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Predicted growth of northeast likely to be hit
Published on 14 Jan. 2009 12:58 AM IST
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Economic growth in the northeast in the 11th Five Year Plan could be hit due to poor infrastructural facilities and global economic meltdown, a Planning Commission official said Tuesday. “The projected 9 percent economic growth during (2007-12) might not be achieved as the region is also affected by the world-wide economic meltdown, coupled with weak infrastructure and fragile connectivity,” said Bhalchandra Mungekar, a member of the commission. Mungekar is in Tripura, leading a Planning Commission team to review the growth and planning of six vital sectors including education. “Despite terrorism, the growth rate of Manipur (11 percent) and Tripura (8.8 percent) are encouraging,” he observed. “The Planning Commission has asked the North Eastern Council (NEC) to evolve a mechanism for even distribution of funds among the states (in the region),” Mungekar said. He also said the growth in the north-eastern states, including Tripura, would be dented as a result of economic slowdown and global recession. “The economic slow down will have an adverse impact on the north-eastern states also because almost all the states depend on fund from the Centre,” he said. The tourism sector, he said, would suffer the most in the region as western countries are reeling under severe financial crisis, he told reporters after a review meeting with state officials here. “Allocation for infrastructure development and connectivity are likely to be hit due to inadequate plan outlay in the wake of the recession even as Indian economy is stable,” he said. On the slow growth rate in Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland, Mungekar said, a substantial amount is being used to incur security related expenditure as the states are hit by insurgency. “They must reduce such expenditure to ensure adequate fund flow in the development activities,” he added. Mungekar, who inspected some projects across the state, held a review meeting yesterday with heads of various departments. The NEC is the regional planning body of the northeastern region. Of late it has undertaken an ambitious ‘Vision 2020’ plan for all-round development of the region. The “Vision 2020” document, released by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh July last year, seeks to spur investment, reduce poverty, enhance connectivity and bring the backward region on par with the rest of the country by 2020. A hefty fund to the tune of Rs.14 trillion would be required to implement the project. The per capita income in the northeast on an average is Rs.12, 918 as compared to the national average of Rs.17, 947 at current prices. The Planning Commission team has appreciated the development of human index in Tripura and few other northeastern states. “Tripura has done very well among all Indian states in respect to tribal development and reducing school drop out,” Mungekar added.

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