Union DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh on Saturday assured that the northeastern region will emerge as a favourite tourist and trade destination in India in the post-Covid era and will work as a new engine of growth for the country’s economy.
Speaking as the chief guest at the inauguration ceremony of the 8th North East Festival organised virtually, Singh, the Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), said that the whole region will take a lead for India to emerge as an economic power with the support of its huge natural and human skill resources.
“The region will work as a ‘new engine’ for the economy. It will emerge as an alternative to the European tourist destinations by virtually remaining pandemic free,” said the minister.
Singh expressed hope that holiday lovers from the next season will definitely prefer the northeast for its pristine natural beauty over other global tourist destinations and also added that the entire region will be the “new engine of growth for India, when the rest of world is looking for economic resurgence through trade in post-pandemic times”.
He said that the region will exploit its vast untapped natural resources, including bamboo, that could propel the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ mission of Prime Minister Narendra Modi by imbibing the “Vocal for Local” mantra.
The minister said that recently the Central government raised the import duty by 25 per cent on raw bamboo items, which will help the domestic bamboo industries like furniture, handicrafts and incense sticks in a big way and also promote the use of bamboo as building material.
He also referred to the amendment to the 100-year-old Indian Forest Act brought about by the Modi government in 2017, in which homegrown bamboo has been exempted to enhance livelihood opportunities.
Singh said that there has been significant development in the region in terms of road, rail and air connectivity, helping to facilitate the movement of goods and persons not only across the region, but also across the country.
He said the youth of the region have become more aspirational in recent times and will play an important role to take the region to greater economic heights.
Referring to the Act East policy of the government, Singh said that the northeastern region has a special role to play in the promotion of trade and business relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as it is the gateway to the growing economies of Southeast Asian nations.
Chief Ministers of Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Sikkim and senior ministers and officials of the northeastern states joined the inaugural function. Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla delivered the special address.