IT-SEZs key towards providing opportunities to biz & people in north-east: DoNER Minister

Manipur to play critical role in resurgence of economy in post-covid world

 New Delhi: The creation of special economic zones (SEZs) is key towards providing opportunities to business and people in the north-eastern state of Manipur which is fast emerging as a state with local initiatives going hand in hand with national and global efforts, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER) said at an ASSOCHAM virtual conference held today.

“Initiatives of SEZs, technology, innovation and knowledge management are extremely important in the current scenario,” the DoNER Minister in his inaugural address in an ASSOCHAM Interactive Session on ‘Manipur: The Land of Emerging Opportunities.’

“In the post-covid India, north-east, including Manipur is going to have a very critical role in the resurgence and supplementation of economy and the path to power post-covid India roadway via north-east is destined to lead India’s post-covid economy,” said Dr Singh.

He also said that DoNER Ministry is reviewing all the incomplete projects to reallocate the funds that had been parked in these projects. “We are trying to make sure that we make a departure from past practice of leaving many projects in a languishing condition and then forgetting about it.”

He added, “For all of us, time-bound completion of ongoing projects in roadways, transport, waterways, airways, power and other sectors is ensured and our priority should be to build up required infrastructure right up to the border areas establishing connectivity and communication links with cross-border points to promote trade and economic activities with the neighbouring countries across the north-eastern region.”

Dr Singh further said, “If we have to engage ourselves with ASEAN countries, we need to empower ourselves proximal to the eastern borders.”

Highlighting the Government’s policy in this regard, he said “We are no longer looking at but seeking to act East.”

He informed that the DoNER Ministry, in the last four years or so has introduced a more technology-based mechanism thereby successfully initiating innovative techniques of procuring UCs (Utilisation Certificates) through Space Satellite Imaging Technique. This, he said, not only saves time in terms of subsequent grants but also provides real-time and authentic images.

“The process which we began about four years ago which got suspended due to Covid-19, I would like to share that we are going to start it again from July 1,” said Dr Singh.

Inviting the business leaders he said, “The projects of power generation have been prioritised and there is availability of quality power now to help the businesses grow and facilitate their progress.”

Noting that north-eastern region’s strength lies in its people and natural resources and that government is committed to provide policy support to the industry, Dr Singh said that industry should come forward to partner with the government.

Sharing his perspective, Dr Rajesh Kumar, chief secretary, Government of Manipur informed that the state government is focusing on tourism and IT as major employment generating sectors.

Highlighting the various steps being undertaken by Manipur Government and sharing information on various projects that are in various stages of implementation, Dr Kumar appealed the industry to partner and join hands for the state’s economic growth and development.

“All support of Manipur government will be there, we are very liberal with any concessions the industry wants, the internet connectivity is wonderful and in fact, 5G pilots are also going to start. We want to make Manipur an IT hub to look after business from neighbouring countries Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and others,” he said.

In his address, ASSOCHAM’s secretary general, Mr Deepak Sood said, “Manipur will play a crucial role in determining the success of the Act East policy, to expanded economic integration and repositioning India’s interest with not just Southeast Asia but to East Asia.”

Mr Mahendra Agarwal, chairman, Northeast Regional Development Council of ASSOCHAM said that To be socially and economically sustainable, India’s growth must be inclusive and the integration and development of the Northeast region is critical for India’s continued progress.

Dr B.K. Panda, IOFS, Zonal Development Commissioner, East and Northeast also addressed the industry leaders during the interactive session.