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NE states seek to attract investment
Published on 15 Jan. 2010 12:31 AM IST
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Investment-starved north-eastern states have urged the central government to take steps to attract both foreign and domestic investment in the region, Tripura Finance Minister Badal Choudhury said here Thursday. The demand was raised by the finance ministers of these states at a pre-budget meeting with union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi Wednesday. “Investments from abroad and by Indian companies are largely concentrated in the front-ranking states,” Choudhury told reporters here. “The stimulus packages announced by the central government have also not helped the industrially backward north-east,” he said. The finance ministers of these states have also demanded that the incentive package for the region be suitably amended to make it more attractive for investors. The central government’s North-East Industrial Policy (NEIP) incentive package scheme, which was implemented in December 1997, was re-introduced as the North-East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP) in April 2007. “We hope that while formulating the next union budget, these issues will be incorporated,” Choudhury added. The region has also asked for funds to ensure that the pay scales and allowances of state government employees could be brought at par with central government staff. “One of the main reasons of insurgency and extremists activities in the north-east region is the growing problem of unemployment. The centre and the states should take action to fill up vacant posts and create new job opportunities,” the minister added. To give an impetus to the agriculture sector, the north-eastern states also suggested six measures, which included agricultural loans at 4 percent interest, remunerative support price for food grains and building a buffer stock of fertilisers.

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