GUWAHATI, Oct 8 - Terming the North Eastern region as a meeting point of diverse cultures, communities and practices, Speaker of the Lok Sabha Sumitra Mahajan today said that development of the region is a prerequisite for the development of the country.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the 17th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) India Region, Zone III, and launching of the North East Chapter of the Speaker�s Research Initiative (SRI) of Lok Sabha held here, Mahajan said that there is a need to bring emotional unity between the North East and the rest of the country while at the same time preserving the unique culture and identity of this region.
�The North East is richly endowed with the bounty of nature and the region is very rich in its culture and heritage. North East is different. It is like God�s place. This region is the meeting point of cultures and communities,� she said.
Mahajan said that in Vaastu also the North Eastern side is considered very auspicious and a strong sources of energy.
�For India, harmony and development in the North East is of outmost importance. All North Eastern states are very important for us,� said the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
Terming the launch of the North East Chapter of SRI as very significant, Mahajan said that all the eight member states of this region will benefit from this.
She added that Zone III of CPA India Region, comprising the eight states of the North East, is very active is regularly organizing various activities, including for the elected legislators.
Mahajan said that legislators and parliamentarians play a major role in framing laws and passing budgets.
�So they must perform their jobs with utmost sincerity. Legislators must be up to date with regard to everything. Nowadays, governance and legislation have become highly specialized. But public representatives are not domain experts. So they must have dialogue with domain experts,� she said.
The Lok Sabha Speaker said that SRI will play a major role in accomplishing this and bring legislators of this region close to domain experts for discussion and learning various issues of long-term and strategic importance. It will help in the capacity building of the elected representatives.
She said even countries like Belarus and Latvia have shown interest in the Lok Sabha�s SRI programme.
Mahajan said the Lok Sabha will also provide monetary assistance for holding regional workshops.
The Speaker said that the topics selected for discussion during the CPA India Region, Zone III, meeting and launch of SRI North East Chapter � with focus on women empowerment, collective approach to resolve insurgency, skill development and connectivity in the region � are very relevant subjects.
She added that the idea of a collective approach to solving problems of insurgency as well as other issues is important not only for this region but for the country as a whole.
Mahajan admitted that the North East face major bottlenecks with regard to lack of infrastructure and market access, among other things.
�Economic and social development is not possible without peace. There is a need to harmonize and transform conflicts to a state of healthy competition. There is a need to bring emotional integration between the North East and the rest of the country but at the same time preserving the separate and unique culture and identity of this region,� said the Lok Sabha Speaker, calling for a collective and coordinated action in this regard.
�No debate on global, social, economic and political issues will be complete without discussing women�s issues. Gender issues are very important. Parliaments across the world are making progressive legislations with regard to social, economic and political empowerment of women,� she added.
Mahajan, however, added that laws by themselves are not sufficient in bringing about empowerment of women.