NE witnessing new era of resurgence: Naidu

Gov seeks increasing tenures of IAS, IPS officers

ITANAGAR, 9 Oct: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday said that the visible transformation of the Northeast region is clear evidence of resurgence in the region’s pace of development which had remained neglected for decades.

Addressing a special session of the legislative assembly here, Naidu, while describing the transformation as “NER in NER (the new era of resurgence in the northeastern region)”, said a new sense of direction and a distinct acceleration in the pace of development has begun.

“The setting up of the North Eastern Council (NEC) in 1971 under an act of Parliament marked a departure from the earlier approaches as it set in motion coordinated actions and policies for the development of the region. This resulted in significant gains but not enough to realize fully the potential of the region and its people,” he said. The announcement of the ‘Look East Policy’ in the 1990s set the tone for integrated economic development of the region by forging connectivity with the neighbouring nations, Naidu said. He said the policy got further thrust at the beginning of the century, when taking note of the gulf between the intentions and actions on the ground, the ‘Act East Policy’ was launched with a new intent and energy. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi while pronouncing the Act East Policy in 2014 underlined that the Northeast region would be its fulcrum under which the region would emerge as an effective growth engine for shared benefits,” he said, adding that culture, commerce, connectivity and capacity building would propel the policy.

Naidu said the Centre has also been making sincere and dedicated efforts to end violence in the region by finding solutions to the legacy problems after talking to all concerned.

“As a result, there has been substantial improvement in the security scenario in the region. Compared to 2013, insurgency-related incidents declined by 70 percent, civilian deaths by 80 percent and casualties of security forces by 78 percent in 2019. Signing of the path-breaking Karbi Anglong and Bodo agreements recently clearly indicates our collective commitment to heralding peace in the region,” he said.

He said that, in the past, the problems of inadequate infrastructure and rising insurgency prevented private investment from flowing into the region, which deepened the development deficit. Moreover, he said, inadequate and inequitable development widened disparities among the people, especially in a region with wide ethnic diversity.

“Sustainable development can occur only if we can make it people-centric and environment sensitive. Democracy presupposes a central role for people’s active involvement in shaping their own destiny. Effective participation of communities in framing and execution of policies and projects is hence very important,” the vice president said.

Naidu said Arunachal Pradesh and other northeastern states have resolved to make a break from such a past, so as to script a new future by moulding the present in that direction. The plethora of infrastructure projects completed and in progress, and the evidence of socioeconomic development is a clear indication of that, he said.

“A report of the Indian Chamber of Commerce published in 2013 had stated that the northeastern region, which is heavily dependent on agriculture and services sectors, stands way below in comparison to the rest of India in socioeconomic indicators. But there seems to be a major difference now,” Naidu said.

The vice president said that, in pursuit of its commitment to transforming the socioeconomic development of the region, the Centre has undertaken several initiatives and interventions over the last seven years. The gross budgetary support has been raised from Rs 36,000 crores for 2014-15 to over Rs 60,000 crores for 2021-22, marking an increase of 90 percent. To promote employment, 1.07 crore loan accounts were sanctioned with allocation of Rs 48,868 crores under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna for the region, while 24,455 units were set up under the PM’s Employment Generation Programme to provide employment to two lakh people during 2017-20, Naidu said.

“Under the Start-Up India Scheme, 3,449 SC and ST women beneficiaries were sanctioned Rs 715 crores, while 98,569 micro and small enterprises were sanctioned Rs 4,685 crores under the Credit Guarantee Trust Fund,” he said.

Altogether 108 air routes, including tourism routes, were sanctioned for the region under the UDAN scheme and 44 of them have been operationalized. Over 190 road projects have been sanctioned for the region, including 50 in Arunachal Pradesh, from the Central Road and Infrastructure Fund, Naidu said. He said that the NITI Aayog has come out with the North-Eastern Region Sustainable Development Goals Index and Dashboard – 2021-22 for 103 districts of the region to enable focused interventions based on identified gaps.

“The region as a whole has done well in respect of some goals like the ‘Life on the earth’ and ‘Clean water and sanitation’ but needs to focus on other important goals like industry, innovation and infrastructure, and quality education,” he added.

He said that the state government in conjunction with the Centre has to ensure eradication of extreme poverty, reduce regional disparities, achieve gender equality and bring about socioeconomic transformation. “We should continuously enrich human capabilities by upgrading the skills of our youth, improving the quality of education and focusing on improving healthcare systems. Our existing governance structures need to be revamped by making them more responsive and citizen-friendly through greater transparency, accountability and zero tolerance for corruption.

“Greater digitalization can certainly make this transformation possible by reducing needless delays, diversion and dilution,” Naidu said. Arunachal Pradesh, he said, has the potential to become “the fruit basket of India” due to its natural resource endowments. The frontier state can also become a global tourism destination because of its enchanting landscape, Naidu said, adding that the state can emerge as a sustainable powerhouse if its 58,000 megawatt hydropower potential is utilized.

The vice president also released a coffee table book on the occasion and dedicated the Dorjee Khandu auditorium to the people.

Gov seeks increasing tenures of IAS, IPS officers

Governor BD Mishra, who also addressed the special session, requested the vice president for help in increasing the tenure of IAS and IPS officers of senior rank to a minimum of three to four years, and a minimum of five years for junior rank IAS and IPS officers in Arunachal Pradesh “in public interest and in the larger context of the development of the state.”

The governor said that, in the run-up to the 75th Independence Day, “Arunachal Pradesh is poised to prominently change the state’s developmental landscape by completing the Hollongi greenfield airport, which we aim to inaugurate in August 2022. The strategically important Sela tunnel project, that is going to provide all-weather connectivity and boost tourism in the western part of the state, will also be operational soon. The twin turbines of 500 mw capacity of the 2,000 mw Lower Subansiri Hydro Electric Project, which is being developed by the National Hydro Power Corporation, will also be completed soon,” Mishra said.

He congratulated Chief Minister Pema Khandu for initiating the e-Office and e-Pragati projects to improve the efficiency and quality of governance and administration, and added that Khandu “personally monitors the developmental progresses through e-Pragati.”

The governor also commended Legislative Assembly Speaker Pasang D Sona, “who spearheaded the e-Vidhan initiative for its business.”

The Arunachal Pradesh legislative assembly has become India’s third and the Northeast’s first paperless assembly in implementing high-tech solutions, that is, e-Vidhan application, he said.

He congratulated the assembly house for successfully conducting its last four sessions through the e-Vidhan application.

Besides Sona and Khandu, Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, Deputy Speaker Tesam Pongte and all the ministers and legislators attended the special session. (PTI & Raj Bhavan)