Act East Initiative: North East India Economic Forum

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The North East India Economic Forum has been launched with the objective of creating a sustainable economic corridor for encouraging investments in the North East Region. The Forum will provide the much-needed platform for business leaders, industry and government to engage in deliberations focused on the socio-economic growth of the region. India’s growth story will remain incomplete without including this region, which is endowed with rich natural resources and a strategic geographical landscape. The Northeast region presents unique challenges given its socio-economic and political culture, which create significant roadblocks in spurring growth in the region. Among the non-economic reasons, the most significant causes of sluggishness in the economic development of the region can be attributed to law and order problems; especially internal security; lack of good governance including governance through local grassroots institutions; lack of diplomatic initiatives with neighboring countries of the region.

The challenges are further compounded by lack of proper road, air, railway and inland waterway connectivity of the region with both its international borders and India. Although region is credited with high literacy rates, much above the national average, there is a significant lack of access to quality education. This gap is counter-productive to the Indian government’s objective of amplifying skill development efforts across the country.  Despite these enormous challenges, a sustained and cooperative exercise by the industry and the government will allow the North East region to develop into a hub of economic activity and become an integral part of India’s growth story.

About North East India
The North East India is made up of Seven States often referred to as the Sister States. These are Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. The region is connected to the rest of India through a narrow stretch of land sandwiched between Nepal and Bangladesh.

An Advocacy Forum
Oval Observer Foundation is keen to not only develop a Forum for encouraging such co-operative exercises but also be an impact oriented platform that will take on the implementation of many projects. The Forum shall explore the various socio-economic challenges that prevent businesses from flourishing in the region. The Forum will also allow the stakeholders to address the most pressing concerns affecting the region with the objective of preparing an economic roadmap for encouraging foreign and domestic investments in the region. From a policy perspective, the Forum shall highlight governance, transparency and accountability issues, which thwart the optimal utilization of funds earmarked for the region. The policy deliberations will also focus on creation of state of the art universities in the region mandated with the task of imparting quality technical and professional education.

Plus an Impact Platform
The Forum will identify a number of high impact projects across numerous essential sectors as well as those that further the scope of enterprise development in the region.

Project Activities

  • Scoping: Identifying and Developing a bouquet of instruments across each of the categories
  • Panel Discussions: Organised every 2 months to get critical feedback from top experts
  • Key Research: Background research and putting forth detailed papers
  • Dialogues: With Governments and Regulatory authorities across various markets on embracing developed instruments
  • Working Groups: Made up of a small group of experts that will further develop the instruments
  • Campaign: Publishing a series of infographics, analytical insights and other short summaries circulated globally through multiple channels
  • Pilots: The project will identify pilots for each instrument in a number of emerging markets
  • Scale Up: To expand and replicate the use of the instrument across other markets

The Dialogue will focus on the following issues, which are also indicative of the issues that will be taken up by the North East India Economic Forum in the future.

  • Creation of economic bases across the North-East region focussed on Infrastructure, Enterprise, Trade and skill development
  • Tackling the region’s unique security challenges with the objective of boosting foreign direct investment.
  • Identification of governance issues, including governance through local grassroots institutions.
  • Re-thinking the Look-East Policy with the objective of yielding beneficial returns.
  • Sensitization of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Union Government to give priority to development concerns of the North East Region.
  • Greater synergy between the industry, civil society organizations and State Governments for smoother implementation of PPP projects in the region

The Forum is in the process of identifying a number of projects and will shortlist the delivery agenda by 31st March 2015. It is proposed that it will take up 7 Mega projects, one focused on each of the Seven States.

Who Can Join

  • Project Developers
    For those who would like to co-develop and co-finance the projects
  • Capital Providers
    For investors, lenders, insurers and guarantors who would like to support the execution of such projects
  • Governments who would like to see the development initiative being launched in their jurisdictions
  • Innovative Technology & Solution Providers
    Entities who have innovative solutions that can be implemented as part of various installations
  • Equipment Manufacturers and Suppliers
    OEMs who would like to provide equipments to various projects.
  • Professional Services
    For corporate finance firms, law firms, tax & accountancy or other professional services firms.

How to Join
Interested parties can join through becoming a formal member of the Foundation or by being a partner/collaborator. Those interested can request more details from the named contacts on this page.