|Editorial Vol. 2 Issue No. 5||June 7 - 21, 2003|
North East as ‘tax-free area’
NORTH East is up in arms against treating Uttaranchal J&K and Himachal at par with this backward region in matters of industrialisation. The latest move of the centre will be detrimental to our region, these states say. Their fear: "The three Northern entities are better off. They also have locational advantage. So, our region stands to loose out on new investments".
Participating in a seminar on Review of North East Industrial Policy (NEIP), Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said the uniqueness of the NEIP must be retained. It should not be diluted. Otherwise the very objective of rapid industrialisation of the northeast will be defeated.
Assam Minister for Industries and Commerce Bhubaneswar Kalita demanded that the region be declared a tax-free zone as compensation so that flow of investment continued sufficiently for rapid growth of the area.
In his address, Union Minister for Industries and Commerce, Ch Vidya Sagar Rao said "Your apprehensions are misplaced. The incentives for industries coming up in Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Jammu and Kashmir are for those based on local raw materials. He said the best way to attract investment is to become more competitive in respect of building infrastructure and efficiency of Government delivery machinery.
On the basis of the feed back received through his interaction with entrepreneurs in the State, the Union Minister said there was a popular demand to put tourism, healthcare, and filmmaking on the thrust list for industrialisation of the region.
While expressing concern that response to the NEIP is not at thee expected level, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and others said lack of basic infrastructure like adequate and reliable power and land were major hurdles in industrialisation. Small and medium entrepreneurs are not getting proper encouragement from the NEIP. They underlined the need for an action plan to create entrepreneurs within the region by focusing on industries based on local resources.
NEDFi chairman, J P Saikia said impact of the NEIP is
not felt in the SME sector and local entrepreneurism has not grown to the
desired extent. Based on experience, NEIP should be fine tuned and a single
window clearance should be offered, he felt.
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