GUWAHATI, March 5: Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal held a meeting with NITI Aayog vice chairman Dr. Rajiv Kumar at Janata Bhawan in Guwahati on Monday and discussed many issues concerning the state.
A presentation was also given to Kumar seeking help in important matters of the state and to give impetus to the state’s economy.
Drawing attention of the NITI Aayog to the perennial problems of flood and erosion in the state, the chief minister stressed upon the need to find a permanent solution to the devastating floods and erosion every year by constituting a multi nation mechanism and by allocating fund to build road cum embankments like the one in Dibrugarh in different parts of state.
Sonowal also stressed on the need to prevent erosion by rivers as it causes loss of nearly 8,000 hectors of land in the state every year. The NITI Aayog vice chairman assured of taking action in this regard and informed that a meeting under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently decided to set up Northeast Water Management Authority where all the NE states would be stakeholders in managing the menace of flood. The chief minister suggested taking along Bhutan for making the purpose of the Authority fruitful to which Dr. Kumar responded in the affirmative.
Another key matter that came up for discussion during the meeting was implementation of an industrial policy for the region on the lines of Northeast Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIPP), 2007 which expired on March 2017.
The chief minister urged the NITI Aayog to expedite the process of implementation of a new industrial policy to sustain the momentum of business and investment in the aftermath of Advantage Assam: Global Investors’ Summit. The NITI Aayog vice chairman assured of intervening in the matter of formulating a new industrial policy soon and he also requested the state government to submit a proposal of an industrial policy in the region taking into account ASEAN countries’ proximity.
Other measures requested from NITI Aayog for industrial growth of the state are keeping no cap on refund of Income Tax and CGST/IGST, period of refund to be kept at 10 years etc. Boosting internet connectivity and increasing bandwidth in the state through the Internet Gateway at Coxbazaar in Bangladesh so that IT based industries can grow at a fast pace and augmenting digital payment infrastructure in the state for Direct Bank Transfers (DBT) to beneficiaries like job card holders under MGNREGA, tea garden workers, selected beneficiaries of PMAY etc were some of other issues where help from NITI Aayog was sought.
The NITI Aayog was also urged to increase the allocation of central assistance in drinking water projects, rural livelihood, education, health, skill development etc to which the vice chairman of the Aayog responded positively.
Minister of state for power Pallab Lochan Das, legal and media advisors to chief minister Shantanu Bharali and Hrishikesh Goswami, chief secretary TY Das, State Innovation & Transformation Aayog (SITA) vice chairman Dipok Kumar Barthakur, additional chief secretary (PWD) Alok Kumar, principal secretary to chief minister Sanjay Lohia, principal secretary (finance) Samir Sinha were also present in the meeting among others.