North Eastern states of India have lot of potential which is still unexplored, we need to explore this unexplored potential for the development of the region and the development of the country as a whole, said the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Dr Jitendra Singh. He was speaking on the inauguration of the Two-day “12th North-East Business Summit” here on Thursday.
If one region of the country is underdeveloped, the country cannot be developed, he added. He said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi accords high priority to the peripheral states. The Minister said that the potential of the developed states such as Gujarat and Maharashtra has been achieved to the maximum and now exploring the unexplored potential of the North Eastern states will contribute to the making of ‘New India’ which Prime Minister Narendra Modi keeps inspiring us. He said that about 70% of the population of India is under the age of 40 years, this unexplored region will meet the aspirations of these youth, when other regions have saturated.
The Minister said that about 40% of the fruit production in North East (NE) goes waste due to lack of further processing, so it can be an area of potential for the industrialists. He said the Union Government has taken various initiatives for ensuring ‘ease of doing business’ in the North Eastern region. The emphasis has been on addressing the connectivity issue, he added. He said that train services are being provided to the states hitherto untouched by the rail map of India. He further informed that the construction of the Agartala to Bangladesh rail track will be funded by the DoNER Ministry for the portion of the track on the Indian side. He also mentioned of 19 unexplored waterways and projects like Bhupen Hazarika Bridge. He suggested that bamboo – the thriving business sector should be taken out of the purview of the forest sector and that every district should have a post office passport Kendra for facilitating doing business in the region.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that the Prime Minister’s “Startup India, Standup India” is a programme which includes incentives like, tax holiday in the early phase and an exit period of three months. Added to this, the Ministry of DoNER is offering an additional benefit of providing the initial Venture Capital Fund to any youngster who decides to set up an entrepreneurship in the North-Eastern region. Dr Jitendra Singh said that a day will come when NE will become the favourite destination for all start-ups in India.
Appealing the business community, he said that they should explore the unutilised potential of North East. He said that this region has much more to offer to the business community. The tourism, specially the concept of ‘Home Tourism’ has also picked up in the North east region, he said. This has been possible due to the efforts of the Ministry of Development of North East Region (DoNER), the Minister added. He said that the DoNER Ministry has been exploring the idea of introducing a helicopter based Dispensary/OPD service in such far flung and remote areas, where no doctor or medical facility was available and the patient, in need, also did not have any access to any medical care. The first such experiment will be done in Imphal and Shillong, he added. He said that this concept can be emulated by the other states which are having the similar topography. He also informed the North East Industrial Promotion Policy is also in pipeline. The North Eastern Council (NEC) is also being reoriented by the Government, Dr Singh added.
The summit aims to explore the scope for business opportunities in the North-Eastern region of India. Focus areas are Infrastructure and Connectivity with Public Private Partnerships, Skill Development, Financial Inclusion, Services Sector Development- Particularly in Tourism, Hospitality & Food Processing. The Summit is being organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), with Manipur being the state partner for the event.