Context: The Union Cabinet has recently approved the Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for the North East Region (PM-DevINE).
About the Scheme:
- PM-DevINE is a new scheme for the Northeastern states which was announced in the Union Budget.
- The scheme will be operational for the remaining four years of the 15th Finance Commission, from 2022-23 to 2025-26, and will have an outlay of Rs 6,600 crore.
- PM-DevINE will target:
- The creation of infrastructure,
- Support industries,
- Social development projects and
- Create livelihood activities for the youth and women, with a focus on job creation.
- These projects will include basic infrastructure in all primary healthcare centres and government schools.
- Funding and implementation:
- It is a central sector scheme with 100% central funding.
- PM-DevINE will be implemented by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), through the North Eastern Council or central ministries and agencies.
- Time constraints:
- Efforts will be made to complete the PM-DevINE projects by 2025-26 so that there are no committed liabilities beyond this year.
- Significance of bringing the scheme:
- The parameters of N-E states in respect of Basic Minimum Services (BMS) are well below the national average and there are critical development gaps as per the NER District Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Index 2021-22 prepared by NITI Aayog, UNDP and MDoNER.
Challenges to the Development of the NER:
- North Eastern Region is majorly a mountainous region, except the state of Assam, which has plains as a major part of its area.
- This makes it difficult for the government schemes to be implemented in the area, because of the problem of access to the remote areas.
- Unlike the mainland, people of the North East Region are still content with a simple lifestyle and lack of technology in their day-to-day lives. The standard of living continues to be low, due to the absence of high-income generation opportunities.
- For e.g., the farmers practice primitive methods of agriculture, with the tribals still practising Shifting agriculture in the country.
- As stated above, the North Eastern Region is a landlocked region. Therefore, it has limited access to the sea. Similarly, it has a difficult terrain that renders expressways and wider roads infeasible.
- This is complicated by the absence of railway infrastructure in the region.
- One of the major regions for the lack of development in the region is the lack of political and social stability in the country.
- The artificial boundaries of the British legacy have not been fully accepted by the tribal communities of the region, which is compounded by political opportunism.
- The region is still caught in the vicious circle of violence due to political reasons and the diversion of youth towards the insurgent groups, which leads to a lack of skill enhancement and consequent lack of opportunity.
Government initiatives for the development of NER:
North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS):
- The aim of the scheme is to enhance the physical infrastructure related to power, connectivity and water supply, and social infrastructure in the form of health infrastructure. It is a Central Sector Scheme.
NITI Forum for North East:
- In collaboration with the NITI Aayog, the ‘NITI Forum for North East’ constituted for accelerated, inclusive and sustainable development in the North East Region has identified 5 focus sectors, viz. Tea, Tourism, Bamboo, Dairy and Pisciculture.
Mission Organic Value Chain Development (MOVCD-NER):
- The program has been implemented in the North-Eastern states since 2017. The aim of the mission is to promote organic farming in the region. It seeks to replace traditional subsistence farming with a cluster-based approach.
Sub Mission on Seeds and Planting Material (SMSP):
- It aims to increase the availability of seeds of the High Yielding Varieties of crops. The overall objective is to double farmers’ income by 2022, as envisioned by the Government. The scheme is run alongside other support programs like Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), integrated farming systems etc.
- To create alternate routes to the region and decrease its dependence on the Chicken’s Neck, the Indian government has planned additional routes through South East Asia like Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Project, Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Corridor, etc.
- India’s Look-East connectivity projects connect Northeast India to East Asia and ASEAN.
- Home Minister recently launched the North Eastern Handicrafts & Handlooms Development Corporation Limited (NEHHDC) Mobile Application during the session.
- The NEHHDC would help register artisans and weavers online and collect authentic data through the app. It is expected to provide training through specially designed online courses and help the beneficiaries and redress grievances.
- North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC) was established as a joint initiative of Department of Space (DOS) and the North Eastern Council (NEC) and came into being on 5th of September, 2000.
- The Centre helps in augmenting the developmental process in the region by providing the advanced space technology support.
External aided projects for NER:
- North Eastern States Roads Investment Programme (NESRIP) assisted by Asian Development Bank (ADB):
- The scheme envisaged construction/up-gradation of total 433.425 km long roads in 6 North Eastern States of Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura.
- North East Rural Livelihood Project assisted by World Bank:
- The objective of the North East Rural Livelihood Project (NERLP) is “To improve rural livelihoods especially that of women, unemployed youth and the most disadvantaged, in four North Eastern States”. The proposed project has four major components:
- Social empowerment;
- Economic empowerment;
- Partnership development & management and
- Project management.
Source: Indian Express