Industrial and Trade Development Perspective
The development of industrial and trade sector has a vital role in ensuring a balanced economic development in the State and reducing the pressure on its limited agricultural land and forests. This can come through value addition to local produce and raw materials, expansion of employment opportunities, equitable distribution of economic growth, enhancement of entrepreneurial skills and development of deeper bonding originating from trade linkages with neighbouring countries.
The role of Government should be facilitatory covering policy, infrastructure and support measure in its ambit, both proactively and responsively. The prime movers for industrial and trade activities have to be investors from private sector. The basic feasibility and viability of the ventures to be promoted would thus be ensured, apart from the flexibility to operate as per market demands and changes.
Realizing that the geographical location and terrain of Tripura imposes most severe transportation constraints, the support in terms of Transport Subsidy has to continue. The Central Government declared NEIIPP-2007 is also aimed at making investment in North-East region attractive. The State Government’s package of industrial incentives has to dovetail by covering uncovered support areas.
The State had started with a handicap in the form of comparative lack of facilitating infrastructure, as reflected by Tripura’s low CMIE Infrastructure Index. Thus, industrial and trade promotion has to be fostered through prioritized infrastructure development. Basic infrastructure upgradation planning, for roads, railways, air links, telecom, power and water supply etc., within the State and in relation to regional and para-regional grids, should factor industrial and trade related requirements. Development of industrial infrastructure including general and sector-specific industrial areas, sidings and warehouses, cold chain, integrated land custom stations etc. are to be comprehensively planned for and implemented in anticipation, as it is the critical pre-requisite. Associated facilities such as modern banking, good hotel accommodation, quality healthcare, advanced school and higher education etc. are also to be mobilized.
In view of their greater competitiveness, industrial units based on locally available raw materials need to be mobilized. The activity sectors identifiable with such strengths include primary produce such as natural rubber, bamboo, tea, herbal aromatic and medicines, food processing including jackfruit, pineapples and cashewnut, spices etc. and mineral resources such as natural gas and sand etc.
The sectors where the State’s own market or that of neighbouring states and Bangladesh afford viable demand size and growth also need to be supported. Construction related inputs and services, inputs for major infrastructure projects in the State / Region (such as bridges, roads, power projects), transport related areas including vehicles and aviation related services, hospitality and recreation infrastructure (hotels, malls, multiplexes etc.) are some potential activities.
Trade continues to be an important driver of Tripura economy. The state’s location surrounded on three sides by Bangladesh, with over 830 km of mostly plain border, and the shared deep socio-cultural affinity needs to be leveraged into its strength over long-term. Restoration of Tripura’s and the NE-Region’s natural and convenient pre-partition road, rail and waterways communications and trade linkages through the present Bangladesh, needs to be pursued and planned for with farsight.
The promotion of industrial and trade sector has to be fostered in an environment of coordination and synergy with the key related stakeholder and expert agencies of the Central and State Government, other states of the Region and the trade partner countries. The interaction opportunities for investors and businesses and such key stakeholders would be facilitated by the State Government through seminars, business meets, industrial and trade fairs and exposure visits etc.