14 Aug 2020 21:22 IST

Meghalaya CM pitches for sister-state partnership at IIM Shillong

At the e-symposium, he said bigger states could work in tandem with smaller states for mutual benefit

The IIM Shillong-APJ Abdul Kalam Centre for Policy Research and Analysis, hosted an e-symposium on ‘Emergent North-East India: Strategic and Developmental Imperatives — The BPO Sector.’

Commenting on the theme of the symposium, Conrad Sangma, Chief Minister, Meghalaya, said, “This is an extremely timely programme and a positive step taken by IIM Shillong.” Speaking about the recently-formed Economic Task Force headed by CM Sangma, he said: “The task force was meant to explore the different opportunities that could come out of the Covid situation and how especially Meghalaya could tackle the economic disruption.”

Creating a sister-state partnership

Further speaking about the BPO Sector he said, “This sector has great potential in the North-East, and I have first-hand experience in the challenges an entrepreneur in the BPO sector has to go through given the lack of infrastructure.” The initiative of setting up a full-fledged IT Park in Meghalaya on an earmarked land of nearly 70 acres began during his tenure as the Minister of IT, Finance, and Tourism in 2008, to give the sector the well-deserved push, he said. This project was revived again after he took charge in 2018, he added. He was hopeful that the infrastructure, with more than 3,000 seats, would be made ready for use by the end of this financial year.

He further added, “The manpower is a natural advantage for us. But for the whole ecosystem to develop, air connectivity acts up as an issue. If the private sector is given its due incentive, it would truly upgrade the ecosystem.” Sharing some excerpts from his interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he mentioned his proposal to leverage a sister-state relationship and partnership, an idea which he strongly felt could bring about a paradigm change if a bigger state could work in tandem with a smaller state on areas of strength for mutual benefit, citing the example of Government of Meghalaya’s talks with the Telangana Government to work on IT sector.”

Towards digital India

Presenting the valedictory address, Union Minister of State for Telecom Sanjay Dhotre, said, “The hard-working nature of the people of North-East, coupled with high levels of literacy, and excellent soft skills have created a demand for skilled manpower from North-East in all metros of the country. The BPO word is an important part of digital economy and employment, but as we are moving up the IT value chain we also need to keep our eyes on other opportunities.”

Speaking on Digital India campaign, Dhotre added, “Digital India as a scheme is simplified, accessible, affordable, equitable, and inclusive. It is something that enables a common man to connect with technology easily.”

Other speakers at the e-symposium included Sanjay Mehta, Former MD and CEO, Teleperformance India; Salil Agrawal, President, IIMAGES; Omkar Rai, Director General, STPI; Syedain Abbasi, IAS, Chief Secretary, IT Department, Government of Assam; Srikanth Srinivas, Senior Director and Head — Membership and Outreach, NASSCOM; Balaji Thiagarajan, CEO, TechDigital Corporation; Nayanjyoti Bhattacharya, MD and CEO, Anjaybee Group.