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By Sahil PandeyNew Delhi [India], June 13 (ANI): NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Sunday said that Centre's Aspirational Districts Programme -- in line with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi -- has improved lives of over one fifth of India's population, adding that a UN development body has lauded Indian government's effort that made a difference in the life of 21 per cent of country's population.

In an exclusive with ANI, Kant said that India has come a long way as it has achieved substantial difference in making a qualitative difference in the lives of the citizens of India.

"So if you are able to make a difference to 21 per cent of India's population and in sectors like education, health, nutrition. It gives me a great amount of satisfaction that we've been able to fulfill what we set out to do in a very big way," he said.

This comes as a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report found out that India's Aspirational Districts Programme was a "catalyst for expediting development" that brought about "major changes" in sectors such as health care, nutrition, and education.

Reacting to the development, Kant said, "UN has done an independent third party study and it has concluded that this program of aspirational districts, which was launched by the Prime Minister in January 2018 has been a remarkable success story that aspirational districts have done better than non-aspirational districts."He further said that there has been a "huge transformational change" at the grassroots level in the country and that he is delighted to bring positive change in the life of people.

"I feel really delighted that we've been able to make a difference to the lives of the citizens of India, in education, in health, in nutrition in financial inclusion in skill development, and this has made a difference to some of the most backward and some of the most geographically far-flung districts of India," he said.

Recalling his experience in 2018, Kant said this welfare programme was Prime Minister Modi's idea. "After the governing body meeting of NITI Aayog, we were called and made to work on this program. It took us some months to finalize this program because he wanted very clear indicators, he wanted very clear data points."PM Narendra Modi said the focus should not be on resources, but the focus should be on improving governance, NITI Aayog CEO recalled. (ANI)

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