Assam is located in the northeast of India. The state shares its borders with Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura and West Bengal. The state shares international borders with Bangladesh and the Kingdom of Bhutan. Assam is India's gateway to Northeast India and acts as a vital link for trade with Southeast Asian countries. The state is known for its tea, petroleum resources, muga silk and bio-diversity. It is also becoming an increasingly popular destination for wildlife tourism.
At current prices, the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of Assam was US$ 30.72 billion in 2015-16 while the average annual GSDP growth rate from 2004-05 to 2015-16 was 9 per cent.
The 12th Five Year Plan estimates the growth rate to be around ten per cent overall, while estimating industry and services sub-sectors to grow at 9 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.
The state is rich in water resources and has vast tracts of fertile land. Assam is also the third-largest producer of petroleum and natural gas in the country and has ample reserves of limestone. With its five national parks and 18 wildlife sanctuaries, the state is a biodiversity hotspot. Other potential areas of investment include power and energy, mineral-based industries, tourism and crude oil refining.
Assam has adopted numerous investor-friendly policies to attract investments and accelerate industrial development. Key areas of focus include the IT, tourism and power sector along with several other initiatives such as the North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP) 2007 and the Industrial and Investment Policy 2014. Assam stands 22nd among Indian states in rankings based on ease of doing business and reforms implementation, according to a study by the World Bank and KPMG.
According to the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), cumulative FDI inflows during April 2000 to June 2017 totalled to US$ 96 million.
- In October 2017, India and the World Bank have signed a loan agreement of US$ 200 million for investments in the agricultural sector in Assam, to help increase the productivity in the sector and benefit more than 500,000 farm households.
- In October 2017, the Government of Assam has released ‘Tourism Policy of Assam’, which will be effective from January 2018 till December 2022, and which provides the industry status to the tourism sector with special focus on encouraging film making.
- The 9.15-km long Bhupen Hazarika Bridge over the Brahmaputra river in Assam, which was inaugurated on 26 May 2017, is India’s longest bridge and will reduce the travel time between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh from six hours to just one hour .
- In March 2017, the state government launched Sarothi. The scheme offers financial assistance in form of loans from bank with a subsidy on interest rates.
- Tea: In February 2017, Goodricke Group announced plans to acquire tea estates in Assam for an investment of US$ 5.95 million to produce 1 million kg of tea, annually. In 2016-17, tea production was recorded at 657.24 million kg.
- Energy-Coal, Oil, and Gas: In March 2017, ONGC made new discovery of 10 million metric tonnes (MMT) of oil in the state. Two wells, one each at Sufayam and Dayalpur, have been drilled to exploit this 10 MMT oil reserve. For FY 2017-18, the government has announced setting up of 2 solar power plants with capacities of 69 MW at Amguri in Sibasagar district and of 20 MW at Chandrapur in Kamrup district of Assam respectively.
- Medical Herbs and Plants: Assam, with its vast area under hills and forests, is home to a variety of medicinal herbs and plants. About 300 types of medicinal herbs and plants are found in abundance in the state with the Brahmaputra valley alone having 150 varieties of herbs and plants of commercial value.
- Sericulture: Assam enjoys global monopoly in terms of Muga silk (also known as golden silk) production. The state accounts for around 95 per cent of global Muga production. Moreover, Assam is the country’s major Eri silk producer (accounts for 65 per cent of the country’s Eri silk production). Raw silk production in the state during during 2016-17 (up to May 2016), the raw silk production was 1,137 MT.