TODAY -

Decisive Governance A New Paradigm That is Transforming the North East

Raju Bista *

 Map of NE



The eight North-Eastern states of India have a glorious history and diverse ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage. Rich in human capital, natural resources, biodiversity, and beautiful landscapes, each state has the potential to become hubs of international trade, tourism and are poised for sustainable development.

However, for nearly six decades after Independence, the region was relegated to the sidelines. Citing disturbances and unrests, the Governments under Congress displayed an utter lack of interest and failure to comprehend vital issues of the region. An indifferent government in Delhi tried to brush off all North-East-related issues under the carpet, while the people suffered widespread corruption, unemployment, lack of peace, and a general state of backwardness.

This led to generations of our youth becoming disillusioned and disenchanted with the system, and some even resorted to picking up arms to have their voice heard.

I grew up in a small village, Charhajare in Manipur during the tumultuous decades of the 80s and 90s, when insurgency, violence, and political unrests were at their peak. Development seemed a distant dream, people lacked avenues for exposure, and rarely would a youth like myself get an opportunity to prove our mettle.

But all that changed with Hon'ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji taking over the reins of the nation. He came with a vision of transforming India, and North-East India was again placed at the forefront of India's development priorities.

Focus North East

Immediately after coming to power, PM Modi instructed all Union Ministers to visit one North-East state every fortnight to ensure that the North-east region is better integrated with our national policies and priorities. PM Modi has himself visited North-East states several times each year. The frequent visits of the Union Ministers have helped in bridging the gap of understanding between policymakers and the problems faced by the people.

Under PM Modi, the government has brought Delhi much closer to the people of North-East in terms of governance, policies, and provisioning of various government services. Today, the people of the North East, feel emotionally connected to the rest of India.

Witnessing Transformation

Since 2014, North East India has undergone a massive transformation in the grassroots, thanks to PM Modi's initiative of changing the "Look East Policy" into "Act East Policy.

To develop road infrastructure, the government is investing over Rs. 80,007 crores under the Special Accelerated Road Development Program in Northeast (SARDP-NE), and an additional Rs 30,000 crores under the Bharatmala project. Similarly, Indian Railways is spending Rs 74,485 crores to improve the railway network in the region and will connect every state capital in NE to the national railway grid.

In Assam, the construction of Bogibeel Bridge, India's longest railroad, highlights the focus and determination of our government to improve connectivity in the North-East. The construction inaugurated by Atal Ji (in 2002) was completed under the government of Narendra Modi Ji (in 2018), more than a decade and a half later. Congress despite being in power for two terms did nothing to get the critical project completed.

A total of Rs 68,020 crores has been allocated in the budget (FY 2021-22) for the North-East region to ensure better air connectivity, health care services, drinking water, housing, and creating more opportunities for the youths. Over Rs 8500 crores have been allocated towards improving education facilities alone.

The focus of the government at the highest level has dramatically changed the infrastructure services across the North-East. Better infrastructure is also helping promote entrepreneurship among the youths and to generate employment opportunities locally. The region, which suffered a substantial 'brain drain' due to lack of facilities, is finally able to convince its youths to stay back and contribute to the economy. But all of this pale, in comparison with the unprecedented level of peace the region has witnessed under PM Narendra Modi Ji's leadership.

"Decisive Governance" in Action

The hallmark of PM Modi's leadership is "Decisive Governance", which has resulted in a paradigm shift in how the government approaches issues confronting our nation. The Central Government has worked decisively with a sense of purpose and a rare clarity of vision to usher in peace, prosperity, and progress in the North-East region.

In 2015, our government signed the historic 'Naga Peace Accord' with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) after 80 rounds of talks. This Accord brought an end to one of the longstanding political strife and armed insurgency in the country. Recently, another ceasefire pact was signed with the Niki Sumi-led Khaplang faction of the NSCN (K). Further, the government is working towards a final peace deal with all the Naga Nationalist Political Groups (NNPGs).

The 2020 "Bodo Peace Accord" with factions of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), All Bodo Students Union (ABSU), and other stakeholders have brought peace in the lower Assam region.

The long-pending issues of the Bru-Reang people who were living as Internally Displaced People (IDPs) have been resolved in both Tripura and Mizoram, due to sustained efforts by the Modi government.

The recent "Karbi-Anglong Peace Accord" ended a three-decades-old political issue in the Karbi-Anglong district of Assam.

The Government of India under the visionary leadership of PM Modi continues to work towards ensuring a peaceful North East, where all people, of all ethnicity, language, and culture can live together in peace and harmony, and thrive.

Hopeful Future

It was people's unshakable faith and trust in Modi Ji which made it possible for a Gorkha youth from a remote village in Manipur to get an opportunity to represent the prestigious Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat.

As other contentious issues concerning North-East India are resolved, there is much excitement and hope in our Darjeeling hills, Terai, and Dooars region too, where people have firmly stood behind PM Modi Ji and awaited the Permanent Political Solution to the long-pending political issues confronting our region.

There is hope finally, that after decades of strife and heartbreak, the people of the Darjeeling region too will be able to lead their lives with dignity and respect.


* Raju Bista wrote this article for e-pao.net
Raju Bista is the Member of Parliament from Darjeeling and BJP National Spokesperson.
The writer can be contacted at rajubistabjp(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on September 29 2021.



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