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By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: The perception of safety and security of the Northeastern region has persistently been adverse. This complex and difficult problem needs to be managed more creatively, said the Union DoNER minister Paban Singh Ghatowar on Tuesday.
Ghatowar was addressing the two- day workshop on “Development Paradigms in the Northeast” here in the city. Stating that the central government’s response to the region has been security centric, Ghatowar said security responses should be professional, not provisional and the training curricula for security forces should undergo modification.
“We have to bring fundamental changes in security management in the region and make use of technology more intensive and extensively,” the Union DoNER minister added.
Referring to Bhutan’s development paradigm which places much value on the happiness of its citizens, Ghatowar said this region should emulate the concept of Gross National Happiness while planning for economic growth.
India too must look at the Bhutan model of development and define growth indicators that measure the quality of life or social progress in more holistic and psychological terms rather than only on the gross domestic product (GDP).
“Some states of the region have decided to follow the footsteps of Bhutan to ensure social and political wellness for all citizens through various developmental initiatives”, Ghatowar added.
The concept of ‘Gross National Happiness’ (GNH) was coined by Bhutan’s former King Jigme Singye Wangchuk and many countries are looking at the model as a replicable best practice.
The DoNER minister earlier asserted that the North East region is a gold mine for investors and there is a tremendous scope for international trade as the region is flanked by international borders. Ghatowar emphasized that increased trade and commerce in the region would largely help in uprooting insurgency as it would improve the economic condition of the people and the region as a whole.
He however admitted that the North East region has not been able to grow at par with the rest of the country despite being a powerhouse of natural and human resources.
Ghatowar announced that the union government is keen to bridge the infrastructure gap through several ambitious road- building programmes for the Northeast.
He said the initiatives like phased development of National Highways, major district roads and state highways and adding over 3000 kms to the existing road network is sure to address communication bottlenecks.
It may be mentioned that Doner ministry is presently monitoring-and facilitating 26 national projects, being implemented by various ministries in the North East region.