Pema Khandu
Arunachal chief minister Pema Khandu, his deputy Chowna Mein and home minister Bamang Felix during a meeting with community based organisations. Image credit - Northeast Now

In first of the series of pre-budget consultative meetings, Arunachla Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu and deputy chief minister Chowna Mein along with home minister Bamang Felix on Tuesday held a detailed discussion with community based organizations (CBOs).

During the meeting, the scopes of the Budget 2019-20, scheduled to be tabled in the forthcoming Assembly session beginning in the first week of July, were discussed.

Representatives of Arunachal Pradesh Women’s Welfare Society (APWWS) also attended the meeting to make the consultation all-inclusive.

Expressing gratitude to the CBOs and women’s representatives, Khandu said this is his third meeting (since 2017) with them and pointed a sea change in suggestions put forth by the members.

“I can notice a change in the mindset of our community leaders. Besides suggesting way forward for their respective communities they are today concerned about the entire state and encouraging pan-Arunachal welfare and progress measures,” he pointed.

He stressed on significance of the role that can be played by CBOs in an extremely dynamic and multi-polar society like Arunachal Pradesh not only in successfully implementing welfare schemes but also to maintain law and order.

“Role of CBOs is of utmost significance. You are sanctioned by the community you represent to decide for them. The government cannot function successfully without your support and cooperation,” he asserted.

The chief minister assured the representatives that each and every suggestion submitted by them will be minutely studied and accommodated in the budget as far as possible.

“This practice (of consultative meetings) is a new beginning in the right direction. We will see the results of today after 15-20 years, when we may not be in the position where we are today,” he said.

Deputy chief minister Mein, who also holds the finance portfolio, termed budget preparation a ‘big exercise’ and appreciated the CBOs for their interest in helping the government in the exercise.

He informed this year’s budget would focus on road communication, education, health and agri-horti sectors.

Mein suggested doing away with individual-centric schemes saying, “We have to concentrate on issues and projects that benefit a society.”

Calling for suggestions and interventions by CBOs in implementation of schemes and projects, the deputy chief minister said that it was the age of transparency and therefore nothing is hidden from the public.

On the other hand, home minister Felix requested assistance and cooperation from CBOs in ‘containing’ law and order situation in the state.

“Police can maintain law and order but the CBOs can contain law and order,” he said while informing the members about the Humara Arunachal Abhiyan, soon to be launched by the state Home department to create awareness amongst the masses to maintain law and order and contain criminal activities by community members.

“We will focus more on community policing as our government believes that unless community members are involved, maintaining law and order in an ethnically diverse society like ours is near impossible,” Felix added.

While APWWS called for establishment of State Child Rights Commission, juvenile homes, maternity and child care units, institutes for special children, almost all the CBOs called for de-addiction and rehabilitation centers across the state. All were also unanimous in giving special attention to the education sector, especially in transfer and posting of teachers.

Other issues that were focused and budgetary help sought were health, roads (particularly completion of several portions of TAH), development of Itanagar as a model city, burial/cremation grounds, anti-insurgency operations, multi-purpose cultural halls, infrastructure in border areas and newly created districts and timely distribution of school textbooks.

Besides APWWS, CBOs that attended the consultation were Arunachal Indigenous Tribes Forum (AITF), Nyishi Elite Society (NES), Tani Supum Dukum (TSD), Galo Welfare Society (GWS), Adi Baane Kebang (ABK), Sajalong Elite Society (SES), Aka-Hrusso Elite Society (AHES), Tagin Cultural Society (TCS), Monpa Mimang Tsokpa (MMT), Wancho Cultural Society (WCS), Mishmi Welfare Society (MWS), Tai-Khampti-Singpho Council (TKSC), Sherdukpen Employees Association (SEA), Singpho Development Society (SDS) and Yobin Welfare Society (YWS).

DAMIEN LEPCHA

Damien Lepcha is Northeast Now Correspondent in Arunachal Pradesh. He can be reached at: lepcharaul@gmail.com

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