Best Business Opportunities in Assam - Identification and Selection of right Project, Thrust areas for Investment, Industry Startup and Entrepreneurship
Food processing: Project Opportunities in Assam
Food processing is the set of methods and techniques used to transform raw ingredients into food or to transform food into other forms for consumption by humans or animals either in the home or by the food processing industry. Food processing typically takes clean, harvested crops or butchered animal products and uses these to produce attractive, marketable and often long shelf-life food products. Assam has many agricultural and horticultural products. Assam has a fertile soil conducive to cultivation of fruits and vegetables. So far the fruits and vegetables grown in Assam have been sent by rail or road to other parts of the country, which can be used for processing many kinds of food. Apart from rice mills, flour mills and oil mills, many small establishments of producing biscuits, lozenges, soft drinks and snacks have recently come in the town and commercial centres of the region.
The food processing sector has the potential to grow in Assam with increasing demand for processed food. Opportunities exist in processing, sourcing, setting up cold chains and logistics. The Government of India has approved for setting up a Food Processing Industrial Park at Chaygaon near Guwahati in Kamrup District.
Assam has an abundance of natural resources which are yet to be engaged industriously. The agro-climatic condition of the State favour the growth of a variety of fruits and vegetables/ spices including orange, banana, pineapple, arecanut, coconut, guava, mango, jackfruit, citrus fruits, ginger, turmeric, chillies, potatoes, etc. Until recently, horticulture was practiced as a largely non-commercial activity. However, with better quality planting material, sufficient research support and better know-how, the State could easily be poised for a major boom in the fruit growing and food processing industry. Following are key potential industries to be developed on the core strengths of our state:
• Multi cropping in agriculture sector
• Assam is the world’s single largest tea growing region
• Abundant resource of fresh water,
• Major varieties of the major fruits grown in Assam are Banana, orange, litchi, pineapple, papaya
• Assam has abundant productive and diversified water resources to support surplus fish production to feel the growing fish eating population of the state.
• Livestock is an important component of mixed farming system in Assam as the meat consumption in Assam is high.
The per capita availability of milk is 70gm/day in comparison to the all India figure of 246gm/day.
Government policies/ scheme
To fulfil the need for creation of integrated and holistic infrastructure for food processing sector, Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MOFPI) had launched new Schemes in 11th FYP with strong focus on creation of modern enabling infrastructure to facilitate growth of food processing and creation of an integrated cold chain mechanism for handling perishable produce. Under the initiatives of MOFPI for strengthening infrastructure in agro and food processing sector, it had launched the Mega Food Parks Scheme, Scheme for Cold Chain, Value Addition and Preservation Infrastructure and Scheme for Modernization of Abattoirs in the 11th Five Year Plan. The Government of India has sanctioned a food processing park with a total project cost of Rs. 5.95 crores. The park is being set up near Chaygaon in the district of Kamrup (rural). The implementing agency for the food processing is Assam Small Industries Development Corporation Ltd.
Medicinal plants: Project Opportunities in Assam
Medicinal plants are various plants used in herbalism and thought by some to have medicinal properties. Medical Plant constitutes an important therapeutic aid in alleviating ailments. Almost 80% of the world population, particularly in the third world are fully dependent on medicinal plants for meeting their health care needs. The herbal medicines today symbolize safety in contrast to the synthetics that are regarded as unsafe to human and environment. In the primeval times, the Indian sagacious held the view that herbal medicines are the only resolution to treat numeral health related problems and diseases. It is becoming more main stream as improvements in analysis and quality control along with advances in clinical research show the value of herbal medicine in the treating and preventing disease. Increasing interest in herbal products has today accelerated the growth of medicinal plant-based industries.
Assam is primarily an agrarian economy, with 74% of its population engaged in agriculture and allied activities. There are over 1500 species of medicinal plants reported so far from India and more than 350 species from Assam. They can not only cure our ailments but can also be a potential source of economic development. Assam with a total geographical area of 78438 sq. km is very rich in land resources. Its vast fertile alluvial tracts and low hills with suitable climatic condition offer excellent condition for utilization of for different uses. Assam is basically an agriculture dependent state. More than 65 per cent of its total area is under agriculture.
The provisions of this Environment code of practice (ECP) - Agriculture, comply with the legal requirements and conventions, which govern the collection, cultivation processing, handling, packaging & storage of medicinal plant or its derivatives. Prior to selection of species, the cultivator shall apply for and obtain permission from State Medicinal Plants Boards (SMPB), Government of Assam and National Horticulture Board (NHB). The proof of obtaining clearance shall be a pre-requisite for inclusion as beneficiary in the project. The District Agriculture Officer (DAO) shall be responsible for verification of the same.
