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Atmanirbhar Arunachal Pradesh: The North East Development Frontier

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“Atmanirbhar Bharat”, the new word that is gaining momentum and is poised to capture our imagination in the times to come. While we know what it means reducing our dependence on other countries, what we need to understand is its timing and implications. As to what it asks of us and what we stand to gain from it. It could well be a masterstroke that changes the fortunes of our country and create a legacy we have all been envisioning for our nation.

As a nation we have witnessed many economic and political reforms in the recent past. But after a long while we now have a vision that perhaps is the path to achieve the status of a true superpower. It is not just an ambitious dream but a well thought out strategy to secure our nation’s future. This vision will not only secure our prosperity & well being but also our national pride. Self-dependence should not only be the vision that drives us but should also become a quality in us that resonates with not just the economy by also with every aspect of our lives. It should become a part of our culture.

Covid 19 crisis is shaking the whole world and yet it is also a wake up call for all of us. A crisis that is exposing our fault lines. Fault lines not just in our health care system and economy but also in our civic sense and discipline as citizens. The greatest lesson we can learn from this crisis is to identify and correct our fault line so that we are better prepared to face and efficiently fight such a crisis in the future. As a nation we are displaying great leadership in fighting the crisis and our mantra of Self – dependence can boost our strength to take this leadership forward.

While our soft power is truly unparalleled, an Atmanirbhar Bharat will be a nation far stronger than we are right now. A nation that will not only be able to handle internal challenges with increased efficiency but also secure our national interests globally with higher prestige and power. We always romanticized our nation’s past glory. Now its time to regain and recreate our lost glory. Atmanirbhar Bharat is the path.

For India to be truly self-dependent, all the states within our country will also have to achieve the same feat. Many of our states are much ahead in the development index the real challenge will be in the states that are yet to pick up the pace to match the rest. The speed of a collective is only as good as the speed of the slowest one within. So, it is imperative for us to empower the states that are yet to catch up in the race. With such an approach our entire fleet will move in the same direction with the same speed. To this approach, North East can be easily identified as a region that needs maximum focus. North East is perhaps a treasure yet to be fully tapped. It is a region with its own unique challenges and conflicts also with least development. Which is why the North East is perhaps the first frontier in our Atmanirbhar Bharat challenge. Even culturally not many Indians are aware of the North East. To many its still a magical land of the hills not many ventures to know about. The North East has neither arrived in the mainstream nor is it fully integrated in the national narrative. All reasons for us to focus on this region.
The North East could offer tremendous value. As a major crisis is staring at us, it is imperative we empower and strengthen every state to support and contribute to the nation.

Within the North East, Arunachal Pradesh becomes an ideal state to focus on as it is the largest state in the region, so it can become a development model for the entire region. Also, because of it being critical for national security. Since there is much less development in the state, its offers an opportunity to start from scratch in a well-planned method. Development of Arunachal Pradesh can create a spiral effect on all the sister states in the times to come.

Arunachal Pradesh as a state can be of great value to the national economy. Also, considering its importance to national security, it is imperative it forges ahead on a fast-paced development mode. Infrastructural development is the need of the hour. With enough infrastructure in place, Arunachal Pradesh will be ready to maximize its potential. It has already made commendable progress in organic farming to be a role model to other states. The state can also greatly contribute to Ayush Bharat with produce for Ayurveda. The state’s wealth in the minerals is well known. Coal and limestone among other minerals can create great opportunities for the people and revenue for the state.

Within North East Arunachal Pradesh needs special emphasis as it is also a very strategic state for India’s national security. It is a state which needs a lot more infrastructural development to facilitate industries and tourism. Arunachal Pradesh has made commendable progress in organic farming and can also greatly contribute with produce for Ayurveda with its climate conditions. There are various industries that can be set up and promoted in Arunachal Pradesh that can make the state self – dependent and less reliant on the central government. Among other industries, tourism is one industry that if well-developed
can pull Arunachal Pradesh right in the mainstream with the rest of India for which a sustained campaign beyond conventional means is needed.

Tourism not only helps garner revenue for the state but also establishes the state as a brand with its own unique identity. An identity that becomes a cultural pride of the state. An identity that unifies the people of the state to motivate them culturally to strive in the interest of the state. Arunachal Pradesh’s position as a tourist destination is unchallenged but it would require greater amount of sustained campaign to promote brand Arunachal Pradesh. Since tourism as an industry supports numerous allied industries, it could be a winning stride for the state.

Since the state has not seem much development so far, it is not surprising to note that there is a dearth of professional expertise in the state. Be it business, finance, trade, taxation et all. This will be one of the major challenges the state will face in its path of economic development. The general population is honest, hardworking, and punctual with their work also with healthy appetite for entrepreneurship. But lack of professional guidance and support system seems to be the issue not just for local businesses even for national and international trade. There is enough scope for national and international trade. If
entrepreneurship is to be promoted in the state, access and availability of professional commercial services will be fundamental needed. A lot must be done in this sector.

There is a need for the state government to initiate a series of public awareness campaigns on policies and opportunities available to the people, so that the benefits can have a wider reach within the state. A variety of camps could be organized statewide to aid communication and public engagement and to give the people access to government programs especially on skill development and finance. Event programs to engage & encourage partnerships with public and private stake holders will go in a long way to expedite development process and bringing in best practices in the state which will help the state elevate its quality and standards.

Arunachal Pradesh can be a dream project which can change the entire North East region and bring the North East firmly in the national mainstream, making it a model for many other developing states. Lastly, we must aim to be an Atmanirbhar Bharat where every state is Atmanirbhar. A Bharat where every state develops their economy without losing their identity and state pride.

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