Time for locals to be prepared
The record is impressive. Thirty nine MoUs signed between the State Government and different Central Government enterprises, companies, investors etc during the two day North East Development Summit and if at all Sangai Festival, 2017 will be remembered in the years to come, it will depend largely on the successful follow up of the MoUs. Still very early to say whether the MoUs will have a positive impact on the economy of the State or not, but significant to note that a beginning has been made. This is what should be noted.
Opening the door of the region, particularly Manipur, to investors based in different parts of the country will also go a long way in reaping the fruits of the Act East Policy, which the Narendra Modi Government seems to be pursuing with a purpose. The only question is how far the MoUs will benefit the local people, the people of Manipur. Will the benefits that come from opening the doors of the State to outside players or investors really benefit the local people or will majority of the benefits go to the investors who will be investing huge sums of money ? Only time can tell, and while the details of the MoUs are still to be brought to the public domain, it stands that it is here that the State Government should leave nothing to chance so that the benefits reach the common people of the State and the region. Will not make sense if opening the doors will lead to only fattening the bank balance of the investors and the moneyed class here, leaving the common people high and dry. This is not about protectionism, a point which everyone must have known from the decades of socialism under which the country had to live, but about ensuring that benefits do reach the local people and there is nothing wrong in adopting such an approach.
It is not only the Government which should be ready to reap the dividends that will come from inking the 39 MoUs but also the people. How prepared are the people is the logical question that follows. It is also important to understand the 39 MoUs in the context of the Act East Policy of the Government of India. At the same time, it is also important for the Government to study how it can smoothly go ahead with its plans of exploring for minerals and mining. How far have the local people been taken into confidence before the MoUs pertaining to exploration for minerals such as Chromite, Limestone, etc were signed is the question that follows. As things stand today, a strong opposition has been raised against the design of the Government to explore gas reserves in the region, particularly Manipur and it stands that informed consent of the people is needed before the Government goes ahead to explore any of the said minerals. Can the Government win over the local people to explore these minerals is the question that needs an answer. Much will depend on how successful the Government is in taking the people along. Moreover it also stands that it is not only the common people but also groups which are in peace deals with the Government which need to be convinced. MoUs have been inked and the most important question is how much the local people stand to gain from the MoUs. Time for all to be prepared in the face of the fast changing world.
Source: The Sangai Express