AIR spotlight summary on “Global Investor Summit”.
- The Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated two days Advantage Assam – Global Investors Summit in Guwahati. It is a biggest event in attracting outsiders to the north-east region especially Guwahati being the hub centre or the gateway to north-east. The objective is also to position Assam as India’s Expressway to ASEAN.
- North-East is at the heart of the Union Government’s Act East Policy. The Act East Policy envisions increased people to people contact, trade ties and other relations with ASEAN countries.
- The two-day Summit will be the largest ever investment promotion and facilitation initiative by the Government of Assam. The Summit aims at highlighting the geo-strategic advantages offered to investors by Assam. The event shall showcase the manufacturing prowess and the opportunities offered by the State in terms of export-oriented manufacturing and services to growing economies in South and South-East Asia.
- This is significant not only for the north-east region but for the whole country. Few days ago India celebrated 25 years of relationship with ASEAN countries. Assam is a strategic location where it has got two international boundaries with Bangladesh and Bhutan. It is not a question of getting investment within the country to Assam, but getting investors from outside to Assam. There are 3Cs in any economic policy making that is connectivity, commerce and culture. Assam is very rich in culture, but connectivity and commerce are two areas where lot of work is to be done and the Summit will give boost to the aspirations for connectivity and commerce.
- Consulate office of Bhutan and Bangladesh was inaugurated in Guwahati. This will help in building friendship and boost trade relations. There is a need for building road and air connectivity with Assam and ASEAN nations so that Assam can attract more investments in the region. It will help in getting international flights to Guwahati and promote tourism. There is a need to improve the railway network within Assam since it is a large state and has got rich natural resources.
- The Summit highlighted the investment opportunities in the State, focusing on: Power, Agriculture & Food Processing, IT & ITeS, River Transport & Port Townships, Plastics & Petrochemicals, Pharmaceuticals & Medical Equipment, Handloom, Textiles & Handicrafts, Tourism, Hospitality & Wellness, Civil Aviation and Petroleum and Natural Gas. The summit provided an opportunity for Indian industries.
- The government is spending Rs 5300 crores every year to improve the railway network in the north-east. Because of the cultural strength this region has, it produces a large number of hospitality sector and manpower. If we build Assam as a magnet of tourism, as a result the entire north-east develops as a tourism hub and the people of the region also benefit. Assam’s tertiary sector that is services sector is around 56% of the economy, so in the investment summit there is lot of focus on drugs, pharmaceuticals, pearls etc.
- North-east is situated in a different agro-climatic zone which has many medicinal plants; the pharmaceutical can be a big opportunity area. There is lot of medical tourism potential in the region. From Myanmar many patients come to Imphal.
- Infrastructure will be major attraction for the ASEAN countries since many ASEAN countries have developed super infrastructure in their countries, they would like to take part in infrastructure development projects.
- Bangladesh send lot of medical tourists to Kolkata, if the facilities are improved in the north-east and since Bangladesh has a border with Assam, the medical tourism will improve in Assam.
- The strength of Assam is tourism, culture, services sector, hospitality sector and education sector. These areas need to be exploited to the advantage of the region. Education sector can be promoted if there are investments to create world class education institutions because the climate is more conducive and tolerable. The education level of the north-east is higher than the national average.
- The growth rate of Assam in the last ten years is around 9% of annual growth rate. Assam saw the first oil drilling in Asia. If we want to choose between petrochemical industries polluting the area or preserve the natural environment by focusing on services sector, the choice of latter is better for the region.