Northeast must contribute more to India’s economy: Manipur CM Biren Singh at YLC-8
Manipur CM Biren Singh at YLC-8

It is time residents of Northeast ask what they have contributed to the nation’s growth instead of asking what the Central government has given us, said Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh during the plenary session of Young Leaders Connect-8. 

Manipur CM Biren Singh

“In our mindset, one idea has been adopted on a regular basis. What nation, what the centre has given to us? We never think about what as a citizen ‘I have contributed to the nation.’ That is the mindset I want to change,” Singh said to rapturous applause. 

Biren Singh concurred with Arunachal Chief Minister and North East Leaders Connect Governing Council Member Pema Khandu, who said the time had come for the Northeast to play a major role in India’s quest to become a $5 trillion economy. 

Arunachal CM Pema Khandu

“In the Northeast, people sleep at 6 pm. But go beyond Bihar, you will see people working very hard till late,” added Singh. 

Taking a strong stance against deforestation in the region, Biren added, “Many areas in the hills are lying unused. Instead of practising jhum cultivation, why don’t we start terrace plantations in Manipur?” 

Singh also pointed out that the state had made great progress in its fight against drug menace. “About 90 per cent of the poppy cultivation areas in Manipur have been converted into alternative plantation crops,” he added.

Thanking the dynamic chief minister Biren Singh for his hospitality, Arunachal CM Pema Khandu referred to the 2021 conclave in Tawang and the Tawang Declaration. “Time has come for the Northeast to play a major role in India’s quest to become a $5 trillion economy. Khandu focussed on asking questions to which the conclave could answer, like how Northeast GDP could rise from the current 3% contribution to India’s  GDP, and why northeast states still get less than 1% of India’s foreign tourists,” asked CM Khandu.

The first session of the Conclave saw Gaurav Gogoi, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha and NELC Governing Council Member, thank the efforts of the NELC and YLC in changing the perception of the region. “When we started the conclave 10 years ago, it was to acknowledge that we accept our challenges, but it was to tell the rest of the country about our glorious past. Through young leaders, we found incredible brand ambassadors from various fields,” said Gogoi. 

“The beauty of this (Youth Leaders Connect) is that it was born out of the northeast: our common love, and passion of the northeast. We are quite proud that we continue to grow: people who are not from the northeast but have travelled to the northeast. Through this conclave, we have a host of new young leaders to be proud of,” talking about Commonwealth Games medalist Jeremy Lalrinnunga and Roshan Farhan, co-founder, Go Billion,” Gogoi added. 

G Gaichanglungliu Kamei (IRS), Commissioner of Income Tax (Admn. & TPS), NER, Guwahati, Assam, issued the closing remarks and thanked the speakers for their insightful comments. She also thanked the attendees, especially the youths, and said she hoped to see some of them play much more active roles in the region’s future. 

The North East Leaders Connect (NELC) is a dynamic community and network of like-minded leaders and achievers from North-East India with a vision to act as a catalyst for the promotion of a vibrant and robust economy, good governance, sustaining the ecology, and preserving our cultural identity. 

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