Thursday, June 13, 2024

‘Development strategy has effect of regional inequalities’


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New Delhi: The development strategy being pursued in the country has the effect of widening regional inequalities and the northeastern states are victims of it, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said on Saturday .

Addressing the National Development Council meeting, Sarkar said the widening regional inequalities are especially apparent with respect to the northeastern region, which continues to remain in a state of abject poverty and deprivation.

“This region suffers from an absence of infrastructure, meagerness of employment opportunities, underdeve-lopment of educational institutions and a lack of diversification of economic activities. Not surprisingly, it has become an easy prey for secessionist and terrorist groups,” he said.

The Chief Minister said the Public-Private-Partnership route favoured by the Planning Commission for initiating investment projects is almost entirely irrelevant in this region, since very few investors are willing to come forward to invest, except with subsidies that are so large that the very rationale of PPP, namely, the need to supplement inadequate state resources by private funds, gets defeated.

“Even when the state governments take the initiative to develop some institutions with their own resources, there is usually a shortage of personnel for running them since very few persons are willing to remain in the North-East, sacrificing careers in the metropolises or in the non- metropolitan heartland of the country,” he said.

Sarkar said for small states, where pay Commission- related expenditures impose a heavy fiscal burden and eat into plan funds, enhanced Special Plan Assistance must be provided by the Central government.

“In our federal polity while a state faces problem whatsoever whom it should approach and ask for help other than the Central government,” he said.

The Chief Minister said almost all northeastern states suffer from the problem of insurgency and have to undertake substantial expenditure out of their own resources for countering insurgency.

“This leaves less resources for expenditure on people’s welfare, which in turn contributes further to nourishing insurgency. Leaving insurgency-affected states to fend for themselves, which has been the practice till now, especially when the insurgency is latent as in Tripura, is totally counter productive,” he said. (PTI)


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