Completion of projects hallmark of PM Modi's development model Sitharaman

    Guwahati, Mar 14 (PTI) Completion of projects after laying foundation is the hallmark of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's development model, Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said here on Thursday.
    Sitharaman claimed that prior to 2014, when the Modi government came to power at the Centre, foundations were laid but projects were not completed on time.
    "The delay in completing projects adversely impacted the country's image, giving the impression that India does not finish its projects," Sitharaman said at the 'Viksit Bharat Ambassador Campus Dialogue' organised at IIT-Guwahati.
    "The PM believes that the government will not only lay foundations, but also complete the projects... Northeast has also benefitted from this thumb rule," she said.
    The Northeast is an important part in the government's development model, which is evident from the number of times the prime minister and other central ministers have visited the region in the last decade, she said.
    "The PM has visited the region 65 times, while other Union ministers have visited 850 times. This shows the government's priority on the region's development," Sitharaman said.
    She highlighted various initiatives taken by the BJP in the last decade to make the Northeast an "engine of growth and development".
    The initiatives taken during the last ten years for the Northeast is not just to ensure that the region ''catches up with the other states, but to make sure that it marches fast and ahead in the development process'', she said.
    ''The region's achievements in the last ten years are remarkable and have contributed immensely to India's growth aspiration'', the Union minister said.
    It is not about just making investments, but understanding and giving priority to what the youth wants, she added.
    Referring to the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Rs 27,000-crore semiconductor assembly and test facility in Assam's Morigaon district by the Prime Minister on Wednesday, Sitharaman said this was very different from any other investments made earlier.
    ''Money and investments will come, but yesterday was history for the NE and particularly for Assam'', she said.
    Assam and the region became a part of the semiconductor value chain with the Tata group of industries coming forward to set up the most advanced technological facility which will help the youth not only to gain employment, but also get skilled in the latest technology, the minister said.
    The new policy of Uttar Poorva Transformative Industrialisation Scheme (UNNATI), 2024 for the Northeast will provide a lot of initiatives and incentives for the industrial development of the region, she said.
    ''UNNATI is not just a scheme, but a catalyst for regional progress, driving economic growth and development by incentivising industrial expansion and optimising operations'', she added.
    The NDA government had initiated several projects for rail, air, road and telecom connectivity in all the eight states of the region which changed the face of development and gave hope and aspirations to the youth, Sitharaman said.
    During the last ten years, the NE states have got 17 airports, including three international, while till 2014 there were only nine airports, she said.
    Most states in the region have border villages which are critical as people residing in them are ''the eyes and ears of the country's intelligence network'' but the previous government did not believe in developing these villages with their view being that the enemies can have better access if the roads and other infrastructure were improved, she claimed.
''The PM, however, had a different perspective and said these were the first villages and they people living here must be given better facilities. The 'Vibrant Village' scheme was launched and Rs 4,800 crore has been earmarked for this in our budget'', Sitharaman said.
    Referring to GST, the finance minister said NE states have been the biggest beneficiaries with its Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) increasing to 27.5 per cent from the earlier 14.8 per cent.
    ''More indirect tax collection means more money for development and welfare of the people'', she added.
    Sitharaman pointed out that methanol is being exported to Bangladesh and Nepal and the PM has focussed on NE's development with the aim to have a market in South East Asia and other neighbouring countries.
    The PM has also focused on making the region a medical and educational hub by setting up several institutes in varied fields, she said.
    ''This kind of development has never happened before and more will be achieved in the next few decades. If this can happen in ten years, much more can be done by the centenary year of India's independence in 2047'', Sitharaman said.
    She also urged all Viksit Bharat Ambassadors present on the occasion to take forward the message of development taking place in the country.
    The Union minister later visited the famed Kamakhya Temple, atop the Nilachal Hills, to offer prayers.

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)