|Cover Story Vol. 3 Issue No. 57||July 1-15, 2009|
United Progressive Alliance (UPA) has given priority to upgrading
connectivity and infrastructure in the north-eastern states and earmarked
Rs.500 crore for it this fiscal, said Bijoy Krishna Handique, minister in
charge of the region. “Under the Northeast Vision 2020, the ministry of
development of north eastern region (DoNER) has chalked out a 100-day
plan,” Handique said while addressing the meeting of northeast chief
DoNER spells out its 100-day agenda
Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Ministry was set up as a
Department on September 5, 2001 and was again upgraded as a full-fledged
Ministry on April 27, 2004 to sharpen its focus on the development of the
North-eastern region, stated a press release.
major functions of the DoNER ministry include matters related to the
planning, execution and monitoring of development schemes and projects of
the NER including those in the Power, Irrigation, Roads and Communications
sectors. The DoNER ministry is also mandated to coordinate with various
Ministries/Departments primarily concerned with the development and welfare
activities in the NER. The important areas which have been identified for
initiation of action for development of NER during the first 100 days
are–– to have non-lapsable Central pool of resources. Under the existing
procedure, processing of projects and proposals, preparation of DPRs and
sanctioning of projects take considerable time. Therefore, the existing
guidelines for sanctioning these projects are being revised so that new
projects could be sanctioned within 45 days of the submission of the DPRs.
area for development is to enhance the connectivity of NER which is the main
reason for the backwardness of the region with the main land. As a part of
the NE Vision 2020, preparatory work for the master plans of connectivity
for the NE Region was initiated. Therefore, a master plan would be prepared
by the ministry within 100 days for enhancing connectivity of roads,
railways, airways, waterways and telecommunication..
his Budget Speech for the year 2008-09, the Finance Minister made provisions
of Rs 500 crore for implementing specific infrastructure developmental
projects in the NER. Selection of projects and preparation of DPRs would be
completed covering all eight NE States within the first 100 days.
Eastern Council and Ministry of DoNER had prepared The NER Vision 2020 for
the speedy development of the NER. For implementing the recommendations
contained in the Vision document, various Thematic Groups were constituted
for preparing specific plan of action.
is endeavoured to complete the plan of action for all sectors.
Implementation of the North East Region Community Resource Management
Project (NERCROMP) enhanced the earning capacity of the people in the
specified areas where it was implemented. The scope of the project would be
expanded to cover more villages in the existing districts and additional
districts by associating Public Sector Undertakings of the Ministry like
NEHHDC, NERAMAC and NEDFi.
Eastern Livelihood Promotion Society has already been registered for
implementing the North Eastern Rural Livelihood Project funded by World
Look East Policy (LEP) under the 100 days agenda will make efforts to
showcase the strength of North Eastern Region to the neighbouring countries
to attract foreign investment for setting up new industries, to boost
tourism and for expanding trade.
50 non-exempted Central Ministries/departments are earmarking 10 per cent of
their Gross Budgetary support for NER. The North Eastern Development Finance
Corp Ltd (NEDFi) would enhance disbursement of loans to the extent of Rs 100
crore during the current year. The North Eastern Handicrafts and Handlooms
Development Corporation Ltd (NEHHDC) would submit a package for
restructuring and revival of the Corporation and the North Eastern Regional
Agricultural Marketing Corporation Ltd (NERAMAC) will be prepared for
enhancing the capacity of the Corporation to procure fresh produces.
that the flow of funds to the northeastern states would be enhanced and
routed expeditiously, the Centre today said the guidelines for
implementation of Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) would be
simplified. Addressing a meeting of chief ministers of the region at the
North Eastern Council (NEC) Secretariat here, Minister for Development of
North-Eastern Region (DoNER) B K Handique said said the states are working
according to a 100-days agenda for improving their functioning.
Speaking before an audience consisting of Union
Minister for DoNER, B.K. Handique and the Chief Ministers of North Eastern
States, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio appealed that it was
‘imperative’ for all the States of the NE region to come together and
help each other in resolving the problems that confront the region.
“Instead of blaming each other, ideas could be exchanged and experiences
shared to help expedite the peace process that has been initiated in
Nagaland and through it, find solutions to the problems faced by the other
states”, Rio stated in his address on Wednesday at Shillong. Rio also
suggested that the DoNER Minister, who is from the region, could use his
good offices to be a spokesman for the people of the region and to urge for
early solution to the various problems of the region. “I also call on the
central leadership to take all possible measures to bring about a speedy
solution to the decades old insurgency which is becoming a major stumbling
block for the prosperity of our people and an impediment for our overall
growth”, Rio stated.
The Nagaland CM also raised the issue of problems confronting the region as a whole. “Lack of infrastructure, the distance from the mainland economy, the land locked geographical location and the difficult terrain are recognized as the basic problems for development of the North East”, Rio mentioned while adding that the problems are however, not insurmountable and the recent release of the document “North Eastern Region Vision 2020’ by none else than the Prime Minister of India gave hope that the region will see speedy development and bring the economy at par with the rest of the country and the world.
Rio also urged the present DoNER Minister to continue with the attempt to define more clearly the Look East Policy of India and to concretize this policy in the context of the NE Region of India through strengthening our links with neighbouring countries especially ASEAN countries and also China, Korea and Japan.
Pointing out that the security situation of States play a vital role, Rio informed that Nagaland has adopted the theme “Peace for Development and Development for Peace’ for a variety of reasons. “Lack of economic opportunities is the basic reason why the young people are exposed to an atmosphere of a ‘guns culture’. The long-term effects of these and other negative influences are detrimental to the entire society of the NE region, and needs to be addressed with all seriousness”, Rio stated while reminding that they are also not State specific issues anymore but “becoming inter State problems”. The plight of Zeme Nagas in North Cachar Hills for instance, is one of the most recent developments that is a matter of great concern for both Nagaland and Assam, Rio informed the gathering.
Rio was also hopeful that both DoNER and the NEC would endeavour towards speedy economic development of the region with adequate monetary support. Rio termed as unfortunate that the budgets of the NEC and even funds under the NLCPR are inadequate to fulfill “our needs and aspirations”. This issue has been discussed at several meetings of the NEC but till today there is no satisfying response from the central government, Rio stated
It was also pointed out that for development, it was equally important to tap not only domestic resources of funding available from G.O.I but also from established international financial institutions. Rio informed that the ADB funded projects for Nagaland is not materializing despite efforts to comply with all their requirements. Rio suggested that perhaps DoNER could make more efforts both with the DEA as also with the ADB for expediting the projects. While giving his views and comments on the draft guidelines on NLCPR, the Nagaland CM reminded that most of the economies of the north eastern states are totally dependent on agriculture. Stating that in Nagaland, more than 80% of its population depends on the agricultural economy, Rio called on the DoNER to also look into ways and means to bolster this important primary sector. “This will be increasingly more important as issues of climate change will soon affect our food security”, Rio stated while informing that the situation in Nagaland was very grim this year. “Our State is witnessing 60% deficiency in this year’s monsoon.. Since this appears to be regional phenomenon, it will perhaps be incumbent on DONER to take this issue seriously”, Rio stated..
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