Investment projects worth Rs 7,67,518.72 crore have been outstanding in Assam since 2018-19 against projects valued at Rs 6,49,313.63 crore being implemented in the same period, a new study has found.
A report brought out by the MSME Export Promotion Council jointly with knowledge firm BillMart FinTech has revealed that Assam is increasingly emerging as an epicentre for investment, both for the government and private sectors.
According to the report, during the current financial year, Assam may generate over one lakh direct and indirect jobs provided the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
It also highlighted the state of affairs regarding pending projects worth several lakh crore, thereby delaying the much-needed economic impetus to Assam.
"According to the CMIE data, total number of investment projects outstanding in 2018-19 were worth of Rs 2,60,675.25 crore, Rs 2,59,974.05 crore in 2019-20 and Rs 2,46,869.4.2 crore in 2020-21," MSME EPC Chairman D S Rawat said in a press meet while releasing the report.
On the other hand, the investment projects under implementation in 2018-19 were worth Rs 2,17,511.2 crore, Rs 2,14,692.66 crore in 2019-20 and Rs 2,17,109.77 crore in 2020-21, he added.
Rawat suggested setting up of a "high-powered committee" headed by the chief minister to expedite the clearances and implementation of the projects to avoid cost escalation.
The study presented to the state government said that most of the private investment are flowing in the agro-industries such as food processing, horticulture, organic, MSME and petroleum based units.
"These sectors generate more jobs, and promote start-ups, ensure inclusive growth and sustainable livelihood," it added.
The study observed that in the year 2018-19, Assam attracted new investment projects worth Rs 11,620.26 crore and completed the projects worth Rs.15,335.16 crore. In 2019-20, the new projects were worth Rs 3,233.84 crore against completed projects of Rs 7,447.83 crore.
In 2020-21, Rs 690.23 crore projects were received and the projects completed were worth Rs 3,398.66 crore, BillMart FinTech Co-Founder and CEO Jigish Sonagara said.
The report found that the MSME sector is the fastest growing in Assam in terms of output, investment, number of units and employment generation. This sector is dominant in the state as compared with other Northeastern states with 61.48 per cent of the units being concentrated in Assam and the rest 38.52 per cent in the other states.
There are approximately over 67,000 industries in Assam, out of which 88 per cent are micro, 11.5 per cent are small and medium. Recently, the central government has sanctioned over Rs 1,536 crore to set up micro, small and medium enterprises under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.
"There exists enormous threats and challenges for the survival and growth of MSMEs. The rate of growth occupation and wealth in Assam cannot pace with this high rate of population growth, creating problems of unemployment, poverty and income inequality in the region.
"It has been observed that the biggest challenge to the MSMEs is unavailability of timely capital and as a result, they suffer from either shrinking of operations or liquefying the enterprise itself. However, the liquidity can be solved if there is an alternate mechanism to organise timely competitive credit," Sonagara said.
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