GUWAHATI, Jan 21 � The North-Eastern region has huge untapped economic potential, and the challenge is to convert possibilities into success stories.
BK Handique, Minister for Department of Development of the North-Eastern Region (DoNER), said this while speaking at the inaugural session of the sixth North-East Business Summit in Mumbai today. The two-day summit has been�organized jointly by the DoNER and Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC). �
The DoNER Minister, who is the summit chairman and was also the chief guest at the inaugural session, lauded the ICC for organizing the business event, saying that the North-East business summits over the years had been exclusive platforms for policy makers and business leaders for exchange of ideas, collaborations and co-operation, a statement said. Handique said that the North-East had huge opportunities in strategic sectors like tourism, agro and food processing, organic farming, spices, etc. Mentioning that about two-thirds of India�s total bamboo reserves were in the North-East, the minister said that rare flora and fauna, medicinal plants, herbs, etc., created unique business opportunities for the corporate sector.
Handique said that the region�s proximity to South and South East Asian nations could turn it into an international trade hub, adding that big projects like the Kaladan multimodal transport project could create stronger bridges of economic and trade cooperation between India and her Asian neighbours, with the North-East acting as the gateway.
Highlighting the tremendous economic opportunities that Nagaland has to offer, Neiphiu Rio, Chief Minister of Nagaland, said that the State offered great scope in sectors like agro and food processing SEZs, tourism and hospitality, and medicinal and aromatic plants. He said that the Nagaland Government was committed to facilitating rapid and sustained industrial development in the State through enhanced investment, provision of infrastructure, and investor-friendly environment.
BM Lanong, Deputy Chief Minister of Meghalaya, in his address, said that Meghalaya had huge mineral reserves, and sectors like cement, power, coal, etc., had high growth potential in the State. IT &ITeS was another area which could take the State to a higher growth trajectory, he commented, adding that NASSCOM had tied up with the State Government to build IT infrastructure in the State.
Earlier, Jayati Chandra, Secretary, DoNER, stressed the need for converting huge public investments in the North-East into economic or livelihood opportunities, and added that good governance, and long-term vision were necessary to uplift the region.
In his welcome address, Shrivardhan Goenka, senior vice president, ICC, referred to the region�s abundant natural resources like bamboo, tea, rice and fruits which he said promised a paradise for the intrepid entrepreneur, with hundred per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) opportunities on offer in power generation, roads, airports, horticulture and tourism.
MK Saharia, chairman of ICC�s North-East Initiative, in his speech, informed the delegates and dignitaries, how, over the years, the North-East business summits had played a major role in raising issues of strategic importance, and addressing them suitably.