JALUKBARI, Dec 21 - The 18th annual conference of the North Eastern Economic Association (NEEA) was organised by the Department of Economics, Gauhati University at the Phanidhar Datta Seminar Hall, GU recently. Former Planning Commission member Prof Abhijit Sen delivered the keynote address.
The session started with a brief welcome address by the Head of the Department of Economics and president of the local organising committee Prof Nissar Barua.
GU Vice Chancellor Dr Mridul Hazarika who inaugurated the conference, spoke about the tea industry in Assam, its present status and its contribution to the State economy. Speaking on issues related to production and productivity of the tea industry, he observed that monoculture is practised in the tea industry, but one could think of diversification.
Speaking elaborately on agriculture – its present status and future prospects, Prof Sen dealt with various issues like farmers’ suicide, whether it should be linked to the agrarian crisis, the long-run growth trend in the agricultural sector in India, the good and bad aspects of the green revolution, particularly the over-dependence on technology and input use, the impact of the green revolution on the environment etc.
Prof Sen emphasised that India has made much progress in agriculture while there has been deceleration in population growth, as such the future focus should not be only on increasing production and productivity alone, but to ensure that farm income, that is, income going to the producers, increases. He advocated small holdings and creation of institutions to facilitate small farms.
Prof Saundaryya Borbora who spoke on “Perspective on Development in North East India”, lamented that the north-eastern states have still remained backward in terms of industrialisation in spite of having the potential. He said there are strengths and weaknesses in this region as a location for industries. The possibilities however rest on identification of niche areas in the region for trade with countries in South and South East Asia. The governments of the region need to work out to provide a better economic environment by way of implementation of projects within specific time frame and also by offering better and transparent governance.
Prof Abhijit Sen and Prof Atul Sarma also had a convesation on “Demonetisation and its probable Effects”, with the students and research scholars present. It was moderated by Prof Gautam Mazumdar. The conversation brought out different issues related to the announcement made on November 8 regarding demonetisation of specific currencies and the aftermath.
There were also two special lectures, in addition to the technical sessions. In the technical sessions, which took place at different venues simultaneously, dealt with the different sub-themes of the conference. A special lecture on “Sustainability and Microfinance” was delivered by Professor Ranjula Bali Swain, Soderto University, Sweden. David Sinate, Chief General Manager, Exim Bank spoke on “Exim Bank – Catalysing India’s Trade and Investment”.
Prior to the conference a workshop on the theme “Emerging Issues of Research in Economics” was held. It was conducted by Prof Dipannwita Sarkar and Prof Jayanta Sarkar from Queensland University of Australia.
The resource persons at the workshop included Prof Atul Sarma, former member, 13th Finance Commission; Prof HK Nath, Department of Economics and International Business, Sam Houston State University, Houston, USA; Prof Kiril Tochkov, Department of Economics, Texas Christian University; David Sinate, Chief General Manager, Exim Bank and Professor RanjulaBali Swain, Soderto University, Sweden. Delegates from different states of the North East, besides a large number of researchers from the State attended the workshop.