Leader Writer: Hrishikesh Angom
Development is what the people of Manipur are yearning for the past many decades amidst degrading law and order situations. The Central government has hinted “insurgency” as the major cause for underdevelopment in the state which had attained statehood long back in 1972. At one time the Manipur government faced financial crunches and even the salaries of the state government employees could not be paid for months. However, during the last five years the state under the Secular Progressive Front government could receive ample amount of financial assistances from the Centre. The reason for this drastic change may be cordiality in terms of Centre-State relationship but the main focus over increased availability of financial assistances should be made on development as so to how the socio-economic conditions of the people of the state can be uplifted rather than getting the benefits of such assistances only by a section of bureaucrats or technocrats of the state.
It is indeed a welcoming step on the part of the state government to propose bigger plan size of Rs 4021 crores for the financial year 2011-12 to the Planning Commission of India which is roughly 54 percent more than the current plan size of Rs 2600 crores. It is highly positive that the Planning Commission of India will accept the proposal of the state government and fix the annual plan size as it is. Unfortunately, the state government has made the proposal for increasing the plan size by 54 percent just to meet the expenditures for giving salaries to the state government employees as per the recommendations of the 6th Central Pay Commission as well as to accommodate the ever increasing number of security forces in the state. The question of infrastructural development seems to get no impetus even if the plan size increases by 54 percent. The increased plan size seems to benefit only the government employees whose salaries have been fixed in consideration with price rise and growing standard of living. The general unemployed people are devoid of the benefits of such financial assistances. There can be speedy development in terms of infrastructure and socio-economic condition only if there is accountability while utilizing the funds given for the annual plan. The ministers and officials of the state government need to be sincere and take up things in the real interests of the people. Even a single paise can prove beneficial if it is put for the right purpose. There should be free flow utilization of funds for the right and purposeful works and under any circumstance there should be no hindrance to the public works. The sincerity and accountability of the state government will matter a lot towards implementing development projects in the state. The state can witness tremendous developmental changes if the funds under normal plan assistance and special plan assistance are utilized to the fullest in a proper manner. There can be no development if the general population is devoid of benefits of various welfare schemes and programmes.
It is high time for the state government to think of real development by creating more accountability while taking up various development works for the people. Moreover, the annual state plan should also be emphasized on infrastructural development and uplifting socio-economic conditions of the general public rather than utilizing for the salaries of the state government employees. The people are indeed yearning for a real developmental change in the state with increased availability of financial assistances from the Centre.