STATE TIMES NEWS NEW DELHI: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) and MoS PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh said that India is confident of achieving 5 trillion USD economy target with an optimistic environment that has been created under leadership of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Addressing inaugural session of the two-day India-ASEAN Business Summit here today, Dr Jitendra Singh said, that the collaboration with ASEAN countries will play an important role in meeting the target of 5 trillion economy for India and contribution of the North Eastern States of India will be major in achieving this objective. Dr Jitendra Singh said that for ease of doing business, there are three essentials, including Connectivity, Communication and Ease of regulations. Giving example of North East, the Minister said that connectivity in Northeast has been the main focus of the current Government, with Sikkim getting its first airport last year. He said that that Itanagar will also soon get an airport. He also mentioned about train connectivity in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya. He further said that we are in the process of flagging-off first train to Bangladesh from Agartala. The DoNER Minister also mentioned about Inland waterways developed by the Modi Government, along Brahamputra river, which is one of the largest rivers of the world. While quoting importance of waterways in the economy, the Minister said that the cost of cargo transportation by waterways is one fourth of the cost by train. Dr Jitendra Singh said that some of the breakthroughs made under Prime Minister, Narendra Modi were never expected earlier. He added that the Prime Minister has been reiterating the emphasis on closer and progressive collaboration with ASEAN countries and also focus on development of North eastern region of India. This is important for business and trade development, the Minister added. Dr Jitendra Singh said that North east has unexplored potential which needs to be tapped. He added that North East as ‘NE’ stands for the New Engine of India’s growth. He spoke about other initiatives in Northeast as Brahamputra Study Centre, affiliation of Barooah Cancer Institute with Tata Memorial Centre, setting up of APJ Abdul Kalam Study Centre at IIM Shillong etc. He also mentioned about the Government’s decision to amend age-old ‘Indian Forest Act of 1927’ and the amendment has exempted the bamboo grown in the non-forest land from the Forest Act. He said that first Bamboo Industrial Park is being set up in Dima Hasao district of Assam. The Minister added that similar parks can be set up in J&K. He said a possibility of opening Apple food park, Strawberry food park can be explored. He added that first ever citrus fruit park has been developed in Mizoram with Israeli collaboration. We need to have a vision and futuristic approach, the Minister emphasised. Speaking about the tourism potential of North East, Dr Jitendra Singh said that tourism has grown manifold in recent years, specially with Home stay tourism in the region. Ambassador, Royal Thai Embassy and Chair of ASEAN region, Chutintorn Gongsakdi also spoke during the inaugural session. More than 60 delegates from 10 ASEAN countries and more than 200 delegates from India are participating in the summit.
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