Kohima, Sept. 26: On day II of the third Sustainable Mountain Development Summit (SMDS-III), held here at the conference hall of the Directorate of Higher Education, a host of dignitaries shared their experiences and discussed issues of concern regarding the mountain states of the Indian Himalayan region.
R.S Toli, former Uttarakhand chief secretary and chairman of Doon University’s Institute for Public Policy, presented a paper on Appropriateness of Centrally Sponsored Schemes and Other Programmes for Indian Mountain States.
He said the number of centrally sponsored schemes had been reduced from 147 to 66 across various sectors for effective implementation and monitoring of the 12th Five Year Plan.
The schemes have been restructured into three categories — flagship scheme, sub-sectored schemes and umbrella schemes, he said.
Toli encouraged policymakers of mountain states to go for these schemes because the Centre would give these schemes 100 per cent support.
Nagaland parliamentary secretary for agriculture, Benjongliba Ao, said unlike in the mainlands where priority is given to strategies to increase production, mountain states like Nagaland need to concentrate on creating better market linkages (the connection between the producer and the ultimate consumer).
Because of non-availability of markets, farmers in Nagaland are not encouraged to produce more although the state has potential farming avenues, Ao said.
He also stressed on giving more importance to water harvesting programmes, given Nagaland’s acute water shortage in the dry season.
Nagaland commissioner and education secretary Imkonglemba Ao suggested that the 11 mountain states rethink their long-term policy with regard to the agriculture and allied sectors because people can make a sustainable living from these sectors. Except Mizoram, 70 per cent of the people in Northeast depend on agriculture, he said.
He said the high transportation cost of materials used in the midday meal scheme could be reduced if local products were used.
The director-general of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, David Molden, said he was impressed with the vision of the 12th Five Year Plan and suggested the inclusion of the private sectors.
Producing more hydropower utilities would be worth the money, he said.
The Centre’s joint secretary of the ministry of environment and forests, B.M.S. Rathore, emphasised the importance of engaging the youth, terming them as a huge resource.
“If we utilise this huge resource of people we will achieve the goal of faster development,” he said.