Guwahati, Sept 16: “North-East is a powerhouse of talent. The region has abundance of resources. Our youth must take the responsibility to give a renewed momentum to its inherent potentiality and to bring Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of North East as India’s Ashtalakshmi to fruition”.
Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal said this while taking part as chief guest in the inaugural session of Arunodoi, the Northeast Students and Youth Summit 2017, which got under way at Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) in New Delhi on Saturday.
The two-day summit seeks to bring together the best minds of the Northeast serving in the corporate world, academia, media, journalism and sports on one platform and to celebrate success stories of the region.
Stating North-East as a land of potentiality, possibility and prosperity, the chief minister said, “If the youth of our region work with grit, determination and dedication, North East will soon become an economic hub of India”. He also urged the youth to take the opportunities available in the region and set their goals to make North East as the new engine of India’s growth as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“No doubt, we have challenges but there are chances as well. Our abundant resources, bio-diversity, fertile land, rich flora and fauna hold the potential to open new floodgates of opportunities. Let’s have a positive mindset about the region and commit ourselves to take Assam and the North East as a whole to newer heights of success”, Sonowal exhorted the youth.
Underlining the geographical advantage of North East with South East Asia and Bangladesh which can open up new opportunities for trade and commerce in the region, Sonowal also said that the Government of Assam has taken up an ambitious plan to make Guwahati as the gateway to the entire South East Asia and not just limiting it as the gateway to North East alone. He said that North East is the corridor through which the nation can capture the markets of the ASEAN nations. He further urged the youth to come up with innovative ideas for developing entrepreneurial skills to make the region economically resurgent.
Appreciating Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his focussed approach towards development of North Eastern Region, the chief minister said that a slew of measures have already been taken up by Government of India and state governments to improve infrastructure and connectivity, which would play a significant role in charting a new paradigm of economic growth in the region.
“Flood and erosion has been a recurring problem in Assam and it severely affects the economy and infrastructure of the state. Government of India has accorded top priority and sanctioned Rs. 100 crore for an in-depth study of Brahmaputra River. Prime Minister Modiji has also directed to constitute a high level committee to study the flood and erosion problem of Assam, which would immensely help in bringing out a lasting solution to this problem”, Sonowal exuded confidence.
Referring to the ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’ programme conceptualized by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, chief minister Sonowal said that the initiative would lead to greater cultural and emotional integration and strengthen bonding amongst different states of the country.
Minister of state (Independent) DoNER, Dr. Jitendra Singh in his speech said that there is a lot to learn from North East and the people of this region have immensely contributed in the nation building process. “Due to lack of opportunities, there was a regular exodus of youth of the region to different parts of the country and abroad. Our Government has been working to create a congenial environment so that the youth can eke out livelihoods in their own land without having to move out and contribute to the growth of the region”.
Further saying that providing better avenues for higher education to youth of North East is a priority of the Government of India, Dr. Singh mentioned about setting up of hostels in the national capital, Bangalore and other places and study centres of premier educational institutions in different states of the region. The DoNER minister also highlighted the Stand Up and Start Up programmes launched by the union government to promote entrepreneurship across the country including North East.
Dr. Singh also said that steps have been initiated in right earnest for bringing rest of India closer to the region and commented that the achievements made during last three years in the region is much more than what was achieved during the last 70 years.
Earlier, delivering the welcome speech, member secretary of state level advisory committee for students and youth welfare, Lakshya Konwar said that Arunodoi summit would define a future narrative of a vibrant North East with India’s top policy makers brainstorming on key issues of the region in the next two days.
Minister of state for external affairs, VK Singh; MP Conrad Sangma, George Baker; minister of Arunachal Pradesh Government, Bamang Felix; social activist, Sunil Ambedkar also spoke on the occasion.
MPs from Assam, Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, Rameswar Teli and RP Sarma; MLA, Ashok Singhal; scientist, Dr. Jitendra Nath Goswami; commissioner and secretary, sports and youth welfare, Ashutosh Agnihotri were also present in the opening session of the summit.
The two-day Arunodoi summit features seminar and talks which will host industry leaders, academicians, policy experts, retired diplomats, and students. It will also feature debate competitions, photography competitions and interactive sessions with famous personalities from the North East. The event will also showcase and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the region in the form of music performance and food festival.