Guwahati: As many as 176 initial pacts worth Rs65,186 crore with 160 firms were signed in Guwahati on the first day of the Assam’s maiden Global Investors’ Summit, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised the need for an all-round development of the north east.
Modi in his inaugural speech said the government has speeded up the functioning of official machinery and laid stress on the importance of ‘Act East Policy’ for further momentum to the country’s growth story. “We want all programmes to be completed before target," the prime minister said at the programme attended by Bhutan Prime Minister Dasha Tshering Tobgay, Japan Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu, captains of industry and representatives of USA, Germany, Japan, Korea, Israel, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Czech Republic, Laos and Bangladesh.
Modi said the country has become the most preferred investment destination with the highest foreign direct investment (FDI) of $60 billion last fiscal and the union government will now focus on development of infrastructure to turn Assam into the country’s new growth engine.
The focus of the development strategy is on “transformation through transportation" and hence stress has been laid on improving the road and rail connectivity in the region, he said. The government will work to bring about qualitative change in the lives of low and middle income classes and promote “Ease of Living" at the same time, he said.
The inaugural day of the first-ever Global Investors’ Summit in Assam saw signing of 176 initial memorandums of understanding (MoUs) in a range of sectors with investment commitments worth Rs65,186 crore, an official said. Public sector oil behemoth ONGC committed Rs13,000 crore investment in the state, while another oil public sector unit (PSU) Oil India Ltd pledged an investment of Rs10,000 crore, according to the summit spokesperson.
Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Numaligarh Refinery Ltd also evinced interest to invest Rs3,432 crore and Rs3,410 crore, respectively, the spokesperson said. Among private players, Reliance Industries chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani announced an investment of Rs2,500 crore in Assam in various sectors, including retail, petroleum, telecom, tourism and sports, creating jobs for at least 80,000 people over the next three years.
With Tata Trusts joining hands with the Assam government to roll out an elaborate cancer care programme in 17 centres across 15 districts of the state from next year, the project will see an investment of around Rs2,000 crore, Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
Indo-UK Institute of Health will be investing Rs2,700 crore, while Century Ply has shared plans of investing Rs2,100 crore, the spokesperson said. Spicejet outlined plans of Rs1,250 crore investment for Assam through seaplanes to boost the tourism sector besides connecting Lakhimpur and Jorhat under the Udaan Scheme.
Infinity Group will be investing Rs1,000 crore in an IT park and real estate project in Guwahati, he said adding the Medanta Group proposed Rs500 crore investment in the healthcare sector and Dalmia Bharat Cement announced an investment to the tune of Rs1,100 crore.
“Tourism sector, which is one of the key focus areas of the government, saw an investment proposal in concurrence of around ₹ 736 crore. Infrastructure sector, a prime determinant of progress, saw a total investment proposal worth ₹ 2,347 crore," the spokesperson said.
Other major companies announcing investments in Assam are BPCL (Rs350 crore), Essel Infraprojects (Rs6,000 crore), Star Cement (Rs2,100 crore), Infinity Infotech Parks (Rs1,000 crore) and Mahindra Holidays and Resorts India (Rs400 crore), among others, he added.
The government has identified 12 focus sectors for the summit, including agriculture and food processing, handloom- textile-handicrafts, logistics, river transport-port township, IT-ITeS, pharmaceutical-medical equipment, plastics- petrochemicals and power. Tourism-hospitality-wellness, civil aviation, petroleum- natural gas and startups-innovation are other focus areas at the summit.
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal in his address asked investors to explore the investment potential in the state and come up with more ideas. He promised that the government would meet all of their expectations. Describing the summit as a historic event in the economic growth story of the state, Sonowal said his government is committed to turning Assam into a prime hub of economic activity in the north east.
Union minister for commerce and industry Suresh Prabhu said there was the need to create a development road map. Tobgay in his speech emphasised the exemplary relations shared by the two countries and acknowledged the support and cooperation received from India for being a part of Bhutan’s growth story.
He said India was a role model for his country, which stands to benefit from a prosperous Assam. Japan Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu said his country was keen to continue ties with India and was committed to identify further areas of cooperation to contribute to Assam’s development.