Eastward Ho! NE India-ASEAN connectivity

Friday, 22 February 2019

oPINIONS

Opinions

Eastward Ho! NE India-ASEAN connectivity

SM Farid | February 02, 2019 10:31 hrs


During my travels to the international border areas in the region and after being appointed Advisor to the Border Trade & Chamber of Commerce, Moreh town, Manipur, I have interacted extensively with the local population. Based on my observations, I would like to suggest the following core issues that need to be addressed to boost trade and employment in these areas.


1)    Ministries such as the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DONER) should have one member at least from each of the northeastern states to enable each state to put forward their point of view regarding trade and development in their respective states. 

  
2)    Active engagement of Institutes like the EXIM Bank, North Eastern Develoopment Finance Corporation (NEDFi), National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD), Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC). These respective institutes can hold awareness & information seminars and interactive sessions from time to time in these areas with the active engagement of the local trade bodies.


3)    A core committee can be formed with representation from every state that has an international border to enable institutes and trade bodies to get ready updates of the ground reality with data. This will go a long way in attracting prospective exporters, importers and investors in the region.    


4)    Officially only Moreh in Manipur and Zorinpui in Mizoram (287 kms from the Sittwe Port in Myanmar) has been recognised with LCS (Land Custom Station) along the Indo-Myanmar border. A lot more can be done if we have more LCS along the Pangsau Pass in Arunachal and in Mon district in Nagaland.


5)    There must be Border Trade Chamber of Commerce in Zokhathar in Mizoram, Pangshu Pass in Arunachal Pradesh and in the Mon district of Nagaland all having sizeable border with Myanmar.


6)    Every state along the Indo-Myanmar border should be well equipped with an Information Centre at the borders to reach out to importers/exporters and prospective investors. This will also result in self employment generation and development among the people living in these areas.


7)    Border Haats (markets) to be set up at all the border points along the Indo-Myanmar border for close border trade on either side of the border. As of now only a few functional Haats are operational along the Indo-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya. A better and upgraded model needs to be developed along the Indo-Myanmar border to boost trade.


8)    For trade promotion in any form state-of-the-art warehousing facility along the border areas is a must exclusively for perishable products. In most cases the border areas are far off from the nearest towns and cities.


9)    Our region is blessed with beautiful hills, flora and fauna. We need to capitalise on it and promote tourism and club tour packages with our state festivals like the Sangai festival in Manipur, the Hornbill festival in Nagaland, the Tawang festival in Arunachal Pradesh, the Bihu festival in Assam along with the Thai-Ahom villages in upper Assam etc.


10)    Last, but not the least, I would like to rephrase “Investor friendly” to “Investor ready.”
If a few of the above-mentioned points are addressed along with the infrastructure development in the border areas I am sure we will be ready to attract the right people to invest in our region like elsewhere in the country.

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