Nodal officers nominated for various NE states and Line Ministries: DoNER Secretary

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New Delhi : The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Dr Jitendra Singh met the MPs of  North East MPs Forum which included the newly elected MPs from Lok Sabha representing North Eastern states and the members of Rajya Sabha, here today. The purpose of the meeting was to brief the MPs about the ongoing schemes and future plans of the Government in the region. The Secretary (DoNER) Dr Inder Jit Singh, Secretary (North Eastern Council) Shri Ram Muivah and other senior officers of the Ministry were present during the meeting.

Welcoming the MPs, Dr Jitendra Singh said that the Government will act for improving the lives of North Eastern people in close coordination with the elected representatives from the states of the region. He said that DoNER is the only region-based ministry in the Government. In the past five years, the Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given due priority to the development of this region, he added. He said that the procedures laid down for DPRs have been simplified so as to expedite the execution of projects in the region and to curb the unnecessary delay. The Minister added that the Chief Ministers and Resident Commissioners of different states based in Delhi have been requested to coordinate with DoNER Ministry and follow up with the officials about the development projects of various states. He further said that then issues related to enhancement of budgetary allocation for development of North Eastern states are being discussed with the Finance Ministry.  Dr Jitendra Singh said that in departure from the earlier practice of 90:10 funding of Northeast projects under NLCPR flagship scheme of the Ministry, implying 90% funds from Centre and 10% from the respective State, the Union Cabinet has agreed that under the new scheme, North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS), the entire 100% of the funding is borne by the Centre, which results in a huge relief to the exchequer of the State Government and also puts an end to the frequent requests received from the State Governments about lack of funds for them to contribute their share. Speaking about another historic decision by the Cabinet, the Minister mentioned about the Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 to exempt bamboo grown in non-forest areas from the definition “Tree”, thereby dispensing with the requirement of obtaining a permit for felling of bamboo for economic use. He informed the members that, in July, 2018, the NEC was restructured through the nomination of the Home Minister as Chairman, NEC and the MoS (I/C) DoNER as the Vice-Chairman, NEC. Dr Singh said that that Union Minister Shri Amit Shah will chair the plenary session of NEC on 3rd and 4th August in Guwahati.

While giving his presentation about the functioning and role of DoNER Ministry,  the Secretary (DoNER) Dr Inder Jit Singh  said that DoNER Ministry plays a coordinating role to act as an interface between the NE states and Line Ministries. He added that DoNER is the only Ministry with territorial jurisdiction. He briefed that Chief Nodal Officers and Nodal officers have been appointed for each of the North Eastern states and line ministries. He also said that Inter-Ministerial committees have been constituted by DoNER Ministry for important sectors such as Roads, Civil Aviation & Tourism, Livlihood, Piggery, Medicinal & Aromatic Plants and Health & Nutrition.

The Secretary briefed that members about the major schemes and organisations  of North eastern region such as North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS), Hill Area Development Programme (HIDP), North East Road Sector Development Scheme, North East Rural Livlihood Projects, North Eastern Region Community Resources Management Project, North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Ltd., North East Handicrafts & Handlooms Development Corporation Ltd. etc. He informed members that each non-exempted Ministry has to allocate 10% of their Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) for the development of North Eastern states. He added that Rs 1,83,036 crore expenditure has been incurred by the non-exempted ministries plus Railways during the last 5 years, while the budget allocation for 2019-20 is Rs 56,530 cr.

In addition to the above, A NITI Forum for North East has been set up in February, 2018. The first meeting of the forum took place on 10th April, 2018 at Agartala where constraints were identified for sustainable economic growth. The second meeting held on 4th December, 2018 at Guwahati made recommendations on the development of Bamboo, tea, dairy and tourism in North East.

The MPs were briefed about the North Eastern Council (NEC), which was established in the year 1971. Since its inception, NEC has focused on improving connectivity of the region which has been a major bottleneck for all developmental activities. In its endeavour, the Council has contributed immensely towards the improvement of the inter-state connectivity in the Region. A total of 10,911 kms of roads have been constructed with the NEC funding and handed over to the States for maintenance. It has worked in the direction of setting up of eleven Inter-State Bus terminal (ISBT) projects, power plants and contributed for the up-gradation/strengthening of the infrastructure of the existing Airports in the region.

During the interaction, the MPs discussed development related issues pertaining to their areas. They expressed pleasure at the fact that a Chief Nodal officer and a nodal officer has been nominated by the DoNER Ministry for their states and they expressed their wish to be briefed about the status of development projects of their areas on a regular basis.

Following MPs from Lok Sabha attended the meeting: Shri Tapir Gao (East Siang, Arunachal Pradesh), Shri Kiren Rijiju (West Kameng, Arunachal), Shri Abdul Khaelque (Barpeta, Assam), Shri Rameswar Teli (Dibrugarh, Assam), Shri Dilip Saikia (Mangaldoi, Assam), Shri Gaurav Gogoi, (Kalibor, Assam), Shri Horen Sing Bey (Autonomous District, Assam), Shri Topon Kumar Gogoi (Jorhat, Assam), Shri Naba Kumar Sarania (Kokrajhar, Assam), Shri Kripanath Mallah (Karimganj, Assam), Shri Pallab Lochan Das (Tezpur, Assam), Smt Queen Oja (Guwahati, Assam), Shri Rajdeep Roy (Silchar, Assam), Shri Lorho S. Pfoze (Outer Manipur), Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh (Inner Manipur), Shri Vincent Pala (Shillong, Meghalaya), Ms. Agatha K. Sangama (Tura, Meghalaya), C. Lalrosanga (Mizoram), Shri Tokheho Yepthomi (Nagaland), Shri Indra Hang (Sikkim), Smt. Pratima Bhoumik (West Tripura), Shri Rebati Tripura (East Tripura).

The MPs from Rajya Sabha who attended the meeting were: Shri Mukut Mithi (Arunachal Pradesh), Shri Bhubaneswar Kalita (Assam), Shri Birendra Prasad Bhaishya (Assam), Shri Ripun Bora (Assam), Smt. Ranee Narah (Assam), Shri Kamakhya Tasha (Assam), Shri Biswajit Daimary (Assam), Smt. Wansuk Syiem (Meghalaya), Shri Ronald Sapa Tlau (Mizoram), Shri K.G. Kenye (Nagaland),Shri Hishey Lachungpa (Sikkim), Smt. Jharna Das Baidya (Tripura), Shri K. Bhabhananda Singh (Manipur).