Manipur Vision

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– A wake up call -by Professor N. Mohendro SinghTo-day we are in a new world which respects only strength. A nation is made “great” by its own people, – people from its own soil. Civilisation and development cannot be imported and imposed. Very unfortunately, hardened by the prolonged failure on all fronts, pessimism has taken deep roots. The fear of failure has constantly crippled the glimpse of any hope. We are, to-day, a victim of blind admiration and imitation. We have very little confidence in our own core competencies. Manipur has, as a result, become a shattered and sad state to be in, after sixty years of national planning. Painfully plagued by a vicious circle of inefficiency, high rate of poverty, unemployment, debt, insecurity of life, insecurity of business, employment, and income, Manipur has become a “captive economy”.
The whole atmosphere has been vitiated by the mounting specter of unjustified risks, unjustified costs and unjustified barriers to competition. The new culture of patron-clientelism has established itself to be a highway to unfair personal aggrandizement at the cost of the wealth and well-being of the state. To-day merit has been buried into oblivion. Efficiency is a closed chapter. We are forced to face uncommonly high hurdles with very little resource*. The very foundation of modern development has been knowingly and unknowingly distorted and destroyed, that too, -in this age of aggressive competition. The greatest loss is loss of self respect, self confidence and spirit of noble sacrifice for the community. We are caught to-day in the crossroads and increasingly weighted down by the heavy burden of Socio-Economic Stagnation.We have many works to be done but very few jobs. Manipur should not welcome both jobless growth and growthless jobs. There is contradiction between growing ambition and abject .poverty.
The challenge is great; but not insurmountable; and so should be our determination and political will. We do not lose confidence. We have to regroup, reorganize and revitalize the progressive forces to launch a frontal attack on the fissiparous tendencies and prepare a new “United Ground” for a development millennium of Manipur in order to realize the dream of our legendary of modern Manipur.
One more challenge is aggressive wave of globalization which is a hard reality; – not an option. Good or bad, knowingly and unknowingly our economy has been made part of global integration in one way or the other. It is a race competition built upon one`s indigenous strength and skills. The sky is the only limit. Competition, efficiency, strength and development go together and do mutual reinforcing. The First Generation Reform of 1990 of the country has now been followed by the Second Generation Reform with a strong thrust on physical connectivity, administrative reform and human capital. We have to answer the key questions which constitute the crux of a Vision of Manipur such as :
* Where do we stand now ?* Where to go ?* How to go ?* How soon ?
If we feel disheartened and go back, we will feel painfully left out. We have to go ahead with a clear-cut vision for which the historical necessity is Change of Guard and Change of gear. Manipur needs a government having strong commitment rooted in domestic institutions and who leaves no stone unturned in the new world of Challenges and threats. We have to get out of the present pitiable state of inaction. The vision Manipur demands the noble spirit of a genuine mission and therefore calls for the indomitable will of the people. We have to break the iceburg of prolonged neglect and imposition of misconception and mismanagement. We are also called upon to reassert the defined position, power and privileges enjoined upon us by the universal norms of democratic country.
The Manipur Vision is both comprehensive and harmonious, and respects the intergenerational equity. It encompasses all the distinctive aspects that constitute the life and people of the state. It seeks to balance and harmonise the divergent forces for the successful pursuit of self-fulfillment. Based on the objective assessment of facts and realistic appraisal of possibilities, it awakens in all of us a new spirit of Service and Sacrifice, Self-Confidence and Complete Reliance on our own capacity. It goes much beyond the limitations of the past trends, immediate preoccupation of local concern and temptations of temporary gain. It is not a static statement of wishful thinking. It is a dynamic reality that emerges in the minds of hearts of all Manipuris in the state. It is an articulation of the `desired end results` in concrete terms. It is not a mere prediction. It is an article of faith inspiring us to face the challenges of time with unshakeable determination. Now we have to act with tireless and ceaseless energy. We have to accept both “pain and patience” with smiling face. What we need at the moment is patient life of active service.
This Vision is not a private property. It is common wealth of everybody in the state ;- politician, administrators, businessmen, engineers, doctors, bankers, teachers, lawyers, social workers, artists and students. The shared vision is the bedrock of national advancement. Vision Manipur is part of our life, a permanent source of inspiration and a guiding framework.
Ahead of us is the uphill task ;- but under any circumstances we can not compromise the historical necessity for acting on a carefully designed blue-print and roadmap of strategic departure to establish a new social and political order in Manipur.
Crux of Manipur Vision  Where we are       Where to go Key Questions How to go?       How soon?
The Manipur Vision 2020 seeks to realize three sets of objectives namely (a) Economic Objective, (b) Social Objectives and (c) Political Objectives.
