BY ASHOK B SHARMA
NEW DELHI: In the beginning of circa 2011, the government has planned to market the potential of the resource-rich north-east India before millions of Overseas Indians and allure them to invest in this region.
The land-locked and remote north-eastern region of the country consists of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. This region borders China (Tibet), Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
The 9th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), a conclave of Overseas Indians is scheduled to be hosted here for three days beginning January 7, 2011. The theme of the event is “Engaging the Global Indian.”
The focus of PBD-2011 is also going to be on the young generation of Overseas Indians. A plenary session on “Engaging with the young overseas Indian” is being organized. There would be two pre-conference seminars on health and education sectors are being organized on January 7.
The Chief Ministers of the North Eastern States would interact directly with Overseas Indians and woo them to invest in the region showcasing the North East Industrial and Investment Policy (NEIIPP).
The Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs (MoOIA) Vyalar Ravi said “a plenary session on Investment Opportunities in North Eastern Region has been organised on January 8, when the Chief Ministers of North Eastern States would interact with potential investors. Besides, a special session focusing North-east would be held on January 7”.
He said that more than 1300 delegates of overseas Indian community across the world are expected to participate in the PBD-2011. So far, delegates from 38 countries have registered for participating in the event.
The Union Minister for Mines and Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Bijoy Krishna Handique said that most of the Chief Ministers of the region have already confirmed their participation.
The NEIIPP that has been showcased to woo investors has so far not been much of a success in attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) into the Region. The Special Industrial package offers Tax Free Zone from Income Tax and Excise exemptions for a period of 10 years, besides waiving of local sales tax and municipal tax on the part of State Governments. On offer is also 15 per cent Capital Investment Subsidy with a ceiling of Rs. 30 lakh, as well as, grant of eight per cent interest subsidy on working capital loans for 10 years.
Handique further said a special session has been organised to discuss ‘Diaspora Role Models from North East, Success Stories’. The session would be moderated by editor in-chief Times Now, Arnab Goswami and panellist includes Wahid Saleh, Lakshmikanta Laikangbam, Prof. Dipak Jain and Easther Dora Marpna, he added.
Significantly, the Ministry DoNER has been able to compile a list of Pravasi residents of North-east living abroad. When asked Handique could not give a definite figure but maintained North-east Diaspora was spread all-over the world.
The Union Ministry of DoNER is partnering the conclave in association with the Union Ministry of Overseas Affair and Confederation of Indian Industries (CII). The Governor-General of New Zealand, Sir Anand Satyanand will be the Chief Guest. Sir Satyanand is a citizen of New Zealand and a person of Indian origin. The Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is scheduled to inaugurate the event on January 8. The Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma will deliver the keynote address while the President of India Pratibha Devising Patil will present the Pravasi Bharatiya Sanman Awards and deliver the valedictory address on January 9.
The annual PBD oration called CK Prahalad Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Dr Gautam Ahuja of the University of Michigan. The PBD-2011 would be web cast online and summary of proceedings put out each day. The interactive website would provide an opportunity for the Diaspora to participate in the conference from any corner of the world.