Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER) Dr Jitendra Singh while addressing the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry” (FICCI) women wing in Guwahati had invited women entrepreneurs from across the country to invest in the region and take a lead in developing an industrial hub not only for India but also for the countries across the eastern borders. One is not sure under what compelling circumstances, Dr Jitendra had invited the women.
However, the “Swayam” initiative of FICCI women wing in Guwahati could be lauded from differing perspectives. Appreciating the initiative, the minister said “Swayam” has already resulted in successful engagement of women from all sections, in big and small self-employed vocations and hoped its arrival in Guwahati will open a new chapter in the growth of Northeast and at the same time also open new vistas of opportunity, not only for women alone but for the entire population of the eight Northeastern States. On the occasion, he also stated that a number of new initiatives have been undertaken by the Government of India to promote business, industry and consequential job avenues in the region. He however cited the organic farming mission and the expansion of healthcare entrepreneurship in the region indirectly suggesting that leading women entrepreneurs could partake in developing such sectors in the Northeast.Moreover, Dr Jitendra Singh also referred to the “Act East” policy as an opportunity to do business with the countries across the eastern borders. He pointed out the imperative to generate original growth products proximal to the eastern borders within Northeast so that they get takers across the borders. While one is not sure of the exact nature of the roles that the women entrepreneurs from across the country would play in developing a region like the Northeast of India, the Government of India is well aware of the traditional roles played by the women of the region in all spheres of life, particularly trade and commerce. Though the women in the region have been traditionally endowed with the skills of handling domestic and immediate traditional economy, there is a need to conduct an impassionate assessment of what contributions they could possibly make in bringing about modern economic change in the region.