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Tue, 18 Jun 2019

Northeast Today

A Year-End Roundup of Government Initiatives in the Northeast

A Year-End Roundup of Government Initiatives in the Northeast
January 02
11:55 2019

NET Bureau, Kingson Chingakham

The highlights of some of the initiatives taken by Government for the development of North Eastern Region during the year 2018 are as follows-

 

NITI Forum for North East: Focussed attention for development of NER

 

On February 21, the Government issued orders to create an exclusive forum at the NITI AAYOG to prepare plans for the development of the North East Region, co-chaired by the Vice-Chairman of the Niti Aayog and Secretary of  DoNER. The forum examines various proposals both at the Central and the State levels and prepare plans for the speedy development of the North Eastern Region.

 

The first meeting of the newly constituted ‘NITI Forum for North East’ was held in Agartala, Tripura on April 10. The meeting was organized by the NITI Aayog, Ministry of DoNER and the NEC. The Forum proposed that the development projects in the NER would be based on the concept of “HIRA” (Highways, Inland Waterways, Railways and Airways) as spelt out by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. The emphasis would also be made on Education, Health and Skill Development in the region.

National Bamboo Mission

Union Finance Ministry in February this year announced the “National Bamboo Mission” in the Annual Budget presented with an allocation of Rs.1,290 crore for it. Speaking to media persons, Dr Jitendra Singh said the Bamboo Mission has a special significance for Northeast and the announcement made by the Finance Minister is a vindication of the Union Government’s continued commitment to the development of the region.

Sikkim arrives on India’s air link map

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, inaugurated the Pakyong Airport in Sikkim on September 24. This is the first airport in the Himalayan State and the 100th airport in the country. In order to ensure that Pakyong Airport is affordable to the common man, this airport is part of the UDAN scheme.

Digital North East Vision 2022 released

Union Minister for Electronics & IT, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad released the ‘Digital North East Vision 2022’ in Guwahati on August 11. The Vision Document emphasizes leveraging digital technologies to transform the lives of people of the northeast and enhance the ease of living. The Vision Document identifies eight digital thrust areas – Digital Infrastructure, Digital services, Digital empowerment, Promotion of Electronics Manufacturing, Promotion of IT and ITes including BPOs, Digital Payments, Innovation & Startups and Cybersecurity. As part of the Digital North East Vision 2022, a cloud hub for North East will be set up in Guwahati. Capacity building for 50 thousand state government employees will be taken up in the use of digital technologies. It also assured to provide mobile connectivity in all uncovered villages in the North East. Speaking on the occasion Shri Prasad urged North Eastern states to promote BPOs at small cities. He said, E-class rooms would be set up at six medical colleges in North East. Several other projects were also launched for the North East including a BPO centre at river island Majuli district.

New train ‘Arunachal Express’ flagged off

A new train between Naharlagun in Arunachal Pradesh and Anand Vihar Terminal in the national capital was flagged off by Union MoS Shri Kiren Rijiju and Shri Rajen Gohain on March 1 from Naharlagun railway station. The new train, known as ‘Arunachal Express’ covers the 2,013-kilometre distance between Naharlagun and Anand Vihar Terminal in little over 38 hours and would have 14 stoppages en-route. This is the second direct train for Arunachal Pradesh and 14th for North East to connect with the national capital.

PM lays foundation stone of India’s first National Sports University

On March 16, the Prime Minister launched development projects worth Rs. 750 crore in Manipur. He laid the foundation stone of the National Sports University, 1,000 Anganwadi Centres and several other important development projects. Speaking on the occasion, Shri Narendra Modi said the Union Government’s vision for the North East has been ‘Transformation by Transportation.’

Development of North East: Priority of the Government

 

The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, at the inaugural session of Advantage Assam – Global Investors Summit 2018, held on February 03-04, 2018 in Guwahati, said that the North-East is at the heart of the Union Government’s Act East Policy. The Act East Policy envisions increased people to people contact, trade ties and other relations with ASEAN countries. He said all the schemes of the Union Government are oriented towards bringing about a qualitative change in the lives of the people. He said the aim is to improve “Ease of Living.”

