Millennium Post

With Rs 53K cr, Jaitley reaches out to N-E

With Rs 53K cr, Jaitley reaches out to N-E
With an allocation of Rs 53,706 crore in the ongoing fiscal for the North East, finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday sought to end the ‘sense of isolation’ of the region proposing a slew of proposals, including enhanced road and rail connectivity and fostering of organic farming.
Underlining the importance attached by the Narendra Modi-led government to the region, the finance minister also mooted launching of a 24x7 television channel for the region apart from setting up a sports university in Manipur.

‘North eastern Region has suffered from underdevelopment and a sense of isolation due to lack of proper connectivity,’ Jaitley said while presenting the Budget in Parliament. Reminding the house that it was the previous NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee which made compulsory 10 per cent allocation of plan funds for North Eastern region and had made them non-lapsable in nature, he said from the current budget the new government has introduced a statement which will separately show plan allocation made for the North Eastern Region. ‘In the financial year 2014-15, an allocation of Rs 53,706 crore has been made for North Eastern region,’ Jaitley said.

In the budget for 2014-15, the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region has been allocated Rs 2,332.78 crore, out of which Rs 2,306 crore is under plan and Rs 26.78 crore non-plan. Stressing on the need for development of rail system in the region urgently to bridge the gap with the rest of the country, he said: ‘I intend to expedite the development of rail connectivity in the region and for this purpose I propose to set aside an additional sum of Rs 1,000 crore over and above the amount provided for in the interim budget.’

Giving equal importance to the development of roads, he proposed a total investment in National Highways Authority of India and state roads of an amount of Rs 37,880 crore, which includes Rs 3,000 crore for the North East. The finance minister also emphasised on the need to tap potential for development of organic farming in India’s North Eastern (NE) region.

‘With a growing global demand for organic food, people living in the NE states can reap rich harvest from development of commercial organic farming. To facilitate this, I propose to provide a sum of
Rs 100 crore for this purpose in the current financial year,’ said Jaitley.

Commenting on the plans to launch a dedicated channel for the region he said TV is a very powerful tool for the expression of cultural identities and for creating awareness of the richness of the diversity of our country.
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