District Zero: The Poorest Area of India Since Independence

One of India’s poorest District known as District Zero has never received electricity.

It is just one of India’s districts — 675 at last count. Yet, Nabarangpur in Odisha encapsulates the most basic challenges faced by the country as it marks its 68th year of Independence today — it is, arguably, India’s poorest district.

A discernible reduction in its poverty levels, an upgrade in its infrastructure for bijli, sadak, paani, padhai and sehat; expansion of opportunities for its growing young; and an improvement in welfare outcomes for Nabarangpur’s 1.2 million-plus people – nearly 56 per cent of whom are Adivasis and another 14.5 per cent Dalits – may, therefore, be the ultimate indicators for the health of the India Story.

That’s why beginning today and for the next one year, a team of reporters, photographers and editors of The Indian Express will make Nabarangpur their beat — their home.

They will investigate and explain how its children, women men grapple with change and challenge, opportunity and conflict. They will track and monitor the institutions of governance and government — from the panchayat, schools and hospitals to the public distribution system, police station and markets; from local businesses and industry to politics and its key players.

They will investigate the working of welfare schemes, from MGNREGA to the more recent Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan and Atal Pension Yojana. They will identify change in homes, neighbourhoods and communities and make sense of the tension between aspiration and grievance.

Via: Indian Express

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