Expecting Rs 14567 crore from the Centre
A few days back while speaking in Parliament during the Supplementary Demands for Grants our Hon. MP Dr Rajkumar Ranjan Singh asked the Centre to give a financial package of Rs 14567 Crore to Manipur for further development of the State. He gave emphasis on Act East Policy and infrastructure development. It is a very prudent request because we badly need financial assistance. The State Government is also seeking financial aid, perhaps the same amount from the Centre for strengthening the State economy. We may gracefully link our request with the 20 lac crore economic package for the whole country announced by the Hon Pradhan Mantriji in May 2020, to fight the Covid pandemic.
State fiscal deficit is projected at 3,743 Cr and budgetary deficit is given as 2,616 Cr. These figures may be right; but what is necessary for us to do is–to stabilize the fiscal position. One may argue that the fiscal situation of most of the States is equally bad. We agree, but there are still a few States which are doing well even during the pandemic. At least three States are performing well. We need to look at them and see how they are managing. Their revenue generation is pretty good. Then how to generate income for the State as well as for the people must be our focal point.
Most of the time we give the impression that there is a divide between the rich States and poor States; another categorization was “special category states”-meaning–States lagging behind. These are excuses or perceptions. Quite often the small States are considered economically weak. If you look at Goa or Sikkim or Mizoram , they are doing pretty well. The pertinent question is-how can they do better than the other small States ? We need to apply our mind.
For Goa we know it is tourism and its allied industries make them feel comfortable. What about Sikkim ? Again, Sikkim is doing well in Tourism, organic farming and lottery; what about Mizoram ? Fiscal prudence, assertive inter-State marketing, good governance, peace, education, discipline etc., are the key to their progress. There is nothing wrong with emulating good things from others; we have nothing to lose.
Excise collection is extremely high in Tamil Nadu; and it is also one of the advanced States in the country. Overall revenue collection in Gujarat and Maharashtra is better than many States. Himachal is extremely good in horticulture production and marketing; their apples and kiwis are doing very well commercially. I am not suggesting that we need to copy them blindly. We need to study and examine seriously whether such things can be done for us too.
Himachal Pradesh started widespread apple plantation some 50 years ago; actually apple plantation started in 1930s by the Britishers. Apple was never a natural fruit of Himachal. At present, production of Apple in Himachal is perhaps more than that of Kashmir. And now kiwi production is on the rise. After some time kiwi from Himachal will reach every nook and corner of the country. My point is, we may also explore the possibilities of a horticulture revolution in the State.
Haryana is now exporting fish to the nearby States including Delhi. Now-a- days I am told that Delhi does not require to bring fishes from Hyderabad because Haryana fishes are abundantly available. If you want sea fish that is a different matter. If Haryana can bring about a blue revolution within a few years, why can’t we do it ? We have the infrastructure for fish farming. The only thing required is – encouragement from the Govt and incentives from the local authorities. Our CM is also taking keen interest in enhancing fish production in the State.
In addition, I have been telling the State authorities to restart our lottery. At the same time let us commercialize our local brew “Yu”. A blue revolution is another possibility for us by reviving and rejuvenating our water bodies and also of course by inducting advanced ways of pisciculture.
How long can we continue with borrowing and begging ? After some time we are not likely to get bank loans despite State guarantee. The Banks may start asking for Central Government or RBI guarantee. Our market value is grossly diminished if not down and out. We desperately need to improve our fiscal position. Centre can’t give us package after package or financial aid after aid. Free financial assistance is no solution. How long do we have to continue like this? No blame game please. Atmanirbhar is the only dignified solution.
“Begging is big business, but don’t tell me to enjoy it .”