Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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Cabinet approves Rs 12,882 cr for continuation of Northeast’s development schemes

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the continuation of the Schemes of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, with an outlay of Rs 12882.2 crore, for the balance period of the 15th Finance Commission (2022-23 to 2025-26).

According to the Ministry of Development of the North-East Region, based on the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) recommendations, the outlay for the North East Special Infrastructure Scheme (NESIDS) will be Rs 8139.5 crore including committed liabilities of ongoing projects.

While addressing a press conference Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) G. Kishan Reddy said “Efforts will be made to complete a maximum number of projects by 2025-26 so that there are minimum committed liabilities beyond this year. Therefore, schemes would have new sanctions in 2022-23 and 2023-24 primarily; while expenditure would continue to be incurred during 2024-25 and 2025-26 and focused attention will be given to complete the ongoing sanctioned projects.”

The outlay for ‘Schemes of NEC’ will be Rs 3202.7 crore including committed liabilities of ongoing projects.

The outlay for Special Packages for BTC, DHATC and KAATC in Assam is Rs.1540 (BTC- Rs 500 crore, KAATC – Rs 750 crore and old packages of BTC, DHATC and KAATC – Rs 290 crore).

The NESIDS, a Central Sector Scheme with 100 per cent Central funding, has been restructured having two components – NESIDS (Roads) and NESIDS (Other than Road Infrastructure).

The Ministry’s new scheme “Prime Minister’s Development initiative for the northeastern region – PM-Devine” (with an outlay of Rs 6, 600 crore), has been approved earlier in October 2022 separately, under which larger and high-impact proposals under infrastructure, social development and livelihood sectors are taken.

The objectives of the schemes of the MDoNER are to supplement the efforts of the different Central Ministries and Departments on one hand and the felt needs of the NE Region States on the other, for uncovered development/welfare activities.

The MDoNER Schemes help provide gap-filling support to the eight North Eastern States as per their felt needs, by taking up projects – e.g., for developing infrastructure to mitigate connectivity and social sector deficits and enhancing livelihood and employment opportunities in the region.

Extension of the approved schemes for the balance of the 15th finance commission period, i.e. upto the financial year 2025-26, would enable better planning for implementation of the schemes in terms of project selection, front loading of sanction of the projects, and project implementation during the scheme period.

The five pillars of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan for self-reliant India, namely, Economy, Infrastructure, System, Vibrant Demography and Demand will get a push through the scheme. The government has made the development of North East a major priority.

“The Prime Minister has visited the northeast region more than 50 times in the last eight years, while 74 ministers have also visited the northeast more than 400 times. North-East was previously known for unrest, bombings, bandhs etc but in the last eight years, peace has been established under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” added the Minister.

The Ministry said that there has been a 74 per cent reduction in insurgency incidents, a 60 per cent reduction in incidents of attacks on security forces and an 89 per cent reduction in civilian deaths, about 8,000 youth have surrendered and have joined the mainstream, welcoming at a better future for themselves and their families.

Further, agreements with the national liberation front of Tripura in 2019, the BRU and Bodo agreement in 2020, and the Karbi agreement in 2021 were agreed upon. the Assam-Meghalaya and Assam-Arunachal border disputes have also almost ended, and with the restoration of peace, the northeast region has moved on the path of development.

“Since 2014, we have witnessed a massive increase in the budgetary allocations to the region. since 2014, more than 4 lakh crores have been allocated for the region,” said Minister.

The actual expenditure in the last four years under MDONER schemes was Rs 7534.46 crore. whereas, the fund available for expenditure in the next four years till 2025-26 is Rs 19482.20 cr (2.60 times approx).

Massive efforts have been undertaken for infrastructure development in the region. improving connectivity has been the prime focus.

For improving railway connectivity, Rs 51,019 crores have been spent since 2014. 19 new projects worth Rs 77,930 crores have been sanctioned.

In comparison to the average annual budget allocation of Rs 2,122 crores during 2009-14, in the past eight years, there has been a 370 per cent increase in average annual budget allocation totalling Rs 9,970 crores.

For improving road connectivity, 375 projects worth Rs. 1.05 lakh crores are underway. In the next three years, the government’s 9,476 km of roads will be laid under 209 projects. for this the central government is spending Rs. 1,06,004 crores.

Air connectivity has also improved massively. In 68 years northeast had only 9 airports, it jumped to 17 in a short span of eight years.

Today, air traffic movement in North East has increased by 113 per cent since 2014 (year on year). To further give a boost to air connectivity, Rs. 2,000 crores will be invested in civil aviation in the northeast region.

For improving telecom connectivity, from 2014, Rs.3466 crores have been spent under 10 per cent GBS. Cabinet has also approved 4g connectivity in 4,525 villages in NER.

The Central government has set a target of 500 days to provide complete telecom connectivity in the region by end of 2023.

Waterways are integral to the life and culture of North East. The government under PM Modi is undertaking all efforts to develop this important sector in the region. Before 2014 there was only 1 national waterway in NER. Now there are 18 national waterways in NER. Recently Rs 6000 crores have been sanctioned for the development of national waterway 2 and national waterway 16.

“Approximately Rs 190 crores have been spent towards enhancing skill development infrastructure in NER and the upgradation of existing government itis into model itis between 2014 and 2021. 193 new skill development institutes have been set up. Rs 81.83 crores have been spent as expenditure towards skilling. A total of 16,05,801 people have been skilled under various schemes,” he said.

MSMEs have been promoted under various schemes to boost entrepreneurship development. Rs. 645.07 crores have been spent to support/setup 978 units. according to DPIIT, 3,865 startups were registered from the northeast.

Improving health infrastructure has remained a key focus over the last eight years and the government has spent Rs 31,793.86 crores since 2014-15 in the health sector.

19 state cancer institutes and 20 tertiary care cancer centres have been approved under the strengthening of the tertiary care of cancer scheme.

Over the last eight years, efforts have been carried out for improving education infrastructure in the region.

From 2014 till now, the government has spent Rs 14,009 crores to promote higher education in the northeast. 191 new institutes of higher education have been set up. There has been a 39 per cent increase in the number of universities set up since 2014. 40 per cent increase in central institutions of higher education set up since 2014-15. As a result, there has been a 29 per cent increase in total student enrollment in higher education.

Power infrastructure has been strengthened to fuel development in the region. Since 2014-15, the government has sanctioned Rs 37,092 crores out of which Rs 10,003 crores have been spent so far.

North East Gas Grid (NEGG) project of Rs. 9,265 crores is underway and will improve the economy in NER.

The Prime Minister has announced a package of Rs. 550 crores to illuminate border villages of Arunachal Pradesh.

For the first time, district-level SDG Index has been set up. The second version of the SDG index is ready and about to be released soon.

(With inputs from ANI)

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