While inaugurating the 'Advantage Assam: Global Investors' Summit' in Guwahati on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to the ASEAN member states to invest in the North-Eastern states. He also appealed neighbours Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan to invest in the region, particularly in Assam. PM Modi described the Indian North-Eastern region as the heart of India' Act East Policy. This is for the first time that Assam has organised an international Investors' summit and Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, who committed an investment of Rs 2,500 crore in the state, Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekharan, Spicejet CMD Ajay Singh and Patanjali CEO Acharya Balakrishnan were among the participants at the event.
Global investors' summits is a brainchild of PM Modi who first organised the biennial Global Gujarat Summit in 2005 when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. In 2017, the 8th edition of the Vibrant Global Gujarat Investors' summit was organised with many new features including the Nobel Dialogue 2017, where a number of Nobel laureates were invited to share their ideas on some of the most important and vexing problems. When it was first launched, the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors' Summit was supposed to attract entrepreneurs of Gujarati origin, who had made it big in international business, from all over the world to their homes in Gujarat and persuade them to invest in their home state. The event went on to become a major exercise in promoting Brand India besides promoting Gujarat as a favourite investment destination. These events saw a representation of top businesses from the country and abroad. Soon, besides attracting major investments, the event turned out to be a major confluence of diverse cultures and ideas so much so that the festivities and ideas became the major theme and business investments only a byproduct of such a large gathering enjoying the cuisine, dance and songs, and lectures of celebrated Nobel laureates. Today, Vibrant Gujarat Investors' Summit is a well-established biennial event and a big brand in itself, which attracts investors from all over the world without much effort.
Looking at the success of the Gujarat model of investors' summit, many other state governments, too, have organised similar investors' summits in their states. Recently, the West Bengal government organised Bengal Global Business Summit on January 16 & 17, which saw an investment commitment of Rs 2.35 lakh crore. As the West Bengal government is making sincere efforts to bring the state prominently on the business map of the country, the global business summit has worked as a major catalyst in promoting the government's efforts to seek investments and rapid industrialisation of the estate.
Advantage Assam: Global Investors' Summit is the Assamese version of the Vibrant Gujarat Investors' Summit and the Bengal Global Business Summit. Assam is the largest state in the Northeast and a gateway to the North-Eastern Region for the inland people and businesses. But its proximity to international borders with Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan and China gives it the advantage of easy people-to-people contact, transportation of goods through the road and to some measure through the Railways. Even the Kolkata and Haldia ports which offer easy navigation facility to cargo ships are close by and call for greater cooperation between the states to create a synergy. Despite an abundance of natural resources and great potential for cross-border trade, the North-Eastern states have not been able to capitalise fully on its resources and potentials, mainly due to lack of policy framework and connectivity problems. Through Act East Policy, the government has prioritised road and electricity infrastructure in the North-Eastern region and through confabulations like it had with the 10 state of heads and governments of ASEAN recently, the government is finally putting in place policy frameworks for a hassle-free and smoother transportation of goods. All these efforts will culminate in a higher index of ease of doing business for the region.