What does Advantage Assam Global Investors’ Summit 2018 hold for the state?
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Rs 30 crore summit to target investors from 10 sectors

Rahul Chanda | November 17, 2017 19:36 hrs

Advantage Assam will target investors from as many as ten different sectors who could invest in the state. The two-day global investment summit will be held on 3-4 February 2018 in Guwahati at an estimated budget of Rs 30 crores.

“50% of the expenses will be borne by the Centre” said Commissioner & Secretary of the Industries & Commerce Department, Ashutosh Agnihotri. He informed that the summit will target investors from the pharmaceuticals, plastics and hydrocarbons, petroleum, information technology (IT), tourism, healthcare and medical equipments, power, agriculture and food processing, inland water transport and port townships, and civil aviation. 

According to plans, there will be sessions on all the sectors during the summit and during every session, the different investment opportunities available in the state of Assam would be showcased. Opinions from the participants would also be solicited in the conclave. 

The curtain raiser of the summit was held in New Delhi on 24th October. This will be followed by a road show in Hyderabad on 18th November and subsequently in Kolkata and Bangalore. Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal, will also visit Mumbai for interaction with top industrialists on 29th and 30th November.   

The summit is also expected to provide opportunities to all the local investors and entrepreneurs to encourage them to invest in the different sectors in the state.

 PM to inaugurate summit giving special focus on ties with ASEAN countries

Several ministers of different countries in charge of industry and commerce are expected to attend the Advantage Assam Investors’ Summit in Guwahati which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.   

The focus of Advantage Assam would be to create opportunities by the state in terms of export-oriented manufacturing and services to growing economies like ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) countries.  

A senior official of Industries & Commerce department said, “Invitations are being sent to all potential investors in many countries but the main focus is on ASEAN because Assam can become a trade capital for all ASEAN countries.”

He added that the Prime Minister will, for the first time, inaugurate a global investment summit because of his focus towards Act East Policy.

During every sector session of the summit (there will be 10 sessions according to the targeted industrial sectors), special emphasis will be given on how trade can be linked between the ASEAN countries and Assam.

The investors’ conclave comes close on the heels of the Centre’s renewed focus on Act East Policy, which also envisages forging close ties with ASEAN.  

Delivering the key note address at the curtain raiser of Advantage Assam on 24th October in New Delhi, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that Assam could be the gateway to the South East Asian countries which comprises a market of 18 million people. He also underscored the Centre’s focus on developing the region and the various schemes that have been unveiled.
 
Advantage Assam would not be a success without new industrial policy 

The state government might claim that Advantage Assam will bring investments to Assam but unless the North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP) is revived or a new investment policy drafted, investors will not invest in Assam.

One of the directors of Federation of Industries of North Eastern Region (FINER), Sandeep Khaitan said, “Unless the new investment policy for northeast is announced not a single investor will invest.” 

A good number of investors who set up shop in the state are winding up due to the anti-industry refund mechanism by the Centre, claimed FINER.

Excise duty exemption, which investors used to receive from the Centre for setting up units under NEIIPP 2007, was stopped after the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime in the country. Instead of excise duty the Centre introduced a new scheme to refund its share of Central GST (CGST) and integrated GST (IGST) to industrial units in the region. So industries in Assam have faced reduction in refund quantum. 

The need of the hour is the immediate introduction of a new industrial policy, opined FINER. 

Meanwhile, a source in the industry and commerce department said that the state government is perusing the Central government to announce the new policy prior to the summit that is slated for the first week of February.       

•    Advantage Assam will target investors from as many as ten different sectors
•    Estimated budget of the summit is Rs 30 crores, 50% to be funded by the Centre
•    All the industry and commerce ministries of ASEAN countries to participate in the summit
•    All global investors are invited 
•    The summit is expected to provide opportunities to all the local investors
•    PM to inaugurate the summit giving special focus on trade ties with ASEAN countries
•    FINER feels summit won’t help unless new industrial policy is inked
•    Says many industries winding up because of new central financial polices

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