Ministry for Development of North Eastern
we see that the Central Ministry to spend 10% of their gross budgetary
support in the North-
it reflects that there is no neglect. In fact, it amounts to affirmative
NDC, the apex national planning body of the country, has to foster
amidst diverse and varying perspectives to minimize these imbalances
in a time bound manner"
modified NEIP should be formulated exclusively for the North Eastern
states so that the benefit of
policy can be reaped by the states of this region during Eleventh
the five year period of Eleventh Plan, administration and physical
infrastructure needs to be
to enable the North Eastern States to respond appropriately to the
idea of an economic zone for the North East Region may perhaps be
a good idea, if sound
economic policies, strategies & activities can be ensured in
an integrated manner."
is necessary to have flexible norms and guidelines for implementation
of the various Central
in order to cater to the peculiar requirements of the hilly States
which still require special attention."
northeast region could become an effective cultural and economic
bridge between India and
East Asia. To achieve this objective infrastructure development
must be stepped up."
Governments of North East have been, yet again have been advised
to go for open marketing
borrowing. As we are all aware, the financial position of the North
eastern States is not healthy and the loan indebtedness is putting
us on the road of debt trap. As such I would urge a reconsideration
of this issue at the highest quarters".
growing feeling of discontent and frustration and a sense of injustice
is attributed to regional
imbalance. We must make all efforts to dispel such negative and
disruptive feelings, which can also drive the people, particularly
a section of young and unemployed, to the path of extremism and
other anti-national activities.”
East Council (NEC)
Sleeping Giant waking up
of an unending tail of adversaries -- hilly and inhospitable terrains,
porous borders, highly inadequate road links, extremely poor transport
connectivity barring limited air services, inadequate rail links;
and weak telecommunication infrastructure has to end without killing anymore
time, if India’s latent economic power house, the north-eastern region,
is expected to position itself as the back office for the South East and
Far East Asian countries. The proposed Trilateral Highway from Moreh
in Manipur to Mae Sot in Thailand through Bagan in Myanmar that is expected
to be completed by 2011, is going to play a crucial role in India’s trade
with the Far East and South East regions. A sleeping giant is waking up. It’s
time that the North East Council
with a more proactive support from the federal government of India discharges
the Herculean task of getting the home turf ready on a war footing. India
cannot afford to miss this bus when other neighbouring countries, especially
China, are fast catching up to have bigger slice in international trade.
The region’s partner states namely Arunchal
are in high spirit to build up the springboard
of country’s Look East
policy which is expected to change the economic profile of India
significantly in coming years.
Shillong Statement on Roads and Highways (February 9, 2007) reflects the
similar sentiment expressed by the region's partner states. The Statement
says: "The opening of International Trade Centres at several different
points along external frontiers of the North-East region, which comprises
98% of the North-East's borders, is an urgent economic necessity and a
vital requirement for the Look East policy to bear fruit.
With this in view, the Border Areas Development Programme requires a fresh
look and a new orientation. The Ministry of DoNER will work with the Ministry
of Home affairs and the Ministry of External Affairs towards this end".
order to address a major concern of Indian government -- infrastructure
deficiency -- so far as northeastern region is concerned, all
state capitals in the region are being linked with rail lines.
Development should be the "dominant recurrent theme"
of discourse for the north east unlike violence and emphasized
that there is "no grievance that can be redressed through
a barrel of a gun", said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh while
releasing the North
Eastern Region Vision 2020
will be happy to know that we have decided to link all State Capitals
with railway lines. These projects have been given the status of National
Projects with a special funding pattern. Airports are being modernized
and new ones are being built. An ambitious programme of road building
has been taken up under the Special Accelerated Road Development Programme
for the North East (SARDP-NE) and an amount of Rs. 31,000 crore is being
invested on roads in the 11th Five Year Plan. There are relaxed guidelines
for rural roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) so
that even the farthest hamlets on the border are linked by road. Within
the 11th Plan period, these interventions will begin to show positive
results”, the Prime Minister said.
