Poverty, illiteracy, unemployment should be eradicated: Sarkar

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New Delhi, Dec 19 (UNI) Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said mass poverty, malnutritation, illiteracy and unemployment are the major hurdles for the upliftment and development of the rural masses and the urban poor.

He was speaking at the 54th National Development Council (NDC) meet here.

Mr Sarkar said, ''Until and unless we are able to address the problems and remove the hurdles for the upliftment and development of the rural masses and the urban poor in a permanent manner, we cannot rightfully claim that our planning has yielded full dividends.'' He said land reforms, as a tool for productive use of an economic asset, should be given the highest priority with the aim of providing this asset to the actual tillers instead of further concentration of lands in fewer hands in the name of corporatisation.

''It is high time for us to ensure effectively the protection of rights of the tribal people living in forest areas. It is therefore, quite imperative that the law be implemented at the earliest in the interest of the tribal and traditional forest dwelling people,'' he added.

The Chief Minister said the Center will have to take a leading role to ensure sufficient public funding. The Private-Public Participation(PPP) and Built Owned and Transfer (BOT) models be encouraged for the development of infrastructure in the State and in the North Eastern Region(NER).

He said the foreign funding could be encouraged without compromising on the national interest. In fact, foreign funding is finding its way even into some strategic and sensitive areas, which in the long run will have an impact upon our national interest and sovereignty. Therefore, there should be a carefully thought out process for permitting the entry of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and foreign funding.

''The present system of red tapism may be removed at any cost.

Decision making, approvals and clearance of projects and proposals of states including release of funds should be done within the quickest possible time-frame,'' he said.

He added that in the fast changing situation, there is an urgent need for the review of the Centre-State relations.

UNI

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