GUWAHATI, July 27 - Reviving the economy hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and floods will be a major challenge and the State will have to take full advantage of the Atmanirbhar Bharat scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This was the view expressed by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Sonowal said the government on its part has started making efforts to bring the economy back on track. The fight against COVID-19 and economic activities must go hand in hand, he said.
The Chief Minister said Assam would have to try and take full advantage of the schemes launched under the Atmanirbhar Bharat project. So far, more than 28,000 units under the MSME (micro small and medium enterprises) sector have received loans under the Atmanirbhar Bharat project.
Sonowal hoped that more entrepreneurs of the State would come forward to take advantage of the schemes not only to set up or strengthen their industries but also to provide employment opportunities to unemployed youths.
He said to revive the economy, the government opened up agriculture activities even during the first phase of the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while the tea gardens were also allowed to function by maintaining social distancing. He said as the process of unlocking has started, industries have been allowed to function by following the guidelines issued by the health department. Though flood is creating a major challenge in different parts of the State, farmers are working in areas that are not affected by the deluge, he added.
Sonowal called upon the legislators to encourage people to engage themselves in agriculture and allied activities, and provide necessary help in this regard. He said Sootea MLA Padma Hazarika has shown the way in this regard and hoped that other public representatives would follow suit in the days to come to give a boost to rural economy.
Sonowal pointed out that the government had formed a committee headed by former Additional Chief Secretary SC Das to suggest measures to revive the economy of the State. The panel also suggested giving stress on agriculture and allied sectors.
The government has accepted the recommendations of the committee and steps have been initiated to boost agriculture and allied sectors, he said. The government would encourage entrepreneurship in agriculture and allied sectors in the days to come, he added.