(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
August 01, 2010
SARKAR AT NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL
North East Need Special Packages To Develop
I AM happy to
be here in
this august gathering of the 55th National Development Council meeting
consider the mid-term appraisal of the eleventh plan and other
the plan affords an opportunity to reflect upon the achievements of
development in more than five decades. The dream of transforming
On the one
hand, we have a
vibrant economy in some urban areas, but on the other hand a majority
population living in the rural areas, is dependent for their
agriculture and are denied access to some of the basic minimum needs of
housing, safe drinking water, health, sanitation and education. A large
of our population is below poverty line. Rising unemployment is
problems of the rural and urban poor are addressed in a sustainable
country cannot claim success of the planned development. Therefore, I
this house that the basic approach to our plan should be one of finding
solutions to meet the most important challenges of mass poverty,
illiteracy, unemployment and widening disparities.
in villages. The population living below poverty level with very
need to be empowered economically for their development. Our planned
development need not be unduly linked to globalisation and
the country has enough strength and resilience to provide necessary
sustainable growth. It is necessary that the most productive resource,
land, is properly utilised. Land reforms, as a tool for equitable
and productive use of an economic asset, should be given the highest
with the aim of providing land to the actual tillers instead of
in fewer hands in the name of corporatisation of agriculture. It is
providing the security of tenure to the actual tillers that proper
of the productive capacity of land can be achieved. This will give
purchasing capacity to the rural population and consequently deepen and
strengthen our internal markets with positive spin off effect of
industrialisation and generation of employment opportunities.
context of land
reforms, I must point out that it is high time for us to ensure
protection of rights of the tribal people living in forest areas. As
provision of the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers
of Forest Rights) Act 2006, forest rights by way of pattas
have already been vested to 1,16,109 families in Tripura.
There is, however, no specific scheme of assistance for enabling the
of pattas to gainfully utilise the
land for their economic development. A special programme for land
and livelihood support should be formulated by the government of
It may not be
context to mention here that more than 33000 applicants are there in
who are non-tribals, but traditional forest dwellers and really poorest
poor and who have become part of the forest ecosystem, but failed to
three generations documents and therefore deprived of the right of patta. This inconsistency in the Act
needs to be removed in order to do justice to the non-tribal, but
forest dwellers at the earliest.
Acquisition Act is outdated and needs to be amended to protect the
the small landowners and to stop indiscriminate use particularly in the
of large-scale unrest against acquisition of private land for the
corporate sector in the name of special economic zones.
government to check rising prices particularly in the prices of
essential commodities is a matter of grave concern. Prices of cereals,
vegetables and milk continue to rise. The central government cannot
responsibility by shifting the blame to the state governments as the
has largely been a product of the policies of the central government.
recent decontrol of petroleum products would further push up prices of
essential commodities putting a heavy burden on the wage earners and
people further alienating them. The central government should revisit
reverse these policies. The state governments need to be empowered by
of the Essential Commodities Act and fuel prices should be regulated so
to leave the common people to the vagaries of market forces.
weakening the public
distribution system (PDS), it should be further strengthened and
The government of
Act should be immediately implemented. There should not be any
imposition of a ceiling on number of BPL families by government of
very urgent attention is the removal of regional imbalances. The
presents a glaring contradiction with few developed states showing
growth rates while the geographically disadvantaged north eastern
continue to be rooted in widespread poverty, unemployment and
bottlenecks. Imbalance fosters inequality and inequality leads to
problems with feeling of isolation and alienation of the people in the
particular has been a victim of such imbalances and this is manifest in
poor development of physical infrastructure of roads, rails, power and
telecommunications. The growing sense of injustice and discontent ---
times leads the people, particularly a section of the youth, to the
violence and anti-national activities --- needs to be corrected at the
earliest. Massive investments for the NE region are required to be made
further delay. The union government will have to take a leading role by
providing sufficient public funding. The PPP/BOT models etc for
development have not been found to be successful in view of the
the region. Precious years have already been lost toying with such
is now time to take a conscious decision and provide the required
resources to build
up the physical infrastructure in the
less developed areas. The rate of capital formation has further
with the credit deposit ratio in the NE region declining abnormally.
similes package announced by the government of
(PSUs) have been playing a very important and significant role in the
of our country. The present policy of disinvestment of PSUs will
to their handing over to the gradually lead to their handing over to
private corporate sector working only for maximising profits. This will
increase unemployment. This will further increase unemployment. The
policy of disinvestment should not be continued.
continue to pose a serious challenge. Maoist terrorism has emerged as a
internal security threat to
the 11th five years plan for Tripura was Rs 8852 crore while the
annual plan outlays for the first three years of the 11th plan amounted
3930.72 crore. Against the annual plan outlays for the first three
achievement was 106 per cent. To achieve the approved outlay of Rs 8852
outlay of Rs 4656 crore for the remaining two years of the 11th plan is
required. However, after the award of the 13th Finance Commission, the
resources position of the state has worsened and without the support
central government, it will be difficult for the state to achieve the
Rs 8852 crore by the end of the 11th plan period. The 13th Finance
had not accepted the actual expenditure incurred by the state on
salary and the non-plan revenue expenditure. The NPRE assessed by the
constitutes only 61 per cent of the state’s forecast. As the committed
expenditure on salary and pension has been grossly under assessed, the
gap grant has reduced as compared to the 12th Finance Commission award.
approach of the Finance Commission in making the assessment of
expenditure on salary and pension is unrealistic and unprecedented. The
government has ventilated the grievances on the recommendations of the
Finance Commission to the ministry of finance with request to take
measures and provide necessary additional financial assistance to
impending financial crunch.
been according high priority for agriculture and allied sectors and
up a Perspective Plan for self-sufficiency in foodgrains production by
and perspective plans on horticulture (2002-03 to 2011-12), animal
(2002-03 t0 2011-12), fisheries (2004-05 to 2010-11) and forest
2011-12). The state has achieved self-sufficiency in certified seed
of rice and mustard and 33 per cent seed replacement rate in paddy and
popularised system of rice intensification.
