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N-E demands revision of NEIIPP to put thrust on micro, small sectors

Supratim Dey/Kolkata/ Guwahati 15 Jun 12 | 12:59 AM

The North Eastern states have demanded “revision" of the centre sponsored North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP), 2007 to shift the focus from heavy industry to micro and small scale sector.  

The eight North Eastern states, including Sikkim, have collectively stated that though the NEIIPP “had been good for the region" it needs to put thrust on micro and small scale sector as there were “constraints" on the part of the states in attracting big ticket investments.  

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The call was taken at a mid-term appraisal conference of the policy in Guwahati on Thursday by industry ministers of the eight North Eastern states.

Assam’s industry minister Pradyut Bordoloi, who also chairs the North East Industry Ministers’ Forum (NEIMF), said development of industrial scenario of the region would depend on the thrust on micro and small scale sector and not on big investments. He demanded that the focus of NEIIPP be shifted from attracting heavy industry to micro and small scale sector.

“We want some revision in the existing industrial policy. We have realised that unlike other states of India, there is a big constraint of availability of land for big investment in the North Eastern states. Thrust has to be on micro and small scale industries in the region," said Bordoloi.

He said NEIIPP should be “fine tuned" to help promote the micro sector and especially the first generation entrepreneurs. NEIMF demanded the Centre to form a MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) Bank to finance ventures of first generation entrepreneurs in the region.

Bordoloi said the thrust of the next Assam Industrial Policy (the present policy is due to expire in 2013) would also be on micro and small sector.

In the last five years, ending March 31, 2012, the NEIIPP could attract 336 investment proposals from private sector, which amounted to Rs 38,000 crore, out of which Assam’s share was 21,152 crore. However, expressing concern at the slowing down of industrial growth in the country, Bordoloi said that too affected the region in attracting investment proposals.

The prominent sector which attracted investment proposals in last five years in the region were pharmaceuticals, followed by cement, power plants (up to 10 MW are entitled to avail incentives under NEIIPP), hotels and resorts, plastic based industry and healthcare sector.

Bordoloi was also categorical when he said that just incentives would not drive investments into the region. The need was to create a conducive environment for industry, which many of the states lacked badly. “Only incentives will not bring investments. We have to create a conducive environment for industry. Anti-industry environment has to change in the region. Kidnappings, extortions, bandhs are most detrimental factors that the region is presently experiencing," said Bordoloi.

Thursday’s conference was attended by industry ministers of Assam, Sikkim and Mizoram and industry ministers of other states were represented by their representatives, besides industry associations like Federation of Industry and Commerce of North Eastern Region (FINER), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), North Eastern Small Scale Industry Association (NESSIA) etc.

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