October 28, 2017 (Business Standard), New Delhi: In line with the recent reform of half a dozen sectoral industrial policies, Assam is ready to bring out its own updated industrial policy over the next month and a half.
“Work on the new industrial policy is already done. We are waiting for the centre to release the updated North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP) which will cover all the seven states in the region. After that, whatever gap is left in the policy space will be adjusted by us in our state policy,” K K Dwivedi, commissioner of Assam’s industries and commerce department, told Business Standard.
Dwivedi added that the central Cabinet may take a call on the NEIIPP over the next two weeks, after which it will take Assam not more than a month to bring out its own policy.
The move is significant since investors’ opinion about the Northeast is growing for the first time and sectors like river transportation, petrochemicals, and oil exploration may attract billions of dollars soon.
The NEIIPP was crafted by the government to boost investments in the region by identifying the core competency of various states across industries. However, it was meant to be a temporary measure and had a designated runtime of 10 years, which ended on March 21. It provided tax benefits to units in the service, biotechnology and power generating (up to 10 MW) sectors, besides industries in the manufacturing sector.
The state policy may include tax-based incentives apart from incentives on land procurement, among others, another official said. The current industrial policy in Assam dates from 2014.
On Tuesday, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal told Indian and foreign investors in New Delhi that the state has received more than $1 billion worth of investments over the past one year. He attributed these investments, from companies such as Unilever, Dabur and Sun Pharma, to Assam cementing its position as a hub of trade servicing the mega-markets of the Southeast Asian nations.
Assam has recently inaugurated sectoral industrial policies for information technology, biotech, handloom and sugar, as well as a procurement policy. It has also compiled a list of 237 ready-to-invest projects spread across sectors.
Starting up the start-up economy in the Northeast
It has also notified a start-up policy — the first state to do so in the North East — which is expected to lead to the setting up of a government-supported incubation centre in Amvadi in Guwahati.
“We are sitting down with Invest India to create a maximum capacity of 100 startups that can be serviced from the facility,” another state government official said.
Senior Startup India officials said the incubator will work on the hub and spoke model, similar to such facilities in other states. The state will also soon launch a start-up portal along with introducing a unique ID (MSAI – My Startup Assam Id), they added.
The startups registered on this platform will have access to the benefits under the policy. They will also be allowed a facility booking system, which will enable them to book and utilise assorted government infrastructure in the startup space which is currently underutilised.
Currently, 16 states have individual start-up policies across the country.