The state has
amended the Agricultural Produce Market Committees Act and
short-term credit cooperative societies has already been completed. The
Perspective Plan for self-sufficiency in foodgrains envisages supply of
seed, popularisation of hybrid paddy, increased use of chemical
along with bio-fertiliser and micro-nutrients, augmentation of credit
Kisan Credit Card and a more effective extension of the delivery
However, the state has been facing severe shortage of chemical
leading to the use of only 41 kg per hectare, which is far below the
average. The government of India should make available the adequate
fertiliser. The CD ratio should be increased from the present 31 per
cent to 50
per cent and credit flow to agriculture sector should be increased by
Kisan Credit Cards to all eligible farm households. Tripura has
than 10.9 per cent the state plan outlay on an average during the last
years for agriculture and allied activities and it would be difficult
continue to make allocations of this magnitude. The government of India
devise a mechanism for augmenting allocations under RKVY without
state to maintain such high allocations under the state plan.
allocations under Horticulture Technology Mission for Northeast should
10 per cent of available ground water. In order to exploit the
funding under AIBP should be allowed for deep tubewell projects. For
flow in the dry spell, small storage projects need to be encouraged.
for these projects should be allowed under AIBP by relaxing cost norms.
The Right of
Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 has come into effect from April
As mandated under the act, minimum required buildings and
all elementary schools will have to be provided within three years.
of the requirements under the act involves huge expenditure which is
for the state government to provide in view of the present financial
constraints of the state government. The government of India may
providing the required fund fully for the north-eastern states so that
basic required infrastructure in the schools may be provided.
be made here
that the Foreign Educational Institutions Bill will only lead to
players opening commercial teaching shops to fleece our students.
this more should be stopped forthwith.
like foodgrains, POL products etc are being brought to Tripura through
The railway link to Tripura gets disrupted for months during the rainy
With the onset of monsoons, the movement by National Highway-44 also
dislocated leading to scarcity of essential commodities in the state.
maintenance of rail and road connections has become critical for timely
movement of essential commodities to and to hold the price line in
Steps for expeditious completion of the gauge conversion of
line are required. The government of India should take measures to sort
problems in gauge conversion in some stretches in Assam. Work on
fourlaning of the
National Highway 44, announced by the prime minister five years ago has
started without further delay as it is the life line for the state.
telecommunication services and the facilities at the Agartala airport
immediate improvement. Agartala airport is the second busiest airport
in the north
eastern region. Warehousing facilities for cargo handling, cold storage
perishable commodities and proper hanger facilities are required to be
developed. The coverage and the quality of telecommunication and
services in the NE region remains far below the national level. It is
that the telecommunication and broadband services are immediately
further extended so that the people of the region get benefited.
hike in the APM
price of natural gas is going to adversely affect the state’s economy.
than 90 per cent of power generated in the state is from natural gas.
Therefore, the resultant affect of hike in APM gas price on consumer
would be substantially high hitting the consumers hard. Hence the
should be rolled back in respect of the north-eastern states.
implementation of the
Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) is constrained by the
guidelines for covering the uncovered habitations of more than 1000
as several habitations are with a population of less than a 100 and
such habitations are tribal habitations. As per the present sanctioned
of RGGVY, the total coverage of the partially electrified and totally
unelectrified villages/habitations will be to the tune of 40 per cent
this background, I urge the government of India to relax the RGGVY
and sanction required funds to cover habitations with below 100 people.
schemes (CSS) need to be streamlined and multiplicity of such schemes
be rationalised to offer flexibility to the state governments. All the
should have a uniform funding pattern of 90:10 for the north-eastern
Most of the materials such as construction inputs, food, fodder, seeds,
fertilisers etc are imported from outside the state resulting in higher
cost of inputs leading to increased unit costs of projects. With well
communication and economic problems of the north-east region, I request
government to take necessary steps to appropriately revise the unit
applicable for the various schemes in the north eastern region.
visit of the
prime minister of Bangladesh to India in January 2010, a number of
were arrived at regarding access to the Chittagong Port,
operationalisation of Sabroom-Ramgarh LCS and improvement of
Land Custom Stations etc, which are of great interest to the north east
and Tripura in particular. These agreements need to be operationalised
earliest. There is an urgent need to establish air connectivity between
Bangladesh and North East India. The inland waterways links which
the pre-partition days like the Gumti-Meghna river network need to be
I strongly believe that these endeavours will further strengthen the
friendship and brotherhood between the people of the two countries and
improve the trade relations.
development of the north-eastern region and the North Eastern Council
have not lived up to the expectations of the people in the region.
efforts would be required to revamp their working to contribute
for the development of the NE states. The ministry of development of
region and the North Eastern Council should be provided with adequate
and managerial manpower and adequate allocations to enable them to
infrastructural needs o the region. Delays in sanction of projects by
ministry and NEC lead to time and cost overruns. Hence, the sanctions
expeditious and time bound.
world, the north-eastern
region cannot be allowed to remain in isolation. The Look East Policy
government of India has not been able to deliver any tangible gains to
because of the lack of any institutional arrangement to look at the new
developing opportunities and to harness them for the benefit of the
the area. The South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) needs to be
formalise the existing informal trade between the north-eastern states,
attempted to put
forth some of the main concerns of the country in general and the
eastern states in particular. I hope that the National Development
duly take note of these concerns.
have been added.)