DIMAPUR, MARCH 16: Union Minister of Development of North East Region (DoNER), G Kishan Reddy today emphasized that a new phase of peace and prosperity has begun in the North East Region.
Participating in a discussion on Demand for Grants for Ministry of Development of North East Region in the Rajya Sabha today, the Minister said that as part of Prime Minister’s agenda of Transforming India, North East region has been made a priority.
Reddy also underscored that peace and security were pre-requisites for development. With several landmark initiatives taken to improve the security situation and resultant stability in the region, massive infrastructural development and connectivity projects are being undertaken. Unlike in the past, today there are no road blockades, protests, curfews and firing in the Northeast, he said.
The Minister pointed out that there was a notable decline in insurgency related incidents from 824 in 2014 to 163 in 2020.
He also stated that there was a significant decline in death of civilian and security forces. At the same time, he pointed out that several historic agreements have been signed with rebel groups to restore peace and stability along with grants of financial packages for their rehabilitation.
Noting the improvement in security, international and domestic businesses are now looking to take advantage of the untapped potential of NER for investments, he claimed.
Further, he added that the budget for the region has been massively increased to accelerate the pace and development. He observed that there is an increase of around 110% in total Gross Budgetary Support of 54 Central Ministries to the North East Region, from 36,108 crores in 2014 to 76,040 crores in FY 2022-23. He further expressed that the newly announced Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North-East, PM-DevINE, with an outlay of 1500 crores will accelerate the growth momentum in the spirit of Gati Shakti by supporting infrastructure development and enabling livelihood activities.
Kishan Reddy also spoke on the significant strides made towards enhancing, road, rail and air connectivity. He further stated that to make the North East the growth engine of the country, massive efforts are being undertaken to develop rail connectivity. He further added that during 2014-2021, Rs 39,000 crore was spent for improving rail connectivity.
He also emphasized that the capital connectivity project will add a new chapter in the development of North East region. He pointed out that prior to 2014, only Assam’s capital Guwahati was connected. Today 3 States have already been connected and remaining 5 Capital Rail Connectivity projects are ongoing at the cost of Rs. 45016 crore.
He also highlighted that road and highway network of the region is also being strengthened at an unprecedented rate. He pointed out that Government of India has spent Rs 41,546 crore till date. He also said that air connectivity through UDAN and Krishi UDAN has received a lot of boost in the last few years and because of which tourism, trade and investment in the region has received a fillip. Further, he added that over the last 7 years, Rs.3466.10 crore have been spent under 10% GBS to enhance telecom connectivity in the region.
Reddy said that the Centre has worked on developing power infrastructure with an expenditure in excess of 10,000 crore since 2014, which has worked in promoting electrical connectivity and facilitates industrialization in the North Eastern Region.
The Minister highlighted the importance of Agriculture for North Eastern Region and the recent National Mission on Edible Oils ~ Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) approved for 2021-22 to 2025-26 with more than 50% of the a total outlay of Rs. 11,040 crore with the target to cover 3.38 lakh hectare in NER against the existing 38,000 hectare.
The Minister also deliberated on the importance that the Government accords to the aspirations of the youth. He added that recognizing the potential of the youth in sports, National Sports University at Manipur is being set up at the cost of Rs.643 crore. He further informed the House that in the health sector, Government has spent Rs.25589.72 crore since 2014-15, including Rs. 548.32 crore by the Ministry of DoNER to develop health infrastructure in the North East Region and most recently to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The Minister highlighted the upcoming AIIMS in Guwahati (to be completed in 2022) with a cost of 1,123 crore.
The Union Minister also called upon all the members to work jointly towards development of the North East Region while expressing that India cannot develop unless North East is developed.
(Page News Service)