Multilateral institutes need to collaborate to solve global problem of floods: Singapore minister

  • | Tuesday | 5th July, 2022

Guwahati, Jul 5 (PTI) Singapore Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Tuesday said multilateral institutes have to be involved to find a permanent solution for floods, which have emerged as a "global problem".His comment came at a time when lakhs of people of Assam have been affected by the deluge.Shanmugaratnam said his country, drawing from its own experience, would like to play its part in finding a lasting solution to the annual problem of floods in the northeastern state and other parts of the region.“This is an area where multilateral organisations, like the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, universities, bilateral partners, etc, will have to get involved,” the Singapore minister said, referring to the problem of floods in North-East India.Shanmugaratnam said he had discussions with Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his cabinet colleagues on potential areas of collaboration between his country and the northeastern state.“We have to see what solutions are possible. When we were at IIT-Guwahati earlier today, we found that they had some ideas…Singapore has some experience and we are happy to see what we can contribute in the whole area of water management,” he said.But this is not just a local issue in Assam, it is actually a global problem, Shanmugaratnam said, "We need to involve the multilateral institutions in solving this annual problem in North East India and Bangladesh."The world can do better to solve these problems,” said the coordinating minister for social policies of Singapore.“First and foremost is the skill development among areas for collaboration,” he said, after the handover ceremony of North East Skill Centre (NESC) by ITE Education Services, Singapore, to Assam Skill Development Mission.Shanmugaratnam expressed satisfaction at the completion of NESC, which he termed the first stage of partnership between ITES and the Assam government.Investments in connectivity, logistics and green energy are among other sectors identified for potential collaboration, the minister said.“Our companies are very keen to look at opportunities for strengthening Assam"s connectivity because it has tremendous potential as a bridge between India and South East Asia, Bangladesh and rest of the region," he said.Shanmugaratnam also claimed that green energy and sustainability is another sector, which is on the Assam CM"s mind."We are keen to look at opportunities in these as well and our companies are already in conversation with Sarma,” he said.The minister also said Singapore is willing to play its role in some areas of “broader development” of Assam, like healthcare innovation and training of civil servants.IIT-Guwahati has shown interest in developing relations with Singapore universities in areas like nanotechnology, sustainable polymer, etc, which can be another sector for collaboration, he said.“India as a whole has tremendous potential but Assam has something extra and Singapore will be privileged to play its humble role in it,” the minister said.To a query on whether any investment will be made in the state by Singapore companies at present, Shanmugaratnam said the government does not directly gets involved in any business decision.“They have to make their decisions. Through good relation between the governments, we hope to provide a good environment which gives some certainty and makes it a healthy investment environment,” the minister added. PTI SSG BDC BDC

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