Job promise in scarce Manipur
It is over three months since formation of the BJP-led coalition government but minister Thongam Biswajit still harping on the party’s pre-poll promises to revive sick industrial units, develop industrial infrastructure and give emphasis on skill development to generate sufficient employment opportunity to the youth of Manipur does not justify the mandate or expectation of the people that change of government will usher in an era of over-all progress. People suddenly swamped by a flood of promises and political parties of all ideologies remembering hardships of the marginalised section of the society in the run-up to any elections have been part and parcel of Indian democracy, but minister Biswajit, in-spite of holding some major portfolios, repeating the same assurances at every possible forum is hard to digest. In acknowledgement of the North Eastern Region lagging far behind the national average in terms of development and virtually non-existent basic minimum services, the then UPA government had in October 1996 announced ‘New Initiatives for the North Eastern Region’, containing development package of Rs 6100 crore, including Rs 705 crore for Manipur to bridge the continuing gaps in infrastructural sectors that dented industrial growth in the region. However, existing socio-economic disparities plaguing the state testifies that neither the development initiatives of the then government nor the huge sum of investment made has been able to bring about any notable changes at the ground level.
Thus, for someone who has been entrusted with portfolios which are considered important for accelerating the pace of development, it would be more prudent in case Biswajit starts implementing programmes that yield the desired results rather than hoping for some divine intervention for the materialisation of the party’s objective for a new Manipur. Election manifestoes being a perfectly legal and legitimate democratic instrument, even if the promises are unrealistic or absurd, have been handy for both ruling and rival parties to expose the deceit and as such it is not necessary that ministers continue to make repetitive comments for voters do remember what promises were made by political parties during election time but could not be executed after they are voted to power. For instance, there were hardly any differences in election manifestoes of the different political parties in the run-up to the 11th Manipur Legislative Election but some political heavyweights, especially substantial number of incumbent ministers biting the dust indicated that voters could no more be swayed by tall promises. Rather, they appear to be keen in constantly rewarding good governance and punishing those who could not deliver. For a start, taking into account of lack of resources minister Biswajit may accord priority in promoting industrial projects based on agriculture and allied sectors by taking advantage of the state’s suitable agro-climatic condition. Equal importance may also be given in helping the skilled artisans in the handloom and handicraft sectors by extending financial assistance and raw material support to the micro level entrepreneurs in order to showcase that at-least some of his objectives with regard to generating employment opportunity for over 7 lakh educated unemployed youths in five years are accomplishable. In case minister Biswajit succeeds in attaining even half the target set then he is set to be remembered among the rare breed of politicians who keep their words.