Assam is a gateway to the North-Eastern part of India. It lies between 24 degree to 28 degree North latitude and 90 degree to 96 degree East longitude. It has a total land area of 78,438 sq km.
The advantageous features of the State are:-
· Pro-active administrative set up;
· Simple and transparent procedures for investment;
· Skilled and educated labour force;
· Rich natural resource base;
· Diversified agricultural and industrial set up;
· Efficient transportation and communication network;
· Sound water and power supply;
· Rich varieties of flora, fauna and various horticultural produce;
· Large consumer base; etc.
Given these opportunities, the Government of Assam has made several efforts for attracting investment into the various sectors of the economy. The investors can set up various industrial units by optimally utilising the numerous resources as well as the incentives and schemes available in the State.
Assam is the largest economy in the entire North Eastern region. It is primarily an agrarian economy with majority of its population engaged in agriculture and allied activities. It has one of the most fertile stretches of land in India, along the Brahmaputra valley, which is suitable for the cultivation of a wide variety of cash and food crops on a commercial basis. It is rich in natural resources like oil and natural gas, coal, rubber, etc.; minerals like granite, limestone, etc; forests and water resources. Moreover, the State is more industrially developed than other North Eastern States. It is known for its large industries in the tea and oil/ petroleum sectors. The State is renowned for its arts and crafts, associated with the cottage industries. Cottage industries include handloom, sericulture, cane and bamboo articles, carpentry, brass and bell-metal crafts. Assam produces varieties of silk like Endi, Muga, Tassar, etc. Besides, there is easy availability of skilled and qualified labour at reasonable cost. Also, attractive tourism potential exists in the area of nature tourism as well as cultural heritage.
Agriculture and Horticulture: The agro-climatic condition of the State favour the growth of a variety of fruits and vegetables/ spices including orange, banana, pineapple, arecanut, coconut, guava, mango, jackfruit, citrus fruits, ginger, turmeric, chillies, potatoes, etc. Until recently, horticulture was practiced as a largely non-commercial activity. However, with better quality planting material, sufficient research support and better know-how, the State could easily be poised for a major boom in the fruit growing and food processing industry.
Tea Industry: Assam is the largest producer of tea in India. Assam tea is well known for its distinct quality, especially for its strong liquor, rich taste and colour. It is sold as a single estate tea and used in tea blends bearing many distinguished labels. Assam accounts for nearly 53% of the all India production and about 1/6th of the tea produced in the world. Around 80 million kgs of tea are exported annually from Assam. Tea is grown both in the Brahmaputra and Barak plains of the State. Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sibsagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Nagaon and Sonitpur are the districts where tea gardens are mostly found. For a better marketing of the tea produced in Assam and the entire North Eastern States, a Tea Auction Centre - Guwahati Tea Auction Centre - has been established. This is the world's second largest tea auction centre in terms of total tea. Besides, about 17 percent of the workers of Assam are engaged in the tea industry. Thus, the tea industry has contributed substantially to the economy of Assam.
Oil Industry: Assam has the oldest oil refinery in the country (set up at Digboi). It has the oldest and the longest cross country crude oil pipeline (about 1158 km). It is endowed with oil shale reserves, estimated at 137 billion tonnes with a recovery factor of 20.35%, which is capable of sustaining its crude oil production in the years to come. It also has a significant reserve of low ash high sulphur coal. Oil Exploration in Assam has the highest success ratio in the world. Assam also accounts for one of the biggest pool of professional and skilled manpower engaged in the oil and petroleum industry. Thus, with the State’s inherent strength built over a century and with the future potential, Assam offers opportunities for exploration in the oil and gas sector. It has opened up the oil sector to private participants. Also, the declaration of the Brahmaputra as a national waterway has facilitated transportation of raw materials and project equipment for growth of the oil sector.
Minerals: Assam is widely known for its abundant mineral resources. The exploitation of minerals in the State mainly comprises of petroleum (crude), natural gas (utilised), coal, limestone and minor minerals. Petroleum (crude) is the principal mineral produced in the State. Assam coal is friable in nature and has a high sulphur content. It is mainly utilised by local railways, steamers and hydro power stations. Coal is found in Koilajan, Umrangshu and Khota-Arda in the Hills District of Assam.