Ministry of Information & Broadcasting
Northeast – Ashta Lakshmi of India
Posted On: 09 MAY 2023 11:03AM
For years, the Northeast region of India faced numerous challenges - poor infrastructure, limited connectivity, lack of employment opportunities, slow economic growth, and more. However, over the last nine years, the Government of India has made significant efforts to transform this. From improving healthcare facilities to promoting tourism, empowering the people, and enhancing security, there have been a number of positive changes in the region that have brought hope and prosperity to its people.
One of the most significant developments in the Northeast region is the improvement of connectivity. The completion of long-pending infrastructure projects like the Bogibeel Bridge and Dhola Sadiya Bridge over the Brahmaputra, the ongoing construction of the world’s tallest Girder rail bridge on the Imphal-Jiribam line, the record length of roads constructed, and the resurgence of waterways transport have all boosted the economic and business potential of the region, making it a testimony of revolutionary connectivity that was long aspired by the people. Additionally, several new airports have been constructed in the region, including the Pakyong Airport, which is the first airport of Sikkim. A total of 8 airports have been added to the region in the last 9 years taking the total number of airports to 17.
The improvement of connectivity has also helped in providing quality healthcare services to the remotest parts of the region. Policy initiatives and healthcare schemes have brought about a significant change in the healthcare scenario in the region. The implementation of the Ayushman Bharat scheme has benefitted people of the Northeast who were previously unable to access basic healthcare services. More than 17 million people in the Northeast have been covered under the scheme, and this number continues to grow. Previously, people in the Northeast had to travel long distances to big cities in search of better healthcare facilities. The initiatives of the government have brought a sense of comfort to the people, knowing that they can receive timely medical attention.
The central government in its multi-pronged efforts to develop the Northeast has announced several policies and schemes. The Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North East Region (PM-DevINE) Scheme was announced in 2022 with a total outlay of Rs. 6,600 crores for four years from 2022-23 to 2025-26 with the aim to fund infrastructure and support social development projects along with facilitating livelihood activities for youth and women.
Other noteworthy schemes include the Northeast Industrial Development Scheme and the North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS), which aims to promote industrial growth and support infrastructure projects relating to water supply, power, and connectivity in the tourism sector in the NER. A total of 145 projects have been approved/sanctioned for a total cost of Rs.3392.98 crore under NESIDS since its inception in 2017.
The Northeastern region has almost 40% of the country's total hydro potential. Despite such huge potential, the region ranks lowest in the country in terms of per capita energy consumption. With the continual improvement of infrastructure and communication facilities, the Northeast region stands to become the Power House of India by utilizing its power potential. A number of hydropower plants have been commissioned in the Northeast over the last 9 years. Implementation of these projects will have a multiplier effect on the overall socio-economic development of the region by providing direct employment and livelihood opportunities to the people of the region. It will also aid in indirect employment/entrepreneurial opportunities in the field of transportation, tourism, and other small-scale businesses.
Looking at the region’s scenic beauty, the government has focused on promoting tourism in the Northeast by developing new tourist destinations and improving tourism infrastructure. This has led to increased economic activity in the region, improving people’s quality of life in the Northeast. The government has launched various schemes and programs, such as the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, which aims to provide clean sanitation facilities by providing access to toilets to all rural households. All the villages in the Northeast are now open defecation free.
But perhaps the most significant change that the Northeast region has witnessed is in terms of security. Due to the effective steps taken by the Central Government, there has been a significant improvement in the security situation as well. The government has signed several peace accords and launched multiple operations against militant groups. Compared to the year 2014, there is a reduction of 76% in extremist incidents in the year 2022. Similarly, the deaths of security personnel and civilians have come down by 90% and 97% respectively during this period.
The government's commitment to the Northeast region has been lauded by people from all corners of the Northeast. In a region that has been neglected for far too long, the people of the Northeast have now found a new sense of hope and optimism. While there is still much to be done, the Northeast is on the right path, and the government's efforts have set the region on a course of growth and development.
(Features ID: 151443)