Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, who also holds the Finance portfolio, held a detailed consultative pre-budget meeting with representatives of Community Based Organizations (CBOs) of the state Itanagar on Saturday morning.
While the umbrella organization of all CBOs, the Arunachal Indigenous Tribes Federation (AITF) submitted suggestions and proposals common to all tribes of the state, individual CBOs put forward respective community specific suggestions for inclusion in the ensuing budget.
All the CBOs were unanimous in their concern over the recent incidences of rape and its aftermaths and emphasized that budget provisions be made to enhance the security scenario within the state besides involving grass root organizations in creating awareness on safety of children and women. Majority of them also felt the need to fast track the justice delivery system, especially in rape related cases by equipping the courts at lower levels with sufficient manpower and basic facilities and by establishing police outposts in every administrative circle. This, they emphasized, would restore people’s faith on the judiciary and the police.
The CBOs were also unanimous on the need for giving top priority to education, health and road connectivity sectors in the budget. Suggestions were made for immediate recruitment of teachers through the state public service commission and their posting to various schools affected by teacher shortages before commencement of the next academic session.
CBOs representing the eastern districts of the state pointed drug addiction and opium cultivation a major problem common to all. They called for budgetary provisions to wean away youths from addiction by engaging them in co-curricular activities and providing opium cultivators with alternate crops through subsidies, loans and supply of quality seeds as well as market links.
Citing communal harmony a necessity for development, the CBOs called for emphasis on cultural exchange programmes not only between the tribes of the state but also with neighboring states, especially Assam.
Many of the CBOs also felt the need to preserve and promote indigenous culture and languages. It was informed to the Chief Minister that few major tribes of the state have developed scripts for their respective languages and suggestions were put forth for introducing these as third language in schools falling in their respective jurisdictions. They called for sufficient budgetary provision for recruitment of indigenous language teachers, their training and printing of text books.
Almost all the CBOs cited road connectivity, from inter-village to Trans Arunachal Highway, as a major issue that calls for provisions in the budget. One of the CBOs suggested all roads in the state be classified under different heads like village roads, state roads, national highways and the responsibility of each head be entrusted to one particular department for construction and maintenance.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu welcomed the suggestions submitted and assured that these will be accommodated as much as possible in the ensuing budget 2018-19. He urged the CBOs, under the umbrella of AITF, to create awareness amongst their community members about the government’s flagship programs and lead them to become active members of Team Arunachal. He specifically sought the assistance of the CBOs in making people understand the negative impacts of seeking very high land compensation for road projects.