Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Saturday said the Northeast will emerge as a favourite tourist and trade destination when the coronavirus pandemic ends and holiday lovers will prefer the region over tourist spots abroad.
Addressing the 8th edition of the 'North East Festival' as the chief guest, Singh said the Northeast will take a lead for India to emerge as an economic power with the support of its huge natural and human skill resources.
He said the region will truly work as the "New Engine" of economic growth and it has emerged as an alternative to the European tourist destinations by remaining relatively pandemic-free, when other parts of the world were heavily infested with the virus.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who also addressed the event, talked about encouraging the youth and fostering learning to use the resources of the Northeast rightfully. His Tripura counterpart Biplab Kumar Deb stressed on the need to promote cuisines of the Northeast to the world.
Singh, the Union Minister of State for Home, hoped that holiday lovers from the next season will definitely prefer the Northeast for its pristine natural beauty over other global tourist destinations.
He said the region will lead the growth story of India, when the rest of the world is looking for economic resurgence through trade in post-pandemic times.
The Northeastern region, the minister said, will exploit its vast untapped natural resources including bamboo that could propel 'Atmanirbhar Abhiyan' of Prime Minister Narendra Modi by imbibing 'Vocal for Local' mantra.
He said the central government recently raised the import duty by 25 per cent on raw bamboo items, which will help the domestic bamboo industries like furniture, handicrafts and 'Agarbatti' making in a big way and promote use of bamboo as a building material.
Singh also referred to the amendment to the 100-year-old Indian Forest Act brought about by the Modi government in 2017, as a result of which, home grown bamboo has been exempted from it in order to enhance livelihood opportunities through bamboo.
The minister said there has been significant development in terms of road, rail and air connectivity, helping facilitate the movement of goods and people not only across the region but also across the country.
He said the youth of the region has become more aspirational in the recent times and will play an important role to take the region to greater economic heights.