Irani opens investors’ summit in city
SHILLONG: The North East textile sector has received Rs 1,040-crore windfall from the Centre for handloom, handicrafts and sericulture, besides other railway and development projects as per the announcement made on the first day of the investors’ summit.
Rs 820 cr for sericulture-related projects
Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani, who inaugurated the North East Investors’ Summit for textiles in the city on Sunday, also announced Rs 820 crore for sericulture-related projects “which will benefit around 4 lakh families in the North East”.
She said Rs 1,040 crore would help state governments generate employment in the sector.
Master craftsmen from the region will be engaged in the National Institute of Fashion Technology across the country to train students, she added.
Earlier this month, the Ministry launched a helpline for weavers where they can ask various queries and till date 2,500 queries have been answered. The Ministry has also come up with a new mobile application called e-Dhaga for handloom weavers who face problems in collecting subsidies from respective agencies. e-Dhaga will also address issues concerning raw materials and delays in supplies.
Minister of State for DoNER Jitendra Singh, who was also present on the occasion, said the Ministry has an annual outlay of Rs 1,000 crore for the handloom projects. The DoNER Ministry will focus on training artisans, creation of market avenues and setting up of raw materials for the benefit of weavers. Earlier at the summit, which showcased the region as a global destination for investors, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma had stressed on the need for connecting traditional weavers of the region with big business houses and said the State has identified some indigenous fibres for marketing. Besides, the Centre has taken up 20 major railway projects for the North East at a cost of around Rs 52,000 crore to improve infrastructure.
715 development projects
Addressing the gathering at Sunday’s summit, Irani said there are around 715 development projects for the region, including tie-ups with countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar and China through economic corridors to ensure that the ‘Act East Policy’ under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi fructifies.
‘Pivotal role’ in Act East Policy
Arvind Panagariya, vice chairman of Niti Aayog who also attended the summit, said opportunities in the North East have multiplied and even Meghalaya has performed “phenomenally well as far as GSDP is concerned”. The State’s GSDP in 2013-14 was 9.7.
Panagariya said the North East plays a pivotal role in the Act East Policy and even the textile sector has tremendous potential in the region. But the economist pointed out that the region needs larger enterprises which can take advantage of the vast markets in South East Asia.
CM says committed to provide 24×7 power supply
On industries in the State, the Chief Minister said, “Any industry should now look at Meghalaya. Though we have power challenges we have come up with many reforms and we intend to provide 24×7 power supply at an affordable tariff.”
Various MoUs between industry bodies and state governments were signed during the summit, which is a two-day event. Buyer-seller meets and exhibitions were also organised at the venue.
Sangma said the two-day summit would provide an opportunity to showcase the talents of the weavers, to inculcate upon themselves the job avenues which ultimately become self-sustainable, adding that the summit will create opportunities for cultivators and weavers.
“We have already explored and identified the potential areas in the State’s textile sector, one of which is Ramie cultivation,” he said and added that this could be developed to attract investors and bring the State on the frontline.
Irani thanks Secretary of Higher Education
Meanwhile, the minister also expressed her gratefulness to the Secretary of Higher Education who has helped the government leverage its association with IITs so that incubation and especially business opportunities through transmission of technology can be explored. The minister also appreciated the efforts of designers in the handloom sector and also pointed out to the uniqueness of products available in the North East giving instance of the organic carpet of Sikkim.