Guwahati (Assam), Feb 3: Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, today addressed the inaugural session of Advantage Assam - Global Investors Summit 2018, here today.
Welcoming delegates to the Summit, the Prime Minister said that the 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, he added.
The Prime Minister recalled the recent ASEAN India Commemorative Summit celebrating 25 years of partnership between ASEAN and India. He added that ties between India and the ASEAN countries go back thousands of years. He said it was a privilege for India to host Heads of 10 ASEAN countries as honoured guests at the Republic Day function in New Delhi.
The Prime Minister emphasized that India's growth story would be further energised through balanced and fast-paced growth of the North-Eastern region. He said all the schemes of the Union Government are oriented towards bringing about a qualitative change in the lives of the people. He said the aim is to improve "Ease of Living."
The Prime Minister said that the "Ayushman Bharat" scheme announced in the Union Budget is the largest scheme of its kind in the world. He said this healthcare scheme would benefit about 45 to 50 crore people. He also mentioned other steps for healthcare for the poor, that have been taken by the Union Government.
Modi said that the Union Government is working towards the target of doubling farmers' incomes, by lowering input costs and enabling appropriate price for their produce. He outlined other steps being taken by the Union Government for the welfare of farmers.
The Prime Minister mentioned the steps taken to provide affordable housing to people. He spoke of the UjalaYojana for distribution of LED bulbs, which is resulting in significant savings on household electricity bills. He mentioned the restructuring of the National Bamboo Mission, which he said, is especially significant for the North-East.
The Prime Minister said that a revamp of administrative structures within the Union Government has greatly speeded up the implementation of projects.
The Prime Minister spoke of steps taken for providing collateral free loans to entrepreneurs, under the Mudra Yojana. He spoke of steps taken in the Union Budget to provide tax relief to MSMEs.
The Prime Minister reiterated the commitment of the Union Government to curb corruption and black money. He said the Union Government has taken up many path breaking economic reforms in last three years, which have simplified procedures for doing business. It is a result of these reforms that India today ranks 100 among 190 countries in the Doing Business Report of the World Bank, after climbing up 42 ranks, he added.
Quoting the great Assamese musician Bhupen Hazarika, the Prime Minister said it is our collective responsibility to achieve the vision and dreams of our freedom fighters, and create a New India by 2022.
The Prime Minister outlined the work done to create new transportation infrastructure in the North-East.
He congratulated the Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal for creating a business friendly and development friendly environment in Assam.
The two-day event, starting today , will showcase the state's manufacturing opportunities and geostrategic advantages to foreign and domestic investors.
The Summit has been organised by the Assam Government, in association with the industry body the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), aiming to position the state as India's Expressway to Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.
There is number of focus sectors, identified by the state, which includes agriculture and food processing, organic farming, bamboo, handloom, textile and handicrafts, inland water transport, riverfront development and logistics.
Business delegations from the ASEAN countries as well as countries like Japan, UK, USA, and Canada are attending the event.
Business tycoons, including Tata, Ambani and Godrej, have held closed door meetings with Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on substantial investments to be made in the state.
According to KPMG and World bank report, Assam ranks 22nd among Indian states based on ease of doing business and reforms implementation.
Assam is the largest economy in the northeast region and acts as a vital hub for trade and connecting with ASEAN countries.
Owing to its relative proximity to the rest of the country and availability of quality infrastructure, the state offers a favourable environment for industry.
This is the primary reason that the state has adopted numerous investor-friendly policies to attract investments and accelerate industrial development.
Apart from the traditional sectors of tea and oil, the state enjoys advantages in a number of sectors like organic cultivation, food processing, tourism, renewable energy and petrochemicals and the government has come up with sector specific policies to promote investments in 10 sectors.
Apart from a major infrastructure push, the chief minister recently announced a provision of Rs 100 crores to help establish air connectivity with ASEAN countries.
With such a concerted effort, expectations are high that the state will soon join the bandwagon of high growth states in India.