Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh raised several issues facing the state, including drug menace, at the North Eastern Council (NEC) Plenary 2022 in Guwahati on Sunday, and called upon all stakeholders for collective efforts towards tackling drug trafficking in the state.
The plenary session was chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and attended by Union DONER Minister G Kishan Reddy besides the chief ministers and top officials of the Central government and the North-eastern region.
Thanking the Central Government for supporting his endeavour to control illicit opium poppy cultivation in the state, CM Biren said, "the total area destruction of illicit cultivation of Poppy plantation is about 14315 acres.”
“While destruction of poppy plantations is one way of checking the drug problem, it is equally important to provide alternative livelihood by cultivation of cash crops. For this, the Government had obtained approval from NEC for a pilot project to provide alternative integrated farming to farmers against illicit poppy plantation,” he further said.
Informing that the State Horticulture Department has prepared a consolidated project proposal which will be submitted to the DoNER Ministry regarding the pilot project to provide alternative integrated farming to farmers against illicit poppy plantation, he sought special support for the project.
Expressing gratitude to Union Home Minister Amit Shah for rechristening Mount Harriet as Manipur Parvat the chief minister said, “We have sent officials to discuss with Andaman and Nicobar administration for developing a Museum, Memorial and Traditional Manipuri Gate at Manipur Parvat National Park.
Saying that the concept and design are under preparation, he requested the Home Affairs Ministry to support in funding the national heritage project.
Emphasizing that the agriculture and allied sector is a priority sector and pointing out the potential for growth, the chief minister said, “To add value for farmers, we are promoting organic farming.
“An area of 11500 Ha was brought under Organic Cultivation during 2021-2022 against 4500 Ha during 2019- 2020 under the Mission Organic Value Chain Development (MOVCD). During the year 2021-2022, we have exported 91 MT of Clean Black Scented Rice to National Regular Buyers and 10 MT to the International buyer i.e Europe country”.
Biren said Chakhao Poireiton Organic Producer Company, lmphal West is targeted to export 10 MT Chakhao (Black Rice) in 2022-2023. In addition, 20 Farmers Produces Company have also been formed under MOVCD-NER of the Agriculture Department, Manipur.
“We have also exported King Chili, Turmeric and Pineapple to countries like the UK, Australia and Germany. After World Trade Expo 2020 held at Dubai in the year 2021, 20 MT fresh pineapple exported to Dubai in July 2022. In-store promotion of Manipur pineapple was held in coordination with APEDA at Lulu International Grand Hypermarket, Dubai and it was reported through social media that the sale was a huge success”.
The chief minister informed the plenary session that Manipur has obtained GI tag for four crops, namely Tamenglong Orange, Kachai Lemon, Sirarakhong Hathei, and Black Aromatic Rice (Chakhau), which will enhance value addition and fetch good price for the farmers.
“My State has already identified one District one Product and we are exploring to identify One Sub division One Product for promotion based on local strength and advantages,” he added.
Lauding NEC for sanctioning eight projects under State normative (60 per cent) allocation of total estimated cost of Rs 55.64 crore for the year 2021-22, Biren said, “I am informed that fund has not been released by NEC, pending compliance of new central fund flow system of Central Nodal Agency (CNA) model. My State is working closely with the DoNER Ministry, NEC and NEDFI to make the CNA model and PFMS a success”.
Pointing out that the new system will take time, he appealed to the DoNER Ministry to develop a mechanism for release of funds agency-wise so that project implementation is not delayed.
The NEC is taking up projects for development of backward blocks and deprived committees under 30 per cent share of NEC budget and other projects under 40 per cent Central share of the NEC budget.
“Many times the state government is not informed at all,” Biren said and, for projects located in Manipur and where state agencies are involved, he urged the DONER Ministry and NEC to have prior consultation with member states and state’s views are taken into consideration for proper planning, monitoring and coordination.
Pointing out that the current guidelines of NESIDS do not cover development of tourism infrastructure which is essential for development of tourist centres and circuits, Biren urged the DoNER Ministry for revision of current NESIDS guidelines to allow development of tourism infrastructure and for 100 per cent release of fund for procurement under the health sector equipments, vehicles and ambulance.
The chief minister also informed that the state government has provided support to 5,790 entrepreneurs / start-ups against the target of 6,368 entrepreneurs. During the year 2021-22, two Incubation Centres at educational and technical Institutes; namely at Dhanamanjuri University and Manipur Technical University have been set up in collaboration with Atal Incubation centres, he said.
A total amount of subsidy grant approved or sanctioned by the Planning Department is Rs 55.77 crore for project cost of Rs 110.83 crore sanctioned, including bank loan by partner banks, he said.
In States’ Startup Ranking 2021, DPIIT has recognised the state government as “Aspiring Leader” in developing a strong Startup Ecosystem in the state, he added.
Recently, the State Cabinet decided to create a Corpus Fund of Rs 100 crore for Start-Up, he said, adding, “With NEDFI, Guwahati, we are setting up a Start Up Venture Fund to increase availability of funding avenues for StartUps in the State”.
The chief minister further said that apart from Agriculture, Education and Urban Development, Manipur Vision 2047 also covers other sectors like Tourism, Sports, Healthcare and Natural Resources in view of the declaration of the next 25 years as “Amrit Kaal” of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav".