March herald the spring

Flights Of Fantasy

[ M Panging Pao ]
As March heralds the onset of the spring season, the previous month marked some good news.
The mammoth Measles Rubella Vaccination Campaign (MRVC) was launched throughout Arunachal Pradesh. As many as five lakh children up to 15 years were targeted for vaccination in the state during the campaign.
Vaccination campaign of such scale requires months of dedicated planning and rigorous implementation. However, many citizens are still hoping for vaccination campaigns for much more common dangerous diseases like Japanese Encephalitis and the flu.
The other hopeful news was the announcement by the central government of the ‘Modicare’ plan. Touted as the world’s largest health insurance scheme for providing cheap/ free health care for India’s poor, ‘Modicare’ is expected to increase the insurance cover per family by over 1500 % from Rs 30,000 under the existing Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana to Rs 5 lakh.
The plan is to launch ‘Modicare’ by 2019. While the modalities are being worked out, if implemented properly, ‘Modicare’ has the potential to revolutionise the pitiable health care system in India.
In the meantime, Arunachalese are still waiting for the revamped Chief Minister’s Universal Health Insurance Scheme.
Also among the mouth watering news is that almost all households of Bomja village located near Tawang have become ‘crorepatis’ overnight by receiving land compensation from the government for expansion of Army units in Tawang. There are reports that many innocent villagers do not know how to spend so much money.
The other good news is the report that Tawang would soon be connected with rail and funds have been allocated for construction of tunnel under Sela Pass, which will cut down travel time to Tawang.
The bad news in the previous month includes reports that Arunachal has secured a low position of 6 out of 8 among the small state category in the health index report prepared by the NITI Aayog.
The other bad news is the report that there has been substantial decrease in Arunachal Pradesh’s forest cover.
With a 190 sq km decrease in forest cover, Arunachal Pradesh is among the five North Eastern states where forest cover has decreased the most, according to the India State of Forest Report, 2017.
The other dampening news is about the student’s agitation against the non-appointment of a regular director for NERIST for the last four years despite tall promises by many political leaders. If premier institutes for higher education are neglected like this, the learning and smooth functioning of students is bound to be affected.
Despite the PM’s emphasis on the Centre’s Act East Policy during his recent two visits to Guwahati and Itanagar, it remains to be seen how effectively much publicised schemes like the NorthEast Industrial & Investment Promotion Policy and the North East Textiles Promotion Scheme are implemented for supporting industries/entrepreneurs of North East India.
Leaders from all Northeast states must push the central government for proper implementation of these schemes in letter and spirit. As of now, it appears that the Act East Policy is a paper tiger only. (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)