KPMG identifies 11 areas for Indo-Bhutanese cooperation

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Thimphu (Bhutan), Aug.23 (ANI):iLeading audit, tax and advisory services firm KPMG has reportedly identified eleven keys areas in which India and Bhutan can cooperate.

Titled a 'Study of Investment Climate in Bhutan,' the KPMG report identifies environment management, tourism, agro processing, non-timber forestry, horticulture, ICT, education, medicinal plantations, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and automobiles as investment opportunity areas.

The report was done on behalf of the joint task force of confederation of Indian industries (CII) and Bhutan chamber of commerce and industry (BCCI) to enhance economic cooperation between India and Bhutan and investments in Bhutan.

Financed by India' External Affairs Ministry, the report suggests that Bhutan could seek help from the Indian dairy association to build a regional agro-processing brand that could meet the shortage of milk and dairy products in parts of Bhutan and north-eastern areas of Bangladesh and India.

"The government can also invite large Indian dairies to set up plants, by arranging for land, power and transport," says the report.

It identifies Paro, Haa, Chukha and Gelephu as suitable places. Investment in higher secondary education and vocational training institutes are the main areas identified under education.

The report also suggests the government consider aligning Bhutan's curriculum on technical subjects along ICSE/CBSE lines of India. It also says that Bhutan could tie up with Indian universities to have virtual classrooms.

"Our aim is to work together for investments in Bhutan and from this we can gain technology transfer, business partnerships, give a platform for our business and also explore business and investment opportunities together," said BCCI general secretary Phub Dorji.

With urbanization increasing, the report identifies opportunity for private players in waste treatment and recycling under environmental management. It also identifies environmental audit and consultancy to maximise carbon credits that Bhutan can earn.

In horticulture, the key opportunity is in food processing. It says the government should encourage small players to set up processing plants near food production centres by providing fiscal benefits.

Indian companies, the report says, could set up manufacturing centres in Bhutan, like in Nepal, if transportation is improved and incentives given. Under information communication technology and information technology, the report suggests that Bhutan could be a data centre for many Asian countries, set up 500- to 600-seat call centres, be a source of low cost software and have IT training for graduates.

With IT players like Infosys, TCS and others interested, it says Bhutan should seek technical help from NASSCOM in setting up telecom and broadband backbone, training manpower and marketing. In automobiles, Bhutan could collaborate with Indian players on after sales service.

For medicinal plantations, the report says, "Bhutan can seek help of large Indian pharmaceutical companies in marketing and branding their high value and low volume product. It also says that Bhutan could pick up new techniques from India to extract lemon grass.

On non-forest products, it says the government should hand over large areas of the forest to community forest management groups to manage and harvest these products like Matsutake mushrooms.

The report also advises that Bhutan seek help of the Indian drugs manufacturing association to prepare a feasibility report in setting up a manufacturing unit.

On tourism, Bhutan needs to focus on marketing like the Indian government, which is promoting less popular tourist spots and also focusing on online marketing.

Under telecommunications, internet is the main opportunity for growth with only 5 percent reach currently.

Indian companies could bid in joint ventures with Bhutanese companies when BICMA issues fresh licenses. (ANI)

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