AGARTALA, June 22 - Tripura Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varman has urged the Centre to take up the 257-km long rail connectivity project from Jawaharnagar (Tripura)-Darlown (Mizoram)-Kalay in Myanmar for promoting trade, business and regional integration.
The North Eastern region has been neglected for the past several decades and it is the BJP Government that took special efforts to develop the region by improving road and rail connectivity, he said. Dev Varman was speaking at the pre-Budget meeting with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Delhi on Friday.
The Deputy Chief Minister said the Act East Policy focuses on Trans Asian Railways (TAR) with a South Asian connection through railway link. “It is an inter-governmental agreement that will establish strategic partnership among Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and other Asian nations,” he added.
Dev Varman, who holds the State Finance portfolio, also highlighted the problems faced by the North Eastern region due to poor infrastructure and connectivity bottlenecks. He urged Sitharaman to revive special Central outlays like Special Central Assistance and Special Plan Assistance by the NITI Aayog.
The Deputy Chief Minister further said 10 per cent allocation of funds to North Eastern States from the Central outlay may be mobilised as part of the 10 per cent gross budgetary support of non-exempted ministries of the Central Government.
“Since there is limited scope for NE States to raise adequate resources, they have been severely handicapped in infrastructure development. For smooth implementation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes, there is need to mobilise 100 per cent funds for the NE States instead of the existing 90:10 ratio,” he said.
The allocation for tribal communities in the Union Budget during 2018-19 fiscal was only 1.60 per cent, whereas it accounts for 8.64 of the total population of the country. “For inclusive growth of the country in the spirit of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikash, the allocation for tribals requires to be increased,” he added.
Dev Varman also batted for a hike in the outlay for tribal autonomous councils in view of the lack of infrastructure and communication facilities.