Union Budget 2022: North East gets Rs 1500 crore new scheme

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a new mega scheme PM-DevINE for the Northeast, which will be implemented through the North-Eastern Council.

New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on Tuesday, February 1, delivered the Budget speech for fiscal 2022-23, her shortest one so far. She spoke for one hour and 30 minutes, making it the shortest among the budget speeches that go for about two hours.

She had made the longest speech at two hours and 15 minutes (135 minutes) in 2019, only to top that the next year, in 2020, to speak for over 160 minutes. Prior to her, Jaswant Singh, as Finance Minister under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had spoken for 2 hours, 15 minutes in 2003.

Ms Sitharaman also made the second paperless budget presentation, and she read the speech from a tab. She referred to Mahabharat’s ‘Shanti Parva’ as well.

In her Budget, described as an ‘inclusive Budget’ by Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, a lawmaker from Northeast, the Finance Minister announced a new scheme PM-DevINE.

To be implemented through the North-Eastern Council, the mega scheme has been allotted an initial amount of Rs 1,500 crore and has projects for all eight states, including Sikkim. The scheme will fund infrastructure, in the spirit of ‘PM GatiShakti’, and social development projects based on the felt needs of the North-East.

“This will enable livelihood activities for youth and women, filling the gaps in various sectors,” the Minister explained. However, it will not substitute existing central or state Schemes.

While the central ministries may also pose their candidate projects, priority will be given to those posed by the states, officials say.

The initial list of projects to be funded under the Scheme includes Establishment of Dedicated Services for the Management of Paediatric and Adult Haemotolymphoid Cancers in North East India, Guwahati (Multi-State). This project has been given Rs 129 crore annually.

Other projects include NECTAR Livelihood Improvement Project (Multi-State), Promoting Scientific Organic Agriculture in North East Indian (Multi-State), Construction of Aizawl By-pass on Western Side (Rs 500 crore in Mizoram).

There will be a Gap funding for Passenger Ropeway system for Pelling to Sanga-Choeling in West Sikkim and also Gap funding for Eco-friendly Ropeway (Cable Car) from Dhapper to Bhaleydhunga in South Sikkim, Pilot Project for Construction of Bamboo Link Road at Different Locations in Various Districts in Mizoram.

“This is a very good Budget. It is a very inclusive Budget…,” remarked Law Minister Rijiju, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh. He said the Budget proposals of 2022-23 take care of the interests of every section of society, including the poor, rural and border areas and the people living in the Northeast.

“The development of the North-eastern region has always been the top priority of the Modi govt,” tweeted Home Minister Amit Shah. “The announcement of the ‘PM Development Initiative’ for the Northeast will go a long way in realising PM Modi’s vision of a prosperous northeast,” he wrote.

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