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Conrad takes up logistics and support challenges for farmers with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

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Shillong, Nov 16: Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma, on Monday interacted with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman through virtual conferencing to focus on the State specific economy related challenges and strengths and to discuss steps required for coordination between the State Government and the Government of India to step up investment, infrastructure and growth.

The Chief Minister highlighted that in the Agriculture Sector the farmers face problems in the overall infrastructures in terms of value chain. “Many of our people are farmers and we face a lot of challenges when it comes to logistics and support that we can give to the farmers, lack of testing and GI labs, cold storage and other infrastructures for value chain will be very important in the medium and long term to really push the overall income of the farmers,” he said.

Banking 

The Chief Minister also said that the State has a few challenges in the Banking sector as well. He said that about 45 per cent of the villages are still unbanked. He added that the State has a very low CD ratio of 40 per cent. “More Banking facilities need to come up and Banking services in the existing banks should improve to increase financial inclusion among the people especially in the villages,” he said.

State Specific Act East policy

Further, the Chief Minister also highlighted the importance of the State Specific Act East policy depending on the neighbouring nation a State has. “I would like to stress here that Bangladesh is moving very fast with the six lane highways towards the borders and if we don’t start our work now then it will take us another five to ten years to catch up and take advantage of the entire trade network that will come up,” he said.

He said that a focus should be given to road infrastructure, especially the ones that will lead to the development of trade with the neighbouring countries. The Chief Minister also said that the fiber connectivity with Bangladesh needs to be moved to improve the connectivity in the State.

Land System

The Chief Minister also apprised the Finance Minister of the challenges in the Land System.

He said that the North East has a lot of challenges in the Land holding system as the land belongs to the communities which are again controlled by the District Councils in many parts of the North East. He said that there should be some kind of a system for land records with support to the District Councils so as to move faster for industrial and economic development. “Land record management and challenges and solutions through District Councils is something that most of the North Eastern states require,” he said.

He also made a submission on the Capital Investment Scheme. He said that Meghalaya has always been very positive and aggressive of the capital expenditure and urged the Ministry to continue with the support for the State.

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State Specific Schemes

The Chief Minister also brought to light the importance of the State Specific Schemes under the 15th Finance Commission. He said that if the State Specific Schemes fructify it would help in the overall development of the State. He also informed the Minister that the State has been working aggressively on investment oriented policies. “I am happy to inform you that out of the 235 compliances for the Ease of Doing Business in the State, we have reduced it by 112 and have been working hard on the PPP mode and have started the Community PPP to ensure that the land remains with the community, where government can be the facilitator and the private sector will make the investment and how all can benefit by coming together to take the State forward,” concluded the Chief Minister.

Mentionably, the Finance Minister interacted with all the Chief Ministers and State Finance Ministers.

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