Source: Economic Times

North East India has a trade potential of anywhere between Rs 35,000 crore and Rs 180,000 crore and could well become a growth engine for the economy. Total trade between India and its immediate neighbours, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar in 2013-14 was to the tune of Rs 80,303 crore and has been growing at a CAGR of 20%.

However, despite sharing its border with these countries the share of the NE region of this trade was barely 1 to 2%. This shows that most of the trade between India and its eastern neighbours is happening from industries in regions other than the north east. From the perspective of geographical location and cost savings it makes more sense for these industries (or at least those industries whose raw materials base is present in the region) to locate themselves in the north east.

In a detailed report titled ‘Gateway to ASEAN- India’s North East Frontier’, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has listed development of physical infrastructure, policy interventions in the areas of decentralisation, facilitation of border trade, promotion of local industries and entrepreneurs, capacity building, taxation and exchange rate reforms need to be worked out for developing the north east into an economic hub.

A Didar Singh, secretary general of Ficci said the report attempts to highlight the connectivity needs of the region with the opportunities the region represents. Ranjit Barthakur, chairman of Ficci’s North East Advisory Council said he was hopeful that the Ficci-PwC report would serve as a reference point for all connectivity issues pertaining to the north east.

An integrated economic corridor can be developed in north east India for exploiting the potential the region has to offer. The region is lacking in adequate infrastructure and needs significant investment, Manish R Sharma, leader Capital Markets & Infrastructure, PwC said.