New Delhi: The Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Jitendra Singh said the 4-day ‘Destination North East‘ Festival which began yesterday in Varanasi will offer an opportunity for the fusion of the two rich cultures of Ganga and Brahmaputra, represented by Varanasi and North East respectively.
Singh said that Varanasi is a holy city and it is a unique opportunity to have this event organised in Varanasi. He expressed happiness over the fact that North East culture is being showcased on the banks of Ganga.
The Minister added that this would also bring India’s cultural diversities together and help people across India to understand what Northeast is all about.
Jitendra Singh was addressing the inaugural function of the Destination North East Festival. Bollywood actress Zeenat Aman, former cricketer R P Singh and other celebrities from films, music and sports were also present on the occasion.
The festival is being organised by the Union Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), led by a team of senior officers headed by Secretary DoNER Inder Jit Singh and Secretary North East Council K Moses Chalai.
Destination North East is a 4-day event from 23 to 26 November at the IIT-BHU grounds, Varanasi. The previous editions of ‘Destination North East’ were held in Delhi and Chandigarh.
Destination North East 2019 is providing live experiences to the audience. All 8 North Eastern States are participating in the event along with their respective handicrafts, handloom, organic products and cultural troupes.
Jitendra Singh said the North East provides unexplored avenues for youth from all over India. He said Northeast has something to offer to each of the young startups and aspiring entrepreneurs from all over India, and therefore it is fast emerging as the favorite destination for youth from all over the country. This will help in curbing youth exodus, he said.
The DoNER Minister urged youth to explore the opportunity of Business to Business sessions being held during the festival. He observed that the Government has built hostels for the North East students to help them pursue their studies in different parts of country.
The DoNER Minister said the North East model of development has today become a reference point for replication in other parts of India. There is so much to learn from North East, he said, adding that some states like Sikkim have GDP that most of the other states don’t.
Singh spoke about the citrus fruit park in Mizoram. The Minister said the North East has a lot to offer to rest of India. He spoke about women’s empowerment in the North east, and added that NE is New Engine for development of North East.
Singh observed that young entrepreneurs are also travelling to North East to find new avenues of employment. He mentioned a Venture fund for startups introduced by DoNER ministry.
Jitendra Singh said the Ministry of DoNER has taken various steps for the development of the NE region. He said that development of peripheral states is the focus of Government since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge in 2014.
Singh remarked that Modi himself has visited the Northeast more than 30 times during his first term. He added that Modi attended the meeting of North Eastern Council, the first time by a PM in 40 years i.e. after Morarji Desai. Singh sad the North East has to develop at the same pace as other parts of the country.
Speaking about the initiatives for Northeast, the Minister said that connecting North East with the rest of country is the priority of the Modi Government. Various steps have been taken to boost rail, air and road connectivity, he added.
Jitendra Singh said the budget for the North East has been increased. He said that a train has been started from Itanagar to New Delhi i.e. Arunachal Express. He added that a train will soon be flagged off to Bangladesh from North East. He also spoke about Sikkim Airport.
The DoNER Minister said that the festival will provide an opportunity to create awareness and the people will learn about the rich culture of North East here. He encouraged youth to participate in the festival and find opportunities for economic development.
Earlier in November, Singh had visited the site of the North East Convention Centre bring set up in Delhi. This Centre will be the information and cultural hub of the NE Region in Delhi.
Singh had also said that the North East Region will pilot India’s collaboration with ASEAN at the India-ASEAN Business Summit in November.
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