To bridge the infrastructure gap in the region, Indian government has
taken several initiatives. Work on the Tipaimukh and Loktak Downstream
Hydro Electric Projects, costing about Rs.6,000 crores and Rs. 800 crores
respectively, has been expedited. The 726 MW Palatana Gas based Power
Plant, with an outlay of Rs.3,000 crores, a 750 MW Thermal Power Plant
at Bongaigaon with an outlay of Rs. 4375 crores, and the Assam Gas Cracker
Project have all broken ground. The Kumarghat-Agartala railway line has
been approved as a National project, with an outlay of Rs. 750 crores.
The Jiribam–Tupu-Imphal railway line, which will put the Manipur
valley on the rail map of India, has also been sanctioned as a National
project for Rs. 727 crores.
Gangtok Declaration on Tourism and Hospitality sector has pointed out
that poor connectivity-both road and rail- has been the major impediment
to the development of tourism in the state. So far as air connectivity
is concerned, it is being upgraded and strengthened by the Civil Aviation
ministry. A dedicated regional airlines service in the north-east region
is also being actively considered by the federal government.
The NEC’s target groups for tourism promotion are both
domestic and foreign tourists, with the highest priority being accorded
to the domestic sector and particularly targeted at states like Gujarat
and West Bengal which generate a high promotion of domestic tourism.
To improve the road connectivity, the federal government
is planning massive investments to the tune of Rs 50,000 crore over a
span of five years. Only recently the Prime Minister has announced Rs
19 billion investments in railways for two new national projects. A special
fund is being created for the railway projects in the region. But increase in investments alone will not do. The region
has to have the absorbing capacity as well, observed Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission
Montek Singh Ahluwalia. “There is a need to increase
fund absorption capacity of the region. During the 10th Five
Year Plan, Rs 10,400 crore was earmarked for the North east under non-lapsable
central pool of resources, out of which the region utilized only Rs 46690
crore. From all the resources, Rs 80,943 crore was invested in the region
during the 10th Plan,” he recently said in a conference on
Look East policy.
sectoral summit report on Information Technology this year said
that the north eastern region is rich in English speaking and educated manpower
which is available may for m the backbone of the ITeS-BPO industry in
the country. As the personnel costs of IT industry in the rest of the
country is going up, the NER, with comparatively low wages, should be
in a position to attract IT companies. The IT industry should take advantage
of this highly talented resource. The federal ministry of Development
of North eastern region is supporting the NASSCOM Assessment of Competence
Test for 20,000 undergraduate youth of the region.
In an interview the Assam
IT Secretary V.S.Bhaskar also emphasized
on high literacy rate and highest number of English speaking workforce
in the region. An IIT and number of Technical institiutes are rolling
out large number of qualified professionalhe said. About creation of
a special fund for IT sector, Bhaskar said: “DONER may have a special fund for IT sector. Bandwidth costs
need to be subsidised because of its remoteness from international cable
landing stations in India. Also spending in the IT sector has to be increased
in this region to develop IT activities.”
Secretary of Sikkim also said in an interview that it would
be “a good idea to have a corpus fund for the development of IT in the
North-East. A fraction of the Non Lapsable Pool of Central Resources (NLPCR)
should be kept aside for fuelling the growth of IT industry in the region
which would lead to the strengthening the economy, creation of employment
opportunities and income
generation in the private sector.” Because of its geographical congruity
to the South East Asian Countries the North Eastern region can become "a thriving platform for providing
various services", he said.
natural resources and potential for growth in the agro-forestry
and horticultural sectors including expansive and extensive
bamboo plantation, exotic flora.
mineral deposits (particularly in Assam and Meghalaya).
vast bio-diversity hot spot.
water resources including tremendous hydel power potential.
to one of world's fastest-growing economies, the S.E. Asia.
highly literate population.
heritage of handicrafts/handloom/tribal artifacts.
community spirit and traditional democratic system of local
NEC Annual Plan 2007-08
development of basic infrastructure
isolation and difficult terrain that reduces mobility: high
rainfall and recurring flood in the Brahmaputra Valley
of capital formation and proper enterprise-climate
of a supporting market structure and adequate institutional
level of private sector investment.
of local agricultural surplus
NER has about 50,000 Internet connections “which is woefully
inadequate”. The bandwidth connectivity is poor in the region. The bandwidth
costing the region is very high in comparison with the rest of the country.
