Shillong: In a historic address at the 71st Plenary Session of the North Eastern Council (NEC) in Shillong on January 19, Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation Amit Shah illuminated the extraordinary decade of development that the Northeast has witnessed under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
A Golden Decade Unveiled
Home Minister Shah commenced his address by highlighting the unparalleled strides made in the past ten years. Describing it as the “Golden period” for the Northeast, he underscored the multifaceted progress in infrastructure, fostering closer ties with Delhi, and a substantial reduction in long-standing ethnic, linguistic, border, and extremist challenges. “This decade will be etched in history as the most transformative in the 75 years since independence,” remarked HM Shah.
Central to this transformation has been the government’s unwavering commitment reflected in the “Act East, Act Fast, and Act First” approach, with priority given to the Northeast across all ministries. HM Shah commended the North Eastern Council for its pivotal role, serving as a policy-related platform and driving key initiatives that have significantly contributed to the region’s growth.
Highlighting NEC’s contributions, Shah detailed the remarkable achievements of over 12,000 kilometres of roads, establishment of 700 MW power plants, and the creation of institutes of national excellence. The role and scope of NEC have expanded under the Act East Policy, bringing tangible results in law and order, insurgency, and technological advancements through the North-Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC).
Fiscal Discipline and Regional Priorities
Turning attention to fiscal matters, HM Shah urged states to maintain fiscal discipline. He applauded Manipur, Assam, Nagaland, and Tripura for commendable efforts in controlling Gross Fiscal Deficit. The Union Home Minister stressed the need to create a flood-free and drug-free Northeast, advocating for strengthened water management using NESAC’s capabilities.
Criminal Justice System Advancements and Remarkable Reduction in Violence and Insurgency
Home Minister Shah announced three new laws aimed at modernising and making India’s criminal justice system the most advanced and scientific globally within three years. The commitment to keeping pace with evolving legal landscapes underscores the government’s dedication to ensuring a fair and efficient justice system.
Highlighting the achievements in maintaining peace and stability, HM Shah cited a 73 percent decline in violent incidents from 2014 to 2023. The surrender of over 8900 militants in the past five years contributed significantly to this decline, sending a strong message that peace and prosperity are interlinked for a region’s development.
The Union Home Minister detailed substantial financial allocations for Northeast development, boasting a remarkable 162 percent increase in the budget. Specific initiatives, such as the PM-DevINE initiative, received focus, with allocations of Rs. 1500 crores for 2022-23 and Rs. 6600 crores for 2025-26. HM Shah also highlighted the establishment of an Inter-ministerial task force for agriculture, the National Edible Oil Mission’s focus on palm oil, and the increase in the budget of the DoNER Ministry by 153 percent.
Amit Shah celebrated the government’s commitment to infrastructure expansion in the Northeast. Over the past ten years, Rs. 81,000 crores were invested in railways, Rs. 48,000 crores in road connectivity, and 5196 km long roads were constructed under the Bharat Mala project. The UDAN scheme facilitated the construction of eight new airports and 71 new air routes, significantly enhancing connectivity in the region.
Path to Self-Reliance
In a forward-looking vision, HM Shah envisioned a self-reliant Northeast contributing significantly to India’s journey to a 5 trillion-dollar economy by 2047. He emphasised the potential for creating employment in sectors like organic products, dairy farming, fishing, and egg production, urging the region to align its development with the nation’s larger economic goals.
The Union Home Minister Amit Shah shed light on the remarkable achievements of the past decade and also charted a course for a future where the Northeast stands as a beacon of development, self-reliance, and prosperity. As India marches towards becoming a 5 trillion-dollar economy, the Northeast, under the PM Modi government’s strategic vision, is poised to play a pivotal role in this transformative journey.