New Delhi, Oct 1 (IANS) The north eastern region of India will play a lead1ng role in the post-Covid scenario thereby taking the lead as the ‘new engine of a new India’, Union Minister of State for the Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) and MoS PMO, Jitendra Singh said on Thursday.
“When the whole world begins to realise that the resources elsewhere are getting gradually saturated, it is the northeast which would attract the attention of the new entrepreneurs, explorers for its unexplored potential and avenues whether it be in the form of tourism or setting up new entrepreneurships,” said Singh while addressing a webinar on “Emerging North East – Smart Solutions” hosted by ASSOCHAM.
The Minister said that India is emerging out of the corona pandemic and has to an extent set an example before the world of how it could meet the challenge in spite of its huge population of 135 crores quite effectively and producing rather better outcomes than most of the European countries with much smaller populations.
“Therefore, time has come for all of us to ponder, plan and workout the scenario in the post-pandemic era and how best to supplement the economic condition and resurgence of India in the post-Covid era,” said Singh.
He urged the trade and industry bodies to come forward and collaborate with the government. “Industry and trade leaders are going to play a very critical role because I feel that in the post-Covid era, India is going to be the torchbearer of the new economic scenario that would emerge on the world platform.”
Singh said that holiday seekers will soon realise that compared to some of the best known European tourist destinations, the destinations in northeast India are much more safe as well as cost effective.
“As far as tourism is concerned, the most sought after European tourist destinations got completely afflicted or gripped by corona, it was some of our favourite destinations like Gangtok, Shillong remained corona-free till the end.”
The Minister stated that in the last six years or so there has been direct intervention and prioritisation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“We have now huge progress in connectivity, we have a network of double-gauge rail track being laid down, we are going to have first-ever train moving from Tripura to Bangladesh, we have new airports, for example we have an airport in Sikkim which was dedicated to the public by none else then Prime Minister Modi two years back,” said Singh.
He added that with an airport coming up at Itanagar, it would be a special facilitation for the trekkers, mountaineers and explorers who would like to visit the scenic spots in the Tawang Valley.
Talking about the trade and business aspect, he said India had a business of Rs 5,000-Rs 6,000 crore in the bamboo sector alone, of which there are huge reserves in the north-east. Hailing the Central government he said, “Prime Minister Modi having taken the recent decision to hike the import duty on the bamboo goods coming from abroad to as much as 25 per cent, this is certainly going to encourage domestic bamboo production. This is a great breakthrough, for example looking at a small item like agarbatti (incense sticks), which is an item used virtually in every Indian household but all of it was being imported from other countries. Now we would be creating conditional milieu which would encourage this production domestically.”
He said, “We in the DoNER have taken upon ourselves not only to carry the virtues and unexplored potential of north-east to the various parts of the country to familiarise them, but we have also launched a movement to promote bamboo production and trade across the country. We have already made a beginning from the newly created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir where the ministry plans to collaborate in the setting up of three clusters namely dedicated to agarbatti, charcoal and baskets respectively.”
Addressing the ASSOCHAM webinar, Tawnluia, deputy chief minister of Mizoram, assured the industry of the government’s full support and cooperation for the smooth functioning of industrial units in the state to start their activities and avail various benefits under government schemes.
“Mizoram is one of the strategically important states with international borders with Bangladesh and Myanmar and it is an important port state for southeast Asian imports to India, as well as exports from India,” said Tawnluia.
Talking about the state’s thrust on railway infrastructure development for greater connectivity he said, “I am sure with the Bhairabi Sairang railway project, the logistic connectivity shall greatly improve.”
He stated that the Mizoram government has also taken several initiatives towards attaining its goals and the Mizoram Vision 2030 conceives development as a multi-dimensional process with an integrated approach to social, economic and environmental goals thereby achieving high sustained economic growth with shared prosperity.
Highlighting the northeast farmers’ potential to take up palm oil cultivation, Nasim Ali, CEO, Oil Palm Plantation-Godrej Agrovet said, “To realize northeast’s palm oil potential, we must have a long term focus with strong commitment spanning 12-15 years. This support should address challenges across the value chain.”