Arunachal could’ve remained UT for a few more years: CM Khandu

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Arunachal could’ve remained UT for a few more years: CM Khandu

Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh was given statehood a bit earlier, and could have remained a Union Territory for a few more years, Chief Minister Pema Khandu said on Friday.

He made the remarks while speaking at a symposium, “Youth Perspective on Development and Changes in Arunachal Pradesh in 50 years”, here. The programme was organised as part of the celebrations of ’50 Years of Arunachal Pradesh’.

Arunachal Pradesh became a full-fledged state on February 20, 1987.

Till 1972, it was known as the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA), and was administered by the External Affairs Ministry with the Assam Governor was acting as agent to the President of India.

On January 20, 1972, NEFA gained the Union Territory status and was renamed as Arunachal Pradesh.

Referring to the quality of education, he said that during its Union Territory phase, schools in the state were very few but the quality of education was very high.

“The generation that received education during the NEFA and UT times were really educated,” Khandu said.

He said that the quality of education reflected in their services, but after becoming a full-fledged state the scenario has changed.

Khandu pointed out that hundreds of schools were established across the state but the quality in education dropped sharply.

He, however, asserted that nothing would be achieved by pondering on what went wrong or put the blame on any individual or political party.

He called for making the wrong right through administrative and political reforms.

“Since assuming the chief minister’s office, it has been my endeavour to bring in reforms with strong political will. Therefore, I had to take decisions, which at times, were frowned upon. One such decision was to establish the State Staff Selection Board,” he said.

This decision, Khandu said, broke the tradition of ‘job for vote’ and ‘job for cash’ prevalent across the state, therefore frowned upon.

“A Cabinet order would have done the job. But I insisted on making it an Act so that it cannot be tinkered by any chief minister or political party in the future easily. For any amendment or dissolution, it will have to bring to the floor of the Assembly, which will not be an easy sailing as people outside the Assembly won’t allow it,” he explained.

“Today, youth with merit and not those with connections are getting government jobs. In 5 to 10 years from now, the government offices will be different altogether — more honest, more efficient and more responsible, you will see,” Khandu said.

“Questioning the government is good as it is the sign of a healthy democracy. At the same time we need to question the role of all stakeholders and most importantly we need to question ourselves. Question what we could have contributed in solving the problem,” he pointed out.

While informing that the Budget Session of the state assembly will begin from March 11, he urged the people to share their views and suggestions on the state budget.

Khandu further said that there should be a collective and continued effort to strengthen the bond within the tribes of the state.

“There will be very few who have travelled to all the districts of Arunachal Pradesh. To encourage inter-district and inter-tribe travels we introduced the ‘Dekho Apna Pradesh’ programme.

“The youth need to travel to other districts. Know your state, take pride in the diversity and then explore the world with your head held high,” Khandu added.

With 25 districts and a population of around 14 lakh, Arunachal Pradesh has 26 major tribes and more than 100 sub-tribes. The tribals constitute around 69 per cent of the total population.

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