Union Budget 2022: India to boost infrastructure in villages along China border
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced a scheme to strengthen infrastructure in villages along the border with China. This comes in the backdrop of the lingering standoff with China in eastern Ladakh and concerns in the security establishment over China setting up villages in several sectors close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
"Border villages with a sparse population, limited connectivity and infrastructure often get left out from the development gains. Such villages on the northern border will be covered under the new Vibrant Villages Programme," Ms Sitharaman said in her budget speech.
"The activities will include construction of village infrastructure, housing, tourist centres, road connectivity, provisioning of decentralised renewable energy, direct-to-home access for Doordarshan and educational channels, and support for livelihood generation," she said, adding, additional funding for these activities will be provided.
"The existing schemes will be converged. We will define their outcomes and monitor them on a constant basis," she said.
The government has taken a series of measures in the last couple of years to boost border infrastructure.
Last October, then Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Manoj Pande had told journalists that new villages have come up on the Chinese side of the border in certain areas and India has taken note of it in its operational strategy.
Lt Gen Pande took charge as the Vice Chief of Army on Tuesday.
In a report in November, the US Department of Defence had said that China has built a large 100-home civilian village inside the contested territory between its Tibet Autonomous Region and Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern sector of the LAC.
Following the report, sources in India's security establishment said the village is in a territory controlled by the Chinese military for nearly six decades.
In the wake of the standoff in eastern Ladakh, India has bolstered its overall military preparedness along the LAC in the Arunachal Pradesh sector as well.