NEW DELHI, Aug 25 - Making a strong pitch for revival of the special industrial package for the Northeast, Chief Ministers of Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya conveyed that the Centre�s move is hampering investments in the region.
The final meeting of the Subgroup of Chief Ministers on Skill Development, held at NITI Aayog, was presided by the convenor of the subgroup and the Chief Minister of Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal. The Chief Ministers of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya Tripura and Goa attended the meeting.
Member of NITI Aayog Dr VK Saraswat and other senior officials were also present at the meeting. The CEO of NITI Aayog, Sindhushree Khullar, presented the recommendations of the Draft Report before the Members for their views, official sources said.
Sources said that the Chief Ministers of Northeast, expressing their displeasure at the current policy of the Centre, said that unless the special industrial package was revived no investors would go to the landlocked Northeast. They further pointed out that unless investments come to the State, skill development schemes would not work in the region.
As reported, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has halted registration of individual industrial units for claiming benefits under the Northeast industrial package.
Currently there is no proposal to start fresh registration of industrial units for claiming benefits of the schemes of the North East Industrial and Investment Policy (NEIIP), Minister of Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman had said in Lok Sabha reply on August 8.
The Central government had on December 3, 2014 suspended registration of all new schemes under the NEIIP, 2007, with immediate effect, evoking protest from the States of the Northeast.
Meanwhile, the Chief Ministers advocated creation of a dedicated fund for skill development to address infrastructural gaps in the Northeast.
Addressing the fifth and final meeting of the Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Skill Development at the NITI Aayog Bhawan on Tuesday, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said proper skill development training must be imparted with linkages to industries for absorption of the created pool of skilled manpower.
�We need to approach skill development with maturity and wisdom to ensure that it becomes an integral part of the grand framework of India�s growth and prosperity,� he said.
Citing unemployment problem as the root cause behind social unrest, ethnic conflict and insurgency, the Chief Minister pitched for strengthening of State Skill Development Mission to ease the unemployment problem in the State. �Skill development without absorbing the skilled manpower will not be meaningful unless public and private investments are not forthcoming,� he added.
Gogoi also said that natural calamities, like flood and erosion, climate change, have compounded problems. �Every year flood and erosion devastate the economy of the State. 4 lakh hectares of land has already been eroded with an average loss of 8,000 hectares per year. As a result there has been much pressure on land.
In sync with skill development activities, Gogoi underlined the need for restoration of Special Category State status through allocation of Central funds either on a 100 per cent or on a 90:10 basis to bolster development in the region. �Resumption of North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy should also top the agenda of the Centre for the development of the Northeast,� he added.
In view of low private sector investment in education in the Northeast, Gogoi advocated setting up of more institutes, like IITs, IIMs and NITs in the backward region. �These types of institutions should be set up only in the backward and Special Category States and especially in the north-eastern States where there are huge manpower shortages. For this, the Central government should provide special incentives,� he said.
Gogoi also called for enhancing considerably the number of seats allotted to students of the region in the national-level institutions.
The Chief Minister underscored the need for greater representation of the region in the nation�s paramilitary forces, besides utilization of regional training centres such as the North Eastern Police Academy as a training partner to enhance the representation of the NER in the paramilitary forces.
The Sub-Group consists of Chief Ministers of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Odisha, Punjab, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Tripura.