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15 Mar, 2015

India to step up economic projects for Northeast region, links with Myanmar, B’desh & Bhutan

New Delhi, Ministry for Development of North-East Region, 14-March-2015 – The members of the consultative committee attached to the Ministry for Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER) in a meeting held here yesterday discussed the issues of promotion of Tourism, improvement of connectivity & other infrastructural projects in the region.

During the first meeting of the consultative committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister for DoNER, the members were informed that the ministry needs the cooperation of the states for coordination of various projects in the region. Meetings will be held regularly by rotation in different state of the region, the Minister said

Dr. Singh said the ministry will take up the project “Make in North-East” on the lines of “Make in India” project. He said that the ministry is also arranging a Mega Festival in Delhi by involving NEC and NE States shortly. Hostel facilities for NE students in Delhi is also being increased by constructing two more hostels for them. There is also a proposal to set up a study center in Jawahar Lal Nehru university for students from the NE region.

Mr. Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister of State (I/C) for Sports & Youth Affairs informed the members that the main concern of the states is connectivity & infrastructural development. He also appreciated the initiative of the DoNER Ministry to arrange the visits for different Union Ministers to the North-Eastern Region & the camp offices of the ministry in different states by rotation. He, however, suggested that the projects in the region should be taken up as per the requirements of the states & should not be decided unilaterally.

Mr. Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Home Affairs highlighted the issue of organic farming in the region. He said that the Ministry of Home Affairs is implementing the Bezbaruah committee report which has also recommended the setting up of world class convention center in Delhi for North-Eastern States. He mentioned that the problems of Power sector, Tourism & Civil Aviation are required to be coordinated with the concern ministries by Ministry of DoNER.

The members highlighted the issues of the region ranging from Tourism, Power, Roads, Civil Aviation, Organic Farming, Horticulture development, processing and packaging of fruits. They also informed about the difficulties in the formulation of detailed projects reports (DPR), implementation of the schemes & financial constants.

Mr. R. Vijay Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of DoNER made a presentation about the plan schemes in North-Eastern Region. He said the budget estimate of the ministry for 2015-16 is about Rs. 2150 crores.

Earlier, Dr Singh addressed at the inaugural session of the Northeast Business Summit hosted by the Ministry of DoNER in collaboration with Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Senior government representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar participated in this summit.

Dr. Singh described Northeast region as the “Economic Corridor of India” for entry into international market beyond the eastern borders of the country. He said that in a country like India known for its diversity, Northeast is the best example of “diversity within diversity”.

He said that as of this year, he has introduced the practice of holding a camp secretariat office by rotation every month in each of the eight States of Northeast. Two such Camps have been held in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh respectively , in January and February while the camp in March will be held in Mizoram. This, he said, will send out a loud message to the people of Northeast that they do not need to travel to New Delhi each time when they have a grievance. On the contrary, it is New Delhi which will reach out to them, he added.

Inspired by Prime Minister’s “Make in India” initiative, Dr. Singh said, a concept paper titled “Make in Northeast” has been prepared and he is personally trying to reach out to industrial houses to promote organic farming and food processing which will generate revenue as well as employment in the region.

He appealed to leaders of the business community including Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to become active participants in this initiative and to inspire potential investors and entrepreneurs to supplement the DoNER Ministry’s efforts in the region. This will not only help in promoting industry and business but will also bridge the psychological barriers and bring Northeast closer to mainstream India’s brisk march on the road to development and growth, he observed.

Minister for Industry and an influential member of People’s Representative of Bangladesh, Alhaz Amir Hossain Amu and Bhutan Health Minister Tandin Wangchuk expressed their enthusiasm to do business with India.

Dr. Singh assured the representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar that in near future, not only the Northeastern region of India will succeed in attracting investors from other parts of country but would also provide tempting potential to its neighbouring countries for mutually beneficial joint business ventures.

Civil Aviation Minister, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, responding to the concerns over poor air connectivity, said he was keenly following up the matter and expected more cooperation in this regard from the various State governments in the Northeast.