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Union Cabinet approves projects to boost development in Northeast

By PTI
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    New Delhi, Mar 28: To give a boost to the development in the northeast, the government on Wednesday approved projects, including the continuation of several existing schemes, up to March 2020. A meeting of the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also gave its nod to the North Eastern Council's special development project a central sector scheme with 100 per cent grant from the central government, an official release said.

    File photo of a cabinet meeting

    The projects under the existing schemes of NEC, Non-lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR-Central) and North-East Road Sector Development Scheme (NERSDS) will accrue socio-economic benefits to the people of the northeast, enhancing their capabilities and livelihood, it said.

    Presently, a major chunk of projects (599 out of 840) with 72.12 per cent approved cost (Rs 5375.12 crore out of total Rs 7453.02 crore) and 66 per cent of pending liabilities (Rs 1518.64 crore out of Rs 2299.72 crore) for all ongoing projects is funded through the Schemes of NEC- Special Development Project.

    Under it, funds for selected projects are shared between the Centre and the state on 90:10 basis and the execution of work is done by the respective state governments. Apart from this, some funds are provided, both revenue and capital, on 100 per cent central funding basis, implemented through state and central agencies. The Scheme of NEC - Special Development Project will be changed to be a central sector scheme with 100 per cent grant, instead of the earlier block grant on 90:10 basis. The remaining component will continue to be funded on 100 per cent central funding basis as at present.

    Apart from the above, the NEC is also implementing North Eastern Road Sector Development Scheme - Programme Component for upgradation of the important and strategic inter-state roads. Transferred from DONER to the NEC for implementation, the scheme is 100 per cent centrally funded. A sum of Rs 1,000 crore has been allocated under the scheme, the release said. Another scheme, Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources-Central [NLCPR (Central)], presently funded by M/o DoNER, provides resources to the concerned line ministries/their agencies for projects like Agartala-Akhaura Rail Link, checking erosion in Majuli Island.

    This scheme will also be transferred to the NEC for implementation. Previously, there was no fixed arrangement for distributing the funds into the state or central component. Now, the total funds available to the NEC are proposed to be bifurcated in two components (state component 60 per cent and central 40 per cent). The state component would be utilised for the projects in each state as per their share on normative allocation basis. For the central component, the projects having regional character, requiring inter-ministerial intervention are to be taken up.

    The priority sectors have been identified such as bamboo; piggery; regional tourism; higher education, tertiary healthcare and special intervention in backward areas; livelihood project; science & technology interventions in NER; survey and investigation and NER promotion. By the above, a clear apportionment or division of sectors is ensured between DoNER and NEC to avoid duplication, it said.

    In order to give tourism a boost in the region, amongst other things, the outstanding liabilities in the sector under Product Infrastructure Development for Destinations and Circuits (PIDDC) may also be addressed.

    A mechanism on the pattern of Standing Finance Committee (SFC) with representatives from the concerned line ministries and from the Ministry of DoNER would be constituted under the chairmanship of secretary, NEC for approval of the projects costing between Rs 5-15 crore. This is aimed at bringing synergy with programmes of other Union ministries and avoiding of duplication through the process of the SFC, the release said.

    PTI

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