ITANAGAR– “The North East Council (NEC) must reinvent itself as a regional think tank with greater focus on key areas,” said Chief Minister Pema Khandu when NEC Secretary K Moses Chalai called on him here this morning.
Ruing that of late NEC has become just a funding agency, Khandu asserted that the agency needs to shape and redefine its role in the emerging world with respect to the unique and different needs of each north eastern state.
“We have been having deliberations after deliberations but nothing concrete is coming out from NEC. I believe it has bigger roles to play,” he observed.
Khandu said NEC can be to north eastern states what the NITI Ayog is for the country – a one-point solution centre.
“Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we have the political will to transform the North East. It’s up to you (NEC) to come out with a roadmap,” he said.
Stressing that an empowered NEC must provide mentorship for planning and oversight in all priority sectors, Khandu urged NEC to play the role of an institutional anchor for the constituent states, and help draw a blueprint of comprehensive development. He said ‘funding’ only should not be in NEC’s agenda.
“We are lucky to have a Secretary who hails from the region. You must take personal interest and empower NEC as an agency to reckon with for development of the North East,” Khandu urged.
He encouraged the Secretary to suggest the way forward to all Chief Ministers of the region, who can then collectively work on it and impress upon the central government.
Explaining the distinct features of diversity in demography and geography of Arunachal Pradesh, Khandu reminded the Secretary of the complete dependence of the state on central grants and aids. Due to complete denial of any international funding, Khandu said central govt agencies including NEC need to give special preference to Arunachal Pradesh.
When informed that next year would be the Golden Jubilee year of NEC, Khandu suggested that the present NEC authorities come out with a concrete plan on the new role of NEC that can be announced during the Golden Jubilee Plenary Session.
“Leading up to the NEC turning 50 in 2022, this is an opportune occasion to take a fresh look at its mandate and dwell upon a course of reform,” he added.
Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar was also present in the interaction.