Advantage Assam: Need infrastructure growth to provide umbrella advantage

The Advantage Assam Summit on February 3-4 is the largest-ever investment promotion and facilitation initiative by the Assam government. The two-day event showcased the state’s manufacturing opportunities and geostrategic advantages to foreign and domestic investors.

The summit has been organized by the Assam government, in association with industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), aiming to position the state as India’s expressway to Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The state of Assam is aiming to enhance a number of focus sectors, which include agriculture and food processing, organic farming, bamboo, handloom, textile and handicrafts, inland water transport, river front development and logistics.

The News Mill reported that Assam registered Rs 65,186 crore investment commitments on Day 1 of the summit. ONGC promised to invest Rs 13,000 crore and Oil India Limited will invest Rs 10,000 crore. IOCL has committed investment worth Rs 3432 crore and Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) will pump in Rs 3410 Crore.  The Indo-UK Institute of Health will be investing close to Rs 2,700 crore, Century Plywood has shared plans of investing 2,100 crore.

At the same event, Mukesh Ambani said that Reliance Industries will invest Rs 2,500 crore in Assam in various sectors.

Before this, inaugurating the event Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about Northeast being the heart of Act East Policy. He added that the event will showcase the state’s investment potential and contribute towards fulfilling the aspirations its youth.

Now, Assam eyes to become the investors’ hub with this Advantage Assam event. The Assam government aims to create a space for providing best opportunities towards the prospective and existing business community in the state and drive forward the state’s vision of prosperity for all – by employing technology, innovation, inclusivity and sustainability as key factors for development.

The core objective of the summit is to strengthen the position Assam as India’s expressway to ASEAN.  We all know that Assam occupies the significant geostrategic position with the ASEAN. Such advantages can lead easily the ASEAN economies provides it an easy access to the huge South-East Asian market. The prime focus of the event is that to focus on sectors like agriculture and food processing, textile and handloom, IT, pharmaceutical, plastic and petrochemicals, civil aviation, tourism, telecoms, power, petroleum and natural gas etc.

This is highly admitted that these sector-specific approach can lead the state to boost up the economy and can run the industrial and investment revolution.  This is also important to see that the Northeast India is situated far away from the main entry point of the tourist and investors in India. This act will become the stepping stone to abolish this type of disadvantages of the state with growing investment’s choice and also emerge as future tourism destination.

It is also noted that the indigenous local industries may also get huge benefits from this initiative. As same, the state’s tea packaging and marketing sector can also attract the investors.

The investors will also be keen to invest in Assam’s food processing industries, Eri, Muga, plywood, coal, petroleum, fertilizers, paper and bamboo and other some small scale business.

With the new investment possibilities, it can be stated that all these sectors will be get a huge boost. The service sector is another important area and Assam is lacking behind in this. With industries coming in, this sector will definitely benefit. Currently, we have seen that there is less opportunity for private sector jobs in Assam. Once industries will grow, there will be ample job opportunities up for the taking.

To sum up, we see a lot of expectation from the Advantage Assam mission. This may be the first business summit held in Assam, but the expectations aren’t new. For achieving the motto of the campaign, the basic requirement is better infrastructure which will provide an umbrella advantage to the entire state. Besides, focus on transportation, healthy environment, positive work culture and business-without-politics are a must.

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Basanta Nirola is a MA in Political Science from Bodoland University, Kokrajhar. He belongs to Samar Dalani in Biswanath district of Assam. He can be reached through: