Guwahati: Amid all the noise surrounding India assuming charge of the G20 presidency from December 1, 2022, to November 30, 2023, and its subsequent meets across states, it is easy to sideline a meeting of similar calibre that is being held in the Northeast.

To explore partnership among business communities from G20 member countries towards developing a common agenda for development of critical sectors of the economy as a growth driver, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) will be organising B20 programmes across four states in Northeast India. 

The Business 20 or B20 is a group that represents the private sector within the Group of 20 (G20) Forum. This organization was created to provide a platform for the business community to engage with the G20 and to offer recommendations on policies that can support global economic growth and development.

To further explore this partnership, the CII, in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs and the Northeastern state governments, will organize B20 programmes in Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Sikkim.

These B20 programmes will showcase the potential that the Northeast region offers for global and local investors, as well as highlight opportunities for multilateral business partnerships in industry sectors where the Northeastern states have core strengths.

The B20 programme in Imphal, scheduled from February 17-19, will focus on ICT, medical tourism, healthcare, and handloom. The B20 programme in Aizawl, scheduled from March 1-3, will focus on urban planning, infrastructure, and skill development.

Gangtok will host a B20 programme focusing on tourism, hospitality, pharmaceuticals, and organic farming from March 16-19. Finally, the B20 programme in Kohima, scheduled for April 4-6, will focus on agriculture and food processing.

In addition to the Business 20 meetings, each state will organize an excursion to tourist sights, a cultural program, and a gala dinner for participants to acquaint them with Northeast India.

At the precursor program of B20 India Initiatives for Northeast states, Dr Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, Union Minister of State of External Affairs, emphasized the unique strengths of the Northeast region and its business potential. He invited representatives of diplomatic missions, and bilateral and multilateral agencies to take part in the B20 programs scheduled in the Northeast.

Sharing the growth statistics, Dr Singh highlighted that the number of airports in the region increased from nine to sixteen over the last eight years. The number of flights connecting the region also increased by over 100%, going from approximately 900 flights before 2014 to about 1,900 flights today. Additionally, many Northeastern states have been added to the Indian Railways map for the first time, while the length of national highways increased by 50% since 2014. Efforts are also being made to expand the waterways, Dr Singh said.

Muktesh K Pardeshi, OSD of G20 Operations, mentioned that in addition to the B20 events being organized in Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Sikkim, other events such as Youth 20, Science 20, and Space 20 are being organized in the remaining states of the Northeast.

Harsh Vardhan Singla, the Chief Coordinator for India’s G20 Presidency, announced that the B20 events in the Northeast will provide a platform for one-on-one interaction with state ministers as well as some union ministers.

The residence commissioners of Manipur, Mizoram, and Sikkim in Delhi and the home commissioner of Nagaland highlighted the business opportunities in their respective states.

Pradeep Bagla, Co-chairman of the CII North-East Council, extended an invitation to diplomatic missions from G20 countries to facilitate trade and business delegations to participate in the B20 initiatives in the northeastern states.

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