Centre not to touch Art 371: Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, MOS DoNER (Independent charge) Dr Jitendra Singh and others during Plenary Session of North Eastern Council at Guwahati on Sunday. (UNI)
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, MOS DoNER (Independent charge) Dr Jitendra Singh and others during Plenary Session of North Eastern Council at Guwahati on Sunday. (UNI)

* Dr Jitendra sees NE favourite destination for young Start-Ups
Excelsior Correspondent

GUWAHATI, Sept 8: Clarifying the difference between Articles 370 and 371, Union Home Minister Amit Shah today made it clear that the Centre will not touch Article 371 of the Indian Constitution that is applicable to the Northeast and said that not a single illegal immigrant would be allowed in the region.
“After abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, there were attempts to misinform and misguide the people of the Northeast that Article 371 would also be scrapped by the Centre. I have clarified in Parliament that this is not going to happen and I am saying it again today in the presence of eight Chief Ministers of the Northeast that both the Articles are different and the Centre will not touch Article 371,” he said while addressing 68th plenary session of the North East Council (NEC) here today.
While elaborating, the Home Minister explained that the Constituent Assembly had framed Article 370 as a temporary provision whereas Article 371 is about special provisions in the Northeast and there is a vast difference between the two. “I think it is important to clarify the difference between the two. Let me make it clear that the Prime Minister and the BJP Government respects Article 371 and 371 (A),” he added.
Most of the States that have been accorded special provisions under Article 371 are in the Northeast and the special status aims to preserve their tribal culture. “There was an attempt to give a wrong message that the BJP-led Government would scrap Article 371 and this was done by people who did not want peace in the Northeast or the region to become an engine of development, “ Shah said.
On the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the Home Minister said, “Questions are being raised about the NRC by different sections but today I just want to say this that the BJP-led Government is committed to ensure that not a single illegal immigrant enters the region.”
Pointing out that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there has been a “drastic decline” in terrorism and militant activities, Shah said, “I do not want to quote statistics but the entire country and the world knows that we have been able to control it.”
“There are still misguided people who indulge in armed activities but our minds are open and hands stretched for those who want to lay down arms. For those who want to continue, the Governments at the Centre and the State will follow a zero-tolerance policy,” he said and added that the misguided people who take up arms are our own but are tools in the hands of vested foreign forces.
Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region and Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office, said that in the last five years Northeast has come more into focus and that has been possible because the Government is actually moving in that direction. “Under the direction of the Prime Minister, in every fortnight one Minister will be visiting a State of the Northeast to listen to people and ensure the region is developed in every sphere,” he informed and added that North East Council has been given its highest budgetary allotment of Rs 1476 crores for the year 2019-20.
Dr Singh said that one of the major achievements of the Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the last five years has been that the students from Northeast have been provided the facility for cost-effective living through hostels and other means in different parts of the country. He informed that a Northeast Hostel for girl students has been completed within the campus of Bangalore University. Similarly, he said, an exclusive Northeast Hostel is under construction within the campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), where a very large number of youth are pursuing higher studies. A similar will come up at Rohini for Northeast students studying in Delhi University, he added.
Complementing the youth from North Eastern region for their diligence and aspirational focus, Dr Singh said, the “Start-up India, Stand-up India” programme initiated by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been implemented in the North Eastern region, with an added incentive from the Ministry of DoNER in the form of “Venture Fund” to be provided to any young entrepreneur or Start-Up who wishes to pursue it in the region. The response to this, he said, has been very encouraging and in the years to come, Northeast may become a favourite destination for young Start-Ups from all over India.
The NEC Plenary meeting is being attended by Governors, Chief Ministers, MPs of the Northeast and senior officers of the eight North-Eastern states and Union Ministry of DoNER.