Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday sought support from the government PSUs, industries and tea associations to revive the state’s economy which, he said, is severely hit by the ongoing nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the novel coronavirus spread.
As a part of the state government’s efforts to revitalise the industrial sector, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday interacted via video conference with representatives of the Central and the state government PSUs, industry and tea associations at the Assam Administrative Staff College in Khanapara in Guwahati and solicited their suggestions to arrest the state’s economic slowdown.
Several industry leaders and representatives from across the state and country, Chief Minister’s Media Adviser Hrishikesh Goswami, Chief Minister’s Legal Adviser Santanu Bharali, Principal Secretary of Environment and Forest Avinash Joshi, Principal Secretary of Finance Department Sameer Sinha, Principal Secretary of Labour Welfare Department JB Ekka, Commissioner and Secretary of Industry and Commerce Department KK Dwivedi and other senior officials of state government were also present in the interaction programme.
During the virtual meeting, Sarbananda Sonowal said: “Covid-19 has posed an extraordinary challenge to the economy. The present crisis calls for an extraordinary response. The state government is very much concerned about the loss incurred by the industries and has come up with measures to check the economic slowdown.”
Sarbananda Sonowal said that the state government has already constituted an economic advisory committee under the chairmanship of retired IAS officer Subhas Das to suggest recommendations to the government to deal with the issues affecting the economy and also to boost economic activities in the state.
“The state government worked relentlessly during the last four years to develop a favourable economic environment in the state,” Sarbananda Sonowal said.
“Industries in Assam contribute 3 per cent to the state’s GDP and provide direct employment to approximately 4 lakh people and indirect employment to around 20 lakh people. However, this sector has been severely affected by the lockdown. Due to the lockdown, big and small tea gardens incurred loss to the tune of around Rs. 500 crore,” Sarbananda Sonowal said.
Sarbananda Sonowal further assured the industry leaders that continuous efforts to revive the economy were underway.
Assam govt allows some activities
Sarbananda Sonowal also said that acting swiftly on the Central government’s decision to relax lockdown curbs, the Assam government allowed to carry out agricultural activities, movement on agricultural as well as non-agricultural products and functioning of tea industry and food processing factories.
However, Sarbananda Sonowal maintained that all industries would have to strictly comply with the norms of social distancing and adhere to the government’s health directives.
Sarbananda Sonowal further said that in view of many foreign companies expressing their interest to migrate their base to India, he has already discussed the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sent a letter to the Central government to make suggestions to those companies to set up their production facilities in Assam.
“The prime minister has responded positively on the issue,” Sarbananda Sonowal said.
Industrial growth in Assam
Sarbananda Sonowal also called for maintaining ecological balance with working for industrial growth in the state.
During the interaction, he also assured to take prompt action on the suggestions made by the industry representatives.
The industry representatives appreciated the state government efforts to deal with the novel coronavirus pandemic and thanked the government for relaxations in the industrial sector amid lockdown. They also shed light on the challenges faced by the industries and put forth various suggestions to tackle the crisis.
Assam Industry and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, who attended the meeting, said that steps are afoot to leverage industrial growth in the state and as a result of which a favourable industrial environment has developed in Assam.
“Initiatives like Act East Policy Affairs Department and Assam Skill Development Mission have helped to develop better commercial linkages with the South East Asian countries. That steps taken for improvement of the waterway would give a major push to economic activities in the state,” Mohan Patowary said.
Return of migrants in Assam
Sarbananda Sonowal said that the Assam government has taken up steps to facilitate the return of migrant workers from the state who are stranded in different places of the country. He stressed on making the best use of their skills to boost the industrial sector.
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