Over Rs 250 cr sanctioned for COVID management in Northeast: Dr Jitendra

NEW DELHI: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh said today that more than Rs 250 crore had been sanctioned by the Ministry of Northeast/ DoNER for augmenting healthcare facilities in the eight North-Eastern States for effective management of COVID-19.
Chairing a meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee for Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) here, the Minister said that the fund has greatly helped in developing infrastructure for management of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. Most of the Members of Parliament lauded the role of the Ministry of DoNER for its timely support to fight the pandemic.
Dr Jitendra Singh recalled that long before the lockdown, in the very early stage of impending coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of DoNER had promptly released Rs.25 crores to North Eastern States for gap funding to fight the COVID-19 outbreak effectively. This fund was in the nature of an untied fund, which was to be utilized on any activity relating to COVID-19 Pandemic, and not covered under existing central packages.
The meeting was attended by the Members of Parliament from Lok Sabha, Rebati Tripura, Dr Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, Tapir Gao, Abdul Khaleque, Ramprit Mandal, and C. Lal Rosanga, who joined the meeting online from Aizal.
The Secretary (DoNER) Dr InderJit Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Arvind Singh and Secretary, North Eastern Council (NEC) K. Moses Chalai attended the meet. Senior officers and representatives from M/o DoNER, Tourism, Railways, Civil Aviation, Telecommunications, Road Transport & Highways, Power, Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Health and Family Welfare and Department of School Education and Literacy were also present at the meeting.
The main agenda of the meeting “Review of North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme(NESIDS) and Special Packages in NER” and various other issues related to the development of the North Eastern region were discussed in today’s meeting. The issue of utilisation of 10% GBS in NER by Non-exempt Central Ministries/Departments was also discussed in detail.
Dr Jitendra Singh apprised the Members of Parliament about certain important initiatives like separate NEC Budget for deprived sections and neglected areas, which was a long pending demand from the region. He also informed them about holistic development of bamboo sector and said that three Bamboo Clusters have been approved in Jammu, Katra and Samba areas for making of Bamboo basketry, Agarbatti and Bamboo Charcoal. The Minister also recalled the amendment to the century old Indian Forest Act by taking home grown bamboo out of the purview of the Forest Act, in order to enhance livelihood opportunities and raising of import duty by 25 percent on raw bamboo items to help the domestic bamboo industries like furniture, handicrafts and Agarbatti making in a big way.