“ There is a link between Hospitality industry and IT industry. The cities
in the region however do not have good hotels and other quality tourist
and recreation facilities. Apart from the infrastructure for the IT sector
itself, due emphasis has to be given to the development of tourism infrastructure.
The North East Council has identified
four thrust areas for sustained support by the Council during
the 11th Plan period. They include Connectivity; Power Development
in general, and Transmission, Sub-transmission and System Improvement;
Institution Development; and Capacity Building.
connectivity has been identified as the biggest constraint
to development of the region. The spillover cost of the 10th Plan
road construction schemes/projects is assessed at Rs 1229.33 crore
including Rs 47.92 crore relating to the 9th Plan road schemes.
A Task Force has recommended to complete all 9th Plan spillover
schemes during the current fiscal (2007-08) and the 10th Plan spillover
schemes within first three years of the 11th Plan subject to the
availability of funds. The Task Force has also recommended assistance
to States for preparation of DPRs for upgradation of NEC-funded
roads. In total 30 timber bridges on completed NEC-funded
roads have been recommended for conversion into permanent bridges
during the current fiscal.
During 10th Plan period both ISBT and ISTT at Guwahati and Silchar
have been completed. The Task Force has recommended completion of
the ISBTs at Aizawl, Agartala, Jorhat and Mokakchung during the
current fiscal and support to ISBTs in Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya,
Manipur and Sikkim during the 11th Plan period.
The federal government has intention to invest nearly Rs 5000 crore
in projectes relating to road connectivity in the region over a
span of five years during the 11th Plan.
So far as rail connectivity is concerned, the Prime Minister has
recently announced a package of Rs 19.8 billion for railway projects in the
region. These projects include Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge and
the Rangia-Murkongselek railway line conversion from metre gauge
to broad gauge in Assam. According to the PM's directive, a uniform
funding pattern for the remaining five sanctioned national projects
for the region will be implemented. The approved funds would get
additional budgetary support to the Railways to complete these seven
projects in all. The Railway ministry's sixth sectoral summit of
the North East Council (NEC) chaired by the federal minister for
North East Development identified a number of existing roads which
calls for immediate attention to improve rail connectivity to the
area. The list includes the two projects for which the Prime Minister
has approved Rs 19.8 billion.
the air connectivity that was supposed
to be run and supervised by Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Indian
(formerly Indian Airlines) is extremely poor. About
air connectivity in the region, the Manipur Governor Dr
S.S.Sidhu who is heading a committee on air connectivity in NER in
his speech in a crucial NEC meeting in
May expressed serious concern over the current state of affairs in
respect of air connectivity. It is revealed that the airlines which
had Memorandum of Understanding with the NEC, virtually failed to
honour most of its commitments. "NEC
has released Rs 175 crore without commensurate benefits; Guwahati
did not materialize as a Hub as per the MoU; Alliance Air operations
continued to emanate from Kolkata, negating the objective laid down
in the MoU and the airlines though lately increased services in
the region, only 30 percent of its total operations are in the region,
the remaining 70 percent are beyond NE region."
Sidhu Committee constituted by the Minister for North East
Development in its report
suggested two options: Public Private Partnership model: a joint
venture airline allowing the private operator majority stake (74
percent) and remaining 26 percent be hold by NEC OR Reverse Bidding
Agreement (minimum subsidy route). To ensure transparency and fair
play, the Committee further recommended issue of Public Notice for
Expression of Interest and short listed bidders be asked to submit
technical and Financial Bids.
Sidhu in his presentation suggested that "The selected
entity/airline should be based in North East and its operations
dedicated to the Region with following objectives: Improve intra-region
air connectivity; Connecting 11 other airports within one year;
Inter linkages of State Capitals on daily or alternate day (depending
on traffic); Pathfinder for future locations. He has also suggested
that Guwahati to be initial Hub. Sub-Hub could be set up at Imphal/Agartala.
While Agartala has Night Landing Facility, Imphal will have to have
NLF by December, 2007. Besides, 11 non-operational airports
of the region to be expeditiously made serviceable. The Greenfield
projects could be at Kohima, Gangtok, Itanagar, Tawang and Kokrajar.
