GUWAHATI: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu urged that criteria of central funding should not be based on population when it comes to North-Eastern states like Arunachal Pradesh.
Khandu said that Arunachal Pradesh is perhaps the only state in North-East deprived of externally aided projects from World Bank, ADB and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Speaking at the 68th Plenary of the North East Council (NEC) in Guwahati on Sunday, Khandu said most developmental schemes of the Government of India, whether in social sector or for creation of infrastructure, works are based on population criteria. He said Northeast states have low demography but large geographical areas, a large part of which comprises remote, hostile and challenging terrain.
“Hence for a state like Arunachal Pradesh the criteria for deciding quantum of funding under various Central Sector Schemes should not be based on population and must take into account special conditions of the state,” he stressed.
He informed that Arunachal Pradesh is perhaps the only state in North-East deprived of externally aided projects from World Bank, ADB and JICA. This, he said, not only deprives the state of financial benefits but also of technical knowledge that comes with Externally Aided Projects.
“There is a substantial deprivation of developmental loans/aid to the state which needs to be compensated through an alternative arrangement, preferably under NEC,” khandu suggested.
While pointing that the 15th Finance Commission is about to make its recommendations to Government of India regarding the formula by which vertical and horizontal devolution of Central funds would be given to various states, Khandu informed that at present Arunachal Pradesh receives 1.37% of resources from the divisible pool.
He said this share needs to be revised very substantially keeping in view the strategic location of the state and several jointly shared developmental priorities of Centre and State.
He requested DoNER Ministry to expand the outreach of North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project (NERCORMP) in all border blocks across Arunachal Pradesh. He said NERCOMP has made appreciable impact in the three insurgency-affected and drug infested districts of Tirap, Changlang and Longding, therefore the same may be extended to other backward areas of the state.
Khandu said the initiative of the Prime Minister for creation of North East Water Management Authority which is in the process of finalization by NITI Aayog will go a long way in fulfilling the objective of optimization of water resources in the North Eastern Region. Since, Arunachal Pradesh constitutes about 46% of water shed area of Brahmaputra basin and about 70% of its discharge, he requested to set up one branch office of the Authority at Itanagar.
He informed that Arunachal Pradesh has a quality forest cover of 82% of the total area providing invaluable ecological services to the nation and the world as a carbon sink. The State has 148.52 tonnes of carbon stock per hectare which is highest in the country and its value is estimated to be about Rs. 48000.00 crores annually. He appealed NEC and DoNER to pursue Green Bonus for Arunachal Pradesh with the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.