Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Finance
14-May-2018 19:14 IST
Two day Regional Conference on “Physical and Social Infrastructure for Regional Development” begins in Guwahati

Governor of Assam emphasized on bridging the regional disparity by investing in physical and soft infrastructure

            The Governor of Assam, Prof. Jagdish Mukhi inaugurated the two day Seminar being organized by the Ministry of Finance on the theme of “Physical and Social Infrastructure for Regional Development” in Guwahati, Assam today. The Seminar is organized by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India in collaboration with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) and the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FICCI).


             In his Inaugural Address, the Governor of Assam said, “The Government is putting a lot of focus on the infrastructure development for the all-round development of the Region. The theme of the Seminar “Physical and Social Infrastructure for Regional Development” provides an opportunity to do an in depth analysis of the core infrastructure related issues of the North Eastern States.” He added that Assam is at the heart of the Centre’s Act East Policy and the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has put Assam in resurgent growth momentum.


            Speaking further on the occasion, the Governor of Assam, Prof. Mukhi said that the North East also has the best reputation of being the hub for industrial communication due to its proximity to the South Asian countries. He said that successful Regional Development hinges on connecting remote areas through physical infrastructure as well as by making greater investment in social infrastructure including in health and education. He said that taking into account the relatively high female labour force participation in regions such as the North East, priority needs to be given also to policy efforts ensuring greater participation of women in the development process. Prof Mukhi said that such approaches can help take forward the goal of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ (collective efforts for inclusive growth) to its legitimate conclusion.


            In his Concluding Remarks, the Governor emphasized that different initiatives like UDAN, Single Window Clearance for Trade, Inland Waterways and efficient Private Sector participation etc. must be utilized for the maximum development of the region.


     On this occasion, a detailed presentation on AIIB was given by Miss Laurel Ostfield, Head of Communications, AIIB. She talked about the importance of what we do now that will determine the future world, we and our children will live in. Talking about AIIB’s core values, “Lean, clean and green”, she said that the goals for a greener and cleaner tomorrow have been set. She also talked about the shareholding structure of AIIB. India is the Founding Member and the second Largest Shareholder as well as a big beneficiary of AIIB. 

     In his Special Address, Shri Ravi Capoor, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Industries and Commerce, Government of Assam pointed-out that from a historical perspective, North East was a very prosperous area in the pre-independence time. It was possible due to the fact that excellent trade routes were there during that time. He said that Assam exported tea, oil, timber and coal to the rest of the world by various rail and water routes like the Brahmaputra River then. Over 50 years in the post-independence time, river routes were completely stopped. In the recent years, Shri Capoor said that efforts have been made to make it operational again. He said that its high time for us to look for better projects for connectivity so that development can take place. It’s also time to rejuvenate rail lines to different neighborhood Asian countries. Only then, we can boost our connectivity and link it to development, Shri Capoor concluded.

     Earlier speaking at the event, Shri. P. D Sona, Principal Secretary (Tourism), Government of Arunachal Pradesh said that any policy regarding the North East has to take into account the various challenges being faced by the Region, and sought to take forward the HIRA policy (of Highways, Internet, Railways and Airways). He wanted Multilateral Finance Institutions like the AIIB to take-up the innovative projects in the region, including the ones that use clean and green energy. He added that the biggest concern of the North Eastern region is lack of digital connectivity along with other issues. He urged the AIIB to have a clear agenda regarding the development of the North Eastern Region.

          Prof Amitabh Kundu, Distinguished Fellow, RIS pointed-out the need to make the right kind of investments in the right kind of regions to reduce regional disparities. Adding to Prof Kundu's remarks, Mr Seshadri Chari, Member, Governing Council, RIS said that despite huge allocation of funds, some areas remain poor, adding that there is a need to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor regions.

      After the Inaugural Ceremony, a Session on the topic of “Infrastructure needs in Aspirational Areas” was organized in which various panelists discussed on myriad issues pertaining to the topic. Prof. Sebastian Morris from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad gave the lead presentation. He discussed about the agriculture and its link to Regional Development as well as about human development and social movements.

       Shri. P. D Sona, Principal Secretary (Tourism), Government of Arunachal Pradesh, Shri Ravi Capoor, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Industries and Commerce, Government of Assam, Shri Manab Majumdar, Deputy Secretary General (DDG), FICCI, Prof. Amitabh Kundu, distinguished Fellow, RIS, Miss Laurel Ostfield, Head of Communications, AIIB, Shri Seshadri Chari, Member of the Governing Council, RIS, and many other dignitaries were present in the Inaugural Function.