Mineral: Project Opportunities in Assam
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. Common rocks are often made up of crystals of several kinds of minerals. There are some substances, like opal, which have the appearance of a mineral but lack any definite internal structure, are sometimes called "mineraloids". The minerals produced in India constitute one-quarter of the world's most popular mineral resources.
Assam is endowed with vast mineral resources. Assam is rich in mineral resources like Coal (320 Mn.T.), Limestone (703 Mn.T.), Iron Ore (11 Mn.T) and Granite (1 Bn. Cu. Mtrs) along many more resources like Fireclay, Lithomarge, Fuller's Earth, Sillimanite and Glass Sand. The coal found in Assam has a high sulphur content and high volatile matter content, thereby reducing its coke ability. The most important minerals being exploited so far in Assam are coal, oil and gas, limestone and sillimanite. Limestone with reserves of about 500 million tonnes is another important resource and is available in various grades. The China clay available in the Karbi-Anglong district is a vital input for the ceramics industry and has already spawned a few small plants. Deposits of decorative stone like granite estimated to be more than a billion cubic meters are available in various shades and colours, which have a huge market potential locally and abroad. Opportunities based on minerals are Gasification & Liquefaction of Coal, De-Sulphurisation of Coal, Coal based Power Plant, Coal Bed Methane (CBM) Extraction, Exploration of Oil & Natural Gas and HDPE / LLDPE / Polypropylene basedindustries. Assam has an abundant reserve of petroleum. It takes care of 25% of India's petrol requirement.
The role to be played by the Central and State Governments in regard to mineral development has been extensively dealt in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and Rules made under the Act by the Central Government and the State Governments in their respective domains. The provisions of the Act and the Rules will be reviewed and harmonised with the basic features of the new National Mineral Policy. In future the core functions of the State in mining will be facilitation and regulation of exploration and mining activities of investors and entrepreneurs, provision of infrastructure and tax collection. In mining activities, there shall be arms length distance between State agencies (Public Sector Undertakings) that mine and those that regulate. There shall be transparency and fair play in the reservation of ore bodies to State agencies on such areas where private players are not holding or have not applied for exploration or mining, unless security considerations or specific public interests are involved. Recently, the Union Government after reviewing the current mining sector, mineral development and keeping in view the availability of the valuable finite resource have announced the National Mineral Policy (NMP))- 2010. Research organisations, including the National Mineral Processing Laboratories of the Indian Bureau of Mines should be strengthened for development of processes for beneficiation and mineral and elemental analysis of ores and ore dressing products. There shall be co-operation between and co-ordination among all organisations in public and private sector engaged in this task.
Oil refinery and its products: Project Opportunities in Assam
An oil refinery or petroleum refinery is an industrial process plant where crude oil is processed and refined into more useful petroleum products, such as gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt base, heating oil, kerosene, and liquefied petroleum gas. Indian Oil group of companies owns and operates 10 out of India’s 20 refineries with a combined refining capacity of 65.7 million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA, .i.e. 1.30 million barrels per day approx.). Indian Oil and its subsidiaries account for 47% petroleum products market share. The companydistributes its products directly to bulk customers and to retail customers via a network of retail outlets and dealers/distributors. The Indian oil and gas sector is one of the six core industries in India and has very significant forward linkages with the entire economy. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd. (OIL) are the two National Oil Companies (NOC)s.
Assam has the oldest refinery in the country which started commercial production in 1901. Assam was the first state in the country where in 1889 oil was struck at Digboi in Tinsukia district. The refinery, now belonging to the Assam Division of the Indian Oil Corporation, has a refining capacity of 3 lakh tonnes of petrol, kerosene, diesel and other petroleum products.
The second refinery in Assam was set up at Noonmati in Guwahati under the public sector. It started production in 1962. It produces liquified petroleum gas (LPG), petrol, kerosene, diesel, furnace oil, coke etc. The third refinery in the region was established at Dhaligoan near Bongaigaon in 1962. It is known as Bongaigaon Refinery and Petro-Chemicals Limited (BRPL). The fourth refinery in the state was established at Numaligarh of Golaghat district in 1999, with a refining capacity of 3 million tonnes of oil and other products.
