Imphal, November 21, 2107 : President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind today inaugurated the NorthEast Development Summit 2017, a first of its kind in the region to showcase the potential of NorthEast region in terms of trade and investment.

Speaking as Chief Guest of the function, President Shri Ram Nath Kovind said that the states of the NorthEast region are the true drivers of the India’s Act East Policy. He mentioned that prosperity is Northeast India’s destiny and development of NorthEast is the true development of India. He said that the Summit will take action oriented discussion for the development of the NorthEast India not just from domestic perspective but also from neighbourhood perspective.

Stating that NorthEastern region has an amazing socio-cultural ecosystem, he said that few region of the world has such a wealth of culture, ethnic and religious diversity in such a small area. NorthEast is home to some of the oldest indigenous communities of the world, he added. He further mentioned that the approach of the Government of India towards the development of the NorthEast region is emergent and speedy enhancement of connectivity within India and her neighbourhood countries. Extensive development of Railway is underway in NorthEast with an investment of Rs. 90,000 crores, he added.

Mentioning about the connectivity in the NorthEast region, he stated that National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) is giving special focus on developing and improving the road connectivity in the region. He further stressed that NorthEast is the corridor for many trade and connectivity projects on Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN). The Northeast Tourism Development Council is creating partnerships between the Governments and Private sectors and it will make NorthEast region one of the tourism destinations of the world, he added.

While speaking on the occasion, Governor of Manipur, Dr. Najma Heptulla said that apart from providing an opportunity for the NE Region to showcase its economic potential, the Summit would provide an opportunity to engage with other Govt agencies, Embassies of various countries and investors to enhance the growth of the region which will contribute significantly to the development of the entire North East Region.

Dr. Najma Heptulla stated that said that one of her priorities was to provide health care in far-flung areas of Manipur by setting up Flying Doctors or Flying Dispensary for the people who are living in far-flung remote areas of both Valley and Hills Districts of Manipur. She stated that the grand vision of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for digitizing India will solve the problem of digital connectivity of the State also and in the coming days we are going to use digital connectivity for virtual class rooms covering every District Headquarters of the State.  This will ensure high quality education in the Schools.

She mentioned that  livelihood mission for Skill Development to solve unemployment problem has been approved by the State Government to train young people in various areas like tourism, hospitality, sports, textiles, pottery, cane and bamboo crafts, tribal arts and crafts and others very soon.

Addressing the Summit, Chief Minister Shri N. Biren Singh said that the ‘NorthEast Development Summit 2017 is an effort to highlight and explore the potential of NorthEast India in further establishing as a ‘land hub’ of the India’s Act East Policy. He stated that it is a platform to showcase the unexplored business opportunities in Manipur and in the NorthEast region. The synergies created by the ‘India-Myanmar-Thailand’ trilateral highway and ‘Kaladan Multi-Modal transport’ projects would transform the region, he added.

Shri N. Biren Singh called on all the investors to come and invest in Manipur and the State Government will make sure that their capital remains safe and productive. There are great investment opportunities for value addition in the areas of tourism, organic farming, medicinal and aromatic plants, sports, handlooms and handicrafts etc. To boost the investment potential in textiles, a new Textile Policy would be formulated soon, he added.

Stating that Manipur is endowed with rich minerals and natural resources, Chief Minister Shri N. Biren Singh said that a Policy for Minerals would be formulated soon to promote and encourage the much needed investment in the sector. He further mentioned that the eight NorthEastern States, the  Eastern Gateway for India’s ‘Act East Policy’, must engage actively and collectively to create synergies and help building mutually supportive relationships between stakeholders.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Shri Jayant Sinha announced that there will be Imphal to Delhi direct flight services from January, 2018. Mentioning the importance of improving air connectivity in the region, he said that the Union Government is giving highest priority to provide better connectivity in the region. He said that the construction of Pakyong Airport of Sikkim is completed and would be inaugurated soon. He further announced that 19 new Airports including Moreh in Manipur and & 7 helipads would be constructed in the NorthEast region shortly. The Government of India is looking forward in bringing a revolution in terms of connectivity in the region, he added.

Union Minister for Commerce and Industries, Shri Suresh Prabhu said that the Northeast region is the fastest growing part of the country. He said that the Government of India would announce new Industrial Policy for the NorthEastern States soon. He said that the new strategy for NorthEast region would be focussed on 5E’s i.e. protecting Environment, improving Economy, generating Employment, Entrepreneurship and Enduring. Stating that the NorthEastern part of the country has been neglected for a long time, he said that we should give more focus on development as the region is the gateway to the Southeast Asia.

Stating that such kind of Summit is first of its kind in the region, Chief Minister of Assam Shri Sarbananda Sonawal said that organising such Development Summit would definitely promote the North East region of the country. He mentioned that the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi often referred NorthEast States as “New Growth Engine of the Country” and such Summit would highlight and explore the various potential and aspects in terms of Tourism, Skill development, Entrepreneurship etc.

Shri Sonawal said that Central government has taken up various initiatives such as construction of new highways, widening the present highways, improving inland waterways, improving air and rail connectivity in the region. Soon the Northeast region would emerge as ‘Regional Hub’ in relation to the ASEAN countries, he added. Praising the Chief Minister Shri N. Biren Singh, he stated that the recent initiatives of Government of Manipur in improving Trade and Commerce with Myanmar which would bring the economic prosperity in the region. He called on the States of the Northeast India to work together with full spirit like a family in realising the dream of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in developing NorthEast India as ‘Organic Hub’ of the country.

On the occasion, Chief Minister of Nagaland Shri T.R Zeliang said that Act East Policy would transform the Northeast India whereby opening doors to new opportunities like employment of educated youths, entrepreneurship etc in the States. He said that building economic linkages with neighbouring countries would strengthen ties with SouthEast Asian Countries. He further stated that we need to develop and build 3C’s i.e. Commerce, Culture and Connectivity in the region. These 3C’s can play a major role in transforming the region, he added. He further stated that India cannot be connected with South East Asian Countries without passing through NorthEast India.

Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Shri Pema Khandu said that NorthEast has an immense biodiversity and bonded by common tribal identity. In the last one decade, peace and tranquillity has arrived for development in the region, he added.

Shri Pema Khandu said that the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has a sharp focus in bringing positive changes in the region. NorthEast region is filled with various opportunities and has lot to offer in various aspects in the country, he added.

The inauguration was attended by First Lady of India Smt. Savita Kovind, Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism of Bangladesh Shri Rashed Khan Menon, Union Minister of State for Tourism Shri K.J. Alphons, Vice-Chairman NITI Aayog, Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Managing Director of Patanjali Ayurved Shri Acharya Balkrishna, United Nations Resident Co-ordinator Shri Yuri Afanasiev, Cabinet Ministers of Manipur and other NorthEast states, delegates from both the country and abroad (DIPR).

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