Guwahati, Tuesday, October 23, 2018
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‘NE can be a launch-pad of growing trade ties with ASEAN’
Staff Reporter

Prof Jagdish Mukhi inaugurating the summit. – UB Photos
 GUWAHATI, Oct 22 - Governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi has said that given the geographical proximity of Assam and other north-eastern states with South East Asia, the region could be increasingly used as a launch-pad of the country’s growing economic ties with ASEAN and BBN countries.

 Inaugurating the two-day North East MSME Start-Up Expo and Summit ‘Advantage North East-Invest Assam’ organised by the MSME Development Forum at the Pragjyoti-ITA Centre for Performing Arts at Machkhowa here today, the Governor said that the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) are considered worldwide as prime movers of growth and that the MSME sector is a critical component of India’s growth story, making significant contributions to GDP, employment and exports.

“The total contribution of MSMEs to the GDP is around 38 per cent with around 95 per cent of all industrial units forming a part of this sector. Generously endowed with vast stretches of fertile land, rich expanse of forests and substantial mineral and hydrocarbon deposits, India’s North East is potentially one of the richest geographical areas of the country. The potential of the MSME sector not only provides employment opportunities at a lower capital cost but also assists the industrialisation of rural and backward areas,” he said.

Prof Mukhi also observed that Guwahati, which is the future gateway to South East Asia, occupies the centre for success of the government’s Act East Policy. He said the government has put special emphasis on development of MSMEs in Assam to bring in economic prosperity to the region and use their contribution to propel the nation’s GDP.

He added that about 98 per cent of the region’s borders constitute India’s international boundaries which the country shares with China, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar. “Given its strategic location, the region can be developed as a base for India’s growing economic links not only with the ASEAN but also with neighbouring countries, namely Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal,” he said.

The Governor said the present governments at the Centre and in the State have taken several steps to overcome infrastructural bottlenecks to encourage sustainable development in the State.

The strong focus on roads, railways, airways and hydropower developments is a key step in this direction, he said, adding, “These initiatives will help the MSMEs not only in the smooth flow of the raw materials for the production purpose but also in taking the products to the consumer market. There is immense potential for the MSMEs in a range of areas such as agriculture, hydel power and infrastructure as well as in creating new avenues of growth through the development of vertically integrated food processing chains, cross-border trade, etc. This will also play a vital role in the implementation of the Act East Policy and strengthen and re-establish trade, cultural and historic linkages between the NE region of India and the ASEAN countries.”

Chairman of MSME Development Forum Rajnish Goenka highlighted the objectives of the event and asserted that the forum would continue to engage itself steadfastly in uplifting the MSME sector.

He said the MSME Start-Up Expo would go a long way in building a partnership and networking platform among different stakeholders who want to be a part of the growth of the north-eastern region and explore its opportunities.

Co-convener of the organising committee Bharwar Lal Aggarwal and DGM SBI Ashok Soni along with a host of other dignitaries were present during the inaugural function.

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