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New engine of ASEAN collaboration spearheaded by NE region: DoNER Minister

He said that collaboration with ASEAN countries will play an important role in meeting the target of 5 trillion economies in India and the contribution of Northeastern states can also not be underestimated in it.


New engine of ASEAN collaboration spearheaded by NE region: DoNER Minister
Speaking about the tourism potential of the North East, the Minister said that tourism has grown manifold in recent years, especially with Homestay tourism in the region. Image Credit: Twitter(@phdchamber)

The Union Minister of State (I/C) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh said that India will soon achieve the target of 5 trillion USD economy target with the optimistic environment that has been created under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. He said that collaboration with ASEAN countries will play an important role in meeting the target of 5 trillion economies in India and the contribution of Northeastern states can also not be underestimated in it. He was addressing at the Inaugural Session of 2-day India-ASEAN Business Summit, here today.

Dr. Jitendra Singh said that for ease of doing business, there are three essentials, which are:

i). Connectivity, ii). Communication and iii). Ease of regulations. Giving the example of North East, the Minister said that connectivity in NE has been the main focus of the current Government, with Sikkim getting its first airport last year. He said that Itanagar will also soon get an airport. He also mentioned about train connectivity in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya. He further said that we are in the process of flagging off the first train to Bangladesh from Agartala. The Minister also mentioned the Inland waterways developed by the government down the Brahmaputra river, which is one of the largest rivers of the world. While quoting the importance of waterways in the economy, the Minister said that the cost of cargo transportation by waterways is one-fourth of the coast by train.

The Minister said that some of the breakthroughs made under PM Shri Narendra Modi were never expected earlier. He added that the Prime Minister has been reiterating the emphasis on closer and progressive collaboration with ASEAN countries and also focus on the development of the Northeastern region of India. This is important for business and trade development, the Minister added. Dr. Jitendra Singh said that the Northeast has unexplored potential which needs to be tapped. He added that the new engine of the ASEAN collaboration has been spearheaded by the northeastern region. He spoke about other initiatives in NE such as Brahmaputra Study Centre, an affiliation of Barooah Cancer Institute with Tata Memorial Centre, setting up of APJ Abdul Kalam Study Centre at IIM Shillong, etc. He also mentioned the Government's decision to amend the age-old "Indian Forest Act of 1927" and the amendment has exempted the bamboo grown in the non-forest land from the Forest Act.

He said that the first Bamboo Industrial Park is being set up in Dima Hasao district of Assam. The Minister added that similar parks can be set up in J&K. He said the possibility of opening an Apple food park, Strawberry food park can be explored. He added that first-ever citrus fruit park has been developed in Mizoram with Israeli collaboration. We need to have a vision and futuristic approach, the Minister emphasized.

Speaking about the tourism potential of the North East, the Minister said that tourism has grown manifold in recent years, especially with Homestay tourism in the region. The Government will set up a Films and Training Institute of India (FTII) in Arunachal Pradesh, the Minister added. He added that many initiatives have been taken to promote start-ups in Northeast, such as tax holiday, provision of exit period and 'Venture fund' which is being offered by the DoNER Ministry. These initiatives have helped in curbing the youth exodus from the region, the Minister said.

Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador, Royal Thai Embassy and Chair of ASEAN region, Mr. Chutintorn Gongsakdi said that we need to identify the opportunities available for us to do business in India. He emphasized connecting the connectivities, including air, land and sea connectivity. He further said that digital technology is an enabler of member economies and quoted examples of e-commerce regarding it. He added that we should aim at people-centered and inclusive economies with a focus on environmental, social and corporate governance.

The India- ASEAN Business Summit on the theme: "Today, Tomorrow, Together" is being organised to strengthen trade & investment flows with ASEAN Economies. The objective of the conference is to enhance the trade trajectory between India and ASEAN nations to new highs. Senior government officials from India and the ASEAN Nations are interacting with the Business community of India and ASEAN for the promotion of bilateral trade and investments. The first day of the Summit is having sessions on Infrastructure and Tourism sectors, IT/ITES, E-Commerce and Fintech and Education & Skill Development, Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals and Agriculture & Food processing. On the second day of the summit, the B2B meetings will be organised along with a session on Focus Vietnam – Growing Trade & Commerce between India & Vietnam.

More than 60 delegates from 10 ASEAN countries and more than 200 delegates from India are participating in the summit.

(With Inputs from PIB)


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