Limping towards the New Normal
Fate of the returnees
Limping towards the New Normal and perhaps this is where the challenges before the Government become more and more clear. MPCC president and Congress MLA from Bishnupur Assembly Constituency Govindas Konthoujam was on target in raising the question, ‘What steps has the Government taken to rehabilitate the many who have returned from other cities of the country after their leaving their jobs ?’ This is a valid question and a point which The Sangai Express had raised on more than one occasion earlier. Chief Minister N Biren did come out with the answer that the returnees, who have all lost their jobs, may apply for the numerous Start-Up projects which the BJP led Government has introduced to meet the challenges of unemployment and to provide an earning avenue to thousands of unemployed youths, who may have their own unique idea of starting small time businesses. Obviously the Government cannot be expected to provide employment to all those, running into thousands, who returned home during the lockdown from different parts of the country, but a valid point has been raised. And it stands that not all will have the business acumen and the ideas to sell to the Government or anyone else but it is true that they were at point of time or the other all employed in different capacities in different cities of the country. They may include youngsters who may have found jobs as waiters, sales boys and sales girls, as beauticians etc. The significant point is, these youngsters were financially independent and did not have to rely on their parents and elders of the family back home. It also stands that most of the youngsters employed as sales boys and sales girls and waiters etc felt the need to move outside the State as there were no viable options for them back home. This is the harsh and ugly reality.
Obviously the Government cannot be expected to provide jobs to all the youngsters who have returned and in the absence of any big industrial houses in the State, the Start Ups launched by the Government should certainly help promising youngsters find meaningful employment. This will however be not enough and this is where avenues need to be studied to place Manipur as an attractive place for the big business houses to set up shops here. It also goes without saying that the Government should take note of some of the locally grown entrepreneurs who have been able to provide employment to some section of the educated youngsters. The Government need to be clear about the way forward. COVID-19 has certainly dealt a severe blow on thousands and the journey towards the New Normal should go along with the efforts to rehabilitate the thousands who had to leave their jobs and return home and many more whose small time trade had to be shut during the lockdown. Thoughts too need to be given to the teachers and non-teaching staff of the numerous private schools all over the State. The number of infection has certainly come down drastically in the last few days and correspondingly the recovery rate too has improved substantially, but it should be more than clear that the task before the Government as the people and the world march towards a New Normal will not be easy. The people too should not forget that the virus is still out there and it continues to spread though the number of new cases has come down appreciably in the last many days.