The Bold Voice of J&K

Internal disparity

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When Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the states of Northeast as well as Jammu and Kashmir are sailing in an unequal environment but are often questioned for failing to produce the desired results; it has some logic. He said aspirations of people of India are the same but the kind of competitive federalism we are in today, people of Assam, North East and Jammu and Kashmir have been asked to compete in an unequal environment. He was participating in the ongoing India Ideas Conclave organised by NGO India Foundation in south Goa. He has been talking of the internal disparity which is prevalent and has been one of the biggest hurdles in equitable development of the state. He added, sometimes in meetings called by the Centre these states are told that their infant mortality is more and are asked to take examples from Maharashtra, Kerala etc. “How I am going to explain them that 30 per cent of my geographical area is not accessible even for a normal police constable, forget about doctors because of total geographical disconnection. How I will explain that in some villages in Arunachal Pradesh people still rely on air-dropping of normal food and they can’t have access to normal food unless it is air-dropped weekly or fortnightly”, he questioned. He stated when the people of Assam go to states like Karnataka and Gujarat, they ask when the government is going to introduce metro rail in their state. Our people don’t understand that the finance minister of Karnataka has access to Rs 40,000 crore of state revenue of its own and your finance minister has access to Rs 4,000 crore.” What is a crime of an Assamese person? What is the crime of a Naga? What is the crime of Arunachal Pradesh? Why can’t they ride on a Metro when people of Karnataka and Delhi can? These questions, we need to answer,” Sarma asked. Unless the country is able to revoke the internal disparity which is very prevalent, it will be difficult for the Northeastern states to attain the yardsticks of economic growth, he pointed, adding, the time has come where every citizen of India can have access to equitable share of development. The minister said the under development was actually imposing a heavy cost on the maintenance of law and order and there were many other hidden costs. More these states are developed, the more India will grow, he suggested.

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