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Case Study of the Day: Aspirational Districts Programme in Dhenkanal

Context: The Aspirational Districts Programme is an initiative launched by the Indian government in 2018 to accelerate the development of 115 districts across the country that have been identified as being lagging in key development indicators.

  • One of the success stories of this program is the transformation of Dhenkanal district in the state of Odisha, which had been struggling with high levels of poverty, low literacy rates, and poor infrastructure.

Actions Undertaken

  • Under the Aspirational Districts Programme, the district administration identified key focus areas such as health and nutrition, education, agriculture, and infrastructure development, and worked with various stakeholders to implement targeted interventions in these areas.
  • The programme focused on community participation, leveraging local resources, and using innovative approaches to bring about sustainable change.

Outcome of Aspirational District Programme in Dhenkanal, Odisha

  • Improvement in Health Indicators: The district has seen a substantial reduction in the prevalence of malnutrition among children through proper implementation of the Poshan Abhiyaan. The district administration also launched a campaign to improve sanitation and hygiene practices, which has led to a reduction in water-borne diseases.
  • Focus on Education: District administration launched several initiatives to improve the quality of education in the district.
    • These initiatives include the introduction of smart classrooms, the deployment of technology to monitor attendance and performance, and the provision of scholarships and other incentives to encourage children to stay in school.
    • These efforts have led to a significant increase in the enrolment and retention of children in schools.
  • Increase in agricultural yields: The programme focused on improving the productivity of crops, introducing high-yielding varieties, and providing training and support to farmers to adopt modern farming practices.
    • As a result of these efforts, the district has seen a significant increase in crop yields and a reduction in the dependency on traditional farming practices.


  • Overall, the Aspirational Districts Programme has been a major success in Dhenkanal. The programme has transformed the district into a model for development, with significant improvements in key development indicators such as health, education, and livelihoods.
  • The success of the programme in Dhenkanal has demonstrated the power of community participation, local resource mobilization, and innovative approaches to bring about sustainable change.

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