Itanagar: Continuing the pre-budget consultations, Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu along with deputy chief minister Chowna Mein sought inputs and suggestions from all non-BJP legislators of the state in an exclusive meeting held in Itanagar on Wednesday.
Khandu and Mein explained to the legislators including former chief minister Nabam Tuki, former MP Ninong Ering (both from Indian National Congress) and several new faces, that the state government has resolved to overhaul the planning process, which would now start from the grassroots level.
They said that in order to do away with individual-centric schemes, all developmental projects would be decided at the district level through the district planning committees and included in the annual Budget.
It was also informed that the concerned legislators will be duly consulted in selection of the schemes and will be recommended to the state government by the planning committees with their approval.
“Contrary to the misconception, this will give more powers to the elected representatives as now on no scheme or project will be approved by the government without their consent or knowledge,” Khandu said.
He further assured that every constituency, either of the ruling or non-ruling party, will be treated equally and there will be need-based and equitable distribution of funds. “We have wasted much of our resources on projects and schemes beneficial to few individuals. We are going to stop this completely,” Khandu added.
While appreciating the initiative, Tuki suggested that budgetary allocations may be provided to complete all the ongoing schemes and projects first. He said many projects and assets are lying defunct as physically these may be complete but are not complete financially, which he stressed must be the government’s priority.
Tuki also called for attention of the government towards resolving the burgeoning issue of unemployment. He suggested that the tourism potential of the state may be tapped to cope with the problem.
Echoing similar concerns, Ering asked the government to concentrate on paving way for corporates and investors to invest in Arunachal Pradesh. He said unless industries and investments do not come in from corporate giants, providing employment to the youths will be a big burden for the government.
Kardo Nyigyor of the People’s Party of Arunachal suggested promoting the veterinary and fishery sectors for employment generation. He said that these sectors are yet to be tapped in a larger scale as these have immense potential to change the state’s rural economy.
First-time legislators Hayang Mangfi, Jikke Tako and Gokar Basar suggested clubbing of several villages for running schools. They pointed that several schools in rural areas have very low to zero attendance and said these can be clubbed to make one school that would cater to more than two-three villages.
They also expressed concern on degrading education quality and urged the government for a complete makeover.
Bureaucrat-turned-legislator Tarin Dakpe also endorsed closing down of defunct schools and improving the quality of education. He viewed hydro-power as one of the potentials for generating revenue as well as employment. He, however, suggested that the government must concentrate only on small and feasible hydro-power projects, besides other industries.
All the 14 legislators present in the meeting were unanimous in appreciating the government’s effort to streamline the planning process. They extended their support in the initiative and expressed gratitude to the chief minister and the deputy chief minister for consulting them, despite being from different parties, in preparation of the budget.
Also present in the meeting and submitting their respective views and suggestions were legislators Dorjee Wangdi Kharma (Kalaktang), Techi Kaso (Itanagar), Talem Taboh (Rumgong), Kanggong Taku (Mariyang), Tapuk Taku (Seppa East), Karikho Kri (Tezu) and Somlung Mossang (Bordumsa).