Forgotten priorities

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The announcement of a 100 day work plan by Nongthombam Biren led government is no doubt a good move. But questions remain on whether the chief minister has set his priorities right. Of the 57 works approved by the state cabinet for completion within 100 days time, the preparation of Vision 2032 document for Manipur seems to be the most interesting. Other programs are mostly dull and routine. Many of them are of infrastructure development. Surprisingly, the political and security issues are conspicuously absent in the 100 work plan. Despite the BJP led new government’s overtures to the hill people and positive response, the highways are still insecure. The UNC had called off the indefinite economic blockade. Questions have crop up as how the deal was clinched and what lays ahead in the tripartite talks with United Naga Council. The Churachandpur imbroglio is yet to be sorted and remains a festering wound. Questions have also come up as to what the newly elected representatives of Churachandpur district is doing to bring a lasting solution to the issue. Most of the district MLAs including a cabinet minister is with the new government and they should be tasked with bringing a solution. Sadly, no such plan is projected in the 100 day plan. The truck convoys still continues to be attacked on the national highways by miscreants or militants outfits and the government has no answer to the problem except strengthening security protocol. But, the political initiative is still lacking in its effort to prevent such attacks. This is one area where the government needs to come up with innovative ideas and political postures. Increasing security detail or bio-metric attendance in the designated camps of militant outfits under suspension of operation (SoO) is certainly not going to solve the problem. Of course, a few new initiatives are seen like the opening of opening of bank accounts for all old age pensioners, welfare benefits for building and construction workers, regulation of private schools and tuition centres and introduction of organic farming to 5000 farmers etc. Action plan for ensuring one job opportunity to every household is a tall order, which will be hard to achieve. Everybody understands that, the state alone cannot provide jobs for everyone and the government machinery is already overburdened. So, the idea should be to create job opportunities and avenues of self employment. Still there is the need to water down the lure of government jobs which many consider secure and the easy way out. As long as the charm is there, corruption in recruitment will be there. And in recent times, the rates have increased manifold. Coming back to the preparation of a vision document for the state, it is indeed necessary to evolve such a vision which would ultimately make it easier for us to set targets and project outcomes. In evolving such a vision, we need a multi-disciplinary approach and experts in different fields with knowledge of the ground realities needs to be consulted in workshop mode. Where do we want place our state in 2032? That should be the question. We need to work out our aspirations besides possible scenarios in the future. That is where the premeditated interventions should follow for achieving the Vision. There is no harm in dreaming a corruption free society in the future although it has taken roots in the state in every sphere. Engines should be set rolling to lessen the degree of corruption. Surprisingly, an effort against corruption is absent in the work plan. Handing over the misappropriation cases of Manipur Development Society was a good move, but it is simply not enough. The effort should begin from the top. In his first move after becoming the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath had given 15 days to all his ministers to provide all details about their assets, income and even liabilities. Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren should also do the same starting from himself, to match the poll promises made.

Leader Writer: Irengbam Arun

Source: Imphal Free Press

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