The sixth edition Young Leaders Connect (YLC), an annual conclave of young leaders of the Northeast from diverse fields, commenced in Shillong on Saturday.
The two-day conclave under the theme “Made in Northeast” was held at the NEC Auditorium here in which Meghalaya chief minister and chief host Conrad K Sangma, DoNER secretary, Naveen Verma, Lok Sabha MP from Assam, Gaurav Gogoi and leaders from diverse fields like business, politics, sports, music and culture were present on the first day.
Riding on the “Made in India” campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the YLC conclave focussed on entrepreneurship in the North Eastern region.
On the concluding day on Sunday, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju along with other leaders will take part in the round table discussion on “Made in Northeast and way forward along.”
Rijiju is also the chief patron of YLC.
The objective of YLC is to come up with key actionable steps required to inform and sensitize the population from the rest of India regarding the Northeast and create a positive outlook about the region and look beyond negative reports of conflict to the untapped potential that the region holds in terms of cultural heritage, natural resources, and human capital.
Speaking at the inaugural session Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma called for a collective effort from all stakeholders to tackle the issues concerning states in the North Eastern Region of India in order to put the region in the pedestal of growth and development.
“Though we come from diverse backgrounds but when it comes to issues concerning our region we must all take a unified approach,” he said.
The chief minister also spoke about initiatives being undertaken by the Meghalaya government to support innovative entrepreneurs in the state.
“We have initiated the entrepreneurship of the month programme wherein selected entrepreneurs of the state will be given support and guidance by the Meghalaya Institute of Entrepreneurship. We have also decided to start incubation centres in three different locations in the state which will provide a space for entrepreneurs from different fields to connect and link with other entrepreneurs”, Conrad said.
On his recent visit to France where he attended the Salon International de I’Agroalimentaire (SIAL), the world’s largest food innovation exhibition, the chief minister highlighted the potential of the North East in terms of food processing.
Assam MP, Gaurav Gogoi, stressed the need to connect, share and emulate the best ideas to fuel innovation and creativity among the youth.
“We cannot be complacent, we need to be productive and each and everyone of us have a responsibility towards our community and our people. People’s perception of our region should be in sync with contemporary North East which is young, enterprising and innovative”, he said.
Naveen Verma, DoNER secretary, spoke on the need for greater cooperation among the states in order to create a conducive atmosphere to achieve goals and objectives beneficial to the region in a speedy manner.
“In sectors such as tourism we need to collectively market the North East as a whole and not as separate units”, Verma said.
The opening address was delivered by Bhaichung Bhutia, Chair YLC, who informed the gathering that the YLC was started in 2011 with an “idea to bring all young achievers of the North East under one platform”.
Others who spoke at the inaugural session were Hekani Jakhalu, Chair YLC, Governing Council, YouthNet, and Larsing Ming Sawyan, Managing Director, Centre Point Group of Enterprise and Co-Chair of the YLC-6.