Economic Objectives
Manipur Vission 2020
Social ObjectivesPolitical Objectives Economic objectives :The Manipur Vision seeks :(a) To reduce economic dependency by rising Manipurfrom the present level of captive economy to that a competitive surplus state by 2020;(b) To tap all available human talents and natural resources as common wealth to double the Gross Domestic      Product      keeping      in      view      the intergenerational equity;(c) To provide wider range of economic opportunities for decent employment       and ensure full employment;(d) To ensure economic security including  all  basic needs to all weaker and vulnerable segments of the Society;(e) To ensure balanced development between valleyand hills through accelerated market-led intervention.(f)     To   take   the   best   advantage   of  the   Look-East-Initiative by expanding commercial connectivity.
Social objectives :The social objectives sought to be realised by the Manipur Vision 2020 are :-1. To   deal   with   firmly   any design for calculated   ethnic division, and promote the communal harmony;2. To strength the historical roots of social harmony and interdependence between valley and hills;3. To prepare a new foundation for larger social capital;4. To inculcate a new article of human appreciation;5. To think globally and act locally.
Political objectives :The Manipur Vision 2020 has also political mandates. They are :-1. To prepare a rising political personality of the state,2. To address all acts of structural & secondary violence and political injustice for fuller development of Manipur.3. To ensure a new political culture of peace, harmony and development;4. To enlarge and enrich the base of meaningful people`s participation in the democratic process with “man” being kept at the centre of all concerns and5. To   put   in   place   a   good   governance   with   standard political inputs and accelerated decentralization.
Phase of Manipur Vision :Development is not a mere act of creation. It is essentially the outcome of a long process of adjustment and adaptation. It evolves. The roots of development should be nourished, strengthened and made mature to respond to any sudden sock. Created development is short-lived. As such Manipur Vision has two phases: Phase I – Self Reliant Manipur by 2017Phase II  – Developed Competitive Manipur by 2020.
Pre-requisites :The realization of the Manipur Vision invariably demands a firm commitment, exceptional courage and sustained spirit of the people and government. Effective partnership of all stakeholders is the backbone while sensitivity of the government the touchstone. To become Self-Reliant by 2017 and Developed Competitive Manipur by 2020, Manipur should, as a matter of historical necessity, have :-1. The Will of the people and their preparedness to make sacrifice for the cause of development,2. Political Maturity and Stability,3. Atmosphere of Peace and Co-operation and, above all.4. Meticulous Planning.
Need for Augmentation of three Connectivities :No development of any kind takes place in isolation. Effective and expanding linkages are extremely important. We cannot achieve what we envisage without a sound network of three critical connectivities.    Focussed attention should be paid to :(A) Physical connectivity( good roads, transport services, power supply, water-supply and reliable communication networks )(B) Knowledge connectivity( Professional institutions, vocational training centres, schools with high quality infrastructures and learning resources, production centres and research institutions )(C) Market connectivity( better hierarchy of local, national and global markets, efficient supply-chain, market-sheds and warehouses cold storages, trade centres, export / import houses etc. )On agricultural front:Food security is fundamental to economic Self-Sufficiency and the Manipur Vision notes that the economic strength of Manipur lies only in agriculture. At the moment per head shortage of rice is more than 20 kgs. A year. The “hazard” of the imported rice may tell upon the health of the people in a long run. Once 3rd in India in production of rice, to day Manipur is in the 10th position.  Now to ensure Food Security, the Manipur Vision seeks to irrigate both land and man equally to optimize production of :1.62 lakh hectares of agricultural land. 2.77 lakh hectares of horticultural land and 12.94 lakh hectares of wasteland in the state.
The whole economy should be made agriculture-friendly and policy-intervention should address the twin problems of “increasing at diminishing rate” and “health-hazard” caused by the application of excessive dose of chemical fertilizers. A sound Land Use Policy should receive best attention.We should make agriculture a commercial enterprise by strengthening scientific foundation of modern agricultural development in Manipur for which the following major initiatives should be taken :1. New policy intervention of strengthening the capability ofland;2. Formulation of Long Term Food Vision for developmentwith    strong    focus    on    physical    connectivity,    watermanagement and education.3. Preparation of a roadmap for a new Agricultural Revolutionbased on territorial specialisation.4. Establishment of Knowledge Centres in the villages.5. Provision   for   Urban   Amenities   in   Rural   Areas   (PURA)through creation of Growth Poles.
On industrial front :More disappointing than agricultural is the industrial front. For the last 55 years the state is doing “Something for Nothing” in manufacturing field as status symbol. Blind and primitive interference leads to gross distortion and massive destruction. The greatest loss is the liquidation of entrepreneurial spirit groomed over 2 to 3 decades. The Vision Document takes note of the fact that the industrial units operate in their own momentum in accordance with emerging excitements. What a sensible public authority should do is to indicate the courses of change and provide strong foundation to avoid the possible setbacks. It is fact that Manipur cannot become “Self-Reliant” without perceptible performance of some industrial units having comparative advantage. The mini Special Economic Zone at suitable place may prove rewarding.
To our dismay, all state undertakings have been closed. Eight working government companies fail to submit the statement of accounts for the period ranging 10 – 26 years. The poor state can no longer tolerate the huge loss of resource. The S.S.I, units have been crippled. The sorry state of affairs is substantiated by the fact that the daily average value of one employment of S.S.I, is Rs. 88 only. The contribution of the registered units to the Gross State Domestic Product is less than 1 percent.
