NEDP was formulated to address the development gap left after Planning Commission was dismantled in 2014. Mizoram, which has low internal resource base and heavily depended on central transfers, witnessed a substantial increase in tax transfers through 14th Finance Commission awards.
Though plan transfers had been significantly reduced, the State Government is now in a position to pursue its own development agenda in a more flexible way. Unlike centrally sponsored schemes which are attached with several conditionalities in their formulation and implementation processes, NEDP schemes are flexible and simply designed to suit local conditions and meet developmental needs of the concerned community.
In addition to these, there are several positive features of NEDP. All development sectors of the stateagriculture and allied sectors, roads and bridges, governance reform, social service sectors like education, health, climate change, solar energy development, public sector reforms etc., are given equal treatment, based on their sectoral requirement, under NEDP schemes.
By addressing the needs of all these sectors in an integrated way, Mizoram economy is currently moving towards a high growth trajectory path. From subsistence economy, it has accelerated towards a high productive market economy; ultimately to a more inclusive growth process to achieve sustainable development goals. The poor jhum farmers have now access to governmental support by way of market integration, link roads etc. by ensuring a more sustainable livelihood for them.
Young entrepreneurs are provided with micro start-up capital to venture into their dreamed projects and make them come into reality. Educated unemployed youths are being converted from being a wasted human resource into a dynamic self-employed entrepreneur under NEDP schemes which provide enabling environment for them.
Unless good economics and good politics coexist and practiced by state actors, desired development outcome could never be achieved. To avoid leakages and wastages of scarce investible resources, NEDP has incorporated transparency, monitorable targets, accountability etc in the formulation, implementation and allocation of projects and funds. The synergy between political actors and departmental agencies have ensured NEDP schemes are being implemented smoothly over the last two years, bringing significant improvement in the socioeconomic life of Mizo community.
(Views expressed in this article are of Prof Vanlalchhawna, Finance Officer, Mizoram University and Expert Member, Mizoram State Planning Board)