PM-DevINE - PM’s Development Initiative for North East

The PM-DevINE scheme is a scheme of a special character because it focuses not on the whole geographical span of India, but rather only on the northeastern states. Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, unveiled the new scheme, Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North-East (PM – DevINE), when presenting the Union Budget 2022 – 2023.

The topic has a very high chance of being asked in IAS Prelims as an Economy Question or as a Current Affairs Question, as it has been in the news recently due to the Union Budget 2022. 

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About PM-DevINE Scheme

  • In the spirit of PM GatiShakti, it would fund infrastructural and social development projects as per the requirements of the North-East.
    • This will allow youth and women to engage in livelihood activities, filling gaps in lots of sectors.
  • Projects can be suggested by both the Centre and the North East States under the PM-DevINE scheme, however preference will be given to those projects which are proposed by the states.
  • The PM-DevINE scheme would be implemented by the North Eastern Council.
  • The PM-DevINE scheme would be granted an initial fund allocation of Rs. 1,500 crore.

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Initial Projects under the Scheme

As per the PIB release dated 1st February 2022, following are the details about a few initially proposed projects under the Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North-East scheme:

S. No. Name of the Project Total Estimated Cost
1 Creation of Dedicated Services for the Management of Paediatric and Adult Haemotolymphoid Types of Cancers in North East India, Guwahati [Multi – State] Rs. 129 Crores
2 North East Centre for Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR) Livelihood Improvement Project [Multi – State] Rs. 67 Crores
3 Promoting Scientific Organic Agriculture in North East Indian [Multi – State] Rs. 45 Crores
4 Construction of Aizawl Bypass on Western Side Rs. 500 Crores
5 Gap funding for Passenger Ropeway system for Pelling to Sanga – Choeling in Western Sikkim Rs. 64 Crores
6 Gap funding for Eco-friendly Ropeway (Cable Car) from Dhapper to Bhaleydhunga in South Sikkim Rs. 58 Crores
7 Construction of Bamboo Link Road at Various Locations in Various Districts in the state of Mizoram as a Pilot Project Rs. 100 Crores
8 Others (to be identified) Rs. 537 Crores
Total Rs. 1,500 Crores

Reasons for Special Focus on Northeast

  • Historically Isolated: Because of its isolation, the region never received the attention and emphasis it deserved.  East Bengal (now Bangladesh) was the primary route of communication prior to India’s independence. The British granted the tribal areas a great deal of autonomy. The tribal populations desired to keep their autonomy after seeing the emergence of an independent India. Except for Sikkim, the entire region was part of the State of Assam, which was gradually hived off to form new states and presently occupies one-third of its original territory.
  • Economically Neglected: The states are underdeveloped and suffer from a lack of communication. There are insufficient railway lines that do not connect to large areas of all of the states. In addition, road connectivity is inadequate and prone to disruption owing to bad weather, land slips, and human involvement. Economic help to the Northeastern states was likewise insufficient to meet the region’s infrastructure and social development demands. Insurgency, domestic as well as cross-border terrorism, and illegal migration drain a large portion of the finances.
  • Poor Infrastructure: The northeast region’s infrastructure development lags behind that of other states. Sikkim and Tripura, for example, have slowly caught up with and exceeded the national average, but still remain behind states such as Maharashtra and Gujarat. Poor infrastructure and a lack of investment mutually reinforce each other, stifling the region’s economic progress. The existence of abundant forests and a fragile ecosystem also limits the scope of environmental clearances for infrastructure projects.

About North Eastern Council

The North Eastern Council (NEC) is a statutory planning body which was established on 7th November, 1972, in Shillong the capital city of Meghalaya, under the North Eastern Council Act 1971. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, and Sikkim are the eight member states of Northeast India represented by their respective Chief Ministers and Governors in the council. The council’s headquarter is in Shillong, and it is part of the Union Government of India’s Ministry of Development of the North Eastern Region (DONER).

The Council was founded as an advisory entity, but since 2002, it has been designated as a regional planning body. It  now considers any issue in which the North Eastern States have a stake in common and determines what action to take. This was done to look after these states’ economic and social planning, as well as to provide arbitration in the case of inter-State conflicts. The central government provides 40% of the council’s funding, with the remaining 60% coming from the Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR).

About PM GatiShakti

The PM GatiShakti National Master Plan for Multi-Modal Interconnectivity, which was launched in October 2021, is a program aiming at coordinating infrastructure development and execution. The goal is to reduce the cost of logistics. GatiShakti is an online platform that connects 16 ministries’ development projects, including railways and roads, enabling coordinated planning and implementation. It will also cover infrastructure built by state governments in accordance with the GatiShakti Master Plan.

When it was first introduced in 2019, the GatiShakti scheme absorbed the Rs. 110 lakh crore worth National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP). The seven engines will be included in its scope (Ports, Mass Transport, Waterways, Roads, Railways, Airport and Logistics Infrastructure). The Master Plan’s cornerstone will be world-class advanced infrastructures and logistical synergy among various modes of mobility – both people and products – as well as project site.

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