The location of Tripura in the south-west extreme of the NE Region had traditionally implied that the State faced the most severe transportation constraints. The limited market size within the state / NE Region implies that for most industrial products, the raw materials are to be substantially sourced from outside the state or the finished products have to be sent to markets outside the region, thus adding transportation costs. These are being offset by the transportation subsidy and other suitable incentives.
The other major long-term handicap had been the comparative lack of infrastructure, as reflected by Tripura’s rank above Arunachal Pradesh only on the CMIE Infrastructure Index. The thrust over the last decade on basic infrastructure in terms of roads and power has seen considerable investments and upgradation ; and the emphasis is to continue. The industrial infrastructure is also being continuously created by Industries & Commerce (I&C) Department and Tripura Industrial Development Corporation (TIDC), enhancing thereby availability of developed industrial areas and sector-specific industrial parks.
Connectivity within and outside the state, which had acted as a limiting factor in the past, is being ensured on various fronts. The road network development within the state and its connectivity to major national highways network is underway. The air links have been reinforced and Agartala airport capacity as well as flights and traffic has grown. Railway link to Agartala are expected to be operational within the year ; and its eventual extension to Sabroom is being pursued. Telecom network has expanded to all parts of the state, with broadband facilities in major locations.
Linkages with Bangladesh are also opening up. The trade with Bangladesh through Tripura has expanded at a rapid rate. The passenger services are already operational between Agartala and Kolkata via Dhaka. Road and rail networks are likely to be linked up and opportunities for cargo movement via Bangladesh are getting crystallized as their mutual benefits are established. Possibilities of water-ways being used for convenience and economy and of Bangladesh port facilities being allowed are promising.
The growth in the Indian economy and its spin-offs are being felt in Tripura also, which is seeing an all round economic growth. Apart from demand of goods and services, the quality consciousness of the consumers is also rising. The spread of communication facilities have acted as boosters for consumer expectations and resultant opportunities in industries, business and service sectors.
Efforts had consistently been made by Central and State Governments for industrial and trade development through policies and incentives directed at offsetting the overriding locational disadvantages faced by the State and the Region. NEIP-1997 together with State initiatives had resulted in investments and success stories crossing the threshold for investor confidence. This is sought to be accelerated through NEIIPP-2007 and state level initiatives. Apart from attracting investors from outside, the capability and entrepreneurship of local investors has also emerged with effective support measures.
The higher educational opportunities in the State are growing. Medical and engineering education facilities have expanded. Professional courses for industrial trainings, agriculture, law, management, paramedical and aviation sectors are available. In addition, the youth are also availing of higher educational opportunities outside the state. Commensurately, availability of skilled and qualified human resources and demand for better employment opportunities outside agriculture sector is rapidly rising.
Industrial labour relations have been singularly harmonious in the state without any instances of discord. Similarly, the security scenario is vastly improved ; specially the industrial and business locations have been entirely safe, secure and incident-free. Lingering doubts or inaccurate perceptions on these counts among potential investors may need to be redressed.
The Government and administration in the State have earned a reputation for continuous striving for transparency, efficiency and flexibility. The legacy organizational and institutional structures should be further revamped to keep pace with the change. The development oriented outlook of the Government is matched with a business and investor friendly policy and operative environment.