AGARTALA, April 10: The first meeting of the ‘Niti Forum for North-East (NFNE)’ on Tuesday have chosen five sectors, including tourism and food processing, to exploit them on a mission mode basis to accelerate inclusive and sustaible economic growth of the region, said NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar. He said ‘HIRA’ – Highways, Inland Waterways, Railways and Airways – as conceptualized by Prime Minister rendra Modi will continue to be the focused area for the development of infrastructure in the region.
Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Jitendra Singh, in a significant announcement, also said that henceforth 100 per cent funding would be made by the Central government for central sector projects in the eight northeastern states, which were earlier being undertaken on the basis of centre-state sharing in the ratio of 90:10.
“In the first meeting, NFNE has identified five sectors to exploit them on a mission mode basis to speed up inclusive and sustaible economic growth of the northeastern region,” Rajiv Kumar told the media after the meeting.
The other sectors are bamboo, horticulture and ‘Made in Northeast’.
The NITI Aayog Vice Chairman and DoNER Minister are Co-Chairmen of the NFNE constituted last month following Modi’s direction to supplement the functioning of the DoNER ministry and North Eastern Council (NEC).
On the new funding pattern for central sector projects, Jitendra Singh said that this will only be applicable to the eight northeastern States, unlike the earlier 90:10 funding pattern which was in force for 11 special category states – which also included Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand.
Singh said the infrastructure of the northeastern region, which had been neglected for 65 years, had got a boost under the NDA government, with utilization of funds increasing to Rs 30,000 crore in the last fincial year from Rs 24,000 crore in 2014-15 fiscal.
Singh said that for the development of highways and roadways and tourism sectors, two separate corporations were formed and to boost industrialization of the region, the ‘North East Industrial Development Scheme’ was filized last month by the Union Cabinet with the fincial outlay of Rs 3000 crore up to March, 2020.
Singh said that under the UDAN phase two and phase three, all the northeastern States would be connected by airways and the region’s connectivity with the neighbouring countries would be further developed.
Chief ministers, deputy chief ministers, Planning and Coordition, PWD Ministers of Tripura, Meghalaya, galand, Mizoram, Aruchal Pradesh, Sikkim and Assam and top officials of all the eight northeastern States and various Central ministries attended the day-long NFNE meeting.