Shillong, July 9: The security situation in North East has "improved drastically" during the four years of NDA government, with insurgency-related incidents coming down by 85 per cent as compared to the 90s, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.
The government is giving special attention to the internal security in the region, Singh said, addressing the 67th plenary session of the North Eastern Council (NEC) here. He stressed on the need for a forum to address inter-state and security-related issues, including boundary disputes, narcotics and arms trafficking, and common approaches for tackling terrorism and militancy in the region.
"During the last four years of NDA government the security situation has drastically improved. When compared to the '90s, the insurgency related incidents have declined 85 per cent. There is 96 percent reduction in civilian and security forces casualties," he said.
"Today, Tripura and Mizoram are completely free from insurgency and there is tremendous improvement in (the security situation) in other northeastern states as well", he said. Due to marked improvement in security situation, AFSPA ( The Armed Forces Special Power Act) has been completely lifted from Meghalaya and its coverage area in Arunachal Pradesh has been reduced," he said.
Private investments and economic activity will not flourish in the absence of peace and normalcy, he said, adding in the absence of a forum, the DoNER ministry was focusing on coordinating in development matters. The home ministry, on the other hand, is primarily concentrating on the security-related issues in the region, he added.
The NEC can provide a common forum for discussing various issues including those related to development in a comprehensive manner in the presence of top functionaries of the DoNER and MHA ministries, the union minister said. Besides being highly dependent on monsoon, the region suffers from lack of adequate corporate funding, fragmented land holdings and difficult terrain for agriculture, he said. The NDA Government is committed to doubling farmers income by 2022 and for this has increased the budgetary allocation of agriculture and farmer welfare ministry in the 2018-19 budget to Rs 58,080 crore from Rs 51,576 crore in 2017-18, he said. To achieve this, the government is encouraging the adoption of the seven-point strategy suggested by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Singh said.
Promotion of value addition through food processing and focus on allied activities such as dairy-animal husbandry, poultry, bee-keeping, horticulture and fisheries are particularly relevant to the NE region, Singh said. The North East Industrial Development Scheme, 2017, with its outlay of Rs 3,000 crore will promote industrialisation in the region and boost employment and income generation, the home minister said. He assured the centre will provide necessary allocations for the remaining period of the scheme after assessment before March 2020.
Singh asked the NEC to formulate strategies to transform the 14 identified districts of the region as models under the prime ministers 'Transformation of Aspirational Districts' programme. He also asked them to deliberate on ways through which the region's potential for start-ups could be tapped. Elaborating on the Centre's efforts for the development of the region, he said the DoNER ministry had recently launched the North East Venture Capital Fund through the North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Limited with a corpus of Rs 100 crore which the NE entrepreneurs can access. "There are ample opportunities for the region's youth to take up economic activities in tourism, waste management, medial healthcare, handloom and handicrafts, and agro products, he added.