New Delhi : Vice President of India and Rajya Sabha Chairman M.Venkaiah Naidu today asserted that the North-Eastern Region(NER) is now decisively breaking from its troubled past and is witnessing a New Era of Resurgence(NER) as evident in substantial improvement in economic and Human Development Indices, expansion of infrastructure development and steep decline in insurgency over the last 7 years.
Naidu spoke at length on the region’s legacy that resulted in the twin development and democratic deficit and the change in the recent years further to a new sense of direction and acceleration in the pace of development and the way forward while addressing a special session of the Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly.
Referring to the insurgency and inadequate infrastructure in the region that limited the flow of private investments resulting in development deficit, the Vice President said: “I am glad to note that the vital North-Eastern Region has firmly resolved to make a break from such a past so as to script a new future by molding the present in that direction. The plethora of infrastructure projects completed and in progress and the evidence of socio-economic development is a clear pointer in this regard”.
He further said that inadequate and inequitable development deficit, by accentuating disparities among the people, especially, in a region with wide ethnic diversity, impacts their democratic participation as they were already suspicious of the modes of development and are concerned about their own identity and culture.
Shri Naidu noted that the gulf between the intentions and actions on the ground for the development of the region over a long period led to the Prime Minister’s ‘Act East Policy’ in 2014 which is being implemented with a new energy and focus.
In support of the new resurgence in the NER, Naidu elaborated that while the Per Capita Net National Income in the country improved by 60% now over that of 2013-14, the increase in the Per Capita Net State Domestic Product of 6 of the 8 North-Eastern States was more than that. The Per Capita Net State Domestic Product of five of the eight States of the Region was either higher than or almost at par with that of Per Capita NNI during 2018-20 while it was so in case of only 2 States during 2013-14.
He also informed that in respect of social development, measured in terms of Human Development Index (HDI), seven of the 8 States of the region performed better than the country’s index in 2019. With a 78.50% Literacy Rate, NER does better than 74% for the country.
Elaborating on the central government’s initiatives for the development of the region during the last 7 years, Naidu gave details of almost doubling of Gross Budgetary Support to the region during 2021-22 from that of 2014-15, substantial allocations under various schemes like Start Up India Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Employment Generation Programme, support for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, large number of road and air connectivity projects etc and the pace of their execution.
Referring to the return of much needed peace in the region due to the efforts of the central government, Naidu informed that compared to 2013, the insurgency related incidents declined by 70%; civilian deaths by 80% and casualties of security forces by 78% in 2019. He noted that the recent signing of comprehensive Bodo and Karbi Anglong Agreements reflects the keenness to herald an era of peace in the region.
Expressing concern over the functioning of the legislatures in the country, Naidu, while referring to the annual sittings of one to six of the Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly during 2015-20, urged the States of the region to sit longer. He stressed the need for meaningful debates and discussion to decide on issues concerning the nation and the people. He wanted legislators to focus on 3Ds—debate, discussion and decision.
Pointing out that there were only 20 women MLAs in the 8 legislatures of the region, accounting for only 4% of the total 498, Naidu said: ‘’There is a strong case for involving more women Members in law making in the region. Even in Parliament, women constitute only 11%”.
Noting that 12 of the 17 state and regional parties of North-Eastern Region being in power, the Vice President said: “This order of huge participation of State level parties in the governance of this region with a population of about 5 crores, in conjunction with national parties is a statement of alignment of local aspirations with national ambitions. This should result in commensurate outcomes that further the interests of the region and the nation”.
He also emphasized the need for the state governments to transfer 29 subjects and devolve 3 Fs—functions, funds and functionaries to the local bodies as per the provisions of the Constitution.
Stressing that the present decade is critical for the region for catching up with missed opportunities and time, Naidu suggested a 15-point framework for focused action. This includes; All the ethnic groups to be guided by the spirit of shared destiny; resolution of inter-state border disputes; ending the remnants of insurgency and violence; promoting private investments; addressing the twin development and democratic deficit; targeting self-reliance through promotion of productive economic activities and asset creation for reducing depending on central transfers; effective governance ensuring accountability and transparency for efficient resource utilisaion; involvement of communities in formulation and execution of policies and projects, entrepreneurship and skill development, sustainable development etc.
Complimenting the Arunachal Pradesh Government, MLAs and other stakeholders for the progress of the State, Shri Naidu called for focused efforts to address the concerns relating to; Infant Mortality Rate, student dropout at secondary level, sex ratio, literacy and road network. He urged everyone to work towards a poverty-free, illiteracy-free, corruption-free and discrimination-free India.
Naidu inaugurated the Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly Library, paper recycling unit and Dorjee Khandu auditorium. “These are certainly very valuable additions to this impressive Assembly building”, he observed.
The Vice President complimented Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly for being the first legislature in the North-Eastern Region and third in the country for introducing e-vidhan system.
Observing that Arunachal Pradesh has a lot of strengths, the Vice President said the whole country is looking at Arunachal today with renewed interest due to its potential and achievements of its people. Arunachal has the potential to become the fruit basket of India due to its natural resource endowments. It can become a global tourism destination because of its enchanting landscape, he added.
The Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, Brig (Dr) B.D. Mishra (Retd.), Chief Minister, Shri Pema Khandu, Speaker of Arunachal Legislative Assembly, Shri Pasang Dorjee Sona, ministers and legislators were among those present on the occasion.