Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Jitendra Singh has hailed the quantum jump in the Budget allocation for North East Region in Union Budget 2016-17.
He said that in addition to all other allocations, the single most important announcement of exclusive and unique “Organic Value Chain Development” scheme for Rs. 115 crore will prove to be a game-changer for the entire region.
“Not only will it help in boosting the enormous unexplored potentials of organic entrepreneurship in the region but would also comfort the entire region into a favourite destination for new start ups from across the country to come to north east,” he added.
He also said that the emphasis of the current government has been on the promotion of organic farming and North East has become an important destination for that with state of Sikkim being declared as the first Organic state of India by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently. He was addressing a press conference here today.
Jitendra Singh said that the Budget for Ministry of DoNER has been increased from Rs. 2334.50 crore to Rs. 2,400 crores this year as compared to previous year, the Minister said that the main emphasis of the Budget allocated for north east is on the overall development of the region.
“The provisions have been made for connectivity in north east region, skill development and organic value chain development among others,” he added.
The Minister said, “A budget of Rs. 33097.02 crore has been allocated for the North Eastern region across 56 ministries. This is 14 percent higher than the BE of Rs. 29087.93 crore for previous year.”
“Under Non-Lapsable Central Pool Reserve (NLCPR), BE has been increased from Rs. 90 crores to Rs 200 crores in 2016-17. The budget allocation for North East Council schemes has been increased from Rs 700 crore to Rs 795 cores this year, he added.
The Minister also informed that Rs. 150 crore have been provided for the newly launched NE Road Sector Development Scheme.
He said that this scheme will be helpful in the development of the inter-state roads in the north east.
In addition, he said Asian Development Bank (ADB) will spare funds from its own sources for construction and maintenance of roads in the north eastern region.
Jitendra Singh also mentioned increase in the Budget allocation for North Eastern Development Finance Corporation (NEDFI) from Rs. 30 crore to Rs. 75 crore which will further boost the Prime Minister’s Start-up India programme in the region. Similarly, skill development Budget enhancement from Rs. 16 crore to Rs. 56 crore will further supplement the Start-up Programme, he said.
In addition to all the provisions like three years tax holiday and three months exit period announced by the Prime Minister, the DoNER Ministry will also offer “Venture Fund” for new entrepreneurs so as to ease their financial liability, he added. The Budget also has a provision of Rs. 150 crore for rural livelihood, he said.
Besides the above provisions, emphasis has also been laid on the rural livelihood in the north east and BE for this purpose has been enhanced to Rs. 150 crore this year.
Showcasing the north east to the rest of India is very important for the development of the region.
The budget allocation for this purpose has been increased from Rs. 10.50 crore to Rs 17 crore this year, the Minister said.
He said that this is almost 60 percent more than the last year allocation. In this regard, he mentioned that the Ministry of DoNER has recently organized ‘Destination North East-2016’ in New Delhi during 12th to 14 February, 2016.
Now, the Ministry intends to organize similar events, especially, so as to showcase the strengths, the potentials of the North East, especially in the fields of Handicrafts/Handlooms and exhibition of/ sale of produce of North East. Such events have been planned to be organized in Mumbai, Bangalore in the first quarter of 2016-17 financial year.
Laying emphasis on the government’s efforts to improve the connectivity in North east, Dr Jitendra Singh said that the main initiative of the DoNER Ministry as a part of the ‘Act East Policy’ and is to provide funds to link Railways between India and Bangladesh. The budget cost for Indian side Rs 587 crore would be provided by the Ministry of DoNER, he added.
There had been repeated attempts from our side, the Minister said that in spite of more than a dozen universities functioning in the State of Assam, the young students felt constrained to move out to other cities like Bengaluru and Pune for higher education and for the matter of gratification, a special amount of Rs. 10,000 crore for countrywide upliftment of higher education institutions will spare a special share for North Eastern Region and Rs 1623 crore has been allocated to north east for this purpose, he added.
Jitendra Singh also informed that Rs. 300 crore will be spared for the Bodoland Tribal Council by the government and their demands would be considered in course of time subsequently.
Overall, Jitendra Singh said, the budget allocations for Northeast this year are not only substantial but are also very imaginative and hoped that the State Governments will respond in similar vein by offering cooperation through timely submission of DPRs, utilisation certificates, State sharing of 10 per cent of funds etc.
Naveen Verma, Secretary, Ministry of DoNER and other senior officers were also present on the occasion.