Assam has got its first export policy to boost exports. The state has a competitive advantage through increased market penetration as well as to explore new markets for products in nine focus areas, which includes tea, its principal export item, wellness hospitality and health tourism. The export and logistic policy, 2019 will be in force for five years.
“Assam has the unique locational advantage, being the closest landmass of vibrant economies of the South East Asian countries. On Act East, Assam is on its way to get some of the best infrastructure in Asia to facilitate the largest volume of trade between India, China, Bangladesh and other Asean countries,” the introduction to the policy states.
For decades, tea has been a major export item and the state produces more than half of the total tea of the country. Today, 761 big tea gardens and more than one lakh small tea gardens produce an average of 630 million kilograms of tea which is more than 50% of the country’s total tea production. Tea is the major item of export from Assam. Apart from tea, petroleum products, cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, textiles, food products and agro and horticulture produces, ornamental fish, Agar oil are also exported from the state.
The other objectives of the policy includes enhancing the ease of doing exports through creation of simple, effective and efficient institutional mechanisms, simplified processes and efficient organization and coordination with stakeholders.
Besides tea, the other focus areas are agro and allied products, food processing, floriculture, organic farming, bamboo products, ornamental fishes and pisciculture and medicinal and aromatic products, hydrocarbon products, plastics and petrochemicals, tourism including medical tourism, hospitality and wellness.
The state policy makers are banking on new and improved connectivity through the East West corridor which starts from Porbandar in Gujarat to Silchar in Assam with a distance of 3300km, Asian Highway No 1, which slices through the state. While BG railway network in Assam is about 2434km and connected with all major cities of India, the state government with the help of inland waterways is taking up a massive programme is to dredge the river mighty Brahmaputra and river Barak to use navigable waterways in trade and commerce that connects to Bangladesh giving it access to the ports of Kolkata and Haldia in West Bengal and Chittagong and Mongla in Bangladesh.