COVID-19: Assam keen to woo MNCs looking to move out of China

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Guwahati, May 6 (PTI) Multinational companies looking to move out of China should consider Assam, with its abundant natural resources, strategic location and robust industrial infrastructure, as their destination for setting up production facilities in India, state Industries Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said on Wednesday.

'Many American, Japanese and Korean companies are contemplating to shift their production facilities from China to India and we hope to woo these firms to set up production facilities in Assam,' Patowary told reporters here.

The state government has urged the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Invest India, the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), the US- India Business Council and the US Chamber of Commerce to advise the firms in this regard, he said.

The Industries and Commerce Department has engaged a renowned firm to assess the impact of the lockdown on the industrial sector in Assam and suggest a policy framework to attract industries that are planning to move out of China, Patowary said.

The department is also in touch with the DPIIT and the JETRO for setting up a Japanese industrial township in Assam to attract investment of industries based in the East Asian country, he said.

A special cell has been set up at the state government's 'Assam Startup -- The Nest' incubator to guide and mentor enterprising youths returning to Assam from different states, the minister said.

'Interested youths registering with the digital platform will be mentored at IIM, Calcutta. Financial grant of up to Rs 50 lakh will be given to selected startups,' he said.

The Industries and Commerce Department will also sign an MoU with the Indian chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), Silicon Valley (USA) to leverage the startups in Assam so that they can have global access to the startup ecosystem, the minister said.

He said the department will also organise a conclave on startups in partnership with Microsoft after the lockdown is lifted.

'The potential of pharmaceutical companies has been realised during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has been requested to support the Assam government in setting up a pharma park in the state,' he said.

The state government had on Tuesday issued revised guidelines allowing all industries with supply chain to restart operation without the need for special permission.

It also allowed warehouses and godowns to operate, vehicles to ferry goods and construction activities to recommence.

However, safety norms such as wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and sanitising vehicles and factory premises have to be ensured.

A total of 820 industrial units with 28,027 workers operated in the state on Wednesday, the minister said.

Patowary also asked the environment and forest, labour and urban development departments to extend the validity of trade licences, permissions and clearances issued to industries and business establishments from March 31 to June 30. PTI DG ACD ACD