The BJP-led NDA government paid back the North Eastern States with a myriad of attractive proposals for sending the highest number of nine MPs, with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announcing allocation of over Rs 53,000 crore for the region out of the 10 per cent mandatory budgetary allocation for the region.
A sports university in Manipur, a special 24x7 TV channel exclusively for the North-east, besides a special focus on organic farming and a number of budgetary allocations have been earmarked for critical sectors in the region.
Recalling Atal Behari Vajpayee's initiative of making 10% budgetary allocation for the North-east compulsory, Finance Minister Jaitley said that he had made them non-lapsable in nature.
"From the current Budget, we have introduced a statement, which will separately show allocation made for the North Eastern States. In the financial year 2014-2015, an allocation of Rs 53,706 crore has been made for the North Eastern Region," he announced.
Referring to research in the agriculture sector, Jaitley said that since Independence only one research centre - at Pusa - has been established. The Government of India will establish two more institutions of excellence of a similar pattern in Assam and Jharkhand with an initial sum of Rs 100 crore in the current financial year.
The NE region has tremendous potential for development of organic farming. With a growing global demand for organic food, people living in the North Eastern States can reap a rich harvest from development of commercial organic farming. "To facilitate this, I propose to provide a sum of Rs 100 crore for this purpose in the current financial year," Jaitley said.
"The North Eastern region has suffered from underdevelopment and a sense of isolation due to lack of proper connectivity. Development of rail system is urgently required to bridge this gap. I intend to expedite the development of rail connectivity in the region and for this purpose I propose to set aside an additional sum of Rs 1,000 crore over and above the amount provided for in the interim Budget," he further said.
Railway Minister Sadanand Gowda had announced earmarking of Rs 5,116 crore for completion of rail projects in the North-east.
"TV is a very powerful tool for expression of cultural identities and for extending greater awareness of the richness of the diversity of our country. To provide a strong platform to the rich cultural and linguistic identity of the North-east, a new 24x7 channel called Arun Prabha, will be launched," Jaitley announced.
The Finance Minister further proposed to set up a sports university, allocating a sum of Rs 100 crore in the current fiscal.
"Unique sports traditions have developed in the Himalayan region in the countries and the states that are a part of it. India will start an annual event to promote these games and would invite countries such as Nepal and Bhutan also to participate, in addition to the Indian states like Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and the North Eastern States."