"Unique sports traditions have developed in the Himalayan region in the countries and the states that are a part of it. To promote these, India will start an annual event to promote these games and would invite countries such as Nepal and Bhutan also to participate in addition to the Indian states such as Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and the northeastern states."
New Delhi/Agartala/Guwahati, July 10 - Organic farming, agricultural research, surface connectivity, sports and entertainment are set to get a boost in northeast India with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's first budget allocating funds for these purposes.

Renowned economist and Tripura University professor Indraneel Bhowmik said: It is a practical budget in so far as making real estimates.

Northeast India appears to be gaining from the funds allocated for organic farming and development of rail connectivity, Bhowmik told IANS.

The new and exclusive television channel for the northeast is also a welcome step, he said.

However, I would be happier if the cities of northeastern states features in the project of developing '100 smart cities'. The focus on irrigation is something long awaited and hope this time it will be fruitful, he added.

In his budget speech, Jaitley noted that northeastern region of India has tremendous potential for development of organic farming, which can enable local people reap a rich harvest by developing commercial organic farming, and proposed Rs.100 crore for the purpose.

The finance minister noted that the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) at Pusa has been at the forefront of research but since Independence, only one such centre has been established and announced two more such institutions of excellence will be be set up at in Assam and Jharkhand.

Considering the poor surface connectivity in the northeastern region, he announced investment of Rs.3,000 crore in the eight northeastern states during the ongoing fiscal for developing roads. The allocation is part of the total proposed allotment of Rs.37,880 crore for the National Highways Authority of India.

Jaitley said the northeast region has suffered from underdevelopment and a sense of isolation due to lack of proper connectivity.

Development of railway network is urgently required to remove this under development, he said, proposing allocation of an additional amount of Rs.1,000 crore over and above the amount provided for in the railway budget. Railway Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, in the rail budget presented Tuesday, allocated an outlay of Rs.5,116 crore for projects in the northeastern region.

Considering the traditional skill and fame in sports sector in the northeastern states, Jaitley also proposed to set up a sports university in Manipur and for this purpose an allocation of Rs.100 crore has been earmarked in the budget.

Unique sports traditions have developed in the Himalayan region in the countries and the states that are a part of it. To promote these, India will start an annual event to promote these games and would invite countries such as Nepal and Bhutan also to participate in addition to the Indian states such as Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and the northeastern states.

Jaitley also announced 'Arun Prabha', a new 24X7 television channel exclusively for the northeast region.


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