KOHIMA: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that organic vegetables and fruits produced in Nagaland are in great demand but aggregating, storing and finding markets is a challenge.
The Finance Minister while addressing the 'Nagaland Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Investment Conclave 2022' on Monday night, stressed on identifying one product in each district of the state with common facilities and digital marketing. Emphasizing the importance of branding, she said: "It is a big deal once you identify it with an image, global markets are waiting but efforts have to be made to brand it."
Sitharaman also suggested bringing the Atal Tinkering Lab, a flagship initiative of the NITI Aayog's Atal Innovation Mission. She viewed homestays in Nagaland as a major potential where a lot of domestic tourists could experience the natural lifestyle of the state's people.
On mandatory CSR investments, the Minister said that the CSR board takes the decision and depending on social activity, funds are provided, and CSR happens when investments take place. Noting the growing importance of healthcare and logistics, she said that the youths can take active part in these sectors. She expressed the need to set up CII (Confederation of Indian Industries) training centres for the young people to get skilled along with certificates and take leadership roles in those sectors.
To ensure CSR reaches Nagaland, the Union Minister suggested a task force of Naga youth to move around the country and to ensure building brand Nagaland. She expressed appreciation to the companies and investors who had brought in investment, and ensured giving resources for equal development of all the states in India.
In his address at the event, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said that the conclave would be a game changer for the state. He said that Sitharaman extended her full support and appreciated the Central Government for bringing greater focus on the development of the north-eastern region. The Chief Minister said that the state government is expecting companies to explore the untapped investment potential of the state in various sectors such as forest, agriculture, education, tourism.
On the banking front, he hoped that the banking track of the conclave would result in more and hassle free credit off take from banks and would also contribute in the development endeavours and also promote budding entrepreneurs. President designate, CII, R. Dinesh, emphasized the need to develop the connectivity of the region to neighbouring countries and also with the rest of India so as to enable the development of the northeast region. He further acknowledged that the focus should now be shifted to local development and skill building and prepare the ground for further manufacturing investment in the region.
North Eastern Council Secretary Moses Chalai said that the infrastructure development in the north-eastern region in recent years has seen a dramatic change. He also said that although much has changed in the region there was still much to be done especially when it comes to the need for private investments to come into the region not just to bring about economic development but also to create job opportunities for the people. (IANS)
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