Multiple ICPs to boost border trade in region
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, June 3: Claiming that the North East Investment and Industrial Promotion Policy was fraught with loopholes and the entitled subsidies were being misused, the Centre today said it was considering a fresh and better investment-friendly policy for the region.
“The NEIIPP, 2007, had some loopholes. The subsidies were not utilized properly. We are looking into the subsidy part. A new policy is likely to be announced and it will be investment friendly,” Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said.
On the revoking of the ‘special category status’ of the NE states, Rijiju said the decision was taken following recommendations of the 14th Fince Commission.
“However, a sub-committee chaired by the Madhya Pradesh CM is looking into the issue. Let us wait for their suggestions. In the meantime, the Centre has hiked the share of central taxes from 32 per cent to 42 per cent for the NE states,” he said.
Rijiju was, however, of the opinion that the NE states were dependent on the Centre for too long and it was time for them to generate their own resources.
Meanwhile, in line with its ‘Act East Policy’, the Central government is pursuing measures to boost border trade in a big manner in North Eastern states, which share long intertiol boundaries.
From setting up multiple Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) to improving road connectivity, various measures are in the pipeline to ensure that region benefits from its intertiol borders, Rijiju said.
“Our ‘Act East Policy’ will be linked to the land border trade aspect of Northeast. Earlier, while doing trade with farther eastern countries, NE was being bypassed. But that won’t be the case anymore,” he said.
He said full-fledged trading points, ICPs, will be set up at multiple places in the region.
“It is a delayed concept here. The ICPs need cooperation and permission from the bordering country also. The Ministry of Exterl Affairs, Ministry of Commerce and our representatives in those countries are already working on it,” Rijiju added.
An ICP has already been started at Agartala and several more are being planned - at Moreh (Manipur), Mizoram, Phangsu Pass, Dhubri-Karimganj sectors in Assam, Assam-Bhutan border, Dawki (Meghalaya) etc.
The minister pointed that there was a need to improve the transportation network in NE, especially road conditions, to boost trade in the region.
“If the roads in our side are not good, the ICPs will not lead to the desired benefits. We need to work on that aspect also,” he added.
Besides the ICPs at the important points, smaller border haats will be opened for local trading between the neighbouring countries, Rijiju said.
Besides, the Centre has allocated Rs 5111.33 crore for capacity building in power sector in six Northeast states, excluding the Aruchal Pradesh and Sikkim. It will also include infrastructure development in the transmission and distribution sectors.