The Peoples Chronicle

The Peoples Chronicle

Friday, 30 January 2015 00:00

Political Economy Perspective

Small And Medium Enterprises Under Threat

Dr.Chinglen Maisnam

Small and Medium enterprises in North East India

The North Eastern  Region is characterized by low per capita income, low capital formation, inadequate infrastructural facilities, communication bottleneck and geographical isolation from the mainstream. It  is also characterized by inadequate exploitation of the natural and human resources, for which industrial activities are very low in the entire region and high unemployment rate among the relatively highly literate people. The high Level commission on the North East popularly known as the Shukla Commission’s Report on ‘Transforming the North East’(1997) defined five basic deficits: a basic need deficit,an infrastrure deficit,a resource deficit,a two-way deficit of understanding with the rest of the country and a governance deficit.The biggest problem facing the NER is the lack of adequate and reliable infrastructure.In the front of industrial development, the N E ‘a late comer to development’ (as defined by Sukla Commission,1997), is in the lowest rank among the region. The North East India is industrially backward and has been declared as category ‘A’ (Industrially backward region).

Industrial backwardness of this region is reflected in the fact that the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the state domestic product of the region is much smaller than the contribution of this sector to the national product in the country.   Owing to the presence of such multi-pronged deficits, the full potential of the NE region could not be tapped. The contribution of the manufacturing to the SDP has been insignificant. The industrial backwardness is reflected in its total number of enterprises.

Only about 1.5% of country’s’ MSMEs have been set up in the region.  In absence of large scale industries, manufacturing in north east is currently dominated by these small and medium enterprises. Industrialisation in the region as it stands today is marked by declining share of manufacturing sector at 5.66 percent (2012) as compared to 17 percent at National level since 1993-94.  NSSO shows that in the industrial output of NER states, there is substantial contribution from the local micro and small enterprises (MSEs). The informal manufacturing sector (IMS), which is basically MSME in nature, is the highest contributing segment (62%) in the industrial output of the region.

At present, the SMEs in the region are facing huge challenges to be able to play their due role in the regional economy and national economy as well as to remain competitive in the era of globalization and liberalization. Keeping in view the challenges confronting the MSMEs in the region, the Government of India has turned its focus towards SMEs that have tremendous growth potential. Banks are also now offering to SMEs, various products from working capital loans to term loans. In order to mobilize the SMEs and Entrepreneurs of North East India to channelize their energy and resources to bring out economic development and prosperity of the region, the GOI Industrial Policy NEIIPP 2007 brought a package of incentives which has encouraged enterprise in North East India.

  1. 100% excise exemption on finished products,
  2. 100% income tax exemption,
  3. 30% capital investment subsidy on the investment of P & M,
  4. 90% transport subsidy
  5. 3% interest subsidy on working capital loan and comprehensive insurance etc.

North East Industrial Policy (2007) is expected to play a pivotal role in the industrial growth by providing the most conducive environment for attracting industrial investment. The policy is intended to accelerate the industrial growth of the region by intervening at the crucial point and provide the needed inducement to the entrepreneurs and industrial houses. Though the component of the policy can be said to be encouraging, the real test however it lies in how far these have been successful in attracting investment into the region. Government of India has been focusing on the North East as a priority area. 10% of the budget of each ministry is earmarked for expenditure in the North East. Short falls in this respect contribute towards the Non Lapsable Pool, which is used to fund projects in the NE. The Prime Minister has also directed that Ministers and senior officers of respective ministries must visit the states of the North East. Government has also announced North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy,2007.

Despite all these development, benefits to the north east economy is extremely marginal. It cannot attract much of the investment and also entrepreneurs. It may be noted that private capital is yet to be interested in investing in infrastructure development in the North East. The main reason why investment both Domestic and Foreign is not North-East friendly is that, “Crowding out theory” does not work in this peripheral region. The theory is that public investment crowds out Private investment. But fact is that it does not crowd out, rather it provide precondition for private investment, as experienced by the coastal states of India. Public investment crowds out private investment is incorrect theory being peddled by the IMF and World Bank misguided expenditure deflating policies. India saw cutbacks in investment, public spending and credit to small producers after neo-liberal reforms.

