Dr. Jitendra Singh presides over as Chief Guest at the Curtain Raiser event for the North East Expo 2019

New Delhi: Union Minister of State for Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (Independent Charge) and Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office, Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and Departments of Atomic Energy and Space, Dr.Jitendra Singh presided over as Chief Guest at the Curtain Raiser event for the North East Expo 2019, organised in New Delhi today. The Regional Commissioners of the 8 North East states also attended the curtain raiser event.

The All India Women’s Education Fund Association (AIWEFA) organized the event.To celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150thbirth anniversary, 100 years of his association with Khadi and 91 years of AIWEFA’s service to women and communities, the campaign ‘Khadi Goes Global’ has been initiated. It brings together all the eight states of northeast India to create a platform with the North East Handloom, Handicrafts and the Farm Sector, at the North East Expo, 2019, on 2–3 November, 2019.

Khadi is a symbol of women’s empowerment as most of the spinners, weavers and handicraft artisans in the northeast are women. Hence, it is important to bring Khadi to the mainstream as it will help weavers, especiallywomen, continue to create more jobs.

Addressing the event, Dr. Singh said that in the last 5 years, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi visited North East over 30 times, which shows the kind of importance this government attaches with the states of the North East.

The Minister observed that this importance given by the government has bridged the gaps of growth and development in North East as well as broken psychological barriers in the minds of the people. “The government has managed to bring the rest of India closer to the North East”, he added.

Dr. Singh talked about the steps being taken by the Union government for the development of the North East. He informed how the transport infrastructure, including rail tracks, highways, airports, had increased exponentially in the last 5 years with the constant interest being taken by the Prime Minister.

The Minister said that 35% of total bamboo production in India comes from the North East, but it was not utilised due to obsolete laws. Due to visionary leadership of the Prime Minister, bamboo was exempted from the Forest Act and it could be utilized for commercial use and boost handicrafts of the North East. “This government under the leadership of the Prime Minister believes in the conviction to think for the last man rather than going by any other consideration”, the Minister said.

Dr. Singh informed how ‘Start up India, Stand up India’ programme has led to young entrepreneurs in the North East starting their ventures by utilising the human and material resources in these states. “The day is not far when the North East would become the start up hub of the country”, he said.

Dr. Singh also talked about how the government is planning to replicate the success stories of development of North East in Jammu & Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370.

Talking about making ‘Khadi Go Global’, Dr. Singh put forward the vision of using latest technology in boosting the production of khadi and making it competitive globally. This would also help in generating immense employment opportunities in this sector, he added.

The North East Expo, 2019, will provide a platform for entrepreneurs from the eight northeast states to open up trade and commerce with ASEAN and BIMSTEC nations through Tea Diplomacy and Khadi Diplomacy. It will include panel discussions, back-to-back meetings, art, culture, food stalls, and stalls on northeast handlooms and handicrafts. This event also aims to identify and carry out preservation of the distinctive arts of the different tribes of the North East.

The objective of panel discussions is to analyse the current state of unique foodproducts, Handlooms and Handicrafts from the North East region. The panel willfurther look to understand its contribution to the local economy, identify issuesand challenges concerning their sustainability and outline measures needed forstrengthening and promoting the unique ecosystem globally.

At the expo, AIWEFA will also introduce two awards—The Prime Minister’s Award for Master Weaver and the other for the Master Crafts person for the year 2018–19.