On the face of it, a two-pronged approach is the apparent strategy that the UPA government has devised for the Northeast. One, to try and fill up gaps in critical areas and two, to build and reinforce the region’s strengths.
With infrastructure and transport being a critical area for the region’s development, nearly 8% or `3,000 crore out of the `37,880 crore investment proposed in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) would be dedicated for the Northeast region, finance minister Arun Jaitley said in his speech Thursday while presenting the Union Budget.
He also announced a sum of `1,000 crore for the development of rail connectivity in the region, over and above the amount provided for in the interim budget, he added.
With issues of identity being a problem, Jaitley also announced a proposal to set up a new 24x7 channel called ‘ArunPrabha’ to showcase the rich cultural and linguistic identity of the North East.
It will also act as a “platform for the expression of cultural identity and for creating greater awareness of the richness of the diversity of our country”.
Besides the setting up of a sports university in Manipur for which `100 crore would be set aside, Assam would have an Indian Agricultural Research Institute on the lines of the illustrious one at Pusa.