Khandu endorses empowerment of North East Council

He reasoned that the Council was created with the sole objective to decentralize regional planning and investments.

Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Monday strongly endorsed empowerment of the North East Council (NEC) to serve as an effective vehicle for transferring resources and capacities to the North Eastern States.

He reasoned that the Council was created with the sole objective to decentralize regional planning and investments.

Speaking at the 66th Plenary of the NEC here, Khandu pointed that all schemes of NEC have been categorized as Central Sector Schemes, which earlier used to be Centrally Sponsored Schemes, a communique from the CMO informed.

"The very purpose of creating NEC was to encourage decentralized regional planning and investments," he said.

Asserting that the budget allocation to NEC needs to be enhanced, Khandu proposed that all unspent 10 per cent allocation of Union ministries for the region may be transferred to NEC for focussed investments in infrastructure and institutions of the North East.

The Chief Minister termed deficit of skills and dearth of private investments and jobs as the biggest challenge for youths of the region, especially Arunachal Pradesh.

He urged NEC to increase investments in institutions of Skill Development and sought establishment of a 'Regional Institute of Skill Development? in Arunachal Pradesh and offered to make available adequate land.

He also suggested NEC to help create a venture capital fund in partnership with Public Sector Banks and other Financial Institutions to provide access to low cost finance for educated unemployed youths.

Arunachal Pradesh with hydropower potential of over 57000 MW but barely been able to build less than 500 MW, the Chief Minister requested the Ministry of DONER to consider infusing a block grant for some projects which are part of the list of eight doable projects.

He also expressed optimism that with support of Assam Government the issue of stalled 2000 MW Subansiri Lower Hydro Electric Project would be resolved, which he said will be a landmark in the hydro power journey of India.

Under the ?Act East Policy? of the Union Government, Khandu urged construction of a road from Lumla to Tashigang in Bhutan.

He also emphasized the need to establish an integrated Check Post at Pangsau Pass, which would help opening up of Stillwell Road upto Myanmar for trade purposes besides starting of informal border haats.

Describing robust connectivity as a major challenge for Arunachal Pradesh, Khandu sought support of NEC with viability gap funding for completing all road, rail, telecom and airstrip projects.

The 66th Plenary of the NEC chaired by DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh was attended by Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, Governors and Chief Ministers of all the northeastern states, officials of DoNER and NEC.

Dr Singh assured all members that the development of North Eastern region is amongst the foremost priorities of the Prime Minister and the Union Government is in the process of reinventing NEC as an effective regional body.

He also said that earnest measures should be taken to deploy the 10 per cent resources under the non-lapsable pool of resources.

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