Next to road connectivity,
the second topmost priority has been given to Power
sector development. This is reflected
in higher allocation for this sector of Rs 65 crore from Rs 39.50
crore allocated in fiscal 2006-07. At
the end of December, 2006 the installed capacity of the region's
power sector stood at 2520.30 MW (effective output about 1800 MW).
the peak demand forecast by 2011-12 is estimated at 2620 MW and
energy requirements at 13649 MU. The installed capacity is proposed
to be doubled by the end of the 11th Plan.
Pasighat Summit has recognized small hydropower projects as ideal
for providing electricity to remote and scattered hamlets in large
parts of the region. The region has vast hydro power potential estimated
at about 60,000 megawatt. Only about 2 percent has been tapped so
far. Most of this potential lies in Arunachal Pradesh. Besides shortfalls
in power generation, the region slipped in terms of power generation
capacity addition as well. The shortfall is estimated at 810 MW.
thermal Power Corporation's 510 MW Teesta Hydro-V project is expected
to be commissioned during the current fiscal. The federal Power
ministry/NHPC hope to complete 2000MW Lower Subansiri Hydro Project
within the 11th plan period. Meanwhile, Arunachal Pradesh has requested
that the Planning Commission and the federal government to assist
the state government to take up equity in the mega hydro projects
proposed to be taken up as joint ventures with CPSUs & IPPs.
ONGC & ILFS are in the process of setting up the 750 MW Paltana
Gas Power Project in Tripura. Only Tripura and Assam have entered
into MoU with ONGC/ILFS for purchase of power.
respect of transmission and distribution, four states -Meghalaya,
Manipur, Mizoram & Sikkim are connected by omnly 132 KV. The
T&D loss in the region is abnormally high - between 28.35 percent
(Meghalaya) and 70.61 percent in Manipur.. Of the total 40,377 inhabited
villages, 25,248 villages have been electrified till October 2006.
Only 24 percent of rural households have been electrified.
sectoral summit on Power held in January this year has recommended
two-pronged strategy: (1) Small/Localized Hydel & Thermal and
NRE projects to fulfill local needs; (2) High capacity Hydel &
Thermal Power Projects with associated Transmission lines for first
meeting the demand for power of the North eastern region and thereafter
that of the rest of the country.
North east Council has played a pivotal role in strengthening various
institutions including RIMS, Imphal
RIPANS, Aizawl, LGBRIMH, Tezpur, NEPA, Umsaw, Shilliong etc. NEC
has also extended support to several other institutions like the
BBCI, Shankardeva Nethralaya, RDC, RNC, GMC etc. Besides providing
better healthcare, the health institutions and NEPA have assisted
in capacity building. Apart from continuing support to these institutions,
it is proposed to set up Nursing colleges in the PPP mode, a Pilot
training Centre in collaboration with the Ministry of Civil Aviation,
a Fashion technology Institute in collaboration with NIFT/Ministry
of Textiles and a Mountaineering-cum-Adventure Sports Institute
in collaboration with the HMI, Darjeeling.
enhance the scope of employment of the educated youth in the region,
the North East Council proposed to impart a renewed thrust to skill
development in collaboration with reputed institutions. With this
end in view it has been proposed to support teachers training programmes
in consultation with the federal ministry of Human resource Development;
federal ministry of YAS and the state governments with the help
of the teachers training institutes, universities. Although communities
in the region have access to bamboo resources but they are unable
to benefit from value addition. The North East Council proposes
to support capacity building in the
: North East Council Annual Plan 2007-08 & Sectoral Summit
BUDGET ALLOCATION FOR 2008-09
The North Eastern Region (NER) continued to receive special attention
and enhanced allocations. In the federal Budget 2008-09 an amount of Rs.
1,445 crore has been provided to the Ministry of Development of North
Eastern Region(DONER). The total Budget allocation for NER, spared over
different ministries/departments, will increase from Rs. 14,365 crore
in 2007-08 to Rs. 16,447 crore in 2008-09.
In his Budget speech Finance minister P Chidambaram stated that the North
Eastern Region especially, the border areas face special problems that
cannot be tackled in the usual course or through normal schemes. Hence,
the Government proposed to identify the urgent needs of these areas and
addressed them through a special mechanism. A sum of Rs. 500 crore in
a fund dedicated for this purpose has been set aside in the Budget.
no more; winds of change blowing
North East Council