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“North-East represents the heart of India, we have to take care of it”: Amit Shah

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New Delhi, Jan 23: The Union Home Minister Amit Shah chaired the 69th meeting of the North East Council (NEC) in Meghalaya capital, Shillong today. In his inaugural address, Amit Shah said that after taking charge as the Prime Minister in 2014, Narendra Modi said that if the North-East is to be developed, then the North-East has to be given priority in all types of development schemes of the government. The Prime Minister directed that every 15 days, a Central Minister would visit some state in the North-East by turns and Narendra Modi has himself visited the North East more than 40 times and more than 300 visits have been undertaken by various Ministers of the Central Government. This shows how much priority Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given to the North-East.

The Union Home Minister said that this day is also very important from another point of view. Today is the 125th birth anniversary of Subhash Babu. Shah said that Subhash Chandra Bose’s place is like that of the pole star among the freedom fighters. His struggle in providing Independence to the country is unparalleled. Apart from Netaji’s commitment and zest, he mobilized the masses for freedom and played an important role in India’s Independence. The youth of the country will continue to get inspiration for years from the life of Subhash Chandra Bose. Amit Shah called upon the North-East Council to organize programmes for children, launch various schemes and build memorials in the North-East in memory of Subhash Chandra Bose.

Amit Shah said that the NEC has initiated many projects to raise livelihoods in the North-East and launched several projects, which shows how important the role of NEC is. Shri Shah said that there are still many areas that are not developed, so the cabinet has decided that 30 percent of the budget will be used for underdeveloped areas and they will also be developed. India, as a whole, will be considered developed only when there is the development of the North-East and for the development of North-East, it is necessary that development reaches the people of each and every religion and language, an exercise which will be attempted through this budget. Amit Shah said that if the North-East Council sets a target by 2022 under ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in consultation with every state, it will be a major achievement. This will also help in attracting investment. To mark the completion of 75 years of Independence in 2022, every state should set a target and try to overcome all the difficulties that come in the way. Shah said that after Modi, Government investment has greatly increased in sectors ranging from connectivity to job creation.

Shah said that the development of any state is not possible by government investment alone, private sector participation is also very important in it, so the pace of development can be increased by speeding up the ‘Ease of Doing Business.’ The ratio of state’s share in GDP growth will also rise with the ‘Ease of Doing Business.’ Shah said that there should be an effort to build a prosperous North-East. The Government of India is ready for the development of the North-East in every way and the North-East will play an important role in creating a $5 trillion economy. The Aatmanirbhar (self-sufficient) India envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not possible without the North-East, so all states should prepare themselves for this.

The Union Home Minister said that the NEC has a glorious past and it is expected to continue its good work in the future. Shah said the North-East has been embodied with abundant natural beauty in the whole of India; the confluence of different cultures seems to create a wonderful harmony, so this region can emerge as a major center of tourism and it will also lead to the development of the North-East Region.

Amit Shah said that the North-East represents the heart of India, we have to take care of it; while undertaking development activities, there is a need to preserve the heritage here. While we have to preserve the natural beauty here, at the same time we have to promote its culture. Shri Shah said that efforts are on to set up paper mills here, that will increase consumption of locally produced bamboo. The dialects here also need to be protected and they should be augmented and fostered. Modi says that there should be developed but the heritage has to be preserved. The Union Home Minister said that the NEC got its present form after Atal Bihari Vajpayee became the Prime Minister. The work of creating such a policy-making body and making it more effective was done by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Under his leadership, many works were done for the development of the North-East. Looking closely at the development of the North-East, it will be clear that the work done by  Atal Bihari Vajpayee for the development of the North-East was very crucial. Shah said that after the formation of the Bharatiya Janata Party Government, the North-East was developed not just by making promises but by taking administrative steps. He also said that after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, rapid development was done in many areas for which the campaign of connectivity was first completed, wherever possible air connectivity was done. After Modi became the Prime Minister, the crucial role of NEC was restored and through NEC 11,000 kilometers of long roads have been laid and 7,700 megawatts of power generation were made possible.

The Union Home Minister said that the northeast was previously known for insurgency but today along with peace, good news flows out of the Northeast. By reaching out to small groups, the state governments have done the work of their disbanding. Recently there was an agreement with the Bodos group and after many years of extremism, the Bodos have joined the mainstream. Shah said that the Bru-Reang Agreement was also very important. The land boundary disputes with Bangladesh were resolved in a very simple manner which would further enhance connectivity in the coming times.

Amit Shah said that there is a need to resolve the disputes of the states. The whole country is one, so we have to aim to find complete solutions to the issues. Amit Shah said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi we will resolve the inter-state border disputes in the North-East, and it will be a great achievement. Without this, development is not possible and work should be done in this direction with a strong will. The Union Home Minister said that the kind of priority that Modi has given to the North-East, we also have an obligation to make that effort successful. Shah said that the Union Budget has been increased by 24 percent to Rs. 3,13,000 crores from Rs. 89,000 crores and many big projects have been undertaken. There should also be an effort to eliminate the entire challenges like border disputes and the smuggling of drugs from abroad. The Central Government has changed its perspective of the Northeast, so the Northeast will also have to change its perception of how it looks up to the Center.

Amit Shah said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, all the states of North-East have successfully fought against Corona, for which 7.75 lakh metric tonnes of food grains were provided to 3 crore beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. About 30,000 metric tons of pulses and 50 lakh gas cylinders were distributed free of cost. Under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Yojana, Rs 553 crore has been transferred to the farmers’ account. Rs. 1,707 crore has been credited to Jan Dhan Yojana account holders as a one-time lump sum so that they can make a livelihood. Apart from this, Rs. 2,530 crore have been transferred to beneficiaries’ accounts under different schemes.  Shah said that a total credit of Rs. 7,923 crore has been made. The Union Home Minister said that the work of vaccination has started under the leadership of Prime Minister  Narendra Modi and it is expected that soon we will overcome this epidemic.

The meeting was attended by the Minister for Development of North-East Region and Vice-Chairman of the North-East Council, Dr. Jitendra Singh, Governor of Meghalaya Satya Pal Malik, Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Conrad Sangma, Secretary of North-East Council, Governors, Chief Minister and Ministers of all the eight North-Eastern States, besides the Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and Senior Officers of the Central and State Governments.

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