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Manipur bagged the Most Improved State for Inclusive Development Award among the smaller states of the country.

The award was given to state chief minister N Biren Singh by the India Today group in the recently concluded ‘State of the States Conclave 2019’ held in New Delhi.

This was disclosed by chief minister Biren Singh while inaugurating the seven-day Manipur Sangai festival 2019 at the well decorated Bhagayachandra open air theatre in Imphal East district on Sunday evening.

Also read: Ambassadors of SE Asian countries attend Manipur Sangai Festival

Thanking the council of ministers, MLAs, government officials and all the stakeholders for such an achievement, N Biren said there is rapid economic growth and development in the State under the present regime.

He stated that the annual state revenue has crossed Rs 1,000 crore while gross state domestic product growth rate has touched eight per cent.

Also read: Assam most improved big state

He also observed that there will be growth and development only when there is peace in the region.

Citing the annual report of MSME, he said Manipur alone has 12,438 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) businesses, the highest in the north-eastern region during the period from 2015 to 2019.

He also added that Manipur has also topped the list of MSME business registration among the north-eastern states and 50 per cent of the businesses in the State is owned by women.

Also read: Arunachal most improved small state

Informing the gathering which was attended by many envoys representing South Asian countries, he said the government has identified and recommended Bunning meadow in Tamenglong district and Tengnoupal hill station in Tengnoupal district to include among the proposed tourist circuit to be developed under NITI Aayog in the north-eastern region.

The Imphal International Airport will also be expanded soon at the cost of Rs 600 crores, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, chairman of Tourism Corporation Manipur Limited, Dr Sapam Ranjan said that the objective of this festival is to showcase the varied tourism attractions and products of Manipur to the domestic and international markets and bring tourism business to the State.

He opined that tourism is such sector through which we can solve the unemployment and economic issues of the State.

Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary, Indonesia Sidharto Reza Suryodipuro; High Commissioner of Malaysia Dato Hidayat Abdul Hamid; Ambassador of Cambodia Ung Sean; Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Myanmar Moe Kyaw Aung; Ambassador of Thailand Chutintorn Gongsakdi; Ambassador of Laotian Embassy Bounneme Chouanghom; High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam Dato Paduka Hj Sidek Ali and High Commissioner of Singapore Lim Thuan Kuan graced the occasion.

Cabinet ministers, MLAs, chief secretary, DGP, top civil and police officials also attended the function.

Various cultural programmes were also showcased during the opening session of the festival.

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