Manipur hosts B20 conference
Imphal: A Conference on Opportunities for Multilateral Business Partnerships in ICT, Tourism, Healthcare and Handloom was held on Friday at the City Convention Centre, Imphal East following the assumption of G20 Presidency by India since December 1, 2022.
The inaugural session of the conference was attended by chief minister N. Biren Singh, Union inister of state for External Affairs Dr R.K. Ranjan Singh, Union minister of state for Commerce and Industry Som Parkash, chief secretary, Manipur Dr Rajesh Kumar, joint secretary (Summits) G20 secretariat L. Ramesh Babu, commissioner, Textiles and Commerce, Industries Pradeep K Jha and member of Confederation of Indian Industry Gopi K More.
Addressing the congregation of G20 delegates including foreign delegates, government officials and entrepreneurs, Biren expressed the honour of the state to host this B20 Conference. The conference would be a great platform for the state to showcase its strength and opportunities for multilateral business partnerships in various sectors in the backdrop of the rich cultural heritage, he said.
The conference would shape policies towards sustainable growth and development while ushering in peace and progress in line with the theme of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’, he added.
The chief minister informed that Manipur, with a population of 2.72 million and an area of over 22,300 sq. km. is the Land Gateway of India to South East Asia, adding that the state has the perfect setting for implementing India’s Act East Policy and it is the bridge between South East Asia and India.
He said, once the stretch of Asian Highway within Myanmar gets completed, road travel from Manipur to Bangkok will be possible within 16-18 hours. Plans are afoot to start international flights from Imphal to Mandalay in Myanmar and Bangkok in Thailand, he said, adding that Imphal International Airport would soon have a new integrated terminal and an air cargo terminal. Train services would also reach Imphal city by next year. He highlighted that Manipur has been recognised as the Most Improved Small State in Overall Category for three years in a row in the State of the states survey. This has been facilitated by an improved security scenario.
Biren informed that new Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy of Manipur has been adopted to promote investment in the state. To promote ‘Ease of Doing Business’, the Manipur Industrial Single Window Clearance Act, 2021 was enacted. Given the importance of logistics, the Manipur Integrated Logistics Policy, 2022 was notified, he said.
Manipur has a strong base of qualified healthcare professionals and specialists and that nurses from Manipur are in high demand across India. Health institutes in the state not only cater to patients from neighbouring states but also from the neighbouring Myanmar, presenting attractive investment opportunities in the area of medical tourism. Manipur has huge tourism potential in the form of our rich natural, historical and cultural heritage and the state gave polo to the world, he added. Manipur also has a strong sporting culture and offers scope for investment. Despite a small population, the state has produced numerous successful sports persons including 19 Olympians. The government had been promoting the state as a preferred tourism destination and had come up with an investor friendly Tourism Policy.
Biren informed the congregation that Manipur has huge untapped potential in medicinal plants, horticultural products, aromatic plants and spices. Local produce like aromatic black rice, pineapple, oranges, ginger, etc. are famous for their unique taste. He continued that Manipur is blessed with young and dynamic populations. Fifty percent of business registrations for MSME in Manipur are for businesses owned by women, compared to about 20 percent for the rest of the country.
He expressed the biggest strengths of the state is its English-speaking youth, adding that they have done extremely well in the services sector, including hospitality, nursing, customer care, computer skills, health & wellness, etc. He was confident that the platform provided by the conference would go a long way to help explore investment and partnership opportunities and shape policies toward decisive action.
Ranjan said India, as a fast-growing nation, is an intriguing market for overseas businesses and investors. In recent years, India has seen a surge in economic growth and now ranks as the world’s fifth-largest economy by GDP. He said the North East Region has the diverse potential to propel ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ by being the Engines of Growth.
The minister informed the gathering that the availability of exportable resources coupled with the locational advantage, offers the opportunity of medical tourism through Ayurvedic therapies & traditional medical treatments. He expressed that Imphal has a population with a huge skills advantage which is artistic and creative by nature and this has found expression in their handloom and handicraft products, which are world-famous for their designs, ingenuity, colorfulness and usefulness.
‘I am sure that the business community of my state and the North East will look forward to enhancing partnerships in sectors like Tourism, Hospitality, Healthcare and Handloom etc., immensely’, the minister said.
Som Parkash said, as India holds the Presidency of the G20, the country will make sure this presidency is “Inclusive, ambitious, decisive and action-oriented”. He continued that, as the world endeavors to pave the way towards a global economic recovery, the utmost importance to acknowledge is that the success of this recovery will largely depend on the actions of businesses. The G20 must provide a crucial forum for businesses to convene and collectively address key global issues with a unified voice, he added.
He expressed that India has a large and growing economy, a highly skilled workforce, and a rich cultural heritage that can serve as a bridge between different nations and cultures and also expressed hopefulness that the country has a strong commitment to sustainable development.
The inaugural session was followed by a plenary session, where topics including Investment Opportunities and Support Ecosystem for doing Business in Manipur, Opportunities in Core Sector, Healthcare and Medical Tourism, Tourism and Hospitality, ICT, Handlooms and Textiles would be deliberated. Representatives of G20 and other countries also addressed the plenary session.
The inaugural session was also attended by ministers, MLAs and senior government officials among others.