Mizoram launches new policy to boost agri-based economy

Aizawl, Oct 2 (IANS) The Mizoram government has launched a New Economic Development Policy (NEDP) to boost the state’s agriculture-based economy, develop rural infrastructure and to raise livelihood of the people.

The new policy would develop private-public partnerships for adding value to various agricultural, horticultural and other produce, Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla said here, aunching the NEDP on Saturday evening.

“NEDP was born out of the state’s flagship programme — New Land Use Policy (NLUP), which was launched in 2010. Its main aim was to lead Mizoram from a subsistence based economy to a market-based economy,” the Chief Minister said.

The Mizoram government launched the Rs 2,873 crore NLUP to give financial assistance to over 125,000 families and provide them training for settled farming instead of ‘jhum’ cultivation.

Tribals, who constitute 27 per cent of 45.58 million people in the northeastern states, practice ‘jhum’ or slash-and-burn method of cultivation. Rice is grown along with vegetables, maize, cotton and mustard.

Finance Minister Lalsawta said the state government was not averse in obtaining loans from banks and financial institutions to execute the schemes and projects to be undertaken under the NEDP.

An official release said that the core committee of NEDP accepted 27 proposals under the new policy which would be taken up during the current fiscal year (2016-17). An amount of Rs 250 crore has been allocated for these projects.

The release said that under the NEDP, key sectoral interventions identified for 2016-17 are for agriculture, horticulture, link roads, introduction of annual agriculture and horticulture crops with high domestic consumption and other high-value crops, improved processing facilities and marketing linkages for agricultural and horticultural produce, establishment of handloom export promotion facility, and a skills development centre.

The NEDP also aimed to establish additional classrooms in higher secondary and model schools to meet the growing demand for admission into government-run higher secondary schools.