DoNER Union Minister of State, BL Verma today impressed upon state governments to capitalise on the schemes provided by the central government and to ensure full utilisation of the funds allocated for the North East.
Addressing a conclave on ‘Investment potential and future energy needs of the North East’ was held here today Verma said, “All the ministries/departments are required to spend 10 per cent of the gross budget support from their allocation for the benefit of the North Eastern region.”
He said this effort reflects the government’s special focus on developing the NER. With the 10 per cent allocation, the annual budget for the North East states has increased manifold since 2014-15, he added.
Verma spoke at length about the Prime Minister’s focus on the North East region and the Centre’s work in improving connectivity and infrastructure in the region.
NEC secretary, K. Moses Chalai spoke about how the infrastructure development has gained momentum in the Northeast in the last 10 years.
“While the infrastructure development has picked up, the economic transformation has failed to match the pace,” he observed. “The exodus of people from Northeast to different parts of the country to find livelihood due to lack of employment opportunity here is a major issue of concern,” he said.
IIM director, Prof D.P Goyal emphasised on the need of sustainable growth of the region and elaborated how IIM Shillong can be play the role of catalyst in this regard.
Chief secretary Rebecca V Suchiang said, “Even after 50 years of the creation of the state of Meghalaya, the developmental parameters of Meghalaya is much below in terms of national index”
She further said, “Issues like poor road connectivity is one major hindrance which needs to be addressed.”
The highlight of the programme included presentations by individual ministries on their projects implemented in the North East and the way forward. A special session, ‘Startup Revolution’, was also conducted by NEDFi in which key players, including Invest India, provided their thoughts and comments for enabling innovation and the enterprise ecosystem in the North East.
On the sidelines, an open discussion on the investment potential and developmental challenges in the region and issues concerning policy decisions to address the flow of investment and infrastructural gaps as well as measures to remove bottlenecks for creating an enabling ecosystem for startups and investment readiness was discussed at length at the conclave.
Others who attended the programme included officials from the Ministries of DONER, Power, Civil Aviation, Telecoms, MNRE, World Bank and other senior executives from prominent corporate houses.
The programme was organised by the Union Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) and Meghalaya government in collaboration with North Eastern Council, IIM Shillong and Invest India on the occasion of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of Indian independence.
The Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav North East Festival will run until May 4. Each of the seven days will be based on separate themes. The culmination of the week will be celebrated at a valedictory event to be held in Guwahati. President Ram Nath Kovind will be present for that event.