Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday underscored the need to focus on eight pillars of Lakshmi (wealth), peace, power, tourism, 5G connectivity, culture, natural farming, sports and potential, for further development of the eight Northeastern states.
Addressing a meeting of North Eastern Council (NEC) in Shillong, Modi said that the Government has gone beyond conversion of ‘Look East’ policy to ‘Act East’, and now its policy is ‘Act Fast for Northeast’ and ‘Act First for Northeast’.
The meeting marks the golden jubilee celebration of the NEC. It was formally inaugurated in 1972.
Hailing the contribution of NEC in the development of the Northeastern region, the Prime Minister said that the region is the gateway to Southeast Asia and can become a centre for development of the entire region.
“And to realise this potential of the region, work is going on the projects like Indian-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and Agartala-Akhaura rail project,” the Prime Minister said.
Highlighting the success of peace initiatives in the region, he said that many peace agreements have been signed, inter-state boundary agreements have been done and there has been a marked reduction in instances of extremism.
Discussing India’s commitment towards net zero, the Prime Minister said that the Northeast can become a powerhouse of hydropower.
This it said, will make the states of the region power surplus, help in expansion of industries and generate a large number of jobs.
Discussing the tourism potential of the region, the Prime Minister said that both culture and nature of the region are attracting tourists from across the world.
He added that tourism circuits are being identified and developed in the region also.
Talking about boosting connectivity in the region, the Prime Minister said that iconic bridge projects which were pending since several decades have now been completed.
In the last eight years, number of airports in the region has jumped from nine to 16, and the number of flights have increased from about 900 before 2014 to around 1,900.
Many Northeastern states have come to railway map for the first time and efforts are being made to expand the waterways also. The length of national highways has increased by 50 per cent since 2014 in the region.
He said that with the launch of the PM-DevINE scheme, the infrastructure projects in the Northeast have gained more momentum.
He added that the government is also working on improving digital connectivity in the Northeast by increasing the optical fibre network.
Talking about development of 5G infrastructure, he said that it will help further development of startup ecosystem, service sector among others in the region.