GUWAHATI: FICCI Northeast organized a webinar on the topic – Impact of COVID-19 on the economy of Northeast India & Way Forward. The meeting was attended by industry representatives, experts and government officials from across the Northeast Region.
Speaking at the webinar Dipankar Baruah, Chairman, FICCI, Assam State Council said, "In the Northeast, the tourism and hospitality sector is the worst affected. Here the tourism season lasts only for about seven months from October to April, and the industry in the Northeast has already lost two seasons, first due to the social disturbances related to the CAA and then the COVID pandemic. Now it seems the industry is on its way to losing the third consecutive season."
Webinar on Impact of COVID on Economy
Aniruddh Singh, Secretary, IT, Government of Arunachal Pradesh said, "One opportunity that the current situation is that digital communication has really taken off and it has now become possible for Northeast-based businesses, services, customers in other parts of the country, effectively negating the disadvantage due to geographic isolation. The lower cost of manpower in the region will be an added advantage for the companies he added.
He further said, "With the increased focus on food and nutrition across the world we should focus on export-oriented food clusters in the region."
Dr M.P. Bezbaruah an eminent economist from the region shared information about the state of India's economy before and after COVID. He mentioned that the slowdown in the Indian economy had started from 2018-19 and the COVID19 pandemic caused the Indian economy to shrink to the current state of negative 7.8%. Additional Secretary Industries and Commerce Department, Government of Assam, Mr Kausar Hilaly invited the industry representatives to work with the government in designing policies that will ultimately create a conducive environment for business.
Dr Abhijit Sharma, Director, Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship informed that before the CoVID19 pandemic the growth rate of MSMEs in NER was higher than the national growth rate which indicates a strong vibrancy. He suggested the MSMEs should remodel their supply chain and develop local sources of raw materials through a cluster approach, to remain competitive.