The summit ‘Advantage Assam’, being organised on 3 and 4 February at a total expenditure of Rs32 crore, will also witness participation of business leaders and ministers from as many as 20 countries such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) nations, the US, Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, UAE and Israel.
“It has a unique advantage of being at a strategic geographic location with a strong connectivity network, making it an ideal destination for business with the ASEAN countries. That is why, the objective of the summit is to position Assam as India’s expressway to ASEAN," Assam commerce and industry minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said at a press conference.
‘Advantage Assam’ will be the largest ever investment promotion and facilitation initiative by the state government and it will showcase the opportunities offered by the state in terms of export-oriented manufacturing and services to ASEAN and other countries, he added.
“A total of 14 international and domestic roadshows were organised as a part of the pre-summit preparations. High powered delegation of the state government, many of which were led by the chief minister, engaged in more than 200 one-on-one meetings with corporate houses in these roadshows. We have seen over 4,800 delegate registrations," Patowary said.
With these, the state government has been able to draw attention of industry leaders like Tata Group’s Ratan Tata, Reliance’s Mukesh Ambani, Dilip Shanghvi from Sun Pharmaceuticals, Dabur’s Anand Burman and Harshavardhan Neotia from Ambuja Neotia Cements, who have confirmed their presence in the summit, he added.
The minister also informed that Amar Abrol from Air Asia India, Welspun Group’s Balakrishan Goenka, Subhash Chandra of Essel Group, Emami’s Sushil Goenka, Rashesh Shah of Edelweiss and Sanjiv Puri from ITC have also registered for the event.
“Besides, Naresh Trehan from Medanta—The Medicity—and filmmaker Subhash Ghai have confirmed to be a part of the summit deliberations, among others," he added. Patowary also informed that 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 the other focus areas for the business tycoons, he added. Talking about incentives for investment, Patowary said the state government has come out with the Assam Industries (Tax Reimbursement for Eligible Units) Scheme, 2017, under which tax exemptions will be given up to 200% on the fixed capital for the units set up till 31 December 2022.
“Besides, to strengthen the investment scenario, the state has instituted some very attractive sectoral policies. We will also introduce an overall state industrial policy. The central government policy for industrial development of North East is also coming soon," he added.
On the poor power scenario, Patowary accepted that Assam is an electricity-deficient state, but said it will source the same from the National Power Grid for upcoming industries. “During the last one year, we could bring investment to the tune of ₹ 6,500 crore in various sectors. It is a big achievement. Besides, we also got sanction for developing nine port townships across Assam for an investment of ₹ ,100 crore," he added.
These townships will come up at Bogibeel, Neematighat, Kamalabari, Silghat, Pandu, Silchar, Karimganj, Jogighopa and Dhubri, the minister informed. Besides, dredging work at Brahmaputra is going on with two dredgers, while more are on the way, to create an effective waterway through the river, he added.