Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, along with Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein held a pre-budget consultative meeting with various Community Based Organizations (CBOs) towards the preparation of an inclusive and comprehensive budget for the year 2017-18. The budget is proposed to be placed in the State Legislative Assembly from March 6th to 15th February.
Representatives of Arunachal Indigenous Tribes Forum (AITF), Nyishi Elite Society (NES), Galo Welfare Society (GWS), Adi Bane Kebang (ABK), Sajalong Elite Society (SES), Aka Elite Society (AES), Tanw Supun Dukun (TSD), Tagin Cultural Society, Cultural and Literary Society of Mishmis (CALSOM), Idu Mishmi Cultural and Literary Society (IMCLS), Sherdukpen Employees Welfare Association (SEWA), Tangsa Literary and Cultural Development Society (TLCDS) and Wancho Cultural Society (WCS) attended the meeting.
Khandu welcomed the representatives and said, “Ours is a unique state with diverse cultures and distinct needs. It is the endeavour of the state government to be innovative in preparation of the state budget by incorporating genuine suggestions and concerns of all communities of the state. CBOs representing their tribes would be in a better place to suggest ways and means to the government for development and welfare of their own communities.”
Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein gave a background of the new concept of the budget that would be prepared in a different mode altogether. He revealed that there would be no Plan and Non-Plan heads in the budget as it used to be, instead it would be broadly divided into two categories – Capital and Revenue heads. There would only be State Annual Development Agenda (SADA) under BE and hence no State Development Council (SDC) meet would be held to finalize budgetary proposals. He asserted that sectors like education, health, agriculture/horticulture and tourism would be given priority.
The CBOs unanimously expressed appreciation and gratitude to the CM and Deputy CM and affirmed that such a gesture from the government would pave way in creating a holistic developmental path for the state as even minor communities, who did not have representations in the government, would have their say in decision making. They also expressed concern over the education scenario of the state regarding proper infrastructure, insufficient number of teachers and declining quality of education being imparted in government schools.
AITF suggested division of state education department into 2-3 parts for efficient management, mandatory computer education and strict monitoring of private institutions. TLCDS suggested introduction of science and commerce streams in at least five colleges of the state spread across the state. WCS too sought requisite infrastructure and teachers in all upgraded schools while TWS opined to close defunct schools for want of students and establish schools for a cluster of villages instead. GWS appreciated the decision of the government to recruit teachers through APPSC and suggested establishment of ITIs in every district to equip youths with employable skills. Connectivity was another sector that all the CBOs wanted the government to work upon.
Citing Arunachal as a highly rated tourist destination and acknowledging the importance of tourism for the state, the CBOs sought budgetary provisions for improvement and maintenance of village roads for developmental and welfare projects to reach remote corners of the state. TWS informed that due to its persistent consultations with villagers, people agreed to sacrifice their lands for Trans Arunachal Highway. CALSOM informed that ‘YatriNiwas’ under tourism sector had been created in remote areas of Anjaw and brought into attention that the Government till date issued PAP only till Hayuliang denying inflow of tourists to places like Wallong, Hawaii, Kohow and Dong.
ABK called for establishment of divisional commissioners’ offices to eastern part of Arunachal for better administration. AES and IMCLS sought provisions for preservation, propagation, research and documentation of indigenous dialects and cultural traditions like those of minor communities such as Buguns and Akas of East Kameng and institutions like the Idu Mishmi priests. GWS suggested training of pharmacists and health assistants of remote health centers so that they can take care of minor ailments in the doctor’s absence.
Putting emphasis on agriculture and horticulture, the CBOs insisted on providing farmers with incentives, cold storages, fruit processing centers and good marketing outlets. SEWA and CALSOM sought for a government policy to curb ‘ganja’ and opium cultivation and suggested introduction of horticulture crops with incentives as an alternate besides establishment of de-addiction centers with all facilities.
Khandu expressed satisfaction over the interaction and assured that the suggestions would be incorporated in the budget.