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Northeast to benefit from Act East policy, JICA to invest $1.5 bn

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New Delhi:  Preceding Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to India in December, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) agreed to invest in building road infrastructure in the strategically important Northeast.

This infrastructural exchange can be seen as a sign of developing relationship between the two nations. Advantaging from India’s ‘Act East’ policy, Japan is pushing up an infrastructure assistance to developing roadways connectivity in the Northeast India.

JICA is said to be investing $1.51 billion in constructing a 1,910 km section of road connectivity in the Northeast. This roadways construction is anticipated to help the transport logging and enhance public connectivity in the region.

The construction of the highway is expected to initiate from Meghalaya to Mizoram, situated on the extreme east of the northeast.

“Of this, Japan is likely to pledge approximately $687 million for upgrading the 435 km stretch of national highway in Mizoram and Meghalaya during Abe’s visit next month,” said an official in a newspaper interview.

Japan also has furthered plans to invest into high-speed rail projects between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. This initiative appears promising as Japan has already forwarded a loan to India for developing the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor Project, which is under construction and will connect two most important cities- Delhi and Mumbai.

Japan is an important international partner to India as it is the highest beneficiary of overseas development assistance given by the country. India holds an annual summit every year with Russia and the only other country with which it holds yearly talks is Japan.

“India is also looking for a Japanese cooperation to ramp up urban and sewerage infrastructure in the Northeast, the urban infrastructure project in states like Jharkhand,” added the official in the interview.

These infrastructural investments are to help accelerate the government’s attention towards uplifting the north-east region of the country. With the upcoming visit of the Japanese PM, India has high hopes of developing a better and deeper bond with the country.

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Aboriginals of Manipur prefer larger families to ensure their Safety in their Homeland

The Manipuri villages in Assam and Tripura have seen a huge reduction of the population since Independence

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Local Manipuri girls. Image courtesy: Wikimedia commons
  • In the state of Manipur, having larger families is often encouraged
  • Locals fear they will soon be outnumbered by the non-locals and immigrants
  • Unlike other northeastern states, Manipur does not have provisions for the Inner Line Permit system yet

In the midst of large-scale family planning to curb the unchecked population growth, families in Manipur seem to think differently about managing their families.

Mutum Sobita(44) and Ningombam Sanahanbi (54) have fifteen and thirteen children respectively. And there is no case of mistreatment or malnutrition, rather children were provided with optimal education and care. Having these many number of children is considered the norm in these areas.

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According to a IANS report, these two mothers- Mutum Sobita of Keinou in Bishnupur district and Ningombam Sanahanbi of Okram Chuthek in Imphal East district were awarded on Sunday, June 12, at an event held at the Press Club there. There were thirteen recipients in total who were awarded with cash prize and citation for being wonderful mothers to their children. Iramdam Kunba Apunba Lup (IKAL) managed this event.

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The seven sister states in North East India. Image courtesy: Wikimedia commons

It is interesting to know why these indigenous families prefer having larger families in spite of small family size incentives provided by the government.

Experts highlight the fear of being outnumbered by non-locals have been encouraging these families to have a larger number of children.

According to the 2011 Census, population in the state was 2,721,750 of which the non-locals made up over 1,200,000, according to what the government officials told IANS.

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Unlike other northeastern states, Manipur does not have provisions for the Inner Line Permit system yet. It’s a controversial topic and this sentiment was portrayed by Member of Legislative Assembly O. Lukhoi’s speech, who was the chief guest at Sunday’s event on June 12.

In 2015, the Manipur Assembly had approved of three bills following requests to execute the Inner Line Permit system. While the valley people, prevalent Meiteis, see it as the right step to protect them from immigrants, the Kukis and Nagas in the hills are resisting these bills, said a report by IANS.

“People are agitating today and demanding their protection since they have a fear that they will become strangers in their own home state,” Lukhoi said.

-prepared by a staff-writer at NewsGram

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