India's northeast as a growth engine
Almost every one of the eight northeastern states in India is growing in double digits with enormous potential to expand in areas as diverse as organic food to renewable energy. With India committed to realising its target of becoming a $5 tn economy by 2024, accelerating the development and economic potential of the northeast is critical.
The Indian government has made a range of efforts to propel growth in the northeast including the latest initiative towards the creation of a North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS). Under this scheme, which is entirely funded by the central government, money would be provided to the northeastern states for infrastructure projects on water supply, power and connectivity enhancing tourism, primary and secondary education and health. At last count, around 22 projects worth approximately 885 crore rupees have been earmarked for funding under this program.
Similarly, NEIDS also seeks to promote industrialisation in the region, with emphasis on boosting employment and income generation in the manufacturing and service sectors. As part of this scheme, manufacturing and service sectors can get benefits up to INR 200 cr per unit subject to investments in plant and machinery. The Northeastern Development Finance Corporation Opportunity Scheme for Small Enterprises (NoSSE) has been formulated to help first-generation entrepreneurs who are short of equity.
These efforts are aimed at fostering the ease of doing business through active investment promotion and igniting the entrepreneurial spirit in the region to give a fillip to the startup ecosystem. This will, in turn, revitalize the demand and supply chains to unlock new business opportunities. This is also in line with what Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said consistently, “Rich natural resources combined with the talent of our youth gives our northeast the potential to play a key role in our development journey. India will not develop until the northeast develops”.
In this context, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade’s North East Region Division and Invest India joined hands to convene a symposium to facilitate and promote interactions between the industry, state governments, businesses and other stakeholders in Guwahati on November 30, 2019.
The workshop was attended by the senior government officials from the centre, senior government officials from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Sikkim, along with a host of prominent industry bodies. The symposium sought to facilitate knowledge sharing between the northeastern states on the NEIDS scheme and foster the exchange of good practices in investment promotion and facilitation.
Discussions at the workshop helped build stakeholder capacity to strengthen coordination and cooperation among state departments. Participants reviewed the progress made so far under sector-specific and cluster-based development to promote the ease of doing business in the region. Representatives from northeastern states also shared insights on institutional preparedness in the region to attract investments and extended their support to create a viable road map to develop the northeastern region as envisaged by the prime minister in his vision for a new India.