Finer bats for trade policy continuation

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R.S. Joshi

Guwahati, May 18: The Federation of Industry and Commerce of North Eastern Region (Finer) today said Assam could gain investments worth Rs 10,000 core if the North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP), 2007, is extended quickly or immediately replaced with a new plan.

The policy expired on March 31 this year. However, it was suspended for two years, 2014 to 2016, because of budgetary constraints.

“There are a number of companies that are waiting to invest or expand their existing plans, but they are waiting for some kind of a policy announcement. Investments worth Rs 10,000 crore are waiting to get realised,” former Finer chairman R.S. Joshi told reporters here today.

He said the policy should be extended for two years to compensate for the suspension. “We have already lost two crucial years and if there is any more delay or dilution in the new policy, it would be difficult for the region to get investments,” Joshi said.

The former Finer chairman said the worrying issue is that there is no hint that the policy will be extended quickly.

A parliamentary panel had asked the Centre to let NEIIPP remain in force till the time that a new policy is framed because otherwise it would cause administrative difficulties in implementing various components/scheme of the policy.

Joshi said policy continuation is necessary or else the apprehensions that are there already in the minds of investors will multiply further, causing more damage.

“People from Assam and the Northeast are going to other places to invest and there has to be a reason for doing so,” he said.

In its submission to the Niti Aayog, Finer said since the new industrial policy is still being discussed and it will need to go through several rounds of discussions and presentations at different levels of the government, it will be fitting if the current policy is continued up to the launch of the new policy to motivate investors to stay interested in the region.

Joshi said the state government has been doing a creditable job in getting investments and asking the Centre to renew the policy, but the voice of the state government needs to be amplified and get heard in the corridors of power in New Delhi.

 
By Roopak Goswami

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