‘Vision 2020′ document for northeast finalised

May 13th, 2008 - 7:59 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Mani Shankar Aiyar

Agartala, May 13 (IANS) ‘Vision 2020′ document, an ambitious poverty alleviation programme for the northeast, was endorsed Tuesday in the plenary session of the North Eastern Council (NEC) here. “At independence, the northeastern region was among the most prosperous regions of India. Sixty years on, the region as a whole, and the states that comprise it, are lagging behind the rest of the country in the most important parameters of growth,” the vision statement said.

It was signed at the end of a two-day plenary session of NEC by eight governors, and four chief ministers, besides Mani Shankar Aiyar, union minister for the development of the north eastern region.

Terming the vision document as the ‘Aam Aadmi (common man) document’, Aiyar said Rs.13 trillion would be required to implement it.

“The ‘Vision 2020′ document was prepared after three years of uninterrupted consultations with views of 50,000 common people of the northeast and a galaxy of top experts and institutions across the country,” Aiyar, also chairman of the NEC, told newspersons.

The vision document said : “To reach all-India level of per capita income in 2020 (estimated at about Rs.78,000 at 2006-07 prices or about USD 2,000 at the prevailing exchange rate), between 2006-07 and 2019-20, gross state domestic product (GSDP) in the northeastern region would have to grow at 11.8 percent per year on an average, or at 10.5 percent in per capita.”

It said : “By 2020, people of the region would like to catch up with the rest of the country and contribute to its affluence by becoming a prosperous part of India and ensure that every family in the region receives sufficient food, clothing and shelter, and the abundant natural resources are harnessed in a sustainable manner for the welfare of the people.”

The vision text said the central master plan for road connectivity in the region should be completed by 2015 and sub-divisional headquarters should be connected through all-weather roads and national highways must be upgraded to four lanes.

It also emphasised that projects under construction must be completed by 2010 and more trains must be introduced to the region. A detailed plan is required for connecting all state capitals in the region with a broad-gauge rail line by 2020.

An important component of the people’s Vision 2020 is to achieve a high level of human development, particularly education and health.

“Much of the requisite investment will have to come from the private sector and the government would have to create the enabling environment for private initiative in economic activities,” the vision document added.

“The literacy rate is high in the region, but this has not translated into employability in productive occupations.”

The vision statement suggested setting up a branch secretariat of the ministry of external affairs in the region to step up diplomatic initiatives and to resolve outstanding issues and promoting good relations with countries neighbouring northeast India.

Aiyar said: “Northeast India perspective ‘Look East’ policy is crucial for improving our relations with the neighbouring countries for the all round benefit of the northeastern region.”

According to him, the preparation for ‘Vision 2020′ document was started in April 2005 and it would be submitted to the prime minister soon for final approval.

“As the region has been dependent on agriculture and allied sectors, it is only through a ‘green revolution’ that the region’s poverty can be solved,” the vision statement stated.

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