The oil ministry has empowered state-run exploration firms ONGC and Oil India to choose customers for gas produced from small fields where output is less than 0.1 million standard cubic meters per day, which would reduce bureaucratic delays and help companies generate revenue expeditiously. Oil India Limited (OIL), a Government of India Enterprise, under the administrative set-up of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, is engaged in the business of exploration, production and transportation of crude oil and natural gas. The growing demand for crude oil and gas in the country and policy initiative of Government of India towards increased E&P activity, have given a great impetus to the Indian E&P industry raising hopes of increased exploration. The government in order to increase exploration activity approved the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) in March 1997 which would level the playing field in the upstream sector between private and public sector companies in all fiscal, financial and contractual matters. There will be no mandatory state participation through ONGC/OIL nor there did any carry interest of the government.
Tea: Project Opportunities in Assam
Tea is indigenous to India and is an area where the country can take a lot of pride. This is mainly because of its pre-eminence as a foreign exchange earner and its contributions to the country's GNP. In all aspects of tea production, consumption and export, India has emerged to be the world leader, mainly because it accounts for 31% of global production. It is perhaps the only industry where India has retained its leadership over the last 150 years. Tea production in India has a very interesting history to it. The range of tea offered by India - from the original Orthodox to CTC and Green Tea, from the aroma and flavour of Darjeeling Tea to the strong Assam and Nilgiri Tea- remains unparalleled in the world.
Assam is the largest producer of tea in India. Assam tea is well known for its distinct quality, especially for its strong liquor, rich taste and colour. Of the agriculture-based industries, tea occupies an important place in Assam. In Assam, tea is grown both in the Brahmaputra and Barak plains. Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sibsagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Nagaon and Sonitpur are the districts where tea gardens are mostly found. Assam produces 51% of the tea produced in India and about 1/6th of thetea produced in the world. In 1970, the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre was established for better marketing of the tea produced in the region. This is the world's largest CTC tea auction centre and the world's secondlargest in terms of total tea. It now auctions more than 150 million kg of tea valued at more than Rs 550.00 crores annually. Tea industry has contributed substantially to the economy of Assam. About 17 percent of the workers of Assam are engaged in the tea industry.
The Government of India has created a Special Purpose Tea Fund (SPTF) which is meant for rejuvenation of tea bushes. This will benefit about 700-800 tea gardens of the state. In an important policy decision – the Government has decided to secure a geographical indication for the tea produced in the state. ‘Assam Tea’ will be known as ‘Assam Orthodox Tea’ once the geographical indication is secured, thus making it an exclusive commodity and raising its stakes in the global market.
Plastic: Project Opportunities in Assam
Plastics are the most rapidly growing sector of the materials industry. The material is gaining notable importance in different spheres of activity and the per capita consumption is increasing at a fast pace. Continuous advancements and developments in polymer technology, processing machineries, expertise and cost effective manufacturing is fast replacing the typical materials in different segments with plastics. Plastics play a very important role in our daily lives. Throughout the world the demand for plastic, particularly plastic packaging, continues to rapidly grow. India's plastics processing sector will grow from 69,000 machines to 150,000 machines by the year 2020. India's demand for plastics in irrigation alone is pegged to cross 2.5 million tonnes by 2015. Indian automobile industry is growing at more than 18% p.a. and is hungry for plastics. The plastics processing industry is a source of great potential for global businesses.
With the Assam Gas Cracker Project, also known as the Brahmaputra Crackers and Polymers Ltd (BCPL), due to come up by 2012, the Assam government has put its focus on promoting and attracting plastic-based downstream industries. For the state, coming up of downstream industries in large numbers as a result of the Gas Cracker Project would not only bring in large amount of investments, but would generate huge employment opportunities.
The government has acquired 1,500 bighas of land in Tinsukia in upper Assam for setting up a plastic park, which would be the first in North-East. Bordoloi told Business Standard that the government would form a special purpose vehicle (SPV) in association with private players to implement the plastic park. He added that the SPV will be formed in two to three months. The government has already released Rs 10 crore for the park.
Power: Project Opportunities in Assam
The power industry is responsible for the production and delivery of electrical energy in sufficient quantities via a power grid. Given the demand for electricity is uniform across all domestic, industrial and commercial operations, power is viewed as a public utility and basic infrastructure. The electrical power industry is commonly split up into four processes, namely, electricity generation (e.g. power station), electric power transmission, electricity distribution and electricity retailing. In many countries, electric power companies own the whole infrastructure from generating stations to transmission and distribution infrastructure. For this reason, electric power is viewed as a natural monopoly and is thus heavily regulated.