 

On June 13, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved the proposal of DoNER Ministry for the nomination of the Union Home Minister as ex-officio Chairman of North Eastern Council (NEC) – a statutory body with Governors and Chief Ministers of all the eight North Eastern States as its Member. The Cabinet also approved that Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of DoNER would serve as Vice Chairman of the Council. Under the new arrangement, NEC can now perform the tasks undertaken by the various Zonal Councils to discuss such inter-State issues as drug trafficking, smuggling of arms and ammunition, boundary disputes etc.

 

The Union Cabinet on March 21 approved the North East Industrial Development Scheme (NEIDS), 2017 with financial outlay of Rs.3,000 crores to March 2020. The government will provide necessary allocations for the remaining period of the scheme after assessment before March 2020. NEIDS is a combination of the incentives covered under the earlier two schemes with a much larger outlay. The overall cap for benefits under all components of incentives will be of Rs. 200 crores per unit. The newly introduced scheme shall promote industrialization in the States of the North Eastern Region and will boost employment and income generation.

 

On February 8, a meeting was held to discuss the roadmap for 14 Northeast districts under the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ programme. Major infrastructure projects taken up in the NER inter alia include Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan for the NER at an estimated cost of Rs.5,336.18 crore; Broad Gauging & Capital Connectivity Rail Projects; Comprehensive Scheme for Strengthening of Transmission & Distribution Systems (CSST&DS) in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim at an estimated cost of Rs.4754.42 crore; Bharatmala Pariyojana; North East Road Sector Development Scheme (NERSDS) etc.

Tourism in NE states

 

To enhance the tourism sector in the North East, the DoNER Ministry has recommended to the Finance Ministry for higher fund allocation and special package for such projects in the NE region. In a meeting held on May 11, 2018 with Union Minister of State for Tourism , K.J. Alphons,  MoS Dr Jitendra Singh said that under the ‘North East Special Infrastructure Scheme (NESIDS), the DoNER Ministry is providing financial assistance for projects of physical infrastructure relating to water supply, power, connectivity for promoting tourism in the region. He said that this will be over and above the existing schemes of the Central and State governments of the NE region. Dr. Jitendra Singh said that under the North Eastern Council (NEC), work is underway for the promotion of theme-based regional tourism circuits.

 

On March 19, four MoUs were signed under the aegis of Ministry of DoNER for the promotion of tourism in the North-East, aimed at doubling tourist arrivals to the North East in the next three years. Another MoU was signed for leveraging of community resources and appropriate local resources based technology for development. After the signing of the agreements, Dr Jitendra Singh said that the development of the North East Region is of prime importance for the overall inclusive growth of India, and tourism development has always been one of our key focus areas, keeping in mind the North East’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.

Other Achievements

 

On May 31, DoNER Ministry announced that  Northeast students’ hostels in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi and Bangalore University were being built by the North East Council (NEC) and the DoNER Ministry. Another piece of land has been acquired at Rohini, Delhi where the construction of another hostel for students from Northeast will be undertaken, which will cater primarily to the students from Delhi University. At the same time, a land spread over more than three acres has also been acquired at Dwarka in Delhi where a Northeast Convention-cum-Cultural Centre is proposed to be brought up.

 

In a review meeting of the “roadmap for implementation of Cabinet Approval of Schemes for North East Council” held on 3rd March, it was decided that North Eastern Cultural and Information Centre will come up in Delhi soon. The meeting reviewed the progress of various ongoing projects in the North East. As the Central government has been giving priority to the NE region, Dr Jitendra Singh said that this will be a new gift to the people of North East India. He said the centre will act as a cultural convention and information hub of the northeastern region in Delhi.

 

Image Source: Zigya

 

 

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