New Delhi: MPs from different political parties came together for the North East MPs Forum (NEMPF) in Parliament House Annexe, New Delhi on Sunday morning, to deliberate on the common issues concerning the region and discussed on the way forward to strengthen the forum.
The meeting was convened by Meghalaya MP Vincent Pala and chaired by former Rajya Sabha MP Bhubaneswar Kalita from Assam.
PD Rai, former MP from Sikkim and former secretary general of the forum, who was a special invitee to the meeting, gave a brief presentation about the origin of NEMPF in 1999 under the leadership of late PA Sangma. He recalled that in the short history of the forum, NEMPF has made considerable strides in taking up some of the pressing issues of the region. It also provided a much-needed platform for the region’s MPs to network and cooperate, he added.
The meeting also expressed their appreciation to the Fifteenth Finance Commission for considering many of their demands in its recommendation for 2020-21. The contributions and support of state governments, Central ministries, MPs and Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI) was duly acknowledged for putting up a joint effort in highlighting the priorities of the Indian Himalayan Region to the Commission, which resulted in the Conclave of Himalayan States held in July 2019 in Mussoorie.
NEMPF has taken up various issues in the interest of Northeast region, ranging from social issues to developmental issues. It has in the past, been vocal in highlighting problems faced by the people of North East in Indian metropolitan cities including the exodus of North easterners living in Bangalore and other cities in 2012, racial attacks in New Delhi.
Moreover, as a collective of MPs from a resource rich, low economic development region, the Forum has also made submissions to key ministries on the special economic needs of the region. In May 2015, a memorandum was submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an ‘inclusive, sustainable and holistic development of the North-Eastern Region.’
The meeting also discussed the need for institutionalising the forum to make it more effective and performance driven.
The convener, Vincent Pala, highlighted the need to engage and support the PSUs operating in the region, and called for more interactions to take the agenda of North East development ahead.
The North East MPs Forum includes all Members of Parliament from the eight states of Northeast in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.