Assam has made much improvement in power generation. It has a number of coal based thermal plants to produce electric power. There is no dearth of coal mines in the state. This ensures that the supply of coal to these plants is uninterrupted. In recent years, several thermal power plants in Assam are in operation. These have tackled most of the earlier problems. The Assam thermal plants are aiming to generate enough electricity for the entire state. Some of the major Assam power plants are: Namrup Thermal Power Station (NTPS).It is managed by the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB). It has a power generation capacity of 134MW. The NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation) is investing more money in thermal power generation in Assam. Some of the upcoming Assam thermal power plants are Assam Power Generation Company Ltd., The existing Assam Thermal Power Plants are being expanded to help in the production of more electric energy.
The Government is committed to ensure uninterrupted quality power supply by way of dedicated feeders from Grid Substation of Power distribution companies to all the Industrial Estates/Parks. Private Industrial Estates will be allowed to install Captive Power Plant to generate and distribute within such Industrial Estates/ Parks subject to provision of the Electricity Act, 2003 and rules there under. At the same time the State would encourage Private Power Generators to set up Power Plants. Assam is poised to have surplus quality power in the near future through the National Power Grid which is in advanced stage of implementation. Power sector in Assam has received the assistance from Asian Development Bank. Investment has been made in the sub-transmission and distribution sector. Power supply to Assam is ensured from Central Generating Stations owned by Corporations under the Government of India.
Cottage industry: Project Opportunities in Assam
A cottage is a farmhouse usually in rural areas. A cottage industry is a small self-help industry that is carried out in the home, community centre, parish hall or some other convenient place. Such industries are evident in handicrafts, catering, tailoring, dressmaking, beauty culture, retailing of dry goods, pottery and furniture making on a small scale. Cottage industries developed mainly out of the need for an additional source of income, because of the need to use one's spare time gainfully and because of the relative ease of acquiring the necessary raw materials to set up such industries.
Assam was traditionally famous for its cottage industry, especially spinning and weaving. Pat or pure silk production is essentially confined to Assam. Assam produces about 10% of total natural silk of India. Assam also produces Muga, the golden silk. Assam is also the main producer of Eri or Endi. Weaving is an important cottage industry of Assam. It is a traditional industry which can be traced back to very ancient times. There are about 7,00,000 looms in Assam, where majority are primitive foot looms. Only some looms of Sualkuchi, used for commercial production of silk cloth, are powered. Bell-metal work is a traditional cottage industry of Assam. The products made of bell-metal are traditional plates, cups, tumblers, pitchers, bowls, Sarai (a tray with a stand), dwarf pitchers, pots, hookahs and musical instruments. Brass-work is also an important traditional handicraft of Assam. Brass articles are produced not only for day-to-day use, but also for interior decoration. The total production of marketable finished goods annually is about300 tonnes.
The Assam Preferential Stores Purchase Act, 1989 (to replace the Assam Preferential Stores Purchase Rules, 1972) enactment is aimed to encourage growth of industries in the State and to implement the Industrial Policy announced and published by the Govt. of Assam vide Notification No. CL 586/85 dated 24th December, 1986. Objectives of this enactment is to encourage small scale and cottage industries by preferential purchase of their products, to rationalize the procedure for purchase of stores required by the State Government, companies and undertakings, Small Industries, Khadi and Cottage industries registered under this Act shall be exempted from payment of earnest money and security deposit for items in respect of which the units are registered.
Tourism: Project Opportunities in Assam
Tourism has become an important industry in many countries of the world, both in the east and the west. Various initiatives are being taken by the Government and other organizations to promote tourism here.
Every year the number of visitors to Assam has been steadily increasing. The state has unparalleled tourist attractions like wildlife sanctuaries, adventure tourism, eco-tourism, hill stations, lakes and places of historical heritage. There are five national parks; Kaziranga, Manas, Nameri, Dibru- saikhowa, Orang and fifteen wildlife sanctuaries in Assam named; Gibbon, Garampani, Burachapari, Bornadi, Sonai-Rupai, Pobitora, Panidehing, Bherjan, Nambor, North-karbi-anglong, East-karbi-anglong, Laokhowa, Charkarasila, Marat-Longri, Nabbor-Doigurang, Borail and Amchang. The famous species of one horned rhino is found only in Assam. It has many Golf Fields and offers a huge potential in sports tourism. Assam's natural landscape, lush green forests, wild life sanctuaries, pilgrimage spots and tea gardens offer a wide choice to cater to the tastes of a variety of tourists from the casual sightseer to the adventure tourist. With the withdrawal of the Restricted Area Permit (RAP), tourism is poised for a major boom.
