Source: The Assam Tribune Relevance: GS III (Infrastructure, Development) & GS V (Assam Specifics)


A number of crucial industry-spurring projects in the North East, including those concerning connectivity, were running behind deadlines, resulting in the slow progress of the projects and steep surge in construction costs.


The prompt completion of infrastructure initiatives, like National Highways, is essential for boosting economic growth, especially in the financially constrained yet resource-abundant North Eastern (NE) region, encompassing Assam. However, the region faces challenges due to the perceived reluctance or procrastination by the involved companies or agencies, which has resulted in significant delays in numerous vital development projects for many years.

Reasons of the delayed Projects:

  • Project deadlines are often disregarded.

  • Delays largely due to poor management and lack of expertise among implementing agencies, including State government departments.

  • Inadequate road network in the region.

  • Poor road conditions due to insufficient supervision, lack of maintenance, and quality compromises during construction diminish road utility.

Recent developments:

  • Initiation of 26 National Highway projects in Assam, valued at Rs 17,500 crore.

  • Establishment of a special dashboard by the Ministry of DoNER to oversee Central projects in Assam and other Northeastern States, enhancing coordination among agencies.

  •  The dashboard serves as a critical resource, offering insights and data on visits by Union ministers to the NE region, accessible to all stakeholders.

  • Creation of a list of ministers for potential visits to the region, with post-visit online report and recommendation submission.

  • Launch of 'Poorvattar Sampark Setu' portal by the ministry to improve coordination among visiting Union ministers, aimed at monitoring and fast-tracking project implementation.

  • Enhanced and systematic monitoring of projects in the region by Union ministers through the new portal.

Measures implemented:

PM-DevINE for North East:

  • PM-DevINE initiative introduced as a Central Sector scheme in the Union Budget 2022–2023.

  • Cabinet approval for PM-DevINE on October 12, 2022, with 100% Central funding to ensure direct allocation to development projects.

  • Ministry of Development of North-East Region tasked with supervision.

Objectives of PM-DevINE:

  • Aligns with PM GatiShakti: PM-DevINE focuses on consolidating funding for infrastructure projects to ensure seamless connectivity and access across the NER.

  • Enhances Social Development: Addresses specific needs and challenges of the NER by funding social development projects to improve local living standards.

  • Empowers Youth and Women: Targets livelihood opportunities for the NER's youth and women, enabling their significant participation in the region's growth.

PM GatiShakti:

  • Launched in October 2021, the PM GatiShakti National Master Plan aims to streamline the development and execution of infrastructure projects with a focus on reducing logistics costs.

  • GatiShakti, an online platform, integrates development projects from 16 ministries, including road and rail, for harmonized planning and implementation.

  • The National Infrastructure Pipeline, announced in 2019 with a budget of Rs 110 lakh crore, was merged into the GatiShakti initiative at its inception.

Road connectivity:

  • Over the last three years, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways in NER has approved 4686 km of National Highways.

  • 77 road projects have been approved by the North East Road Sector Development Scheme (NERSDS) and the North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS).

Air connectivity:

  • The NER currently has 16 airports in functioning. In addition, 13 significant infrastructure projects are being carried out in the States of Tripura, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, and Arunachal Pradesh.

Rail Connectivity: 

  • A total of 19 railway infrastructure projects totalling 1909 km, all of which are located completely or partially inside the Northeastern States.

Waterways connectivity:

  • From 2020–2021 to 2024–2025, the government plans to establish the Inland Water Transport (IWT) infrastructure on two NWs (NW–2 and NW–16) during a five-year period.

  • Last mile connectivity via unique programs, such as the Inter-State Neglected Roads program and the Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for the North East (SARDP-NE).

Power connectivity:

  • The Northeastern Region and Sikkim have installed a total of 578.54 MW of generation capacity in the renewable power industry.

Telecom connectivity: 

  • A total of 5665 NER villages are expected to receive 4G services as part of the Bharat-Net project.

 People-to-people connectivity: 

  • The Yuva Sangam program aims to improve ties amongst individuals, particularly among young people from NER and other states.

Way Forward

Immediate emphasis on the quality and on-time completion of projects to guarantee high-quality infrastructure in the area.

Continuous monitoring and regular evaluations of projects are essential due to frequent instances of substandard work, ultimately impacting commuters.

Advait IAS