NITI Aayog CEO concerned by lack of medical & teaching personnel in Kiphire

NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant interacts with health workers during his visit to the District Hospital Kiphire on April 7. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@amitabhk87)
NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant interacts with health workers during his visit to the District Hospital Kiphire on April 7. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@amitabhk87)

Kiphire Aspirational district programme reviewed

Morung Express News
Kiphire | April 7

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog Amitabh Kant on Wednesday expressed concern over lack of doctors, nurses and teachers in Kiphire district and questioned the purpose of having building, equipment and schools without the required number of staff.

He appealed to ensure the posting of medical and teaching staff in the district.

The CEO informed that, in this regard he has requested the State Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and Home Minister to give first priority to Kiphire in order to improve the district’s health and education sector.

Kant was speaking at the review of the implementation of 'Aspirational District' programme at DC's Conference Hall in Kiphire town.

Observations & areas of concern

Sharing some of his observations, the CEO stated that indicators pertaining to child health have shown progress while percentage of underweight children, several acute malnutrition children, and low birth rate has reduced by 1-3%. 

As per the indicators, he said there has been sharp increase in percentage of pregnant women regularly taking supplementary nutrition under ICDS Program and stated that the district should maintain track record of beneficiaries taking home ration as this is one of the main pointers of nutrition.

However, the CEO expressed concern that the district has only 56% Anganwadi center with their own building and specialized service available at District Hospital Kiphire is still at 25% against the norms. Until and unless you improve health and nutrition, Kiphire will not be able to go up, he asserted.

Another area of concern, he said, is the poor learning outcome as all 6 indicators relating to learning outcome are below 50% mark because there is a lack of teachers in Kiphire. He assured that if teachers are provided to Kiphire by the department, the NITI Aayog would ensure release of fund.

‘Providing correct data very important’

Stressing the importance of providing accurate data, the CEO cautioned against falsifying information.

He shared that earlier, since Kiphire district was not feeding data, they were of the feeling that the district would find it difficult to improve. However, from being at the bottom (111 out of 112 districts), to coming second in health and nutrition and first in basic infrastructure in January and February 2021, the district is moving forward after a gap of 2 years, the CEO noted.

“Kiphire has done very well and this is an indication that if you can improve in January and February, overall we would like Kiphire to come first in the 'Aspirational District' programme,” he added. 

Explaining the role of the NITI Aayog in Aspirational District programme, Kant said that it captures change every month and monitors the districts regularly.

We monitor how districts are changing from base level, merit by merit, day by day, month by month and that is how we declare which districts are doing well and which district are not. For almost 2 years, Kiphire’s performance was poor but now the momentum has changed, he observed.

Acknowledging the difficulties faced by the district, Kant appreciated the district officers for working hard despite of very difficult circumstances, terrain, geography and location. 

Reiterating that providing correct data is very important, the CEO attributed Kiphire’s improvement in ranking to feeding correct data. He insisted on feeding correct data in the ‘champion of change’ dashboard because Aspirational district programme runs on data.

Need for collective effort

The CEO further said that the Prime Minister and Government of India’s goal is to push and improve overall development in every field in all the Aspirational Districts and that is the reason why public sectors have supported Kiphire through CSR programmes under REC and HUDCO. 

He emphasized that funds must be used effectively to improve the life of the citizens and asked officers to prepare good projects because the funds will only be released when the projects are well prepared. He also assured the NITI Aayog’s assistance in preparing good projects for Kiphire.

Expressing satisfaction at the way the district has made progress in certain areas, Kant said he was very happy to have come all the way from Delhi to see the progress of the programme and feel the pulse of Kiphire’s growth.

He assured full support and cooperation to the people of Kiphire in its development, and added that support will be provided in every possible way to make Kiphire the number one district in India, “which will be the pride of Nagaland.”

He further added it would also require a lot of collective effort from the Administration and district officers and support from the State government.

During the visit, the NITI Aayog CEO also visited District Hospital Kiphire, Anganwadi Center and Government school at Kiphire village.

On the sideline of the programme, a representation was also submitted by United Sangtam Likhüm Pümji (USLP) and other CSOs.