Guwahati, May 14: Assam Governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi on Monday observed that the success of regional development hinges primarily on connecting remote areas through physical infrastructure and making greater investment in social infrastructure like health, education etc. Without creation of infrastructure socio-economic growth of the society is unthinkable.
Inaugurating a two-day programme on Physical and Social Infrastructure for Regional Development organised jointly by the Ministry of Finance Government of India, Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) and FICCI at Hotel Taj Vivanta on Monday, Prof. Mukhi said that the development deficit of the North East can be addressed with creating infrastructure encouraging massive investments.
“As a core component of our cooperative federalism, the Government, at the Centre as well as in most of the states, are now putting a lot of emphasis on infrastructure development in order to boost economic growth and generate gainful employment. A wide range of business opportunities are being created as part of an inclusive development strategy in Assam and other North Eastern States,” he said.
Prof. Mukhi also informed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put Assam and other North Eastern states on resurgent growth track. In concurrence of Assam’s potential of being the gateway to South East Asia, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has sanctioned massive investments for the development of roads and infrastructure in Assam. The Ministry has also taken ambitious project to make the National Waterways 2 and 16 in Assam more navigable to allow big ships to navigate and help Assam’s access to the sea route.
Moreover, the State government in Assam has also announced Axom Mala Programme for State Highway and Major District Road Improvement and Reconstruction. The budget for 2018-19 has earmarked an initial amount of Rs. 200 crore for the project. Moreover, the Centre’s budgetary allocation on infrastructure for 2018-19 was hiked to nearly Rupees six lakh crore against estimated expenditure of around Rupees five lakh crore in 2017-18.
The Governor said that considering the strategic location of Assam and other North Eastern states, the region is put at the heart of Centre’s Act East Policy and a lot of government intervention is expected in the next couple of months to script a new paradigm of infrastructural development and make the region a centre of the South East Asian markets, the Governor exhorted.
Prof. Mukhi further said that in the context of regional development, the development of North East requires special focus considering the region’s aspiration to be in the mainstream of the country. The region is a land bridge between South Asia and South East Asia, and shares borders with countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal and China. In line with the regions strategic location, the Centre along with the State governments’ are implementing projects which include Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport Project, Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor, East West Corridor that is part of the Golden Quadrilateral, Border Haats and Rhi-Tiddim Road Project.
Prof. Mukhi thanked the organiser for selecting Guwahati as the venue for holding the programme and he hoped that in-depth discussions on regional disparities, and identifying the nature of investments can help to strongly link the geographically strategic states of the North East to the development discourse of mainland of India. He also said that Government of India’s Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagarik (UDAN) would boost the air connectivity between North East not only with the rest of the country but also with Southeast Asian Nations.
Parliamentary Secretary, Tourism, Government of Arunachal Pradesh P.D.Sona, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Industries and Commerce, Government of Assam Ravi Capoor, Non-Ex-officio Member, Governing Council, RIS Seshadri Chari, Head of Communications, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Laurel Ostfield, Distinguished fellow, RIS Prof Amitabh Kundu, Deputy Secretary General, FICCI Manab Majumdar along with a host of other dignitaries were also present in the inaugural programme.