Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has appealed to the people of the northeastern states to think of “what we, as a citizen, have contributed to our country, rather than thinking of what the country or the Central government had given us.”
The chief minister was addressing the Young Leaders Connect – 8 held Friday at the City Convention Centre, Imphal under the theme “Northeast India 2030: Towards India’s Innovative and Sustainable Growth”.
Biren Singh stated that the North-East Leaders Connect (NELC) over the last decade had paved the path for growth and development in the region. The platform provided by the NELC will continue to facilitate the designing of reforms and deepening of strategic ties to unlock the full potential of the region, he added.
Biren Singh expressed his optimism that this year’s edition will offer better insights into the trends and challenges in the northeast.
The chief minister mentioned that the northeast, which is strategically located as the land gateway of India to Southeast Asia, is blessed with abundant natural resources, rich cultural heritage, skilled human resources, colorful tribes, and tourist attractions. The region has the potential to be another growth engine for the country in the 21st century, he said, adding that “for this to translate into reality, young leaders of the region need to collectively forge a vision and lead a coordinated response.”
Biren Singh further maintained that the Manipur government is committed to inclusive and sustainable development and is continuing its efforts to harness the dynamism of youths.
Singh said ‘Manipur Start-Up’ has transformed the entrepreneurship ecosystem. The state government has extended various support and assistance to 5,796 entrepreneurs for a total project cost of Rs 110 crore. Moreover, 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.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, who is also a governing member of the NELC, said the time has come for the northeast to play an important role in the country’s resolve to achieve a five-trillion-dollar economy. He also mentioned that the region’s rich natural resources and fragile ecology must not be compromised. Stressing that the northeast has 8 per cent of the country’s geographical area with 4 per cent of its total population, he said the region contributes only a small share of the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP), India’s total food grain production, domestic and foreign tourists and also India’s total export.
Khandu further stressed the need to discuss ways to increase the region’s contribution to the National GDP.
The event was also attended by Lok Sabha MP and NELC Governing Council member Gaurav Gogoi, MLAs, and entrepreneurs from different northeastern states, among others.
During the inaugural function, Biren Singh and Khandu launched the project NEW (Northeast-region Entrepreneurs’ World).
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 a conversation with young leaders of the region.