Centre restores 90: 10 and 80: 20 funding pattern
SHILLONG: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asserted that the Union Government has been focussing on the development of the North East region through its pro-active “Act East Policy” even as he announced that the government will continue 90: 10 and 80: 20 funding pattern for core and non-core Central schemes respectively for Northeastern states.
“India will grow when all its regions grow together. I see no reason why the northeast can’t be developed,” Modi said, speaking at the 65th Plenary Session of the North Eastern Council (NEC) here on Friday.
Informing that that States that are not so strong, need to be given needful assistance, the Prime minister announced that based on the report of the Committee of Chief Ministers, the NDA government has decided to continue to provide assistance in the ratio of 90:10 for core Central schemes and 80:20 for non-core schemes to the Northeastern States.
Modi said that as part of the “Act East Policy”, Government is focusing on reducing the isolation of the region by improving all round connectivity through road, rail, telecom, power and waterways sectors.
While pointing out that the North East region is also very important for strategic reasons, he outlined the need to bring this region at par with the other developed regions of the country.
Stating that more than Rs.30,000 crore has been earmarked for the North East region in the current budget, Modi said that It should be everyone’s endeavour to ensure that this money is spent well for the development of the region.
“We have to ensure that we are able to complete our projects on time and without cost over-runs. Only then can we realise the true benefits of these projects,” he said.
“We have created a specialised highways construction agency for the North East – the “National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation” – that was incorporated on 18th July 2014. Since then it has set up its Branch Offices, one each in every North Eastern State. As of today, it is implementing 34 projects in the North Eastern States covering a length of 1001 kilometres at a total cost of over Rs. 10,000 crore,” he said.
He also asserted that in the road sector, Government need to keep in view the special land and weather conditions of this area as most of the North East areas get a lot of rainfall and are also prone to natural calamities and land-slides.
He pointed out that recently implemented improved internet connectivity project for the Northeastern region in collaboration with Bangladesh would make available 10 GB of seamless alternate bandwidth for the region and hoped this integration will benefit the region tremendously.
On power sector, Modi said that the Government is also making a heavy investment in power transmission projects covering all the eight North Eastern states at a cost of around Rs 10,000 crore which would ensure power to more areas besides the recent commissioning of Bishwanath-Chariyali-Agra transmission line has also brought 500 MegaWatt additional capacity to the region.
Later speaking at the public rally at Polo ground, he reiterated NDA Government’s commitment to proactively follow the ‘Act East Policy’.
As part of this policy, it is our mission to upgrade the infrastructure in road, rail, telecom, power and waterways in the region, he said.
“Since the formation of the NDA Government at the Centre, we have spent more than Rs 10 thousand crore for development of the railway network in the North East. The Railway Ministry plans to spend more than Rs 5 thousand crore during the current year for the same,” he said,
According to Modi, the Government is implementing a comprehensive Telecom Plan for the North Eastern Region at a cost of over Rs 5,300 crore and Agartala has become the third city in India to be connected with an International Gateway through Cox Bazar of Bangladesh which has improved telecom connectivity and will give a boost to the economic development of the region.
Referring to the Swachh Bharat Mission , he said that the biggest beneficiaries of this movement are the poorest of the poor.
UPGRADATION OF NEC: Emphasizing on upgradation the North Eastern Council, Modi said that in order to meet the growing aspirations of the people, it is important that the “NEC introspects and assesses the extent to which it has been able to achieve its objectives” and added that it needs to be developed as a “state-of-the-art resource centre for the north eastern states with necessary resources, knowledge and skills
According to the Prime Minister, the resource centre could enable the states and implementing agencies to properly plan and execute projects, promote research and innovations and provide strategic policy vision for the region. He said NEC could look into developing a specialised domain expertise, either by itself or through an agency model, to assist states and central ministries in their development planning and also problem solving needs.