IFS officers told to promote Northeast as 'unexplored paradise'
Union minister for development of North East Region, tourism and culture, G. Kishan Reddy on Wednesday reached out to Indian Foreign Service officers to promote the Northeast as an “unexplored paradise and a land of unlimited opportunities”.
Addressing a roundtable of IFS officers organised by the ministry of external affairs and Invest India, Reddy urged IFS officers to “leverage” their global presence to “spread the word and help” build “Brand North East India” by becoming the ambassadors of the huge cultural capital and tourism potential of the region and impressing the global investment community and industry to look towards the region.
The event was held as part of the mid-career training program for senior IFS officers. The interactive session covered investment promotion and other initiatives of the government towards building Brand India. Several dignitaries from the Union government, diplomats, senior officers and investors from different segments attended the event.
Reddy spoke on the increasing opportunities for investors in the Northeast due to a positive growth-oriented environment established in the region, improved security situation, connectivity and the Centre’s “unparalleled political will” to develop the region.
He, however, pointed out there was considerable demand for NE products and interest of foreign investors in the region but there is “ lack of awareness and a lot of misconceptions”.
Reddy said the recent Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav — NE Festival, celebrated from April 28 to May 4, helped initiate dialogue on many critical issues and proved to be of immense significance for the policy makers and public alike.
“During the discussion two aspects were found to be fundamental for strengthening the region — the need for greater public private partnership and tapping into inherent potential of the region such as tourism, organic farming, agriculture, horticulture, floriculture, textiles, handicrafts, IT sector,BPO and services industry,” Reddy said.
An official report tabled in the Meghalaya Assembly in March 2021 said tourist flow to the northeast has risen from 71.62 lakh in 2014 to over one crore in 2018 with Assam attracting the most numbers and Mizoram the least. However, the ongoing pandemic has badly hit the tourism sector.
The Northeast not only remains important from its huge untapped economic potential but also from the political point of view as it has has 25 Lok Sabha seats, a number which could make a lot of difference should there be a fractured verdict.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP and its allies won 18 of the 25 seats.