Aspirational Chatra

Locations: Jharkhand

Sponsor: NITI Aayog, Govt of India and DC’s Office, Chatra, Jharkhand.

The MoU of the Aspirational Chatra Project was signed on 2 March 2019 between School of Development Studies (SDS), TISS and Deputy Commissioner’s Office, Chatra, Jharkhand. Of the 115 districts identified by the Niti Aayog under its Aspirational District Programme, Chatra is one of the 35 districts enlisted as a Left-Wing Extremist Area and has been allocated to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The programme, with its thrust on multidimensional outlook to development, incorporating Health, Education, Infrastructure, Livelihood and Digital Capacity, envisions to transform economically weaker and alienated districts into hotbeds of innovation and growth. SDS, TISS team has developed a unique multi-pronged strategy to use this opportunity to explore and address the gap between the commercial potential and social development of the district, reasons for the backwardness of the district and how it can be overcome.

The project aimed to guide on how to enhance economic opportunities, reduce distress migration, suggest measures to enhance food security and facilitate ecological synergies to mitigate the effects of climate change. Prof. Ritambhara Hebbar, SDS (TISS) was the project leader, with Prof. Sivaraju, Prof. Ashwani Kumar as Senior Advisors, and Prof. Sandhya Rani and Dr. Sandhya Iyer as Sectoral Experts.

The following formed a part of the deliverables of the project:

  • The Aspirational Chatra team completed the baseline survey and related research by end of September.
    1. Selection of 65 investigators from local colleges and their training forms an integral part of the capacity building exercise undertaken as a part of the project. Involving local youth and equipping them with a scientific attitude and focus to comprehend the development scenario in the district has been one of its key accomplishments.
    2. Midterm Appraisal Workshop with Chatra Student Interns (15 of the best local investigators) was held in TISS, Mumbai, on 16th and 17th December, 2019 give them an opportunity to interact with TISS students and faculty, provide them with to career counselling and guidance on their future as well as to share the survey findings with them in the presence of noted experts.
    3. The SDS team also proposed the ‘Chatra Fellows Programme’ modelled along these lines, wherein it would work towards training and creating a committed and talented pool of young men and women in the district for implementing development initiatives under the supervision of the DC’s office.
  • Capacity building workshops held in Chatra have initiated processes (and even small interventions known as 'butterfly effects’ in development studies) that could result in large improvements and form a part of our deliverables for the next year.
    1. Created a platform for the public-private partnership model in Chatra by involving CSR in different capacities for improving the resource base and welfare outcomes, which could be explored further in the coming years. Multiple stakeholders came forward to interact, dialogue and support the common end of working towards Chatra’s development.
    2. The focus of the workshops was also on creating an interface between district officials and block level personnel as well as training and capacity building of front-line workers like ASHA, ANM, Rojgar Sevaks, etc, in the district.
  • The SDS team submitted the Chatra Development Report to the DC office, Chatra, and the NITI Aayog at the end of the project period. The Report is a comprehensive strategy document detailing the status (need assessment and analysis) and potential of, as well as the approach (Convergence, District Planning, Implementation and Monitoring) towards Chatra’s development.
  • The team also submitted an Aspirational Chatra Interventions Report to the DC’s Office highlighting the scope for furthering livelihood generation and introducing development interventions through prospective partners and specialists.

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