RK Ranjan cites protocol for not raising state issue
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, December 23 2023: Minister of State for external affairs Dr RK Ranjan has clarified that he was not able to speak about the conflict in Manipur due to a protocol disallowing any member of the council of ministers of NDA government from speaking on matter unrelated to their portfolio in the parliament and also the presence of many seniors above him.

The MoS was responding to questions from media persons after a special session on 'Advancing India's Act East Policy' organised by Centre for Myanmar Studies Manipur University in collaboration with Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), New Delhi at the Court Hall of Manipur University on Saturday.

Dr Ranjan said that as an MP from Manipur, he tried to bring up the state's issue during the winter session of the parliament, despite the matter being unrelated to his portfolio.

When he Submitted the agenda in writing, he was informed that other senior ministers had already brought the matter to the attention of the House and as the conflict was between two communities, he was advised not to speak on the matter.

Maintaining that the conflict was not caused by the BJP government, the minister stated that it was caused due to lack of timely intervention against influx of illegal immigrants and effective conservation of forest lands.

The BJP government only tried to preserve forest lands and drive out illegal immigrants as per the law, and never violated the law, he contended.

Regarding the special session, Dr RK Ranjan said that the north-eastern region is gifted with various natural resources.

Previously considered to be a land locked region at the time of independence, the region gained recognition as the land-linked region for Southeast Asian countries after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power and proudly called NE India as 'Asthalakshmi'.

Mentioning the goal of developing the NE states on par with the other states by 2047, he said that the National Education Policy 2020 would help reduce many challenges in the long-term.

In addition, the NE region possesses many talents apart from rich natural resources.

Releasing the book, 'Rise of the North East The Path to Prosperity, Inclusion and Sustainability' produced by RIS and published by Oxford University Press, Dr RK Ranjan said that many NETRA scholars and RIS faculties have continued immensely to the book, while mentioning NETRA's support for North Eastern Training, Research and Advocacy Foundation over the past few years.

He continued: "Prior to 2014, India's economic power ranked at the 10th place but rose to the fifth positing in the last nine years under PM Narendra Modi.

NE India contributed a total of 2.7 per cent to the country's GDP in 2018.The region also contributes around 10.3 per cent to the total handicraft cluster of India, 12.8 per cent to handloom and 1.5 per cent to the industrial cluster.

In addition, there are around 836 products which could be exported from the region to the world including the South East Asian countries.

Thus, the region needs to think seriously on how to increase its contribution and promote the same so as to help realise the target of a five trillion economy.

"In 2016-17, the total length of the roads in NE was 4,98,545 km, which has now increased by 1,27,315 km.

Around 12,000km of national highway in the eight states was developed under the Bharatmala Pariyojana.

Manipur, being a border state with Myanmar, is India's gateway to South East Asia.

As such, around 24,776 sq km of roads was constructed in 2016-17.Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland are slowly catching up to Assam with regard to construction of railways.

From 2014-2019, around 122.91 km of the major railways was constructed at a cost of Rs 21,412.8 crore.

"Under the PM's leadership, railways in the respective states must be renovated and designed with inclusion of the state's ethnic culture.

In Manipur's context, the Jiribam Railway Station was constructed with ethnic aspects.

Funds have been sanctioned to construct other railway stations including the railway station in Imphal at world class level with similar fashion, " he conveyed.

The MoS further informed that apart from renovating the infrastructures of the airports in NE region under the UDAN scheme, around Rs 1400.03 crore has been sanctioned under Swadesh Darshan scheme for taking up various projects in the region, of which around Rs 896.12 crore has already been released.

Furthermore, the DoNER minister has been requested for construction of complexes of Koubru, Marjing, Thangjing and Wangbrel under the Prashad scheme.

Meanwhile, border villages will be developed under the Vibrant-Village scheme to promote border tourism, he said, while informing that a MoU between RIS and Centre for Myanmar Studies, MU will be signed by January next year.

The MoS also released a booklet of Ministry of External Affairs, GOI, titled 'Executive Summary'.

The session was also attended by MU VC Prof N Lo-kendra and RIS, New Delhi director general Prof Sachin Chaturvedi.

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