APIIP inaugurated, prizes under APEDP distributed

ITANAGAR, 14 Aug: Chief Minister Pema Khandu inaugurated the Arunachal Pradesh Innovation & Investment Park (APIIP) in Niti Vihar here and awarded seed funds to 31 winners of the Arunachal Pradesh Entrepreneurships Development Programme (APEDP) on Saturday.

Among others, Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein and Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar were present on the occasion.

The APEDP had been launched by the chief minister on 15 August, 2020. “Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the investment division of the state government managed to bring the first phase of the entrepreneurships development programme to its logical conclusion by launching the APIIP and giving seed funds to the 31 winners,” the CM’s PR cell informed in a release.

Addressing the event, Planning Commissioner Prashant S Lokhande spoke about the mission to create an enabling ecosystem for startups, and reminded the 31 winners of their responsibilities.

State nodal officer for startup & investment promotion Tabe Haidar presented an overview of the startup initiative taken up in the state. “The APIIP is the first of its kind in the state and will go a long way to create a vibrant ecosystem for the young entrepreneurs of the state and to build a self-reliant, knowledge-based economy, so that the youth of today can be transformed from job seekers to job givers,” he said.

The chief secretary congratulated the planning & investment division for making the entrepreneurship development programme a success in such a short time. He suggested that the state’s planning & investment department connect with IIM Shillong (Meghalaya), with which the state recently signed an MoU, to avail its expertise.

The DCM, who is also the planning & investment minister, expressed happiness at seeing the youths of the state coming forward to do something on their own. “These talents needed facilities to progress, which are now being provided by the planning & investment department,” he said.

The chief minister in his address spoke on the way forward for the startups initiative in the state. He thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that “the identity of the Northeast states has improved significantly under his able leadership.”

“Connectivity has improved, making travel from east to west Arunachal seamless; road constructions are going on all across the state; railway connectivity has improved, and very soon places like Tawang, Basar and Ziro will be connected by railways,” he said.

Khandu further said that work for the Hollongi airport is well underway and, “if all goes smoothly, we will be able to launch the airport on the next 15 August.”

Congratulating the 31 young entrepreneurs, he said, “My government is fully committed to support the initiative started by the investment division.”

He asked the investment division to “fully focus on this particular area, so that this innovation & investment park is developed into a world-class facility and Arunachal can produce entrepreneurs who can drive sustainable and scalable businesses.”

Saying that the state government’s priority is to promote tourism, agriculture and allied activities, he advised the people to produce vegetables and meat locally, so that dependence on other states is reduced.

“The launching of the APIIP is the starting point of a vision,” he said, and assured to strengthen the investment division.

Planning Secretary NT Glow also spoke.