Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Northeast wouldn’t have faced apathy if Modi had become PM soon after independence: Assam CM

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that Northeast India is always there in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision and had he become Prime minister soon after independence Northeast India would not have faced such apathy, reports Economic Times.
Addressing the intellectual meet in Imphal on Union budget 2022-23, Sarma said, “When the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) work was on a delegation from Manipur which included former chief minister O Ibobi Singh had gone to New Delhi to meet Union Home minister Amit Shah on Inner Line permit (ILP), I was outside and while talking to them I asked them to press for ILP, they said if it will really happen despite pressing.”
He added, “Shah agreed and within two months’ necessary laws were made and this shows how responsive the government we are having in the Centre.” BJP led government is projecting introduction of ILP for Manipur as one of its major achievements in poll bound state. In 2019 ILP was introduced in Manipur at the height of agitation against CAA.
Underlining the need for a double engine government in Manipur for the spirit of partnership , Sarma said, “We have waited for Rajdhani Express train for years, highways were not there, most sought after Silchar-Imphal highway project through Jiribam we were thinking who will do it.” He added, “Recall the economic blockades and when petrol and diesels were sent through flights despite skyrocketing prices. This was an everyday affair in Manipur five years back. There is no comparison between this five year and earlier five years.”
He added that under Prime minister Narendra Modi budgets have mentions of Northeast India. “The budget has announced a scheme for border areas where vibrant villages will be developed, North eastern shares international borders, Manipur shares border with Myanmar.”
Sarma said, “Our areas along the border are sparsely populated, the Chinese side of the border along Arunachal Pradesh has good concentration of population. Soon after our prime minister conceived this idea of vibrant villages along the borders, the Chinese premier is also talking about vibrant villages. This shows the far sight of our Prime minister.”
The Assam chief minister said, “This budget has come in the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic. When pandemic started and lockdown was announced in the month of April 2020 our tax revenue and excise revenue was almost nil, Assam collection from Rs 1500 Crore monthly plummeted to Rs 30 Crore.”
Sarma who was finance minister then said that there was gloom and feeling that this world order may collapse. “Modi led us in those times and I am sure he will continue leading us. State devolution was made and it was ensured no state government suffered and there was not a situation when state government employees were not paid regular salaries.”
He added North eastern states are dependent on the Centre for resources. “Revenue deficit grant, covid relief assistance besides rice and putting Rs 1000 in women accounts assisted in tiding over the crisis. When Modi talked about development of indigenous vaccines, several people doubted however we not only developed a couple of them we exported those vaccines.
This is what Atma Nirbhar Bharat means.”
He added, “Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman increased the deficit grant from Rs 18000 Crore in case of Assam to Rs 25,000 Crore which is 35 percent increase similarly other states also got it. She has paid two installments in advance this year.”
He added, “From Rs 10,000 Crore this budget has increased the size of capital expenditure to Rs one lakh Crore. This will revitalise the economy.”
Sarma said that Development activities will get a new dimension with the GatiShakti master plan laid down by PM. This will ensure holistic growth through multi-modal connectivity.Also, the Agroforestry plan proposed will be a game changer for North East. “This scheme has the PM’s name and this is the biggest gift to Northeast India in decades.”
He added, “In this scheme projects will be picked up and all the ministries and departments will be activated.”
The Manipur assembly polls will be held in two phases. In first phase polling will be held on February 27 in 38 assembly seats and in second phase polling will be held on March 3 in 22 assembly constituencies.


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