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Advantage Assam?

Advantage Assam?

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  5 March 2018 12:00 AM GMT

The global investment summit held at Guwahati in the first week of February created much needed hype necessary to take Assam-North Eastern Regions' biggest state into the path of rapid industrialisation. An estimated 1 lakh crore of investment was promised by the industry bigwigs in the two day summit which saw whos who of India corporate industry detailing out their plans to take the state into the economic growth trajectory. The talked about issue was the linkage of the ASEAN countries with the North Eastern states especially Assam and how the state could turn into a nerve centre to push the business with India's South Asian neighbours. It is beyond bound that ASEAN countries which has contiguous land mass with the North Eastern states offers tremendous business potential for the landlocked region. The connection of North Eastern states with ASEAN countries is tural trade route which if harnessed in proper way could usher in a new era of economic growth in the region. But all these years talk of all these prospects remained on paper and debated in semirs in reality nothing has happened on the ground. Look or Act East policy has turned out to be a paper tiger with no tangible results visible on the ground. The need of the hour is to accelerate the business opportunities which is mutually beneficial to both the region. Assam Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal has taken the initiative to connect all the ASEAN countries with the Gopith Bordoloi Intertiol Airport. If Mr Sonowal's effort sees the end of the day, then it would be a big boost for the region as a whole, because for any business to prosper, connectivity is a priority. However, air connectivity will not do alone. What about surface connecttivity? This must be a priority raea rather. The scale of business between ASEAN and North Eastern States has been projected at various forums for decades but now action is needed on the ground to reap the benefits. The business prospects between the ASEAN and North Eastern states is a low hanging fruit and it would be prudent on the part of the government of the day to accelerate that process in order to push the economy of the region to a newer heights. Located at the centre of the Asia-Pacific, ASEAN has a population of 626 million and an economy valued at a mouth-watering US$2.4 trn. ASEAN is also the second-fastest growing Asian economy (after Chi), having grown by 300 per cent since 2001 and has exceeded average global growth for the past 10 years There are 67 million 'middle class' households - forecast to double by 2025 - ASEAN is a huge, rapidly-growing consumer market which would-be exporters ignore at their peril.The good news is there are already some of North East businesses making their way to this exotic part of the world. But volume needs to grow. Addressing the global investors in the summit Suresh Prabhu, Industries and Commerce Minister said that the new Industrial Policy is being framed for the development of industries in the northeast would prove catalytic to the trade with southeast Asian tions .Of the $56 billion of FDI that came in in 2000-2017 from ASEAN countries, $54 billion was from Singapore. So the pie has to spread so that North Eastern states which is land linkage with ASEAN countries like Myanmar, Bhutan, Bangladesh to reap the trade benefits. Effort are on to set up consulates of all the 10 member-countries of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian tions) in Guwahati, and to re-open traditiol trade routes between the Northeastern states and South East Asia. Centre is also working on an "ambitious plan" to boost the economic growth of the resource-rich North East. Among the steps being considered was the linking of the region through land, air and water with the "vibrant economies" of South East Asia, in sync with India's Act East policy. The ASEAN region and India have a combined population of 1.85 billion, which is one fourth of the global population, and their combined GDP has been estimated to be over USD 3.8 trillion.With so much on plate, India, especially Northeastern States, cannot afford to be lax on their approach they want to reenergise the engine of economic growth. Both sides will have to work to further strengthen Asean-India economic relations, including through the full utilisation and effective implementation of the Asean-India Free Trade Area, and intensify efforts in 2018 towards the swift conclusion of a modern, comprehensive, high quality, and mutually beneficial Regiol Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

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