New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) The Indian government has made development of northeast a major priority. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited the northeast Region more than 50 times in the last eight years, while various other ministers have also visited the region over 400 times.
The government has approved schemes of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (MDoNER) with an outlay of Rs 12,882.2 crore for the balance period of the 15th Finance Commission (2022-23 to 2025-26).
According to a press statement issued by the ministry, there has been a 74 per cent reduction in insurgency incidents, 60 per cent reduction in incidents of attacks on security forces and 89 per cent reduction in civilian deaths in the northeast. About 8,000 youth have surrendered and joined the mainstream, ushering a better future for themselves and their families.
The actual expenditure in last four years under MDoNER schemes was Rs 7,534.46 crore, whereas the funds available for expenditure in the next four years till 2025-26 is Rs 19,482.20 crore (2.60 times approx).
Massive efforts have been undertaken for infrastructure development in the region with improving connectivity being a prime focus.
For improving railway connectivity, Rs 51,019 crore has been spent since 2014. Nineteen new projects worth Rs 77,930 crore have also been sanctioned. For railways, in comparison to average annual budget allocation of Rs 2,122 crore during 2009-14, in the past eight years, there has been a 370 per cent increase in average annual budget allocation totaling Rs 9,970 crore.
For improving road connectivity, 375 projects worth Rs 1.05 lakh crore are underway. In the next three years, 9,476 km roads will be laid under 209 projects. For this, the Central government is spending Rs 106,004 crore.
Air connectivity has also improved massively in the northeast. In 68 years, northeast had only nine airports, which jumped to 17 in a short span of past eight years.
Today, air traffic movement in northeast has increased 113 per cent since 2014 (weekly basis). To further give boost to air connectivity, Rs 2,000 crore will be invested for civil aviation in the northeast region.
For improving telecom connectivity, the Cabinet has also approved 4G connectivity in 4,525 villages in the northeast region. The Central government has set a target of 500 days to provide complete telecom connectivity in the region by the end of 2023.
Waterways are integral to life and culture of northeast. The Indian government is undertaking all efforts to develop this important sector in the northeast region. Before 2014, there was only one national waterway in the region. Now 20 waterways are declared as national waterways in the northeast. Recently, around Rs 600 crore was sanctioned for the development of national waterway 2 and national waterway 16.
Approximately Rs 190 crore has been spent towards enhancing skill development infrastructure in the region, along with upgradation of existing government ITIs into model ITIs between 2014 and 2021.
A total of 193 new skill development institutes have been set up. Rs 81.83 crore has been spent as expenditure towards skilling. A total of 16,05,801 people have been skilled under various schemes.
The micro, small and medium entreprises (MSME) have been promoted under various schemes to boost entrepreneurship development. Rs 645.07 crore has been spent to support/ set up 978 units.
Improving health infrastructure has remained a key focus over the last eight years. The government has spent Rs 31,793.86 crore since 2014-15 in the health sector.
Around 19 state cancer institutes and 20 tertiary care cancer centres have been approved under the strengthening of tertiary care of cancer scheme.
Over the last eight years, efforts have also been carried out for improving education infrastructure in the region. From 2014 till now, the government has spent Rs 14,009 crore to promote higher education in the northeast.
As many as 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. As a result, there has been a 29 per cent increase in total student enrolment in higher education.
Power infrastructure has been strengthened to fuel development in the region. Since 2014-15, the government has sanctioned Rs 37,092 crore, out of which Rs 10,003 crore has been spent so far.
The North East Gas Grid (NEGG) project worth Rs 9,265 crore is underway, which will improve the economy in the northeast region.