Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday said there is need to prepare a time-bound roadmap for achieving short and long-term goals to rejuvenate the COVID19 pandemic-hit economy.

As part of his efforts to reach out to various sections of the society, Sonowal on Tuesday held an interactive session with the leading economists of the state at the Assam Administrative Staff College in the country.

During the interaction, the Assam chief minister sought suggestions of the economists to revive the state’s economy in the post COVID19 scenario.

The participants offered their suggestions and feedbacks and urged the government to take innovative and strong measures to overcome this challenge and bring the state’s economy back on track.

The Assam chief minister welcomed the suggestions of setting up economic task forces in the state till block level for taking specific revival measures for the state’s economy.

Saying that every crisis presents an opportunity, the chief minister called for unified approach to tackle the economic slowdown while discovering Assam’s inherent strengths to make it a self-reliant economy which can bear the brunt of future situations.

Sonowal underlined the importance of a 100 days action plan for restructuring the economic system.

He said prioritizing expenditures and streamlining various sectors such agriculture and livestock to overcome the situation through planned interventions are the focus points of the government.

Sonowal also stressed on the need to plug the loopholes in the system while cutting out unnecessary expenditures.

“Utilising natural soil fertility and climatic advantage for agricultural resurgence in the state are the keys and we must use this opportunity to make the state self reliant and production surplus in sectors such as fisheries, agriculture, livestock, horticulture etc to generate employment opportunities,” he asserted.

Referring to the nearly 10 lakh youths returning to state from various parts of the country in view of COVID19 pandemic, Sonowal said returning manpower should be viewed as an asset instead of a burden.

He opined that the skill sets and experiences acquired by the returning youths working outside could be utilised to propel Assam towards economic resurgence and opportunities must be created within the state to absorb these youths productively.

The CM also called for inter-department coordination to overcome the economic challenge while equally taking care of weavers, farmers and daily wage earners through government interventions and also harnessing the potential of the State through labour intensive agri-based industries.

While opening the session, finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma remarked in his address that Assam had a buoyant economy before the COVID19 pandemic.

He said the state clocked impressive GDP growth of 12-16 per cent in the last three financial years as against national average of 6 per cent.

Assam’s devolution of Rs 24,000 crore per year from central government’s pool of funds sustained the economy along with nearly Rs 13,000 crore state’s own earnings and in view of financial slowdown, innovative measures must be devised to overcome this crisis, he said.

As many as 29 economists and economic experts of the state participated in Tuesday’s interactive session.

Agriculture minister Atul Bora and social welfare minister Pramila Rani Brahma were also present in the event.

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