Of engaging rural youths gainfully by NABARD: A nice economic initiative for Manipur

Mohendro Nandeibam
Contd from yesterday
A handsome youth is not necessarily a productive worker. The new hybrid of Ignorance and Arrogance is, perhaps, a new edition. Rural Manipur remains a classic example of small family farms, micro-enterprises and household business where the youth enjoy limited freedom in their own small world.
The ground reality at the moment is tough and taxing. Since it is too early for the rural youth to be left alone, there is need for continuous parenting of NABARD as Friend, Philosopher and Guide. We can think of applying BOT Model (Build-Operate and Transfer). Lack of institutional parenting is a great challenge in Manipur.
The commercial utilisation of 1,26,000 hectares of Culturable Waste Land in the state under a special package of NABARD may go a long way in engaging rural youth as initial step towards the development of mini agro-based industries in the rural areas. This could be a hopeful beginning of synergy of farming and non-farming activities with encouraging forward and backward linkages. This may be an option.
The problem is how to go about. We normally face twin problems of knowledge-gap and information-gap which cannot be untangled in real life. The youth in Manipur have now to be equipped with a new ability to address the gaps through intensive capacity building and skill development programmes and practical exposure on critical areas of mobilisation, sensitisation, organisation and management.
Creation of knowledge-friendly atmosphere is decidedly important. “But knowledge takes time to evolve, be disseminated and be accepted” (World Development Report, 1998-99).
Development of a cluster of villages as a MODEL would create better atmosphere of rising passions for larger engagement. In fact, motivation is largely a product of success. In due course, the fear of failure, a chronic disease, has to be made a thing of the past.
Remember, policy change is important, but much more important is policy response. A Regional Steering Committee could be of help.

The writer was a Member of State Planning Board, Government of Manipur. (e-mail: [email protected])