The Rise of North East
In the last eight years, the Northeast has seen unprecedented growth, and no one can claim that it is lagging behind other states. Except for the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, all governments prior to 2014 ignored the Northeast.
People in the northeast felt humiliated and isolated from the rest of India. This resulted in an increase in naxalism and insurgent groups, causing unrest throughout the region. Christians took advantage of the situation and converted a large number of people. People felt connected to organisations such as RSS and some spiritual organisations because they continued to work on the ground even in the worst of conditions to benefit the people.
China’s dirty plan to take over a large portion of the Northeast was thwarted thanks to the work of RSS Swayamsevaks, Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s strong focus on the region, and the last eight years of unprecedented development with a sense of belonging and respect for great culture and heritage. We can easily see the connection with enthusiasm and belonging with the rest of India over the last eight years.
The rise of the Northeast dampens religious conversion forces’ and the Chinese government’s enthusiasm.
PM Modi frequently refers to the eight Northeastern states as Ashta Lakshmi (eight manifestations of Mahalakshmi). Many people are unaware that 54 Ministries/ Departments of the Central Government are now required to spend at least 10% of their budget in the North Eastern Region. In terms of North East India, one of the main failings of Congress governments has been the failure to invest in infrastructure development in the region. For decades, infrastructure development in the Northeast had been marked by repeated delays, abysmally poor work quality, and institutional corruption, and a lack of proper infrastructure had remained one of the main impediments to regional and national integration.
Since 2014, the following steps have altered the socioeconomic landscape of North East India:
The Prime Minister inaugurated India’s longest rail and road bridge, the 4.94 km Bogibeel Bridge, in 2018.
It took PM Modi administration at the Centre to provide railway access to the region. The government has committed to laying 900 km of broad gauge track in the region. The long-awaited railway access to the region was provided by the 88-kilometer Dhansiri-Kohima railway track, which connected Kohima to the national railway network alongside the Rajdhani Express and Tripura Sundari Express.
PM Narendra Modi’s “Transf-ormation by Transportation” policy included projects for over 3,800 km of national highways and investments of Rs. 60,000 crore under the Special Accelerated Road Development and Rs. 30,000 crore under Bharatmala project.
In the last five years, there has been a concerted effort to connect the terrain via air. Some of the projects undertaken by the Modi Government to ensure the region has adequate gateways to the rest of India include the establishment of an aviation manpower training institute, the development of Rupsi airport, and the expansion of the air facility at Dimapur.
Mary Kom, one of India’s most talented athletes, was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2016. This was a source of pride not only for Manipur but for the entire region. The central leadership’s commitment to developing sports talent is reflected in the establishment of the first National Sports University in Manipur.
The lifting of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from some areas of the region, peace treaties with various insurgent groups, a 74% reduction in insurgency-related incidents, a 60% reduction in security force casualties, the commissioning of 23 new air routes, the country’s longest rail-cum-road bridge Bogibeel, the AIIMS at Guwahati, the National Sports University in Manipur, and bamboo technology parks in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
The government made one of the ground-breaking policy announcements.
The government reclassified bamboo from tree to grass in one of the ground-breaking policy announcements. Bamboo is important to the economy of the North East, and this policy will help the regional economy because transportation of trees is restricted.
The best national film award went to Rima Das’s film Village Rockstars. Recognition and rewards like these inspire young talent in the region and debunk the myth that the North East has a limited future due to the tyranny of distance.
Under the North East Region Textile Promotion Scheme, Arunachal Pradesh launched an integrated large-scale Eri farming (NERTPS). The NERTPS has announced financial assistance for 4000 beneficiaries, as well as skill training for Eri silk farmers and weavers.
The Vidyajyoti Schools Project Mission 100 aims to improve the quality of education in Tripura by converting 100 existing high/high secondary schools to Vidyajyoti Schools with state-of-the-art facilities and quality education. The project, which will cover approximately 1.2 lakh students from Nursery to Class 12, will cost approximately Rs 500 crores over the next three years.
In 2014-15, the yearly budget allocation for the development of NE states was Rs 24,819.18 crores; by 2021-22, it had risen to 70,874.32 crores, a 285% increase in just eight years.
The government led by Prime Minister Modi has not only outlined a development vision for the North East, but it has also provided adequate financial resources to make that vision a reality. Over the last eight years, the government has allocated over Rs 336,640.97 crores for the development of the Northeast Region, which has significantly boosted the regional economy and connectivity.
Regional policies were reinforced and revitalised at the national level with the BJP in charge. It increased the region’s visibility and recognition in the political, social, and cultural spheres, ultimately making the region more secure and bringing it closer to the rest of the nation. With an increasing number of food parks, textile industries, and information technology, the North East has the potential to be the trade link between India and South East Asia in the coming years, emerging as a new normal.
The region is now in a “transformational mode,” thanks to PM Modi’s transformation of the “look east” policy into the “act east” policy, which combines development and peace initiatives. A “colourful, beautiful, and peaceful” Northeast awaits visitors and investors from across the country.
By Pankaj Jagannath Jayswal