India’s Act East policy Current Affairs - 2020

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World Bank’s 300 million USD plan to Develop Kolkata

The World Bank has submitted a master plan to develop logistics infrastructure of Kolkata metropolitan area. The bank is to invest 300 million USD in the project. The Government entities participating in the deal includes CII and the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation.

The focus of the project is to be on construction of rail, road, industrial parks. The aim of the project is to improve competitiveness, increase employment.

Recent Infrastructural Developments in the region

  • The West Bengal Government has increased its infrastructure spending by five times in 2019 as compared to 2011.
  • The warehousing in the state has increased by 191%
  • The Inland Water Transport World Bank Project, Asian High way project, Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor are the current prominent infrastructural developments in the region

Significance

  • Kolkata and West Bengal are strategically placed. It connects India and South East Asia in terms of infrastructure. This will help to achieve India’s interests in the ASEAN countries and also its Act East Policy.
  • Location of Kolkata also enables trade and commerce to neighboring countries like Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh
  • Kolkata has the potential to become the hub of India’s north-eastern region.

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India-ASEAN Business Summit

On 19 October, 2019, the 4th India-ASEAN Business summit and the India-Philippines Business Conclave was organized. President Ram Nath Kovind who is on a 7-day official visit to Philippine and Japan addressed the summit.

Highlights of the address

  • ASEAN-India trade relations are important for India to achieve its Act East Policy. The ASEAN-India trade increased by 19% in 2018 reaching 96.79 billion USD. India targets to increase the trade to 200 billion USD by 2022.
  • The Indian investment in Philippines has grown especially in concrete projects like LNG pipelines, waste management solutions and airport terminals
  • The major gain between India and Philippines relations has been in IT-BPO sector. Leading Indian IT companies have created job opportunities in Manila by setting up enterprises.
  • The “Make in India” infrastructure program of India and “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure initiative of India have immense opportunities.

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