is a problem. If we focus on these, we can bring a big change."
Modi said that in a meeting of the collectors of these 115 districts, he noticed that most of them were above 40. "Normally, district collectors are between 27 and 30 years old. They are young IAS officers. But, when I met the district collectors of these 115 districts, about 80 per cent were above 40. Some of them were 45 also. At that age, the officer is concerned about the education of his children, being posted in a big city. Mostly, they are promoters of the state cadre." The Prime Minister emphasised that the thinking follows the idea that if a district is backward, anyone can be posted there. "If we all decide that in these 115 districts, we will post a fresh, energetic performance-oriented officer for the next few years, you will see that things will start to change. I am talking to the Chief Ministers. Give him (the officer) the challenge," he added. He urged the elected representatives of the aspirational districts to set the targets for themselves.
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