President of India Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday said that efforts were needed now to place the North Eastern states on par with the industrially advanced states so that more jobs are created here. Recognising this need, he said the Centre was working with the states to improve their ‘Ease of Doing Business’ parameters and to facilitate the flow of private investments into the North East.
Addressing the valedictory function of North East Festival, organized by the Ministry of DoNER as a part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, in Guwahati Wednesday, Kovind also noted that the North Eastern region, besides being the natural gateway for India to South-East Asia and beyond, has immense inherent strengths.
With over 5,300 kilometres of international borders with several neighbouring countries, North Eastern has significant strategic value, he said, adding: “What it offers in terms of tourism, horticulture, handloom and sports is often unique.”
With the launch of the Look East Policy (LEP), he said the security-centric approach towards neighbours in the east gave way to a prioritising of economic issues for benefiting from the common potential for economic growth across the region. In 2014, the LEP was upgraded to the Act East Policy which brought about a paradigm shift and marked a significant change in the potential role of the region, he added.
The President said that when the nation celebrates the freedom movement, citizens recall the valour and patriotism of not only its great leaders but also lesser-known or forgotten participants without whose sacrifice it would not have been a mass movement.
“…North-East region was second to none when it came to joining the struggle for freedom,” he said.
Efforts needed to preserve ecology of NE: Pointing to the emergence of climate change as the greatest challenge before humankind, the President said that careful planning and efforts will be needed in the years to come to pre-serve the rich ecological heritage of the North East.
He said that the region is part of the Himalaya and Indo-Burma bio-diversity hotspots – the two of 25 such hotspots in the world. “Development choices for the region must, therefore, integrate relevant strategies for natural resource management, green industrial and infrastructure development as well as sustainable consumption patterns,” he said.
100% increase in budget for NE: Reddy
Union Minister for Development of North East Region (DoNER) Kishan Reddy Wednesday said that there has been a massive 100% increase in the budget for North East making road NE development better.
Speaking at the interaction between North East state governments and central government at the North East Festival 2022 in Guwahati Wednesday, Reddy stressed on the agenda for the next financial year which would be to ensure that the funds under 10% GBS were completely and fruitfully utilized, projects were implemented quickly without delays and aligned to the realities of the NER.
He also emphasised on scientific gap analysis where strengths and weaknesses need to be identified for a targeted action. Further, DoNER minister called on states and central ministers to focus on social development and job creation whilst continuing to focus on infrastructure development.
He welcomed the governors and chief ministers of North East region and Union Ministers for an interactive session on issues critical to the development of the region.
Reddy said that valuable insights gained through the sessions would prove to be fundamental in designing policies, programs and projects which are aligned to the ground realities of the North East Region.
He also disclosed that about Rs.6000 crore was marked for NE States under the Oil palm Mission. He said all the issues raised have been duly noted by the officials of DoNER Ministry.
All the chief ministers and governors of the NE states shared valuable insights, put forth suggestions and recommendations to overcome challenges and bottlenecks.
The event was attended by Governor of Arunachal Pradesh Brig. B D Mishra, Governor of Manipur LA Ganesan, CM of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu, CM of Tripura Biplab Kumar Dev, CM of Nagaland Neiphiu Rio, CM of Manipur N Biren Singh, Union Minister for Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of State for DoNER and Cooperation BL Verma, Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Kumari Pratima Bhowmik, Union Minister of State for labour and employment Rameshwar Teli, minister of Tourism of Mizoram, Robert Romawia Royte and Minister of Tourism Sikkim, BS Panth.