I have been writing in both electronic media and print media at least for the last 6 years.
Most of my articles are based on my observations on turmoil in managements of a number of business concerns and diseases in the economy with emphasis on loopholes in government policies, and failure of other concerned stakeholders of the business concerns to rise to the occasion, etc. in the country in general and the north-eastern region in particular.
My all such observations with my sincere suggestions aim at overcoming the short comings.
Since all the constituent states and union territories must contribute, I have been laying great emphasis on economic progress of the northeastern states with my views which have been formed with my experience in professional managements for more than 14 years.
The first one was a manufacturing concern with lucrative profits in its bags every year during my stay, the second one was a flagship company in the RNBC sector which catered to the financial requirements of the government as well.
I have always been hammering on the points of proper identification of the opportunities and vis-à-vis the threats through SWOT analysis, making proper diagnosis of the problems and formulation of policies to combat the problems, adopting control measures and in doing so to take to attitudinal adjustments to do away with inefficiency, nepotism and favouritism, etc. which cripple a management.
In view of the growing problems in the country’s economy encompassing growing unemployment, low productivity in the agriculture sector, crippling movement of a number of industrial concerns, and failure to find potential market, etc. a number of articles have been written and discussions have taken place and expert committees have been formed to look into the problems and put forward their suggestions for rectifying the erring trends.
But in spite of all these, why has the situation failed to show a satisfactory movement?
Yes, problems like the COVID-19 onslaught and its resultant impact on the economy may often be stumbling across the efforts for economic progress. But, there the real challenges of accepting them lie; the role of a professional prevails and that is exactly what the current situation is desperately demanding. How many of us have ever very seriously thought about where are the real problems lying? If they were really considered with great seriousness, then why are the results not tangible?
Only presentation of articles cannot do away with the problems because theory and practical are two altogether different domains. Even for homogeneous problems, solutions that may hold good in case of two industrial concerns may not be a viable solution for the third one. At the same time one must be professionally competent enough to evaluate if the results achieved are satisfactory and to bring the trend to the path of correction as and when necessary.
The challenges before the company managements have been changing very fast over the period of last two decades or so. Hefty salaried top-notch professionals have been preferred for obvious reasons. Resultantly, the enterprises having their presence much more prominently in the private sector, are doing marvelously.
Only academic knowledge without sufficient onsite field knowledge helps us in giving bookish suggestions only, – very often this may not hold good for practical purposes and resultantly desired results are not achieved. Observing the trend of industrial development in this region and need for its propitiation, this is my sincere opinion.
Most of the problems in management do not have strait-jacket formula- one must have professional competence and ability to come out with the most desirable solution which nobody will get in any of the management books. Have we ever taken account of formation of different committees by the government for industrial development in Assam?
Last year, at the beginning of COVID-19 onslaught also, in Assam such a committee was formed by the Government of Assam. May we know how much has been achieved out of the suggestions of that committee?
Let us not forget that as I very often dwell on the rising problem of unemployment, if the situation of economic progress of our Northeast does not improve expeditiously, which according to me is a very Herculean task, being in the vice of rising prices of all the items whether essential or non-essential, the region is likely to see more and more conversion of middle class people into poor class people.
Is it not the time to ask how much industrial progress the region has achieved in the last decade and vis-à-vis that increase in unemployment experienced?
While on one hand the benefits of GDP are not at all flowing satisfactorily to most of the middle class people and the poor class people and on the other hand at the same time rising inflation is pushing them to further financial crunch, and in this northeast region of the country with despondency of economic development, the problems are much more serious compared to most of the other parts of the country- it is time for actions and actions only – I very seriously opine.
Industrial sector is proceeding to become more and more specialized.
When I ask myself – if a PSU like OIL should be happy with the level of profit (PAT) that it earns, it leads me to arrive at a very negative answer. Even though the figure may be a huge one, have we ever asked ourselves as to if more productivities in all the departments could have been achieved with resultant achievement of more meaningful profit? This question holds good in case of all the PSUs.
To the entrepreneurs of our northeastern region, my suggestion is straightforward with dwelling on a bit of my practical experience considering that the same may have some relevance in this context. A simple example will amplify that. When I was in the management of my first employed concern- a manufacturing industrial concern, every year’s budgeted profit was increased by a minimum percentage for every next year, putting more emphasis on productivities because if productivities were enhanced, that would automatically take care of production also. Being a person in the HR department, for a long-term production and productivity based settlement for the shop floor, with the recognized union, I advocated for binding the other union also which was not a recognized union.
My decision was mainly on the factual position that most of the daily-rated workmen were belonging to that union and unless their involvement was achieved, scaling up of production and productivity could not be satisfactory.
It is mention-worthy that, prior to that settlement, when that union which was not a recognized union was left out from being a signatory to a settlement, even though there was resultant increase in production and productivity, the increase in production and productivity was having sufficient scope for further improvement what I sincerely considered.
This is only one of the various positive happenings and such happenings of improvement of performance took place in all other departments with professional challenges thrown to us reminding us of no place for non-performers.
The increment was absolutely on the basis of performance, with the upper bracket open considerably. For the piece-rated workers, more quality production meant more wages, and for the performers, due promotions were never evasive. For the daily-rated workmen, parameters like machine maintenance, decreasing the downtime of machines for being out of order, etc. were crucial for ensuring support to the piece-rated workers.
The very honest intention of the management for the all round progress was the most major reason why the employees were always trying to give their best. Non-performers, particularly in management, were not finding their positions smooth at all.
My second employer, being the flagship one in the group in the RNBC sector, made each and every one of the concern well-versed in marketing in addition to his/her own discipline. True, by and by, marketing has started exploring further horizons for more and more economic progress. Complaining against non-availability of electricity supply for so many hours together (as is the case in the Northeast region) fell on deaf ears – it was left to us as to how to get all the papers and documents properly in time.
Very often, that led us to burn the midnight oil. As a matter of fact, a professional outlook including ability to work hard is sine qua non for all the facets of the economy- whether in manufacturing sector, service sector, or as such, any other sector.
This is a wake-up call for the northeastern region – it is time to act expeditiously while at the same time trying to avoid unproductive moves.
(The author is a Guwahati-based advocate)