Imphal: Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh appealed to the people of Northeast states to think of what, as citizens, have contributed to the country, rather than thinking of what the country or the Centre has given them.
Such change in the concept of thinking will increase our contribution to the Country’s development, Biren said.
Biren was at the inaugural session of the Young Leaders Connect – 8 held on Friday at the City Convention Centre, Palace Compound under the theme “Northeast India 2030: Towards India’s Innovative and Sustainable Growth” as Chief Patron of the Young Leaders Connect 2022.
Welcoming all participants visiting Imphal for the Young Leaders Connect, Biren said North-East Leaders Connect (NELC) over the decade had paved the path as a facilitator for growth and development in the North-East region. The platform provided by the NELC will continue to facilitate in designing reforms and deepening strategic ties to unlock the full potential of the region, he added. Expressing confidence that this year’s edition will offer better insights to the trends and challenges in the North-East Region, he stressed that a richer understanding of the realities would help reshape a shared vision for the Region’s progress.
The North-East, which is strategically located as the land gateway of India to South-East Asia, is blessed with abundant natural resources, rich cultural heritage, skilled human resources, colorful tribes and tourist attractions. It has the potential to be another growth engine for the country in the 21st century, Biren said and spoke on the need to meaningfully realize the region’s inherent potentials in different fields. For this to translate into reality, young leaders of the region need to collectively forge a vision and lead a coordinated response, he added.
Manipur government is committed towards inclusive and sustainable development and is continuing its efforts to harness the dynamism of youths. He continued that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has taken epochal strides toward promoting start-ups, ushering an environment for start-ups never witnessed before. In the Northeast too, the emergence of many talents has empowered locals while continuously pushing the wheel of innovation to newer destinations, he said.
Manipur Start-Up has transformed the entrepreneurship ecosystem. The state government has extended various support and assistance to a total of 5,796 entrepreneurs for a total project cost of Rs 110 crore, to provide ample room for growth of an entrepreneurship, he said. Acknowledging that Information Technology is one of the core strengths, he also informed that the First Building of Manipur IT SEZ will be ready soon and is expected to create employment opportunities for about 1,500-2,000 persons.
With improved connectivity infrastructure in Manipur and improved law and order situation in the state, tourism and hospitality sector is also picking up, generating gainful employment opportunities, he said.
Highlighting that the share of exports from the Northeast Region is abysmally low when compared to total exports from India, he was hopeful that such conclave would facilitate in streamlining bottlenecks leading to exponential rise in export numbers in the coming years. This would also be a stepping stone towards strengthening partnerships and forging sustainable collaborations in the region, he added.
Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu, who is also a governing member of NELC, expressed gratitude for being a part of the Young Leaders Connect – 8. Mentioning the theme of this year’s Connect, he said the time has come for the Northeast Region to play an important role in the country’s resolve to achieve the 5 trillion Dollar economy. He also mentioned that the region’s rich natural resources and fragile ecology must not be compromised by various growth paths taken up. Stressing that the Northeast has 8 percent of country’s geographical area with 4 percent of its total population, he mentioned that the region contributes only a small share in National Gross Domestic Product (GDP), India’s total food grain production, domestic and foreign tourists and also India’s total export.
The need to discuss how to increase North-East states’ contribution to the National GDP, which sector to be focused on, measures to increase the food grain production, to attract more tourists, and industries to be prioritized. He mentioned that various development works had been taken in the Northeast region under the initiative of the Prime Minister. Certain measures for resolving issues regarding insurgency, drugs, interstate boundary disputes had been taken up in mission mode, apart from building infrastructures for conducive business environments, he added. Continuing that our human resources quality would be the next key asset, he said people of the region should sincerely endeavor to nurture it.
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha and NELC Governing Council Member Gaurav Gogoi said the North-East states have a promising future with its potential youths, talents, culture and diversity apart from violence and insurgency which are things of the past. He expressed the need to tell others about both the glorious past and the promising future.
He informed that the NELC was born out of common love and passion for Northeast which would continue to grow and create friends not only among the Northeast, but also with the rest of India. He mentioned that for Northeast, economy means its people and as such the potentials of our people should be harnessed to achieve growth and development.
Biren and Pema Khandu launched the project NEW (Northeast-region Entrepreneurs’ World). Short videos on Star Education Manipur and theme song of Young Leaders Connect were also shown.
Cabinet Ministers of Manipur, MLAs, Members of NELC Governing Council, state chief secretary, senior officials of the state government, entrepreneurs and many potential youths also attended the programme among others.
The inaugural session was followed by a panel discussion on “Unlocking the Economic Roadmap for North East India”, “What will be the Key Sectors that will drive Inclusive & Sustainable Growth in North East India” and conversation with young leaders of North East India.
The 8th edition of the Young Leaders Connect will seek to converge and design reforms and strategic ties that will reshape the economies of the Northeast region. The conclave will connect economies, culture and companies, and explore ways to help business and people to excel, align with what the communities are currently building and connect with their aspirations.