The Government of Assam came up with the Assam Tourism Policy2008 with the following objectives:
• To place tourism sector on a high priority in the economic development of the state.
• To harness tourism potentials to make it environmentally sustainable, socially culturally enriching and economically beneficial.
• To create awareness and evolve suitable institution arrangement for effective participation of the people.
• To improve quality of the existing tourism products.
• To promote infrastructure of international standard.
• To devise long term human resource development strategy.
• Encourage Public-Private Partnership in tourism development.
The Assam Tourism Policy, 2008 has added to the enthusiasm amongst the entrepreneurs and has also attracted big players like Indian hotels Company Ltd (Taj group) to set up a 5 star hotel in Guwahati. Many more such projects are in the pipeline. Guwahati airport has emerged as one of the busiest airports in the country with almost all domestic airlines connecting Guwahati and other airports of the state virtually to most of the major metros of the country.
Agriculture: Project Opportunities in Assam
While most other states in India are gradually moving away from their traditional agriculture-based economy toward industry or service-oriented economy, Assam is still heavily dependent on the agricultural sector. Today, India ranks second worldwide in farm output. Agriculture and allied sectors like forestry and fisheries accounted for 16.6% of the GDP in 2009, about 50% of the total workforce. The economic contribution of agriculture to India's GDP is steadily declining with the country's broad-based economic growth. Still, agriculture is demographically the broadest economic sector and plays a significant role in the overall socio-economic fabric of India.
Assam Agriculture is the primary sector in the state's economy. The socio-economic condition of Assam largely depends on its agricultural production. Assam produces both food and cash crops. The principal food crops produced in the state are rice (paddy), maize (corn), pulses, potato, wheat, etc., while the principal cash crops are tea, jute, oilseeds, sugarcane, cotton, and tobacco. Although rice is the most important and staple crop of Assam, its productivity over the years has not increased while other crops have seen a slight rise in both productivity and land acreage.
The Government of Assam in consonance with the National Agriculture Policy laid down few policy objectives in the Agriculture Sector. Those include:
· The Agriculture and allied sector grows at the rate of 4 p.c. per annum for the next decade to provide food security and to improve the nutritional intake of the people of the State as well as significantly decrease the population below the poverty line.
· To increase the productivity of all major crops, particularly that of rice, wheat, pulses and oil seeds.
· To increase the cropping intensity in the sector through increase in irrigation facilities as well as giving a boost to mechanization in the State, to make it at par with the rest of the country by the end of the 10th plan.
· To diversify into other crops, specially wheat, oilseeds, and partly pulses, as well as improve production of horticultural crops.
· As the bulk of the population in the State lives in the rural area and most of the people are dependent on Agriculture and allied sectors for their livelihood, the Government sees this sector as the engine for growth of the economy in the long run and wishes to treat the Agriculture Sector as an area of maximum employment generation in the State.
· Since the resources at the disposal of the State are limited, the endeavour will be to converge the resources available under various Government schemes like SGSY and PMGSY etc. to ensure that funds are spent keeping in view the long term growth of the Agriculture and Allied Sector in the State.
Waste management: Project Opportunities in Assam
Waste utilization, recycling and reuse plays a major role in limiting resource consumption and the environmental impact of waste. Recycling is an integral part of any waste management system as it represents a key utilization alternative to reuse and energy recovery (Waste-to-Energy). Which option is ultimately chosen depends on the quality, purity and the market situation. Hazardous waste management is a new concept for most of the Asian countries including India. The lack of technical and financial resources and the regulatory control for the management of hazardous wastes in the past had led to the unscientific disposal of hazardous wastes in India, which posed serious risks to human, animal and plant life.
The Guwahati City generates over 300 MT of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) on a daily basis and has almost 639 Kms street length. Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC), which provides municipal services to 8.2 Lakhs citizens of Guwahati city, is desirous to select a suitable developer/ private operator to establish a viable & environmentally sustainable integrated municipal waste management system through a suitable mechanism to manage the collection, transportation, processing and disposal.
National policy on waste management is set out in the October 1998 policy statement on waste management - Changing our Ways. It outlines the Government's policy objectives in relation to waste management, and suggests some key issues and considerations that must be addressed to achieve these objectives. The policy is firmly grounded in an internationally recognised hierarchy of options, namely prevention, minimisation, reuse/recycling, and the environmentally sustainable disposal of waste which cannot be prevented or recovered.
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