Staff Reporter GUWAHATI, Jan 8 - Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today announced that the government would soon set up an ‘Act East Department’ to explore the vast opportunities lying across the border in the international neighbourhood, and strengthen business, communication, investment, and cultural relations focused on a definite time-frame implementation.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal speaking at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, in Bengaluru on Sunday. – UB Photos
He also made a fervent call to the NRIs around the globe to join hands with the Government of Assam for the growth of the State stating that Assam and the entire Northeast can become the new growth engines of not only the country but the whole of Asia.
While opening the Chief Ministers’ Session at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas at Bengaluru on Sunday, Sonowal further said the future growth of India can come through its northeast and by acting eastwards to Southeast Asia and East Asia through the Northeast.
Stating that Assam is going through massive transformation in every sector – from infrastructure to reforms, land policy, investment, good governance, connectivity, social security and welfare, etc., Sonowal also spoke about Assam’s unique locational advantage in the age of regional economic cooperation. “Assam is the gateway to the vibrant economies of Southeast Asian countries,” he said, adding, the State’s rich natural resources and skilled manpower provide a natural backdrop for promising business.
Sonowal also pointed out that in terms of connectivity, industrial infrastructure, natural resources and policy initiatives, Assam has a very promising and investor-friendly environment.
“Assam is connected to all major cities of the country through the East-West Corridor, besides air and rail networks. Assam has highest numbers of airport density in the country with international airport at Guwahati. The waterway no. 1 through the river Brahmaputra provides access to sea ports of Kolkata and Bangladesh. The proposed Trans Asian Railway and Trans Asian Highway will further improve the connectivity with most of the countries under BIMSTEC and ASEAN,” the Chief Minister said.
Underlining Assam’s vibrant industrial base, Sonowal said that the State presently has over 70 industrial infrastructure, including growth centres, export processing industrial parks, food parks, bamboo park, plastic park, integrated industrial infrastructure centre, industrial estates, biotech park, IT park, etc.
“Assam also became the first state to ratify the GST. Our government was among the first governments to pass the Ease of Doing Business Act... Single window clearance system has also been set up for providing online clearance and permission in a fixed time frame,” he said.
Stating that the current industrial scenario in the State is peaceful and encouraging, the Chief Minister also highlighted the rich heritage of crude oil production and tea industry of Assam. “We are planning to set up a Global Business Centre in Guwahati so that national and multinational companies can set up their offices and spread out from here,” Sonowal said.
The Chief Minister also spoke about the unique incentives offered to business houses for setting up industries in the State. This policy also covers service sector units like hotels and resorts, nursing homes, power projects and biotechnology projects.