From Planning to Action

interview, planning, HDR, human development, gujaratPrincipal Secretary, Planning, Government of Gujarat, S. Aparna, speaks to UNDP India about Gujarat's commitment to human development.

Gujarat translates Human Development Reports into district action plans

In a first-of-a-kind effort, the Indian state of Gujarat is now translating its district human development reports into action plans, mapping social indicators across all 33 districts to allow for planned interventions, especially for underserved regions and communities. UNDP has supported the Government of Gujarat in this effort.

In a conversation with the Government of Gujarat’s Principal Secretary, Planning, S. Aparna, we explore Gujarat’s commitment to human development, especially its efforts to reorient its development process to ensure that economic growth improves the opportunities in the lives of all socio-economic groups in the state.

On Human Development for All in Gujarat

Over the last decade, we have seen a strong commitment among all stakeholders towards inclusive development, and that is articulated in the state’s development strategy, ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’, which translates to ‘Development with and for all.’ We feel that the human development report has a strong part to play in furthering this vision, especially because of its focus on the social sectors, gender and emphasis on balanced regional growth.

On Moving from Decentralized Planning to Action

While working on the district human development report, together with the support of UNDP India, we understood that the report would not be limited to just documenting the status of development in the districts but would be translated into a plan of action. The documentation process was used as a stimulus to refine the developmental strategies in each district of Gujarat. Through this process, we could lay greater emphasis on underserved regions and communities, which needed more support of the state.

When we started developing the district human development action plans, it provided greater visibility and better understanding of the extent of development at the sub-district or locality level. This greater clarity helped us make pointed interventions to improve the conditions of people left behind and localities that were lagging in social indicators, as determined by the HDR. Human development reports at the district level have contributed  to increasing awareness, helping the administration and stakeholders understand the effort required to reach everyone, and enabling administrations to use the data in a more meaningful manner.

I believe that the cutting edge of administration is at the district level. It is there where we touch most lives, through pointed interventions identified primarily via gap analysis and planning. In fact, we need to further drill down to the talukas (blocks) to actually improve lives of people left behind.

On Linking the HDI with SDGs

We are in the process of preparing a Roadmap 2030 document for the state, and the human development plans at various levels will reflect the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I believe that the roadmap for the  SDGs will become an integral part of the human development planning. 

On Next Steps

We will institutionalize the process for preparing district human development reports, for which districts will be required to update data regularly. That way we will be able to observe development trends  and use it for target-setting and allocation of resources. We have also developed taluka (block) development plans in around 30 blocks and by 2018, we hope to finish another 100. Over the next five  years, we will focus on taluka development planning and on the allocation of funds for improving human development indices at the district and block levels. Gujarat is committed to inclusive development and its desire to spread the fruits of growth across the state. Through this, we want to enable every citizen fulfil her/his potential. 

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