The North-East India is a land of natural wonders and cultural exuberance. However, it remained a non-entity in the policy circles till the government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the region a focal point of its development agenda.
The all-round development of the North-East India is hinged on India expanding its diplomatic and strategic ties with countries of the Asia-Pacific Region under its Act East policy. From building cultural ties and people to people contact to emboldening India’s defence apparatus along the Eastern borders through military cooperation with the bordering nations, the new foreign outreach aims to fully utilise the region’s potential as “the Gateway of South East Asia”.
An often-cited hurdle in development matrix of the North-East region was lack of connectivity within the region as well as with rest of the country and the world. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emphasised on fast pacing of the infrastructural growth to leading to seamless integration of the region through railways, aviation, highways, waterways and i-ways.
The recently inaugurated Dhola-Sadiya Bridge, named after legendary musician, lyricist and poet, Bhupen Hazarika, on Brahmaputra in Assam, is the longest bridge in India. A long overdue project, the construction of the bridge received a boost with the arrival of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the centre in 2014. Commissioned in the year 2011, the bridge ran into cost overruns causing delays. The new government accelerated its construction process making it a priority and finished the project within a span of two-three years.
One of the most diverse regions in the world, the seven sister states have been a melting point of many communities and cultures since time immemorial. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis on cleanliness and connectivity coupled with region’s enchanting landscapes, diverse flora and fauna and colourful heritage would be instrumental in transforming the North-Eastern India into the tourism hub of Asia.
During his visits, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ensures that the cultural significance of the region is highlighted. He inaugurated Nagaland’s 'Hornbill Festival' and Manipur’s 'Sangai Festival' creating awareness about the region and showcasing its cultural diversity.
The objective of balanced development in the North-East India at par with the rest of the country, entails not only infrastructural growth but also focuses on enhancing agricultural productivity of the region. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for an evergreen revolution in line with the Green Revolution, with North East region leading the movement.
The Union government aims to make organic and sustainable farming central to North East’s agricultural growth, emphasizing on modernisation of agricultural sector, food processing, agricultural research and other backhand services with a view to double farmers’ income by 2022.
From lying at the periphery of development, North East is turning into a force to reckon with in its own right, owing to determined government action to remove administrative, infrastructural as well as security impediments in region’s progress. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s regular visits to the region, the growth process has acquired an accelerated momentum.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is working towards consolidating efforts from all quarters to provide more opportunities of livelihood, entrepreneurship, venture funds, start-ups and skill development available to the people of the North-East India and ensure that the region walks shoulder to shoulder with rest of the nation.
Keeping in mind the highest ideals of cooperative federalism, each State that constitute the region of North East India, is being provided with a compassionate and nurturing leadership at the Centre which believes in development by the people, for the people and of the people. In pursuance of that objective Prime Minister Narendra Modi has opened all channels of communication with the State governments and has instructed Central ministers to give special attention to the issues concerning the North East.
In the past three years, the Central government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dispelled the misperception about the north-eastern regions being “disturbed areas” setting them on the course of permanent development.
The Prime Minister himself has been making efforts to strengthen the engagement and dialogue process with various stakeholders within the region, ensuring that the people of the north-east are duly assimilated as well as made leaders in India’s growth trajectory.
Northeast is the 'Ashta Lakshmi' of India. Railways, highways, airways, waterways and i-ways are the 'Panch Tatvas' essential for enhancing connectivity. Government is working towards ensuring welfare of the people in the Northeast through these five elements.
-Prime Minister Narendra Modi
(At Gogamukh in Assam, 26th May 2017)