Infra projects key to North-East development: Study

A host of infrastructure corridor projects are likely to improve the economic and strategic importance of the North-East

Inadequate infrastructure and poor connectivity in India’s north-east are major constraints to development in the region.

Not only is the region poorly connected to the rest of India, it is also poorly connected to neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia. However, this could all change.

A new study suggests that the completion of current and proposed infrastructure projects in the north-east could herald greater economic growth for the region and increase its geopolitical importance.

In the study published in the Economic and Political Weekly, Prabir De and others examine the impact of national projects such as the East–West Corridor (EWC), which runs from Porbandar in Gujarat to Silchar in Assam, as well as international projects such as the Trilateral Highway connecting Manipur to Thailand via Myanmar, the Bangladesh–China–India–Myanmar Economic Corridor, and the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project, that comprises a sea route for shipping cargo from ports in eastern India to Myanmar, as well as a land route to the country from the North-East.

The authors’ analysis finds that increased road density, because of these corridors, would lead to both greater freight volumes as well as greater gross domestic product growth in the states. They estimate the EWC itself will increase freight volumes by up to 90% in the states that are part of the corridor.

These corridor-based development projects may generate further economic activities and regional development, which in turn will influence economic growth through higher production and consumption, the authors argue. As the northeastern states provide an important gateway to both China and the Southeast Asian states, these corridor projects will be crucial for India’s economic and strategic relationship with these countries.

Read: Assessing Economic Impacts of Connectivity Corridors in North East India

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