The main reason for the migration of most of the people from the northeastern region to the other parts of the country is the economic backwardness of the region.
In the Northeast, most of the surviving industrial units especially among the MSMEs in both manufacturing and service sectors are fighting tooth and nail for survival.
However, except for a few PSUs, how many large-scale industries are having a presence in this region is of everyone’s awareness.
It is needless to mention that the existing PSUs were set up mainly due to the availability of raw materials here.
Had there been no required resources, PSUs like ONGC, OIL and the refineries, etc. would not have there in the map of industries in the country’s northeastern region.
After all, in economic progress, all along in the country, the entire region has been sailing behind most of the other parts of the country.
In the meantime, growth of unemployment has become very alarming and agriculture in its present form and status, cannot offer any meaningful relief to that growing headache to the region’s economy, more so, when land is a fixed-in-supply factor of production.
Of course, the onslaught of COVID19 pandemic and consequent upon that, the periodic lockdowns as a remedial measure to that pandemic, have been making the situation much more severe.
To me, therefore, the region is now at such a juncture that unless we pull up the socks without any further delay, how much more agonizing will be the economic distress even in near future is not very easily predictable and any further toleration is feared to be very severely disastrous to the region’s economy.
The only consolation is that the COVID19 onslaught has not spared any part of the country.
It is absolutely high time for us to understand the gravity of the problems and in view of that we must identify the vistas for economic progress, and for that, the role of the MSME sector is most imperative and while rebooting, it must take the most leading role.
The region is blessed with natural resources-with utility for both manufacturing and service industries.
But to start with, we must be imbued with the principle of going ahead for self-reliance.
Why does the region can’t increase milk production and thereby reduce dependence on other states for dairy products? The scientific approach to cultivation will increase agricultural produces with productivity in the region.
The habit of utilizing most of the lands only for single cultivation and thus keeping idle for the rest of the period in a year is a great bane on the economy.
Arunachal Pradesh is very famous for kiwi fruit, Meghalaya for strawberry, and pineapple of Manipur – all are having its own international reputation and demand.
Pineapple of Tripura is also having its own class. Banana can be grown everywhere.
Agricultural produces like carrot, tomato, and potato can be inputs of commercial products like pickles, and sauces, etc.
Emphasis on mango, pineapple, and strawberry, etc. can cater to the needs of jam and jelly manufacturing industrial units. Utilization of land for wheat can lessen our dependence on wheat flour from other states of the country.
In course of time, that will pave the way for wheat-based industries also.
Cotton, bamboo, mulberry, and jute based industries are having great potential for growth here.
In spite of having a tremendous scope of production of fish, eggs and poultry items, our dependence on others is most baffling. These are only few of the enormous vistas for a rapid economic turnaround.
The entire region is blessed with natural floras and faunas.
With enormous natural beauty why Arunachal Pradesh cannot be developed into a paradise for tourists?
Loktak Lake with the Sangai for which Manipur is having its much-unparalleled fame in the world tourism map, have also not been properly utilized.
Do we still require time to attract people to Moirang?
The epitaph – “When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today” reminds the world community of the supreme sacrifices of the brave-hearts during the Second World War.
After going home to tell others of them the flow of the foreigners is also not heartening to the world-famous Garrison Hill at Kohima.
Personally, I am not of the opinion that we require any celebrity to attract tourists to Kaziranga National Park to have a glimpse of the one-horned rhino.
Herein also I have mentioned only scantily about our reach reservoir for tourist attraction.
Poor maintenance and infrastructure require immediate attention in this regard. Poor performance of so many in the service sector is mainly attributable to poor management, to name a few, the electricity boards and the transport corporations, etc. of the states which have been sustaining losses for so many years.
Our motto must be to bring about their early turn-around and hence, it is the need of the hour that harsh steps against those, who are identified as non-performers, must be taken on a priority basis.
After all, at this crucial juncture, we must indispensably concentrate on the increasing generation of revenue by the manufacturing and the service sectors with a facelift of the tourism sector.
But the initiative of the governments for satisfactory economic progress on sustained basis is far from being satisfactory.
(The author is an advocate. He can be contacted at [email protected])