NE has huge investment potential: Irani

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Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani, in her inaugural address at the First North East Investment Summit, said the Northeastern region has huge potential for investments, particularly in the field of textiles, due to its strong traditional skill base, variety of unique designs and eco-friendly products.

Irani said that under the North Eastern Region Textile Promotion Scheme (NERPTS), the Ministry is implementing various projects for handlooms, handicrafts, sericulture, apparel and garmenting and technical textiles in the eight States of Northeastern region, in line with the ‘Act East’ policy of the Government of India.

She also revealed that the Ministry has recently launched the ‘Bunkar Mitra-Handloom Helpline Centre’ where professional queries of weavers will be answered by experts in the field, and a mobile app ‘E-Dhaga’ developed for the benefit of handloom weavers will address the concerns of individual weavers relating to the availability of raw material, delays in supplies and ensuring stocks in depots.

“The mobile app will be a boon for handloom weavers to transact business anytime, anywhere and they can send their indents and payments online through this app,” Irani said.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma, in his address, said the two-day summit provides an opportunity to showcase the talents of weavers as well as inform them about job avenues, adding that the summit will create opportunities for cultivators and weavers to stand on their feet and earn a good livelihood.

He also said Ramie is one of the initiatives that can be developed to attract investors and bring the State to the frontline.

Dr Sangma also said the textiles industry is inter-connected with all sorts of activities and people, and will actually benefit the people at grassroots level.

Meanwhile, Union Minister of Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said he is pained when he hears that funds sanctioned for the Northeast is being “misused”. “We must ensure transparency and accountability in governance,” he commented.

Minister for Development of North East Region (DoNER) Dr Jitendra Singh, in his speech, lamented that Shillong, despite being the original capital of the Northeast, is still not developed.

Dr Singh pointed out that the present dispensation in New Delhi is making extra efforts to develop the region.

The DoNER Minister said the major issues confronting the region is the exodus of its youths to other parts of the country as well as abroad for want of better education and employment opportunities here.

“We need to focus on these two areas (education and employment) and I am confident we can develop the region so that it becomes a destination for youths from other parts of the country,” Dr Singh said.

He said the region can contribute to the Centre’s ‘Act East’ policy through textiles and organic farming.

Posted by The Sentinel