colleges and technical institutes, Assam can produce a sizeable workforce for information-based service industries. The fact that people educated and trained in Assam have been successful in Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and other parts of the world is a testimony that these institutions are capable of producing quality human resources which can compete and succeed anywhere in the world.
The recent attempts of the Assam government to attract investment into the state have not been very successful. With all the constraints discussed above, it will be hard to attract investment in the manufacturing and the tourism sector. It, however, may not be very difficult to bring in investment for information service industries, which, as I mentioned, require relatively less in physical investment. The brand name of IIT sells very well in the outside world and, in my opinion, will lure potential investors. At an operational level, creating a ‘technology corridor’ between the IIT in north Guwahati and Assam Engineering College (AEC) in Jalukbari interspersed with Gauhati University to attract investment in service industries would be a relatively easily implementable plan in a short period of time. The proximity to the airport makes it easily accessible. Once this plan takes off, it can be replicated in other centers of higher education: Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Tezpur and Silchar. These industries will also create jobs for relatively low skilled workers through trickle down effects.
This model has been more or less the success story of India in general. The projection of India into a higher growth trajectory in the early 1990s and the sustained high growth afterward were helped to a great extent by the growth of information service industries which required minimal investment in physical capital and could survive even with lackadaisical provisions of economic infrastructure. In the course of time, the benefits will trickle down to the other sectors of the economy. If these industries, which will primarily cater to the markets outside the state and the country, increase name recognition for Assam it may indirectly help the development of tourism as well. Furthermore, an effort to create employment opportunities for the educated young generation may also help retain some of Assam’s brightest and best minds in the state and may even lure back others who left the state in search of greener pastures in the job market. They will create positive externalities which are important for the overall well-being of the society. Thus, promoting information service industries in Assam is a viable enterprise that is worth everyone’s attention and effort.