Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North East Region (PM-DevINE)

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    • The Union Cabinet has recently approved the Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for the North East Region (PM-DevINE).

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    • About:
      • Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North East Region (PM-DevINE) is a new scheme for the Northeastern states which was announced in the Union Budget. 
      • The scheme will be operational for the remaining four years of the 15th Finance Commission, from 2022-23 to 2025-26, and will have an outlay of Rs 6,600 crore.
    • PM-DevINE will target: 
      • The creation of infrastructure, 
      • Support industries, 
      • Social development projects and 
      • Create livelihood activities for the youth and women, with a focus on job creation. 
      • These projects will include basic infrastructure in all primary healthcare centres and government schools.
    • Funding and implementation:
      • It is a central sector scheme with 100% central funding.
      • PM-DevINE will be implemented by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), through the North Eastern Council or central ministries and agencies.
    • Time constraints:
      • Efforts will be made to complete the PM-DevINE projects by 2025-26 so that there are no committed liabilities beyond this year.
    • Significance of bringing the scheme:
      • The parameters of N-E states in respect of Basic Minimum Services (BMS) are well below the national average and there are critical development gaps as per the NER District Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Index 2021-22 prepared by NITI Aayog, UNDP and MDoNER.

    Northeast India

    • Northeast Region or The ‘seven sisters’ of Northeast India comprise Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura.
    • Sikkim is also a part of the Northeast but is not included in the Seven Sisters because while the other seven states are contiguous, Sikkim is sort of a neighbour, divided by the Siliguri Corridor.
    • Sikkim is also referred to as the ‘Brother’ of the Seven Sisters. 

    Challenges to the Development of the NER

    • Difficult Terrain: 
      • North Eastern Region is majorly a mountainous region, except the state of Assam, which has plains as a major part of its area. This makes it difficult for the government schemes to be implemented in the area, because of the problem of access to the remote areas.
    • Backward Areas: 
      • Unlike the mainland, people of the North East Region are still content with a simple lifestyle and lack of technology in their day-to-day lives. The standard of living continues to be low, due to the absence of high-income generation opportunities. 
      • For e.g., the farmers practice primitive methods of agriculture, with the tribals still practising Shifting agriculture in the country.
    • Connectivity: 
      • As stated above, the North Eastern Region is a landlocked region. Therefore, it has limited access to the sea. Similarly, it has a difficult terrain that renders expressways and wider roads infeasible. 
      • This is complicated by the absence of railway infrastructure in the region.
    • Lack of Physical and Social Infrastructure: 
      • NER has complained of step motherly treatment from the mainland, especially in the context of development projects in the region. 
    • Insurgencies: 
      • One of the major regions for the lack of development in the region is the lack of political and social stability in the country. The artificial boundaries of the British legacy have not been fully accepted by the tribal communities of the region, which is compounded by political opportunism.
        • The region is still caught in the vicious circle of violence due to political reasons and the diversion of youth towards the insurgent groups, which leads to a lack of skill enhancement and consequent lack of opportunity.

    Government initiatives for the development of NER

    • North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS): 
      • The aim of the scheme is to enhance the physical infrastructure related to power, connectivity and water supply, and social infrastructure in the form of health infrastructure. It is a Central Sector Scheme.
    • Northeast Desk: 
      • Under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, a dedicated Northeast Desk has been set up within Invest India,  which supports the Northeast  States in their outreach activities to the investors as well as in facilitating and handholding select companies.  
    • NITI Forum for North East:
      • In collaboration with the NITI Aayog, the ‘NITI Forum for North East’ constituted for accelerated, inclusive and sustainable development in the North East Region has identified 5 focus sectors, viz. Tea, Tourism, Bamboo, Dairy and Pisciculture.
    • Mission Organic Value Chain Development (MOVCD-NER): 
      • The program has been implemented in the North-Eastern states since 2017. The aim of the mission is to promote organic farming in the region. It seeks to replace traditional subsistence farming with a cluster-based approach. 
    • Sub Mission on Seeds and Planting Material (SMSP): 
      • It aims to increase the availability of seeds of the High Yielding Varieties of crops. The overall objective is to double farmers’ income by 2022, as envisioned by the Government. The scheme is run alongside other support programs like Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), integrated farming systems etc.
    • Connectivity Projects: 
      • To create alternate routes to the region and decrease its dependence on the Chicken’s Neck, the Indian government has planned additional routes through South East Asia like Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Project, Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Corridor, etc.
      • India’s Look-East connectivity projects connect Northeast India to East Asia and ASEAN.
    • Creation of separate ministry for the region:
      • The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region is a Government of India ministry, established in September 2001.
      • It functions as the nodal Department of the Central Government to deal with matters related to the socio-economic development of the eight States of Northeast India.

    Source: BS