The handloom sub-sector, so-called the pride of Manipur, is also facing the same dismal fate. Only 28 percent of the weavers is working as full timer. The production is largely meant for local consumption. Global connectivity is very low. Both Scope and Scale have been weakened. Technology, the soul of production, – is both primitive and highly time-consuming. The least `cost-effective` nature of production has rendered the handloom sub-sector highly traditional and less competitive. Production per loom is hardly 1 meter a year. Monthly income per weaver ranges from Rs. 500 to Rs. 600. Lack of patenting of our unique design is greatest weakness. Vision Manipur should take care of this institutional weakness. Special Economic zone may be an answer.   The Manipur Vision aims at re-organising the very foundation of core industrial units in the state so that by 2020 Manipur could be a leading state in :A : Land and Forest based Industries, B : Industries based on Bio-Resources, C : Food processing industries, D : Handloom and Handicrafts and E : Human capital industries.
On unemployment front :The employment front is visibly demoralizing. The jobless growth experienced by Manipur has intensified the mounting burden of open unemployment of more than 6 lacs constituting 21 percent of the workforce (15-59 years). This is highly disturbing. Unemployment rate of Republic of Korea was 2.2 percent while that of Japan 3.4 percent.
The question before us is about the range of employability of Manipuris and absorption capacity of the economy. To what extent a Manipuri has alternative uses ? What is the level of technical and vocational knowledge ? What is the range of mobility ? It is a nice paradox that there are many works to be done in Manipur but very few jobs.
Secondly, the absorption capacity depends upon the quality of public expenditure. The capital expenditure on asset creation is hardly 15 percent of the total expenditure while only 26.45 percent is accounted for by plan expenditure. Besides, there were 328 incomplete projects in Manipur on March 31, 2004. The Manipur Vision focuses on a new Plan for Plan Implementation.   Thirdly, physical connectivity is very poor. The road density per 100 sq.km. are is only 49 kms. in Manipur as against 1792 kms. of Delhi and 375 kms of Goa. Per capita power consumption of Manipur is only 70 KWH as against 921 KWH of Punjab and 712 KWH of Goa. Right now, there is load shedding for every 2 days. We hardly get power supply for 4 hours a day. Manipur has become a new land of kerosene and candle although it has hydro-potential of 2000 MWH. We have so far tapped only 5 percent. It is not only discouraging but also disgracing to use candle and kerosene in this age of high-tech.
Self-employment, a wayout, is rendered meaningless in Manipur in the absence of a strong base of supporting system. Self-employment can never materialize in isolation without threshold delivery of public goods and services. As such, the Government of Manipur led by O. Ibobi Singh should play the key role of promoter, facilitator and if necessary, entrepreneur. To improve the performance of self-employment we have to build up a new institutional strength comprising (a) Transparency, (b) Accountability, (c) Good Governance, (d) Professional Spirit and (e) Dedicated Parenting.
The Vision of Manipur looks much beyond the provision of physical connectivities to those areas of social and human capital. Our vision is to produce the world class competitors from our own soil in all fields.   Full Employment by 2020 – “One family one job”should be a highlight of the vision.   Captive economy :Because of poor management of economic resources, to-day. Manipur gets into the deep trap of captive economy. One finds three distinct features of a captive economy namely :(a) High Rate of Debt.(b) High Rate Unemployment(c) Vicious Circle of PovertyNow, the Government led by O. Ibobi Singh, Honourable Chief Minister should adopt four pronged strategy to tackle the deep seated issue of comprehensive deprivations :-A : Democratic EmpowermentB : Conflict – TransformationC : Economic Resurgence andD : Social and Cultural Renaissance
By 2017 Manipur should be made economically self-sufficient, — free from the headache of dependency, shortfall and shortage. People in the state will be better educated, health and more prosperous than at any time in our long history. By 2020 Manipur will be globally competitive with a strong base of modern development and political will. Hunger and deprivation will be a phenomenon of the past. Achievement and glory will be part of our daily life.
Manipur will open a new convincing chapter of development with redefined Social Security, Livelihood Security and better Investment Atmosphere tailored objectively to meet emerging challenges. The directional departure from the demoralizing past should be the sole article of public intervention. Justice should be the sole article of public intervention. Justice in all forms should be the cardinal faith. Productive employment shall be a way of life. Increasing Investment shall also be the new temptation. Manipur shall be a “Cultural Paradise” where all cultures can flourish. The Vision of Manipur seeks to transform the state, from the Vicious Circle to the Virtuous Circle within shortest possible length of time; hopefully by 2020. To-day we have to be all set to undertake this noble mission for a New Manipur. You cannot have mission without vision.
Vision and Mission can never be separated. They go together. But vision comes first. To realise the Vision of Manipur. We need a powerful system with commitment rooted in domestic institutions. The change should come from the top, – the parent. Good Governance with sound and effective system is the need of the hour.

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