FM announces new development scheme ‘PM-DevINE’ for Northeast

An initial allocation of ₹963 crore has been made available to implement seven projects that have been listed under the new scheme so far

The finance minister’s announcement to implement the new scheme through the NEC is seen as part of the attempt to revitalise it

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a new infrastructure and social development scheme for the Northeast on Tuesday (February 1).

Christened Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North-East (PM-DevINE), the scheme will be implemented through the North-Eastern Council (NEC), a statutory planning body under the home ministry, founded in 1971.

After the creation of the Department of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) by the erstwhile BJP-led government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2001, the NEC had lost prominence as the newly created ministry started planning, execution and monitoring of development schemes and projects in the region.

But after Amit Shah took over as home minister, the NEC started getting renewed focus in charting the growth plans of the region. The finance minister’s announcement to implement the new scheme through the NEC is seen as part of the attempt to revitalise it.

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An initial allocation of ₹963 crore has been made available to implement seven projects that have been listed under the new scheme so far. An additional ₹537 crore has been earmarked for the projects to be identified later.

“The scheme will fund infrastructure and social development projects based on felt needs of the Northeast,” the minister said in her budget speech.

“This will enable livelihood activities for youth and women, filling the gaps in various sectors. It will not be a substitute for existing central or state schemes,” Sitharaman added.

“While the central ministries may also pitch their projects under the scheme, the priority will be given to those proposed by the states,” the Finance Minister said while announcing an initial allocation of ₹1,500 crore for the scheme.

Construction of a bypass on western side of Mizoram’s capital Aizawl at a cost of ₹500 crore to ease the perennial traffic snarl in the capital city and establishment of dedicated services for the management of pediatric and adult hematolymphoid cancers in Guwahati in Assam at a cost of ₹129 crore, are among the initial projects taken up under the nascent scheme.

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