NE Business Summit: Building Bridges with South East Asia

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Dibrugarh, November 25, 2013:

Addressing the august gathering at the valedictory session of the 9th North East Business Summit 2013 organized by the Indian Chamber of Commerce and supported by Ministry of DoNER on 23rd November, 2013 at Dibrugarh University Auditorium, Summit Chairman Paban Singh Ghatowar, Union Minister, Ministry of DoNER, GoI stressed on the potential of the North Eastern Region (NER) of India and the sectors of prime importance.

During his address, he said that in spite of the fact that the region has performed tremendously well as compared to other states and regions of the country, the region lacks developed infrastructure, access to facilities and other necessary attributes. Due to the strategic location of the NER, lack of proper infrastructure has led to suboptimal growth in volume of border trade. The sectors of high potential include horticulture, floriculture, handloom and handicrafts, agriculture and agro products, IT & ITeS and others. The NER can act as a source of raw materials for the upcoming food processing sector in Bangladesh, whereby the Indian entrepreneurs can expect definite cost advantages in production, on the back of improved trade connectivity, said Mr. Ghatowar.

Also, SME development is another critical imperative for the region. MSME units in segments like Machine tools, Pharmaceuticals, Textile machinery, Auto components, Medical and Mining equipments can provide excellent cross country collaborations with the ASEAN neighbours, said Mr. Ghatowar during his address.

Special Guest of Honour, Tapang Taloh, Minister of Industries, Government of Arunachal Pradesh lauded the initiative undertaken by the Indian Chamber of Commerce and hoped that the summit will in promoting the brand entity of the NER and will help in increase in investment. To witness the desired level of economic development of the region, concerted efforts should be made by the state and Central Government, suggested Mr. Taloh.

The state of Arunachal Pradesh has sufficient power generation facility and is upgrading its present infrastructure which is expected to create surplus power by 2015. He said that infrastructure development is an issue of topmost priority for the State Government. The Government has laid planes and proposals to develop the existing infrastructure with an objective of enhancing trade and commerce with the South East counties and ASEAN. Some of the projects include development of Greenfield Airports and development of highways connecting the state with the neighbouring country. Since agriculture sector has immense potential in the state, development of food processing technologies and food parks are planned by the concerned Ministry. He welcomed the industrialists to invest in these sectors and help in developing the socio-economic condition thereat.

The state Government has even undertaken the Industrial Policy in 2008 with an aim of attracting big ticket investments through offering a host of initiatives for investors. To tackle the issue of unemployment, the Government has started working on training candidates through institutes which includes subjects/courses on aviation, accounting and plumbering.

Special Guest of Honour Siaosavanth Savengsuka, Vice Minister of Industry and Commerce, Lao PDR, said that India and Lao PDR has potential to investment in several sectors of which education and skill development are of prime importance. Over years, interest of doing business with companies of Lao PDR has increased significantly, which have conveyed a sign of optimism to the business forum. It has also helped in revitalizing the trade perspectives with the South East Asian partners. During his address he suggested that the regulatory frameworks need to be amended, keeping in mind the objective of enhancing trade and commerce with its neighbouring countries.

The NER has always been considered as transit point and lacks proper infrastructure, which is essential for development of commerce and industry, said Mr. A.M.Singh, Secretary, MDoNER, while delivering his Special Address to the gathering. He said that transformation of rural structure and enhancing connectivity are the two issues of topmost priority for the department. Along with developing the connectivity, the Government is also aiming at developing the economic corridor, amongst which making Stilwel Road operational is important. He suggested that transport of goods should be enhanced among the eight sisters and border haat should be developed for enhancing trade and commerce with the neighbouring countries. The Ministry will lay down initiatives which might reduce the existing problems of trade and commerce.

Habib Mohammad Chowdhury, CMD, HSMM Group put some light on the existing problems of the region, which are acting as major deterrents for trade and commerce. Making a comparative analysis between India and Laos, he said that the import tariff for commodities put on by the Indian Government is way higher than that of its neighbouring countries, which makes the industrialists export/import in countries South-East Asian countries but India. He strongly suggested that an array of policy related changes are to be made by the Government of India, with an aim of offering competitive trade between the countries. Owing to the fact that the NER has strong potential in several agro and agro-based products, he said that that there is an urgent need to identify the sectors and exploit their true potential. He also suggested that process simplification should be carried out at the Land Custom Stations and Visa Issuance office to expedite the process of delivering service to people residing in NER.

H E Dato Paduka Haji Sidek Ali, High Commissioner, Brunei Darussalam & Chairman ASEAN New Delhi Committee emphasized on having strong focus of trade and commerce with India and ASEAN countries and on completion of the trilateral highway which will increase the trade through NER. The prestigious summit was also attended by Mr. Tith Chantha, Secretary of State, Cambodia,  Mr. Lim Thuan Kuan, Singapore High Commissioner and Mr. M.K.Saharia, Chairman, ICC North East Initiatives.
Prior to the valedictory session, there were six sector specific sessions on energy, banking & finance, agriculture, tourism, infrastructure and higher education. The sessions witnessed huge participation from people across industries. The eminent speakers of the sessions include Mr T.R. Bajalia, Deputy Managing Director, SIDBI; Col A K Nath, Executive Director, C-DAC; Mr Kumar P Saha, MD, Senrysa Technologies Pvt Ltd; Mr K V Srinivasan, CEO, Reliance Commercial Finance; Mr V S Krishnakumar, Executive Director, Canara Bank; Mr Manoj Jalan, Director, Ethelwold Estate Pvt. Ltd; Mr. Dhrubajyoti Hazarika, Secretary, Dept. of Tourism, Govt. of Assam; Mr. Subhash Goyal, President, Indian Association of Tour Operators; Ms. Runjuan Tongrut, Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand; Mr. Hoy Phireak, Deputy Director, International Cooperation and ASEAN Department, Cambodia; Mr M P Bezbaruah, IAS (Retd.), Hon’ble Member, North Eastern Council, Shillong; Mr. A.K. Bansal, Asst. Director, Indian Waterways Authority of India; Mr. PSRK Subhakar, Regional ED, AAI; Mr. Sanjoy K. Gupta, Partner, E&Y; Mr. M.K.banerjee, Director Business Development-Construction, Isolux Corsan; Mr. R.B.Kushwaha, GM(Eastern Region), Paawan Hans Limited; Mr. Soonthorn Chaivindeepum, Minister, Royal Thai Embassy; Mr. Pradeep Purohit, AVP, Logistics, CMCL; Mr. M.C.Boro, Commission & Special Secretary, PWD Roads, Govt. of Assam; Prof. Mohd. Abdul Kalam, Professor, Tezpur University, Assam & Former (Chairperson) Dean, School of Social Sciences, University of Madras; Dr Alak Kr. Buragohain, Vice Chancellor, Dibrugarh University; Dr Gulshan Sharma, President, NIMA; Mr. Sanjoy K Gupta, Partner, Ernst & Young LLP; Prof. (Dr) P K Abdul Aziz, Vice Chancellor, University of Science & Technology, Meghalaya; Prof. Suresh Mony, Director, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies; Prof D Chakraborty Dean R & D, IIT Guwahati and other eminent people.

Press Release


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