Northeast powers transformation towards Atmanirbhar Bharat

Bhagwan Krishna counselled a perplexed Arjuna about who he (any person) is with a Sholka from Chapter 17 of Bhagvad Gita which means that the confidence of any individual
Northeast powers transformation towards Atmanirbhar Bharat

 Sarbananda Sonowal

(The writer is the Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Government of India)

Bhagwan Krishna counselled a perplexed Arjuna about who he (any person) is with a Sholka from Chapter 17 of Bhagvad Gita which means that the confidence of any individual is determined by their nature of mind. Everyone has faith or belief, and the nature of faith or belief, whatever it may be, is indeed who they are. Since 2014, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi took command of leading the process of nation-building towards a new Bharat, the people of the North-East have developed a conviction, a faith, and a belief that they are equal partners in this noble drive towards rebuilding a strong, proud, self-reliant, respected great nation. With new ideas, a new vigour, and a new vista, we work towards renewing our celebrated identity of Bharat as the oldest civilization of humanity with the ethos of ‘Antyodaya’ for ‘Sarvodaya’.

 Far from the national capital, tucked away in the beautiful corner of the Himalayan and Indo Burma Mountain ranges, the people of the North-east developed disbelief due to poor leadership at the centre, which kept them wondering about their sense of belonging or purpose in post-independence India. India’s voracious struggle to win independence will never be complete without the blood and tears shed by the people of the Northeast. This sentiment of disillusionment brewed among people from repeated instances of neglect, distrust, disillusionment, discouragement, or disappointment the region endured since independence. Six decades of misrule and mismanagement, being mistreated, misused, and missing opportunities decade after decade made people tired.

The people of the region wanted a breakthrough—a good disruption in governance—to break the shackles of this regressive idea of being backward, remote, or poor, found in the silos of power. In Modiji, we found a leader who disrupted the cosy idea of misgoverned bureaucracy, where the Northeast was relegated as a ‘punishment posting.’ With more than sixty visits by Narendra Modiji to the region since 2014, along with numerous visits by each member of his Council of Ministers almost every week to the north-east, the region today has access to New Delhi, the capital of India, at its doorstep. The NE has come out of its dark days of distraught, distrust, and disrespect to become a beacon of hope and honour. Today, the Northeast sits on an ideal seat, with Narendra Modi ji as the captain, to take the growth and development cruise forward as India progresses towards becoming an Atmanirbhar Bharat.

The commencement of Azadi Ka Amrit Kaal is a symbol of India’s future, where we celebrate the ‘Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat’ concept of rich history entwined with a progressive contemporary society. To add strength to this idea, people living in far-flung areas like the North-East get a boost when they are given a sense of purpose, belonging, and ownership. The celebration of ‘Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas’ is a testament to the contribution of tribal societies. PM Modi celebrated Rani Gaidinliu as ‘Rani Maa’ for her contribution to India’s freedom struggle. Modiji’s inspiration from Lachit Borphukan’s heroics as the torchbearer of valour, honour, and upholder of the splendid culture of Assam is a testament to the ideals of equality, justice, and dignity.

The Ram Mandir construction has acknowledged the fulfilment of a centuries-old aspiration with the Pran Pratishtha of Bhagwan Ram at Ayodhya. The abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir, the enactment of the Triple Talaq ban, and the One Rank-One Pension are a few of the many historically significant achievements under Modiji that have led to the fulfilment of aspirations and ignited the minds of crores of people. This enlightenment has led to many peace accords with the insurgent groups in the Northeast, which has led to a period of peace during the Prime Ministership of Modiji. The untiring effort to build bridges of honour and respect led to solutions for many insurgent movements with the Bodo Accord, ULFA peace deal, Naga Peace Accord, Bru agreement, and many others, resulting in sustained peace.

 The four pillars of Viksit Bharat, i.e., Garib (poor), Yuva (youth), Annadata (farmer), and Nari (women), together known as GYAN, are being reinvigorated with a vision of prosperous Bharat in harmony with nature, modern infrastructure, and opportunities for all. Apart from the immense physical development in the region, Modiji has been successful in building abodes of hope among the people of the region. The completion of critical Bogibeel bridge, India’s longest river bridge at Dhola Sadiya, numerous medical colleges, including AIIMS in Assam, the Sela Pass tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh, the near completion of the world’s tallest pier bridge at Jiribam, Imphal in Manipur, or the airports in Sikkim, Meghalaya, or Arunachal, the extension of the railway network to encompass all states, and many such major infrastructure projects were thought unfeasible until 2014. What changed under PM Modiji was the thought process of the system and the facilitation of ingenious approaches to make things happen for public welfare. The success of Ganga Vilas, the world’s longest river cruise between Varanasi and Dibrugarh, unlocked an opportunity for the landlocked Northeast region to reach out to the world via waterways.

The next 23 years of Amrit Kaal are also our Kartavya Kaal. This is the time when all of us, irrespective of our backgrounds, must join this nation-building effort. The people of the Northeast have a wonderful opportunity at hand to drive this journey with their ingenious ideas, purpose-led commitment, and towards realization of a dream for our beautiful Northeast to turn around into a multiplier of India’s growth trajectory.

The Modi government’s dedication to the motto ‘Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas’ is evident in the 50% increase in average real income since 2014, showcasing a transformative impact on the lives of the citizens. Due to the efficient implementation of government-run programmes, more than 25 crore Indians have been lifted out of multidimensional poverty in the last nine years. More and more people are accessing the benefits of the Modi government’s welfare schemes, which are ultimately aimed at enriching the quality of their lives.

To enable, empower, and support the entrepreneurial dreams of the youth, initiatives such as PM Mudra, Digital India, Start-UP India, and Start-Up Credit Guarantee schemes are helping the dreams turn into self-employed individuals. As we aim to sustain the progress of the nation’s young generation, India has moved beyond the colonial hangover of securing a government job and transformed the idea of employment into an activity that is intrinsic to the idea of nation-building. Earning one’s livelihood is not just about earning money; it is also about doing it with a purpose and securing one’s economic independence by becoming self-sufficient. The youth of the Northeast are also competing at par with the national level, as we have a new, confident, able, and talented young tribe that is hungry for success in their pursuit of excellence.

The old days of ignorance and ignominy for the northeast have now been put to rest. The efforts by the government led by PM Narendra Modi have led to the recharge of this incredible part of India—the Northeast. Of many positives, the most outstanding has been this newfound belief among the people as equals—as citizens, as compatriots, and as humans. For long, we have been denied this fundamental right. For a long time, we had to struggle for the basic amenities of life. For long, we lived in fear of uncertainty. Today, the old belief of deprivation is replaced by a new faith among the people of the region, who take pride in their country and are rich with a sense of commitment towards nation-building and a purpose to build a better tomorrow. Drawing from the Shloka of Bhagwan Krishna, this faith and belief make people equal. Narendra Modiji turned around a historic wrong done to the people of northeastern India and empowered them to drive the engine of growth as India moved ahead to become a strong, powerful, compassionate, yet prosperous Viksit Bharat.

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