Meghalaya creates Economic Task Force to handle Pandemic crisis

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Posted in Meghalaya

As the world battles the pandemic, countries around the world are churning out plans to revive their economy. Likewise, the Northeastern state of Meghalaya is steadfast in its initiative to tackle the challenges posed by the deadly virus over the last few months. To fight the economic challenges created by Covid 19 pandemic, Meghalaya State Government has formed a special task force under the leadership of Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma. Reports Northeast Today

The Covid pandemic and the restrictions, including the subsequent lockdowns has put the state of Meghalaya on the back-foot on the economic front, but now with Covid related restrictions being eased, the state government is taking up various initiatives to ensure that the state is back on track and economy gets rolling. In this context, the Meghalaya government has also formed an Economic Task Force to explore and work out in a multi-pronged strategy to solve the present crisis in the state.

Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma, who is the chairman of the task force, hinted that the objective of the task force is to look into the current situation and come up with measures to be able to initiate intervention. “Formation of Economic task force by the Government of Meghalaya is to chalk out the economic revival plan for the State. This crisis can be converted to an opportunity if the right decisions are made at the right time,” said Sangma in a social media post.

The Economic Task Force is divided into three groups- the Apex Committee, Executive Committee and the working groups. While the apex committee consists mostly of cabinet ministers and senior government officials, the executive committee headed by the Chief Minister himself consists of ministers, government officials and academicians. The working group, on the other hand, includes senior government officials and members from different departments, including-  finance, revenue and investment, infrastructure and labour, agriculture and allied sectors, rural poverty alleviation and livelihood, industries and trade, entrepreneurship skills and tourism departments.

As per the terms and reference the working group is required to identify immediate sectoral interventions that can generate maximum impact in terms of employment and livelihood, to identify critical policy reforms in their respective sector, to identify sectoral strategy for the immediate and medium term need, to review the existing schemes and proposing rationalization for better utilization of resources.

The task force will provide a way forward to the government for the financial and economic stability of the people and the state.

“The state government is eager to explore intervention in the areas of agriculture and tourism,” said an official associated with the office of the Chief Minister, Meghalaya.

The official also added that the task force has been given the mandate to prepare a road map so that, the government is able to look into the right policies and investment for the state.

The state of Meghalaya, known for its tourism potentialities, has decided to open up tourism with innovations in the state to ensure that future damage to the state’s economy doesn’t happen, and the state is looking ahead for tourists after the opening up of existing travel restrictions due to the Covid Pandemic.

Due to the Covid protocols, and the nationwide travel restrictions, the tourism industry in the state of Meghalaya, which is a major source of revenue and livelihood in the state, has been hit badly.

“Given the flexibility, the Economic Task Force is working with different organizations to explore possible interventions and new initiatives,” said the official.

Also keeping in tune with the existing situation, the state government is planning to start a tailor made tourism opportunity, keeping in mind the existing pandemic.

“The idea is a focus on sustainable tourism and we are looking at tourism with a focus on the present situation, which could stay for sometime,” said an official of the state Tourism department.

“The state government is looking at a tourism potential which could adapt to the Covid situation, and in this regard, the Chief Minister has inaugurated log houses that is little away from the city as a way to prepare the State to adopt with the COVID situation in future. We are looking at popularizing this concept and setting up such tourism ventures in newer areas,” said the official.

According to officials of the state government, the chief ministers is in touch with tourism entrepreneurs in the state to look at ways to innovate and is also exploring ways to ensure that the rural tourism, including rural tourism entrepreneurs, are able to revive their livelihood source soon.

Meanwhile, experts have also said that the Border-Haats in Meghalaya and the other North Eastern states should restart at the earliest-as these will help the local economy recover, and also added that these should be opened taking all the necessary precautions and all the Covid related protocols should be followed.

Also, the Meghalaya government has come up with an amnesty scheme for the taxpayers to clear all their outstanding dues to the state government, and the scheme is for People who have taxes due towards the state government.

“Those people will be given an amnesty scheme for a period of six months to pay the amount, failing which different legal measures and prosecution as per law will be taken against defaulters,” said Meghalaya Chief Minister in an interaction with the media.

According to government officials, this will be very helpful for the state, and it will help both the government and the taxpayers to make a fresh start for the coming year.

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