Imphal: Following the assumption of G20 Presidency by India from December 1, 2022, the State on Friday hosted the first B2O conference of North East India on Opportunities for Multilateral Business Partnerships in ICT, Tourism, Healthcare and Handloom at City Convention Centre, Imphal East.
The inaugural session of the historic conference was attended by Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, Union Minister of State for External Affairs Dr. R.K. Ranjan Singh, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Prakash, Chief Secretary, Manipur Dr. Rajesh Kumar, Joint Secretary (Summits) G20 Secretariat, Government of India L. Ramesh Babu, Commissioner, Textiles & Commerce, Industries, Government of Manipur Pradeep K Jha and Member, Confederation of Indian Industry Gopi K More.
Addressing the congregation of G20 delegates including foreign delegates, government officials and entrepreneurs, Chief Minister Biren expressed the honour of the State to host the B20 conference, saying it will be a great platform for the State to showcase its strength and opportunities for multilateral business partnerships in various sectors in the backdrop of the rich cultural heritage.
He stated that the B20 conference would shape policies towards sustainable growth and development while ushering in peace and progress in line with the theme of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’.
The Chief Minister informed that Manipur with a population of 2.72 million and an area of over 22,300 sq. km is the Gateway of India to South East Asia, having the perfect setting for implementing India’s Act East Policy.
He stated that once the stretch of Asian Highway within Myanmar gets completed, road travel from Manipur to Bangkok within 16-18 hours will be possible. Plans are afoot to start international flights from Imphal to Mandalay in Myanmar and Bangkok in Thailand, he said, adding that Imphal International Airport would soon have a new integrated terminal and an air cargo terminal and train services would also reach Imphal City by next year.
He further highlighted that Manipur has been recognised as the Most Improved Small State in Overall Category for three years in a row in the State of the States survey. This has been facilitated by an improved security scenario, he added.
Biren further informed that new Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy of Manipur has been adopted to promote investment in the State. To promote ‘Ease of Doing Business’, the Manipur Industrial Single Window Clearance Act, 2021 was enacted. Given the importance of logistics, the Manipur Integrated Logistics Policy, 2022 was notified, he conveyed.
The Chief Minister maintained that Manipur has a strong base of qualified healthcare professionals and specialists and that nurses from the State are in high demand across India.
Health institutes in the State not only cater to patients from neighbouring States but also from the neighbouring Myanmar, presenting attractive investment opportunities in the area of medical tourism. Manipur has huge tourism potential in the form of our rich natural, historical and cultural heritage and the State gave polo to the world, he added.
Manipur also has a strong sporting culture and offers scope for investment. Despite a small population, the State has produced numerous successful sports persons including 19 Olympians. The Government had been promoting the State as a preferred tourism destination and had come up with an investor friendly Tourism Policy, he continued.
Biren informed the congregation that Manipur has huge untapped potential in medicinal plants, horticultural products, aromatic plants and spices. Local produce like aromatic black rice, pineapple, oranges, ginger, etc. are famous for their unique taste, he added.
He stated that Manipur is blessed with young and dynamic populations. 50 percent of business registrations for MSME (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) in Manipur are for businesses owned by women, compared to about 20 percent for the rest of the country.
He expressed the biggest strengths of the State is its English-speaking youth, adding that they have done extremely well in the services sector, including hospitality, nursing, customer care, computer skills, health & wellness, etc. He was confident that the platform provided by the conference would go a long way to help explore investment and partnership opportunities and shape policies toward decisive action.
Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Parkash, while addressing the gathering, stated that as India holds the Presidency of the G20, the country will make sure this presidency is “Inclusive, ambitious, decisive and action-oriented”.
He continued that as the world endeavors to pave the way towards a global economic recovery, the utmost importance to acknowledge is that the success of this recovery will largely depend on the actions of businesses. The G20 must provide a crucial forum for businesses to convene and collectively address key global issues with a unified voice, he added.
He expressed that India has a large and growing economy, a highly skilled workforce, and a rich cultural heritage that can serve as a bridge between different nations and cultures and also expressed hopefulness that the Country has a strong commitment to sustainable development.
The inaugural session was followed by a plenary session, where topics including Investment Opportunities & Support Ecosystem for doing Business in Manipur, Opportunities in Core Sector, Healthcare & Medical Tourism, Tourism & Hospitality, ICT, Handlooms and Textiles were deliberated. Representatives of G20 and other countries also addressed the plenary session.
The inaugural session was also attended by Ministers, Members of Legislative Assembly and senior government officials among others.