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FICCI tips to State on economic growth

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, June 17 - The North East Advisory Council of FICCI has made a number of important suggestions to effect an exponential shift in the State�s growth trajectory.

The recommendations, which were submitted to the State government, advocate a major focus on internal revenue generation, tapping private funds, restoration of special category status and multilateral funding for infrastructure development, including riverine connectivity and utilisation of the economic potential of the rivers.

Ranjit Barthakur, chairman of FICCI�s North East Advisory Council, advocated a shift of focus from non-plan expenditure to plan expenditure. He added, �On the one hand internal resource mobilisation needs to be strengthened and, on the other, a long-term plan for capital investments needs to be drawn up.�

FICCI advocated a number of measures like strengthening of the tax administration and issuing of infrastructure, municipal and agri bonds to raise funds for development projects.

Speaking about the infrastructure development needs of the State, Barthakur said that Assam is blessed with an extensive network of waterways, and it is a pity that those networks are not being used for economic and social development of the State.

�The State must focus on harnessing the potential of the rivers to become the transportation and economic corridors of the State,� he said. Apart from savings of up to 30 per cent in transportation cost, inland water transport is also the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation. FICCI suggested development of economic corridors along the Brahmaputra and Barak rivers by setting up 20 port townships-cum-industrial areas.

The industry body recommended extensive dredging/river training work and reclamation of land from the rivers to set up industrial areas and other economic potential. �Apart from giving a boost to economic development, this has the potential of addressing the State�s flood problems,� said Barthakur.

To take advantage of the developing connectivity with South East Asia and ASEAN and to promote inclusive rural development, FICCI recommended setting up of �smart rural centres� across the State. The smart rural centres should leverage the RURBAN scheme of the Government of India and besides providing housing and social amenities, should also provide facilities for industrial value addition like industrial areas, logistic facilities etc. Each smart rural centre could cater to an area of 50-100 sq km.

Highlighting the importance of quality power for industrial development, FICCI said that per capita power consumption is a good indicator of economic development and Assam has one of the lowest per capita consumption in the world.

With a growth rate of about 10 per cent CAGR, the State�s power demand is expected to be nearly 10,000 MW by 2032.

To give a boost to local start-ups, FICCI suggested measures like setting up of district-level business incubators, mechanism for better dissemination of information and hand-holding for funding support.

�A major focus is also required in the area of skill development and we welcome the government�s decision to set up more ITIs. The private sector has been playing an important role in skill development and the government should take advantage of the capabilities that the private sector can offer,� he said.

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