'Funds for NE development almost doubled since 2014'

Budgetary allocation for development of northeastern states almost doubled in last 7 years: Kishan Reddy

Reddy said the NE states will play a crucial role to increase the output of edible oil

Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) minister G Kishan Reddy. Credit: PTI File Photo

Union Minister G Kishan Reddy on Tuesday said the Centre has almost doubled the budgetary allocation for development of the northeastern states in the last seven years with around Rs 68,000 crore having being allotted in the current fiscal.

Reddy, the minister for development of north eastern region (DoNER), said the Centre is giving a push for development of agriculture in the region to attract investments in the sector and the NE states will play a crucial role to increase the output of edible oils.

"The budgetary allocation for development of northeastern states is around Rs 68,000 crore in the 2021-22 fiscal compared to about Rs 60,000 crore in FY21. The Centre has nearly doubled the allocation in the last seven years to the region as Rs 36,000 crore was given in 2014-15," he said addressing a virtual programme- East India Summit - organised by CII.

Reddy said the NE states will play a crucial role to increase the output of edible oil. It will contribute 50 per cent of the targeted additional area of 6.5 lakh hectares for oil palm cultivation under a centrally sponsored scheme to boost domestic production of edible oils.

Also Read | Oil palm in Northeast: Threat to biodiversity?

Under the National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm (NMEO-OP), it has been proposed to cover an additional area of 6.5 lakh hectare for oil palm till 2025-26 and thereby reach the target of 10 lakh hectares.

"The contribution of the northeastern states will be 50 per cent (in the mission) as the area under oil palm cultivation will go up to 3.4 lakh hectare in the region from the existing 40,000 hectare," Reddy said. As a result of bringing in more area under cultivation, the production of crude palm oil is expected to go up to 11.20 lakh tonnes by 2025-26 and up to 28 lakh tonnes by 2029-30, he said.

The Centre has been focusing on infrastructure development of the region, including improvement of rail, road and air connectivity, the DoNER minister said. NITI Aayog chief executive officer Amitabh Kant said the east and the northeast region covers one-fifth of the country's geographical area but its contribution has been far less than one-fifth of the country's GDP.

"The primary reason for the constrained growth of the east and NE region, despite its strategic advantages in terms of location and natural resources, can largely be attributed to insufficient infrastructure," he said.

To unlock the potential of the entire region, the foremost requirement is to address the concerns of inadequate infrastructure, lack of connectivity and institutional support to improve competitiveness, he said.

It is encouraging that in 2019-20 when the entire country witnessed a slowdown due to Covid-19, Mizoram achieved a 13 per cent growth rate, followed by Tripura at 9 per cent, the official of the policy think tank said.

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