Niti Aayog suggests setting up ‘Himalayan Authority’ for integrated development of region

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Niti Aayog has suggested setting up of an overarching ‘Himalayan Authority’ for coordinating integrated and holistic development of hilly states at the foothills of the Himalayan region.

The government think tank has recommended that the proposed authority should ensure convergence and synergy, provide strategic guidance for the development of the region in a sustained manner, commission assessments of the programmes and monitor fulfilment of the SDG goals. Its summary report, ‘Contributing to Sustainable Development in the Indian Himalayan Region’ said, “It would also foster regional collaboration to address issues that have regional dimensions.”

Niti Aayog suggested that the Chief Secretaries of the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) states, Secretaries of the Ministries concerned at the Centre, subject experts and think tank representatives could be members of the authority.

The IHR stretches from the mountains in the northern states of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh to the north-eastern states of Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. It also covers the hill districts of Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong in Assam and Darjeeling and Kalimpong in West Bengal.

Niti Aayog in 2017 had set up Five Thematic Working Groups contributing to Sustainable development in the IHR. These themes were related to improving water security in mountain towns and cities through the revival of springs, developing responsible mountain tourism, increasing skilled workforce, transforming shifting cultivation in northeastern hill region to ensure ecological, food and nutritional security and making available required dataset and information.

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