Working Group on North Eastern Region

North Eastern Region of India is predominantly rural, with an abundance of natural resources and a humongous untapped potential in agricultural sectors like horticulture, floriculture, medicinal and aromatic plants, livestock etc. Biodiversity, congenial climate for agriculture, high quality fruits, vegetables, spices, bamboo, tea and host of other crops with very low use of agro-chemicals indicate colossal prospects for organic farming. In the move from largely subsistence cultivation to a surplus economy with the emergence of commercial crop cultivation, private entrepreneurs can be encouraged to set up storage, distribution and marketing infrastructure such as a cold-storage chain along major arterial highways. This is critical for exploiting the horticulture potential of the region and bringing perishables speedily to marketing hubs. Public private partnerships, investments and infrastructure development will act as a catalyst for economic and social growth of the eight states comprising this region. As voluminous drives for growth and development appear, it is of utmost importance that the region, as a collective identity, embarks on a vibrant journey to realize the dreams of a better future. This prophecy can be realized only through the combined effort of all stakeholders.

"Having regard to such pivotal importance, ICFA has taken the initiative to launch a Working Group to support the north east in its endeavor to contribute to the economic resurgence of the home region as well as to the development of the rest of the country".
Member Secretary Mizoram Planning Board

The WG is chaired by Mr. PL Thanga, Member Secretary - Mizoram Planning Board and Co-Chaired by Dr. Anis Ansari, IAS (Retd.), Chairman CARD. The working group will delineate opportunities and attempts to provide new insights to the ongoing interventions to raise the north east of India to higher levels of inclusive economic development.

IAS (Retd.) Chairman CARD
Members
  • ICAR Complex for NEH
  • VC, Assam University
  • MD, NERACORP
  • Director, ICAR NRC Orchid
  • Business Head ,Sonalika Tractors
  • Regional Manager, Jain Irrigation System
  • COO, CropIn Technologies
  • Director NRC-Mithun
  • Scientist, NRC pig
  • VC Manipur Univeristy, Imphal
  • VC AAU, Assam
  • Scientist Horti., AAU
  • WAFD
  • (Business Head- Organic Products NE)
Objectives
  • To organize workshops, seminars, policy dialogues on challenges and opportunities for growth and development of the NE states in collaboration with the GOs, NGOs, private sector agencies and overseas extension experts.
  • Follow up the actionable reforms and recommendations including that of the earlier important reports with the concerned Ministries and National / International agencies.
  • To collate and document states potential areas for future investment and product development based on regional comparative advantages.
  • To provide platform for international collaborations and consultancy services to the developing countries, and undertake action research and documentation of best model for furthering developmental reforms.
  • To bring out occasional papers on innovative strategies based on action research, and present them to the nodal agencies/departments in GOI/States.
  • To provide platform for various national and international firms to share their experiences and provide expert consultancies for better trade of commodities.
  • To strengthen the linkages of NE region with rest of the country for developing infrastructure and skill, mobilization of investments, technologies and promoting agro trade.
  • To promote public private sector partnerships at all levels for inclusive growth of the NE region.
  • To generate policy inputs through seminars, round tables, consultations and by taking up business studies
  • To facilitate entrepreneurships development and promoting agri ventures by involving public and private sector
  • To facilitate partnerships for promoting marketing, trade, technologies and investments in agriculture and food value chain.
Opportunities
  • NER has avast potential, owing to good agro-climatic conditions and topography, for the development of varied varieties of fruits and vegetables.
  • Need to develop agribusiness concept in NER. Promote private sector investment in Agriculture in the North Eastern Region.
  • Tourism is another conceivable sector with eco and adventure tourism, cultural tourism and religious tourism being the major areas of interest.
  • Bamboo, which is the fastest growing plant and generates large bio-mass, holds the potential to replace wood on many grounds. Bamboo based industries could prove profitable in the state. This can be done through ugradation in production techniques, diversification and the introduction of information and communication technologies (ICT) interface in the value chain.
  • With its vast hills and forests, NER is the home of a variety of medicinal herbs and plants. There is a scope for Extraction and Value Addition of Herbal Medicinal and Aromatic Plants.
  • Piggery could be a great opportunity for NER considering huge domestic as well as export demand and limited availability for the same. As the piggery is low input high output venture in less time period and NER has natural resources in sufficient to undertake the rearing.
  • New avenues in agriculture and allied sectors are coming up, skills development of the communities and technical exposure of farmers is necessary.
  • Geographical advantage exists due to proximity to countries in South and Southeast Asia. Northeast can emerge as a strategic base for foreign/ domestic investors to tap markets of South and Southeast Asia.
Challenges
  • The region has the potential to develop into a vibrant source of energy, oil, natural gas, coal, and limestone. Additionally, it is also endowed with India’s largest perennial water system – the river Brahmaputra and its tributaries – which can help generate hydro-power based energy, transforming the region into a source of clean energy powerhouse.
  • Logistics Challenge: Products are being traded to North East Region from Andhra Pradesh but not vice-versa.
  • High Cost of Distribution: Population of the North East Region is scattered, which results in high cost of distribution.
  • Need to identify comparative advantages. The average productivity for all the eight states in the North East Region individually was found to be lower than all India average for fruits as well as vegetables, while it was reverse for the spices. Thus, huge untapped potential for entrepreneurs lies in the spices segment further, it being high value and low volume product and could bear logistics challenge.
  • Packaging Issues: Entrepreneurs need to travel to other states for packaging printing etc., which make product cost ineffective for producers as well as consumers.
  • Inadequate Infrastructure i.e. warehouses & cold storages, unavailability of nutritious fodder for cattle and dearth of quality planting material, and illegal market routes for livestock and poultry in the region were some other major concerns.
  • The region’s economy is generally characterized by low per-capita income, low capital formation, inadequate infrastructure facilities, geographical isolation and communication bottleneck, inadequate exploitation of natural resources like mineral resources, hydro power potential, forests etc., low progress in industrial field, lack of private and foreign direct investment (FDI) and high unemployment rate among the relatively high literate people.