ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Plugging the Leaks

North-East India and Development

For over a decade there have been reports of central funds meant for the north-eastern region going into the wrong hands. The Government of India has proposed creation of the post of joint director in the Central Bureau of Investigation exclusively for the north-east to check the leakage of development funds. Though late in coming, this is a welcome move.

The Government of India’s (GoI)proposal (25 March 2013) to create the post of joint director in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) exclusively for north-east India to check the unabated leakage of development funds in the region is a right move though it has been late in coming. For over a decade now, there have been reports of central funds going into the wrong hands in the north-eastern region (NER). With huge sums of central funds being pumped into the NER through special packages, the focus has once again shifted to monitoring and curbing leakages of funds which has reached an alarming proportion. However, the magnitude of this leakage is difficult to estimate because of “intelligent” siphoning off. The Eleventh Plan outlay for the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) was Rs 14,409.08 crore and the possibility of a substantial amount being siphoned off is high. The swindling of public funds is one critical factor that can perhaps justify the resentment of citizens in that part of the country in regard to the wide development gaps as compared to the rest of India. Further, this “pattern” of development has confirmed their fears of the home-grown mafias and syndicates dictating the development and governance “agenda” despite the presence of democratically-elected governments.

Another serious measure contemplated is that of setting up an exclusive wing of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) for the region. In its report to Parliament, the Standing Committee attached to DoNER has expressed its satisfaction about the move to create a separate wing of the CVC in the NER. The Parliamentary Panel recommended that early action may be taken in this regard.

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