NEC must reinvent itself as a regional think tank: CM

ITANAGAR, 9 Jul: “The North Eastern Council (NEC) must reinvent itself as a regional think tank with greater focus on key areas,” said Chief Minister Pema Khandu during a meeting with NEC Secretary K Moses Chalai when the latter called on him here on Friday.

Ruing that the NEC has become “just a funding agency of late,” Khandu said the agency needs to redefine its role in the emerging world with respect to the unique and different needs of every Northeastern state.

“We have been having deliberations after deliberations but nothing concrete is coming out from the NEC. I believe it has a bigger role to play,” he said.

Khandu said the NEC could be for the NE states what the NITI Ayog is for the country – a one-point solution centre.

“Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we have the political will to transform the Northeast. It’s upto you (NEC) to come out with a roadmap,” he said.

Stressing that an empowered NEC must provide mentorship for planning and oversight in all priority sectors, the CM urged the NEC to “play the role of an institutional anchor for the constituent states, and help draw a blueprint of comprehensive development.”

He said funding only should not be on the NEC’s agenda.

“We are lucky to have a secretary who hails from the region. You must take personal interest and empower the NEC as an agency to reckon with for the development of the Northeast,” Khandu said.

He encouraged the secretary to suggest a way forward to all the chief ministers of the region, “who can then collectively work on it and impress upon the central government.”

Explaining the distinct features of diversity in the demography and geography of Arunachal, Khandu reminded the secretary of the complete dependence of the state on central grants and aids.

“Due to complete denial of any international funding, the central government agencies, including the NEC, need to give special preference to Arunachal Pradesh,” he said.

When informed that next year would be the golden jubilee year of the NEC, the CM suggested that the present NEC authorities come out with a concrete plan on the new role of the NEC that can be announced during the golden jubilee plenary session.

“Leading up to the NEC turning 50 in 2022, this is an opportune occasion to take a fresh look at its mandate and dwell upon a course of reform,” he added.

Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar was also present during the interaction. (CM’s PR Cell)