NEW DELHI, Mar 22: The Centre must give due care and importance to the North-East, especially to the state of Arunachal Pradesh in terms of development. It (Centre) should start implementing things more rather than just saying Act East and Look East, said Lok Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) Ninong Ering who on Wednesday raised many critical issues during the demand for grants discussion of Union Budget 2017-18 at the Parliament.
Talking on infrastructure, Ering laid emphasis on creating a first-class rail connectivity in north-eastern states and also appealed for faster and smooth completion of Bogibeel bridge.
The MP who was more vocal on the issue of creating good network of roads in Arunachal Pradesh as envisaged by the present NDA regime, added that allocation for highways in the year 2017-18 budget ie Rs 57,976 crore in BE 2016-17 which is raised to Rs 64,900 crores in 2017-18 and it must be used to expedite construction process specially in Arunachal where lack of proper roads are the basic blocks in the path of good governance.
Speaking on the issue of major scheme like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), he said "You (government) talk about giving Rs 48,000 crore to MGNREGS which was the epitome of Congress's failure as proclaimed by treasury in recent years. It is good that you also recognize our failure and provide such good funds. The government claimed that the allocation for MNREGS had been increased to a record Rs 48,000 crore. But this was meager increase from the Revised Expenditure of 2016-17 which was Rs 47,500 crore.”
“In my state of Arunachal Pradesh, people are still getting mere 14-15 days of job where as the promise was of 100 days under the MGNREG scheme. The government should not only allocate funds but also make sure that the scheme is functional,” he added.
Further stating that Smart City Pasighat is still a distant dream although the city was first selected in Smart City list, Ering also criticized the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana of the Central government and questioned on where the model villages were as promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“There is no mention of Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana in the present budget,” he quipped.
On education he talked about the decline in budget allocation for ST areas and also on major schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, RTE, etc.
Taking a dig at the NDA government on Digital Economy, he asserted that there is still lower level of internet penetration and mobile connectivity in rural areas.
“Digitalization is an ambitious step but taken without creating necessary infrastructure and proper education. First the government should try to bring internet to people and then teach them how to use Paytm,” Ering said adding that Arunachal Pradesh is still far from both mobile and internet connectivity.
In his allocated time, the MP he also raised a point wherein the government through Ministry of Development of North East Region (DoNER) had provided Rs 2682 crore against the revised estimates of Rs 2524 crore.
This increase is just 6 percent and does not meet any needs of the North-Eastern region. To allocate Rs 2682 crore for development purposes in 8 states which would roughly amount to Rs 336 crore per state is minimal to bring any substantial change,” Ering said.
Highlighting the issue of making Aadhar mandatory to avail benefits of Food Security, the MP opined that doing so would only exclude many people especially in remote areas of India.
“Even the Supreme Court in its order passed in the year October 2015 has said that no citizen can be denied a service or subsidy on the basis of Aadhar. Regardless, the government passed an order making Aadhar mandatory for targeted public distribution system (PDS). People in North East India are going to be the most affected with this decision and are at risk of being left out.” Ering claimed.
He further requested that the government should withdraw this order at the earliest.
Ninong Ering is an MP of the Indian National Congress. He represents Arunachal East in Lok Sabha, the lower house of Indian Parliament.