Kohima: Assuring potential investors that Nagaland is “very peaceful” and that law and order should not be an issue for investors, Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio, on Monday said that in terms of policy, the state is prioritizing on developing a facilitative and investor-friendly eco-system.
Addressing a delegation during the precursor event of the Nagaland CSR & investment conclave at the state banquet hall, Rio said that the state hasn’t been able to attract sufficient attention of companies to take up sufficient projects from their CSR obligations in Nagaland.
“Out of the estimated Rs 1.25 lakh crore which companies have spent as part of their mandatory corporate social responsibility (CSR) over the last seven years, a miniscule 0.006% has been reportedly spent in Nagaland. I am sure that much more can be dedicated by companies for Nagaland. And I can assure that the impact of good interventions will be huge and extremely satisfactory for companies,” he told the delegation.
Hinting the dire need for investment, the CM said that the state would like companies to be in Nagaland for the long term, not just for successful CSR projects but to also integrate local businesses with the national supply chains. CSR coupled with private investments, he said, would serve as an important supplement to Government spending, and maximize the impact of interventions in critical development sectors.
He said that the state has its own development challenges like remoteness and geographical terrain making it challenging for ensuring last mile public service delivery, particularly in health and education. Balancing sustainability and development concerns, according to him, is another area of challenge.
“This is where we hope companies with their resources and expertise can help the State in designing, developing and delivering innovative solutions with the use of advanced technology,” he suggested.
Rio also said that employment and skill development initiatives are also imperative as Nagaland is blessed with a talented and naturally innovative workforce though unemployment is quite prevalent.
He also said that some excellent CSR projects in the areas of health and education, are some successful interventions implemented at local level, and can be replicated on a larger scale across the entire State with the collaboration of the respective District/ State Administration or local NGOs / foundations with funding from potential CSR partners.
He informed that shelf of some of the project proposals for the State has already been prepared by the State Government and urged the representatives of companies and other corporate entities to peruse the draft shelf of projects as may be aligned to their CSR priorities, hoping that this would result in tangible CSR commitments.
Rio also launched the single window application for investors, and also informed that the state is working towards introducing a modern land law in the State. “This will allow for easier availability of land through leasing for identified sectors in Dimapur, Kohima and other identified districts. This should make it easier businesses to set-up their units. We would like to have feedback from the industry representatives during the interactions today and later so that we can also factor these in our reforms exercise,” he said.
Focus areas for private investment in the state include agro-based industries, medical education, hospitality, tourism sector, mineral based and wood based industrial clusters, textiles, handicrafts, music and arts, he said.
The Chief Minister’s Micro Finance initiative aimed at promoting local entrepreneurship will also be launched to improve availability and access to credit for them. In this regard, he hoped for a healthy partnership with corporates from the rest of the country to ensure sustainability for these entrepreneurs.
While the 3-day conclave is put on hold due to the unavailability of finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Rio said that the Union minister has assured to attend the event at the earliest convenience.
Chief secretary J Alam, told the gathering that the economy of Nagaland at present revolves around agriculture and services in which government services have a significant share. In the state GDP for 2021-22, services contributed 61% and agriculture 27% while the contribution of manufacturing activities including construction is 11 percent. The per capita income in Nagaland is about $ 2,000 (at GSDP of Rs. 32,424 crore in 2021-22).
He said that there is significant potential in the State for Agro and horticultural produce including tea, coffee, Kolar (Rajmah), pineapple, kiwis and other fruits. Saying that three Agro products like Naga tree tomato, Naga cucumber and Naga Mircha are GI tagged, he hoped for expansion by increasing per hectare yield and by bringing more area under cultivation as well as by increasing the area under settled agriculture. All this, he said, requires availability of agri inputs and marketing linkages.
“Nagaland is also richly endowed with mineral resources like oil and natural gas, limestone, coal and magnetite. Most of these resources remain unexploited due to lack of investment in mining and related infrastructure,” he added.
Project head of Her&Now GiZ, Julia Karst, while speaking about policy brief of women entrepreneurship in Nagaland, said that Nagaland is at tipping point in entrepreneurship. She informed that as per a study that it conducted, female labour comprised to 44.7%, a sign that women are empowered and uniquely positioned, she said.
Following a study that it conducted, she recommended that a centralized platform both online and offline for women to access information easily; increase number of support for women through incubations; enhance digital literacy among women entrepreneurs; ensure that women are well represented in industry events, official industry bodies; and also provide access to finance where the government can finance seed money to women entrepreneurs.
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