Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla proposes special action plan for Northeast

ITANAGAR: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Thursday emphasized the need to prepare an action plan for diverse Northeastern States to address their challenges and achieve sustainable development.

The multiplicity of topographical features, and tribal communities, are significant challenges which, however, is offset by the multifarious strengths of the North-East, he pointed out. Highlighting its strengths, the Speaker said the diligence, hardworking ethos, and talent of the people of the region can be harnessed to overcome the challenges.

The Lok Sabha Speaker was addressing the inaugural ceremony of the two-day conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, India Region Zone III, at the State Assembly here.

Noting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken several steps for the development of the region, Birla said there are still many gaps in the field of infrastructure, education, health, security and connectivity due to various reasons, which need to be addressed.

The Speaker said that the Centre has made continuous efforts for all-round development of the North-East through the Act East Policy and the Prime Minister has instructed all the Ministries to spend ten per cent of their budget for the North-East.

“We have to consider how to formulate developmental schemes for the region with public participation and cooperation while protecting its ethnic heritage, environment, and natural resources so that employment is generated and prosperity can be ensured,” he observed.

There will be no dissatisfaction among people if the Government takes into account their views while making policies and governs accordingly to their aspirations, the Speaker stressed.

In the last couple of years, work is going on at a rapid pace in the areas of power, water supply, health education, tourism, and connectivity, which will usher in a new era of development and prosperity for the people, Birla added.

Pointing out that there is a surge in the demand for organic farming and products in the agriculture sector all over the world, the Speaker said the Government has to convince people to increase the production of organic crops and develop an appropriate marketing system to export the products.

The North-East has been affected by extremism and terrorism for a long time. The more we nurture democratic ethos, involve people in the democratic process, make action plans for development as per their aspirations, the more we will be able to move away from insurgency, Birla said.

The Central and State Governments are working together for the development of the region with more public participation and people are now convinced that extremism is not the solution to any problem, Birla said.

Geographically and ethnically, the region is unique but with significant commonalities, the Lok Sabha Speaker said, adding that the action plan for all-round development of the North-East should, therefore, be prepared keeping in mind the commonalities and differences.

“It is commonly believed that culture and development cannot go together. But we have to prove this belief wrong. Let us move forward and also preserve our culture at the same time. We cannot afford to compromise with development nor with the rich culture of the region,” he added.

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