Our Northeast is nation's 'Natural Economic Zone', says PM Modi

The country's Northeast is its 'natural economic zone', said Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he announced a package of projects to develop the region.

The Prime Minister's initiatives for the northeast include a special scholarship for 10,000 students and expansion of rail, air, road, and digital connectivity.

'In India, the word SEZ (special economic zone) is very popular but after visiting this area (Assam, Manipur and Nagaland) for the last three days, I found that it is not only SEZ but it is NEZ. When I say NEZ, I mean 'Natural Economic Zone',' the Prime Minister said while inaugurating the annual Hornbill festival at the Naga heritage village in Kisama.

'In other parts of India, we will find SEZ, a man-made economic zone. In this region it is NEZ, but unfortunately it is untapped. It is my priority now to nourish this NEZ for NE (North East). NE is meant for NEZ and NEZ is meant for NE,' he added.

PM Modi also announced a number of initiatives his government has taken for the development of India's eight northeastern states.

'I am sure this is the proper time when we are celebrating the Hornbill festival and preparing for Christmas. We have decided to start a scheme called Ishan Uday, a special scholarship for 10,000 northeast students,' he announced.

'Another scheme called Ishan Vikas will help in internship and exposure to visit IITs, NITs and NIFTs in other parts of India during their vacation. Every year, we will take 2,000 students and 500 teachers from this area to other parts of the country. This exposure will benefit this area,' he said.

The Central government plans to set up six more colleges, especially in the field of agriculture, in the northeast.

'The northeastern states can be the capital of India's organic agriculture. Only the northeastern states can provide organic food to the humanity and to the world, and that's why we have decided to set up six new colleges in these areas,' PM Modi said.

The Prime Minister has also announced the setting up of modern garment manufacturing centres in each northeastern state, beginning with Nagaland, Assam and Sikkim.

'We have a rich heritage in the textile field. We have master weavers and our women have this art in their fingers. We have to utilize this art for the development of the region. The government will spend Rs.20 crore each on these centres,' he said.

The government has made a provision of Rs. 53,000 crores for the development of the eight northeastern states and Rs.28,000 crore for starting 14 new railway lines to boost connectivity in the region under the PM's northeastern thrust. An amount of Rs. 5,000 crore has been earmarked for six states to strengthen intra-state power transmission and distribution systems. 14 new railway lines are to be laid in the entire northeastern region, to develop railway, air, road, and digital connectivity for its all-round development, and particularly so in the field of tourism.

Funds have been allocated for boosting 2G mobile connectivity for the eight states. The Prime Minister has also announced the setting up of a national sports university in Manipur.

Courtesy India Tomorrow.Co

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