New Delhi, March 15: The government is working towards making the North East India’s new engine of growth and there has been remarkable development of the region under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union minister G Kishan Reddy told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
Replying to a discussion on the working of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DONER) in the Upper House, he said the Centre has worked on holistic development of the region since 2014 by focusing on bringing peace, improving infrastructure and connectivity through enhanced budgetary support.
Reddy, the Minister of Development of North East Region, also said in the last eight years of the Modi government there has been remarkable development in the NE. The region has been accorded top priority for development under the prime minister’s agenda of transforming India, he said.
Before 2014, there were different challenges to development of the North East (NE) where the government has been working towards bringing about inclusive growth, development and creation of new opportunities.
Arguing that peace and stability were prerequisites for development, he said today a sea change is visible in the region where large-scale infrastructure development has taken place.
Claiming that under the Modi government a new era of peace and prosperity has begun, he said the youth of the North East today aspire for growth and development, and the Centre will do everything to fulfil their desires.
Reddy highlighted the decline in insurgency related incidents to 163 in 2020 from 824 in 2014, besides a decrease in the number of security forces and civilians killed.
On the other hand, the number of surrendered extremists has increased to 2,696 in 2020 from 291 in 2014, while the quantity of arms surrendered has also gone up in the last eight years, the minister said.
Asserting that “without peace there is no development. Peace gives prosperity, peace gives development”, he said in order to bring calm and lawfulness to the region the Centre has launched several initiatives, including signing of memorandum of settlement with different rebel groups.
Unlike in the past, today there are no road blockades, protests, curfew and firing in the North East, he asserted.
After 2014-15, over Rs 3 lakh crore has been spent on the development of the region by various central ministries and departments, the minister said, adding while the northeastern states constitute 3.78 per cent of India’s population, the funds earmarked for them stand at 10 per cent of the overall national allocation.
Noting that connectivity is a big challenge to the development of the region, he said the government has been focusing on improving rail, road, air, waterway, telecom and internet connectivity with all the eight states.
Like the ‘New India’, the Centre also has a new vision for the North East, Reddy said.
“To make the North East the growth engine of the country, work is going on in full speed to enhance rail connectivity in the region,” the minister said, adding in 2014-2021, Rs 39,000 crore was spent for improving rail connectivity.
The government has been making all efforts to woo investors to the region and create employment, Reddy said, while also highlighting several schemes and projects taken up to improve road, rail, air and waterway connectivity.
The minister said the Centre has worked on improving electricity supply in the region in order to promote industrialisation, apart from tapping North East’s large hydrocarbon resources.
He also informed the Upper House about various programmes to enhance water supply, improve healthcare and promote sportspersons.
“India cannot develop unless the North East is developed. Our aim and our commitment is for the development of the region,” Reddy said. (PTI)