Political rhetoric and 100-day programme
GOING by the spree of launching projects and announcing welfare schemes under its 100 days programme coupled with the Union government assuring that fund shortage will not be an issue, Manipur is destined to witness positive changes in the coming years in case those responsible for overseeing implementation of the developmental projects could maintain transparency and work judiciously. Since formation of the BJP-led coalition government in the state, there has been significant improvement in the Centre-state relations as the same political party is holding the rein of power both at the centre and the state. While the pre-election period was marked by Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari announcing special package for bettering the transport infrastructure in acknowledgement of the people’s yearning for better transport facility in the state, the N Biren government taking up a slew of measures related to efficient administration, ushering in uniform development as well as checking corruption has probably paved the path to take Manipur to a new height of all-round progress. The Union government also sanctioning Rs 150 crore for the construction of women’s markets at the headquarters of hill districts, in addition to in-principle approval of other development proposals, days after the BJP-led coalition government was formed here, followed by Union tribal affairs minister Jual Oram announcing multi-crore package for tribal welfare projects are confirmation that financial issues would not be a hurdle for development projects as long as there is Centre-state harmony.
Manipur being an economically backward state, patronage of the Central government will be decisive in the fruitful implementation of the various welfare projects and in shaping the future of this landlocked and strife-torn state, where the problems are not only confined to insurgency issues but also disenchantment in some section of the society due to disparity in infrastructure development between the hills and valley areas. As it is clear that Manipur needs continuous support of the Centre, the state government should take utmost care and involve all the coalition partners in the developmental initiatives in order to dispel any notion among the allies about undermining their importance or interest so as to capitalise on the existing Centre-state camaraderie for implementing centrally-sponsored as well as state initiated projects. Regardless of the Centre’s pledge to fund Manipur’s development, those at the helm of affairs should strive for increasing transparency and coordination with the project implementing departments or agencies with particular emphasis on improving efficiency and blemish-free utilisation of the central funds rather than make tall promises which are unlikely to materialise. With the exception of laudable improvement in power sector, Manipur still lags far behind in terms of education, healthcare and agriculture and as such the government needs to focus in addressing absence of basic needs rather than the ministers continue to indulge in political rhetoric or make promises which cannot be kept or delivered while announcing projects under the 100 days programme.