Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday, 22 August 2022, graced the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Conclave here at NBCC Convention Hall, Kohima.
Addressing the inaugural program, the finance minister stressed on the need for the state to identify one product from each district and assured that the Centre along with banks, upon identification, would help in setting up primary infrastructures, and also try and bring in the digitized benefits of marketing it.
She said this citing that the world wants organic products and Nagaland is “sitting on wealth of organic products”. She, however, also acknowledged that aggregating, storing and finding market is a big challenge.
Besides marketing she also emphasized the importance of branding and said, “Branding is a big deal. Once you start identifying it with certain logo, colour, combination with a certain kind of image projection, some specific unique products, there are global markets waiting to lap them up”.
She pointed out that in the list of CSR, it was found that there is greater interest in the Healthcare sector which she said is good for the people of Nagaland and that more people should be encouraged to step forward even if it is for strengthening the primary healthcare of Nagaland. She also viewed this as one of the ways in which youths of Nagaland can be brought in as a part of CSR activities.
Sitharaman also appreciated the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) for recognising the potential in the youth of Nagaland and coming forward to set up a training facility centre in the state with proper certification. She added that this would provide immense job opportunities for the youth of Nagaland anywhere in the country.
She also suggested to bring the Atal Tinkering Lab, a flagship initiative of Atal Innovation Mission of NITI Aayog to cultivate greater interest in science.
In tourism sector, she viewed Homestays as having a huge potential in boosting the local economy, where domestic tourist could experience the lifestyle of the Nagas.
She invited the youth of Nagaland to look into the world of drones as drones are helping to improve and bring in greater efficiency into agricultural practices.
The Union Minister also suggested forming a task force of Naga youth to move around the country on behalf of the state government, convey the message of Nagaland to all the industries and help build the brand Nagaland. She expressed appreciation to the companies and investors who had brought in investment and ensured giving resources for equal development of all the states in India.
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, in his address, stated that the conclave would be a game changer for Nagaland and thanked the Central government for bringing greater focus on the development of the North Eastern region.
The Chief Minister said there is scope and potential for companies to increase their Corporate Social Responsibility spending in Nagaland and the Conclave would provide a platform to harness the various opportunities the state offers. He added that in seeking CSR investments, the State Government is not trying to replace its own development initiatives. He opined that the Conclave would deepen engagement with the private sector and banks, and encourage partnerships between local entrepreneurs, start-ups and established companies across the country.
Rio said that in addition to CSR, the State Government is expecting companies to explore the untapped investment potential of the state in various sectors such as forest, agriculture, education, tourism etc. On the banking front, he hoped that the banking track of the Conclave would result in more hassle-free credit off take from banks, and would also contribute in the development endeavours and promote budding entrepreneurs. He hoped that the Conclave would turn into a regular event to help realize the development goals.