The government is set to unveil the ‘Digital North East 2022’ plan in the next budget with an allocation of about Rs 3,700 crore in the first year with an aim to create employment opportunities for the region’s youth in the electronics and ICT sectors.After several rounds of inter-ministerial discussions, a blue print has been prepared to fund the programme in a mission mode, a government official said.
Accordingly, ministries of skill development, and electronics and information technology as well as the department of telecommunications will be asked to earmark 10 per cent of their budgetary allocation of central plans and schemes exclusively for digital NE, he said.
Similarly, 10 per cent of the expenditure on central schemes of the ministry of development of northeastern region may be reserved for the digital programme, sources said. The accumulated balance of non-lapsable pool will also be spent only for the digital NE programme, sources said.
Every year the government generates Rs 650-700 crore in this non-lapsable pool.
The Centre will also ask all the NE states to earmark 3 per cent of their budgets for the digital programme. “Since all NE states get 90 per cent grant from the Centre, there may not be a problem for them to keep a part of their budget for the digital programme,” the official said.
Besides, the government will divert the unspent balances of all ministries, which are meant to be spent on different schemes in the region, towards digital NE, he added.
The vision of the government is to improve quality of life and economic opportunities for the people by suing digital technologies, he said.
Several small schemes have been envisaged with a proposed expenditure of Rs 100 crore each to increase employment.