Wednesday, January 9, 2008

North-East India Investment Summit

Despite having vast investment opportunities in sectors like tourism, hydropower, infrastructure, healthcare, textile and handicrafts, horticulture and agro based industries, minerals etc., the North Eastern states has yet to witness any major investments in these sectors by private investors-be it domestic or foreign. The probable reason for this, could very well be the lack of knowledge about the region, little or no exposure of the investment potential of the region to the prospective investors and the dubious distinction this region has got, of being infested with various secessionist groups thereby making the potential investors feel the region is unsafe for huge investment and above all, lack of political will. Now, all this could change with the initiative of CII and if, the North-Eastern states has the political will to open up it's arm to the private investors.

In an effort to expose the investment opportunities in the region and to project this region as investor friendly, the Ministry of DoNER and CII in association with North East India Industry Ministers Forum and Government of Assam is organizing the first ever 'North East India Investment Summit' at this part of country on 11th & 12th January, 2008 at Guwahati. The summit is expected to be attended by delegates from US, UK, Austria, Singapore, Australia, Thailand, Switzerland, Canada and the UAE and NRI, apart from representatives of 8 North-Eastern States. The state of Arunachal Pradesh would be represented by Khoda Ruja, Director Textile and Handicrafts along with Peto Ete, Jt. Director, Textile and Handicrafts and the representatives of Chokham-based Guna Tea Industry and Kungfu Tea Industry.

"Textile and Handicrafts Director Khoda Ruja, who is the state's nodal officer for the summit, told this daily that the team headed by him through power point presentation would highlight the fast scope of investment in hydro-power, tourism, industry, textile & handicrafts, horticulture, agriculture, floriculture and bio-diversity sectors of the state. The representatives of Chokham based Guna Tea Industry and Kungfu Tea Industry are also expected to attend the summit. Textile and Handicraft Jt. Director, Peto Ete as coordinator will accompany the team."

-Arunachal Front

But the million dollar question is...

Are the North-Eastern states prepared to make out the most of this summit?

Going by the past experiences, it is very unlikely. For instance, during the 'North-East Power Mart 2007' at Kolkata, which was organized by Indian Chambers of Commerce (ICC) to showcase investment opportunities in power sector of the region; except for Sikkim and to some extent Assam and Tripura, rest of the North-Eastern states showed no or very little enthusiasm about letting in the private investors to their state. They seemed little informed about their states investment potential in the power sector. To quote one of the representatives during the Mart, "we being a very small state and all the schemes/projects related to generation, transmission or distribution being funded by the central government and taken up by the department itself, there is no scope for the private investors to step in". [Not the exact words] I wondered there and then, why were they there? Where's their business acumen?

Another instance is the North East India Trade and Investment Opportunity Week at Bangkok, where politicians just went for pleasure trip and not to attract investors to the region.

However, I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that the bureaucrats and the politicians who would be representing our state would present the state's investment potential well and woo the private investor's to invest in our state so that we may witness a surge in infrastructural development, development in health care, tourism sector etc., in near future.

Let's wait and watch.

Links to the North-East India Investment Summit:

North-East India Investment Summit
Programme Details
Online registration to participate in the summit can be made here.


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