NEC meet: Rajnath Singh presses for a Forum to discuss inter-State security issues

Guwahati, July 10: Stating that the security situation in the North East has “improved drastically” in the last four years since the NDA government came to power, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh stressed the need to have a forum to discuss the inter-State security-related issues.

Singh called for a common forum where issues like boundary disputes, drug trafficking, smuggling of arms and ammunition and common approaches for tackling terrorism and militancy can be discussed.

He chaired the two-day 67thplenary of the North Eastern Council (NEC) at the State Convention Centre in Shillong on Monday. Singh also stated that the insurgency-related incidents have come down by 85 per cent as compared to the 90s in the North East.

“There is 96 per cent reduction in civilian and security forces casualties. On the other hand, the AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Power Act) has been lifted from Meghalaya and its coverage area reduced in Arunachal Pradesh,” he said.

“With the Governors and Chief Ministers of the Northeastern states as its members, the NEC can provide a common forum for discussing a subject in a comprehensive manner in the presence of top functionaries of the two Union Ministries,” he said.

Singh further added, “There is a need for a forum to address inter-state internal security-related issues including boundary disputes, narcotics, militancy and so on. While the DoNER Ministry is focussing on its coordination role in development matters, the Ministry of Home Affairs is primarily focussed on the security-related issues.”

Singh also asked the Northeastern states to expedite work on long pending projects of the NEC and ensure maximum utilisation of funds

An amount of Rs 1,245.66 crore was allotted to the NEC during 2017-18, an increase of 28.6 per cent over the budgeted outlay of Rs 968.79 crore in 2016-17, Singh said.

“The NEC shall focus on bamboo development, special intervention in backward and Sixth Schedule areas, militancy-affected districts and autonomous district council areas, value chain in piggery sector, regional tourism, higher education, tertiary healthcare including health education, livelihood projects, surveys and investigations of projects in power, irrigation and flood control, besides promotion of the region,” he said.