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NITI outlines five development missions for North East

There is a challenge to bring North East region into mainstream and the central government is working to connect it to the rest of India, says NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar.

india Updated: Apr 10, 2018 23:37 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Agartala
NITI Forum for North East,North East development,PM Modi
The NITI Forum for North East was constituted in February 2018 with an aim to ensure sustainable economic growth of the North Eastern Region. (File photo)

The NITI Forum for North East on Tuesday outlined five development missions for promoting sectors like horticulture, tourism and food processing in the region, NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar said on Tuesday.

Other missions will cover bamboo-based handicrafts and medium scale industries with focus on ‘Make in North-East’, he said.

Kumar said it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to establish a regional NITI Aayog forum for the north eastern states, adding that a regional forum for Himalayan and Coastal states will be set up soon.

“These regional forums will bring synergy among states and help them solve their problems which cannot be solved by one state,” he noted.

There has been outflow of resources of North East to other parts of India, he said adding that states in the region “must bring back not only its resources but also additional resources. For this, we will have to create more employment opportunities.”

There is a challenge to bring North East region into mainstream and the central government is working to connect it to the rest of India, Kumar insisted.

“To make North East more familiar in the rest of India, one emporium should be set up in all the districts of the country so that people can know about the products of the region,” he suggested.

The focus of development projects in the region will be based on the concept of “HIRA”, as spelt out by the Prime Minister, he said.

The acronym HIRA stands for Highways, Internet ways, Railways and Airways, he said, adding that the emphasis will also be on education, health and skill development in the region.

The first meeting of the newly constituted NER forum here was organised by NITI Aayog and Ministry of Development of North East Region (DoNER) and the North Eastern Council (NEC). It was co-chaired by Kumar and the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for DoNER Jitendra Singh.

Singh said the government has focused on the development of a region which is more or less remained out of the mainstream for the last seven decades.

There has been a significant 21% rise in fund utilisation in the North East in the last three years, he said, adding that the central government has now committed full 100% funding for development projects in the region as against 90:10 ratio earlier, with state governments funding 10% of the total cost.

Singh also said the government has initiated talks with a private airline for connecting Agartala with Dhaka and Chittagong.

He also underlined the need for completion of the 15 km long Agartala-Akhaura rail link for improving connectivity between Tripura and Bangladesh.

The meeting also discussed the need to complete bridge on the river Feni in Sabroom which connects Chittagong and Tripura, he added.

After completion of the bridge on the river Feni at Sabroom in South Tripura district, the broad gauge railway track would be extended to Chittagong port, and Tripura would act as gateway for the North East, the minister said.

Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio pointed out that Kohima is the only state capital in the North East which does not have an airport.

He said the state government has acquired land for this purpose and at least one small airstrip at Kohima should be constructed for providing air connectivity to Nagaland under the UDAN scheme.

Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma said development is the solution to all socio-economic problems in the region and through infrastructure and connectivity, many development issues can be solved.

He said that the National Games-2022 will be held in Meghalaya, which will coincide with the 75th Anniversary of Indian Independence.

He further said that economic challenges of the NER can be met by removing the physical and economic barriers.

Chief minister of Tripura Biplab Kumar Deb said the state borders Bangladesh from three sides and imports goods worth more than Rs 300 crore annually from that country, but its exports there amount to a meagre Rs 4.6 crore.

He said certain provisions prohibit export of rubber from Tripura, but is routed through West Bengal.

Deb said Tripura has immense potential in fisheries as the state has the world’s best climate suitable for aquaculture but this has not been exploited.

Representatives of all eight member states -- Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura -- of the NER gave suggestions on moving towards making it a prosperous region.

The ‘NITI Forum for North East’ was constituted in February 2018 with an aim to ensure sustainable economic growth of the North Eastern Region and periodically review the development status in NER.

First Published: Apr 10, 2018 23:36 IST