Meghalaya's aspirational blocks chart developmental strategy

Guwahati: Meghalaya’s Community & Rural Development Department held a “Chintan Shivir” (brainstorming session) for the state’s three Aspirational Blocks: Umling in Ri Bhoi District, Amlarem in West Jaintia Hills District, and Resubelpara in North Garo Hills District.

The event was a significant milestone for Meghalaya’s progress and development, as it aimed to chart a comprehensive development strategy for these aspirational blocks.

Chaired by Raja Brahma, MCS, the Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) of Ri Bhoi District, the ‘Chintan Shivir’ garnered participation from the District and Block Officials of the different line departments including Health, Social Welfare, Agriculture, Veterinary & Animal Husbandry, PHE and the C&RD Department. 

Notable attendees included officials from NITI Aayog; Dr Priscilla C Ngaihte, the Regional officer for Northeast Eastern States, Bhaskar Kashyap, Assistant Director and State Nodal Officer for the ABP; Himani Sachdeva, Consultant Specialist; Dr Shelly Dabiya and T. Prachi Sharma, Young Professionals along with Eric Kevin Dkharthe BDO of Umling C&RD Block, Gameliel L.C Mylliem BDO of Amlarem C&RD Block and Verdi Sangma BDO of Resubelpara C&RD Block.

Attendees were presented with comprehensive data on Umling, Amlarem and Resubelpara. Detailed insights into ongoing initiatives across various government departments, spanning healthcare, education, infrastructure, and more, were also shared. The core focus remained on enhancing key development indicators while fostering active engagement and participation from local communities. 

The event commenced with a welcome speech from Raja Brahma, Additional Deputy Commissioner, who shared his experiences of working in diverse districts. He expressed his commitment to advancing development across multiple districts and extended a warm welcome to the NITI Aayog team. Drawing from his experiences in the Aspirational district of Ri Bhoi, Brahma provided valuable insights. 

Dr Priscilla C Ngaihte, the Regional Officer for Northeastern States, took the stage to address the gathering. She emphasized the purpose of the visit, which was to assess the progress of the ‘Chintan Shivir’ in the block. She mentioned the forthcoming presentation of baseline assessments of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and the documentation thereof.

Furthermore, the Block Development Officer of Umling C&RD Block, presented their approach and strategy, focusing on the PDIA (Problem-Driven Iterative Adaptation) methodology. The BDO of Amlarem and Resubelpara also highlighted the need for ANMs to visit households more frequently, particularly with the establishment of Village Health Councils (VHCs).

The VHCs, it was informed, will play a vital role in identifying Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) cases. While discussing the challenges faced by the block, the BDO of Amlarem Block said, “We have a clear intention to prioritize various sectors, with a strong emphasis on education. We recognize the pressing need for improvement, and our plan is to adopt a community-driven approach to enhance the quality of education.”

The Blocks demonstrated a commitment to addressing pressing issues and driving progress. Their dedication reflected the vision of the Aspirational Block Program in transforming underdeveloped regions.

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Likewise, two dedicated individuals from each aspirational block stepped forward to provide a glimpse into their work on the ground. They passionately articulated their roles and shared their experiences, illustrating the program’s tangible impact on local communities. These individuals, the unsung heroes of development, showcased how they are instrumental in shaping positive change from the grassroots.

As the event concluded, a pledge was made by all involved to continue their dedicated efforts in transforming these regions.

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