During his Shillong visit on Monday, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu advised the North-Eastern council to propel the northeast region on a resurgent phase of accelerated development by quickly resolving issues that have been impeding its progress.
Addressing a workshop on "Changing role of the north-eastern council in the development of north-eastern region", the Vice President pointed out that India's progress cannot be complete if there was uneven progress in various regions, according to a press statement from the Vice President's Secretariat.
"If the northeast region progresses, India progresses, If the region lags behind, India lags behind", he observed.
He suggested to the North-Eastern states to share best practices in various fields and derive mutual benefit. "India should work as Team India- Centre, states and local bodies working together on developmental issues to find solutions", Naidu said.
While lauding the NE Council for its creditable achievements, he said "we cannot merely rest on our past laurels. We certainly have many miles to go".
He said this was the right time to revisit the approaches of the Council as it braces up to meet the challenges of the winds of change that need to be harnessed in the interest of the North-Eastern Region and its people.
Stating that the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has embarked on a path of reform in all spheres with a view to improving performance and productivity, Naidu said that ease of doing business and ease of living are key objectives. "Working with a sense of urgency has become the norm", he added.
He said that from conceptualization of a policy or programme to its implementation, clear processes and timelines are drawn for meeting the goals in time and ensuring the delivery of intended benefits to the targeted. Citing various initiatives including Swachch Bharat Mission and 'Housing for All' in this regard, the Vice President expressed confidence that the North-Eastern Council will also be guided by this new ethos and policy environment.
"We cannot afford to go slow. We cannot be satisfied with poor quality. We have to constantly strive to be better than the best", he exhorted.
In this context, the Vice President stressed the need for ensuring accountability and transparency in every programme and said that schemes like Direct Benefit Transfer would go a long way in ensuring benefits reach every intended beneficiary.
As the country celebrates 75 years of independence and plans for the next 25 years, he stressed the need to eliminate extreme poverty, reduce disparities, narrow rural-urban development gaps, revamp the education system and ramp up public health infrastructure, while building a healthy, educated, skilled and inclusive Atmanirbhar India.
The Vice President said, "Ours is an aspirational India. And the vibrant northeast region, with a population of around 45 million, has its own dreams to be realized". The North East Council can be an effective instrument to bring coherence to these dreams, strategize, plan, catalyze and coordinate the implementation in conjunction with the State governments, he added.
Terming the creation of the Council as a seminal landmark redefining the approach towards the development of the North-Eastern Region, he listed out some of its achievements, including the construction of more than 11,000 KMs of Roads; 10,340 KMs of power transmission and distribution lines and setting up of iconic institutions, among others.
Expressing his happiness over the perceptible change in the economy of the region over the past six-seven years, he said the per capita net state domestic product of all the states has grown significantly.
While there has been overall progress in the economic and human development profile, Naidu wanted the Council to focus on bridging the gaps in respect of socio-economic development and said the North-Eastern Region Social Development Goals Index, 2021-2022 released by the Niti Ayog provides clear direction in this regard. An Index is an effective tool for monitoring progress and identifying necessary interventions. The Council should analyze the data and recast its plans to address the current and emerging challenges.
Maintaining that insurgency and the attendant violence that proved to be the bane of the region for a long time is on the decline, he reiterated that peace is absolutely necessary for the fast-tracking development of the North Eastern Region.
"Dialogue is the only way forward to resolve any problem. We are one country, states should be in constant dialogue to resolve any issues", he added.
He said the youth of the region, like their counterparts in other parts of the country, is keen to write a new chapter in the history of our country. They have to be given opportunities and encouragement through concrete actions, he remarked.
Recalling that the 69th Plenary meeting of the Council held in January this year had identified two key issues of resolving inter-state border disputes and attracting private investments, the Vice President said private investment needs to be promoted through encouraging entrepreneurship, venture funds, start-ups and skill development.
Later, the Vice President attended a cultural program at Raj Bhawan, followed by an interaction with achievers in various fields from the state of Meghalaya.
Conrad Sangma, Chief Minister Of Meghalaya, G. Kishan Reddy, Minister, Ministry Of DoNER, and other dignitaries were present at the event.
(With inputs from ANI)