FDI in Assam, other NE states negligible

R Dutta Choudhury
 GUWAHATI, Jan 16 – Though the State government is organising the Global Investors Summit in February, which is scheduled to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, foreign direct investment (FDI) in Assam and other northeastern states has been negligible over the years despite the holding of a series of seminars and visits by ministers, officials and businessmen.As per the data available with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion of the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, FDI in India has been recording a steady growth over the years, but such investments in the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir have been negligible compared to some other states of the country.

FDI in India during the period from April, 2000 to September last year was around US $518,100 and the lion’s share went to Mumbai. The records showed that the FDI in the entire Northeast was only Rs 418 crore during that period, which was only 0.03 per cent of the total FDI in India. Compared to such foreign investments in other parts of the country, the investments in the Northeast is almost negligible and the region’s performance is only marginally better than Jammu and Kashmir, which did not receive any FDI during that period. Same is the situation in Bihar and Jharkhand, which also received only 0.03 per cent of FDI during the period.

The records showed that Mumbai topped the list of FDI received with over 30 per cent of such investments coming to India, followed by Delhi and parts of Haryana, which received 20 per cent investment. The other states, considered much more developed than the northeastern states, received FDI which is less than ten per cent of the total foreign investments in India, with Karnataka receiving around eight per cent and Gujarat receiving five per cent.

Most of the FDI came in the services sector, which included banking, insurance, outsourcing, etc., and 17 per cent of the total FDI in India came from this sector, followed by telecom and computer hardware and software with eight per cent each. Around seven per cent of the FDI in India came in the construction sector, while around five per cent came in the automobile sector.

The list of countries from where investments came to India makes interesting reading as a small country like Mauritius topped the list with 34 per cent of the total FDI in India, followed by Singapore with 17 per cent, Japan and the United Kingdom with seven per cent each, the Netherlands and America with six per cent each and Germany with three per cent. However, suspicions were raised over the investments coming from Mauritius as it is suspected that Indian black money was being routed back to India through that country.

It may be mentioned here that a series of meetings were held with Thailand over the years and several delegations from the Northeast visited that country. Delegations from Thailand were also hosted in the Northeast with the expectation that high volume of investments would come to the region. But the efforts failed to bring the desired results. In recent times, ministers and senior officials from Assam also visited different countries to invite potential investors to the Global Investors Summit and only time will tell whether the efforts would be fruitful.

Meanwhile, official sources admitted that Assam would have to create an investor-friendly atmosphere and the process of handing over of land for setting up of industries should be made easier. The other facilities, including communication network, power availability, law-and-order situation, etc., will also need improvement, while early implementation of the much-talked about Act East Policy is also a must for creating a market.

Source : http://assamtribune.com