CONCLUSION

Though the MSME today occupies an important role in directing the development process for growth and prosperity of the north eastern region, the MSME sector have been facing a tough fight, not only against its own counterparts (MSME), but also from large and organised sector of the country and also from the MNCs. Poor infrastructure and inadequate market linkages are also key factors that have constrained growth of the sector. So, the speedy development of MSME is a fundament prerequisite for the meaningful involvement of the NER in India’s Look East Policy and Globalisation process. All these will require huge investment; and, therefore it is imperative that adequate fund flow for public investment needs to be assured. It is urging the policy makers and planners to formulate a comprehensive strategy for the speedy development of the sector and deepen the engagement with the ASEAN countries through expanding productive based of the economy.

Friday, 30 January 2015 00:00

Manipur lacks leaders of repute

The recognition of the Zeliangrong leader Rani Gaidinliu as a national figure of repute by both the State and the Centre, and an equal response from the people as a leader of the masses, comes at an opportune time when the region has a dearth of public leaders and statesmen of standing at the national and international forum. The contribution by the Zeliangrong freedom fighter who rose from the status of a village girl to one of the much talked about people’s leaders braving against the might of the powerful British Imperial forces is remarkable and as history tells us, one that cannot be forgotten that easily. In remembering her and her role in resisting the spread of British supremacy in the far eastern corner of India, the country today counts her as one amongst those great leaders of British ruled India to have stood up firmly for the country’s sovereignty and for the freedom of the people. Mahatma Gandhi took to the path of non-violence to attain India’s freedom from British rule, while Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose took up arms to oust the ruling British forces. Theirs were the same objective – to free India from foreign yoke. Rani Gaidinliu’s resistance against British supremacy, although at a smaller scale and in limited space, is equally significant considering the nature of the resistance she was waging against a powerful adversary. That, perhaps is the reason why the country recognizes her as one of those leaders of British ruled India to have raised their voice fearlessly against the British crown.

Hijam Irawat Singh, respected as Jananeta Irawat, is another leader of the masses who finds a place in the hearts of Manipuris for having taking up the cause of the people and resisting the principles of monarchy that evidently went against the interest of the common masses. Hijam Irawat who himself had close affinity with the monarchy of Manipur instead chose to rally to the cause of the people, forsaking comfort and wealth to take shelter in forsaken places, committed to the last for the welfare and progress of the Manipuri people. Politics aside, Hijam Irawat was a charismatic leader of the masses and inspired the people, in particular the women of Manipur to raise their voice against the State, which was then under British rule, resulting in the famous Nupi-lan (women’s war) of 1939, remembered till today as one of the landmark episodes in modern Manipuri history. The irony is that, apart of these few leaders of the masses, Manipur basically lacks leaders of repute and statesmanship who can lead us to progress and development in this space-age. Gujarat now has a strong leader in Narendra Modi who is projecting the State as the role model for the whole country in terms of rapid strides in development in every sector – whether industry, information technology, cooperative movement, trade and commerce, or tourism. Do we in Manipur have seen a leader who has risen above the petty state politics to have raised Manipur’s status at par with the other developing States in the country? Do we have a state leader who has ever pushed hard for Manipur’s presence in national politics or for Manipur’s presence in international forums of trade and commerce? Hardly so, if one has the liberty to be free and frank on this topic. In the days (years) to come, we sincerely hope to have a ‘neta’ – a leader of the people in the true sense – who can commit wholly to the progress and development of the State in tune to the changing scenario around the world.

Informing that top officials of different ministries would be visiting Manipur every month February onward to monitor administrative mechanism of various departments, BJP Manipur Pradesh general secretary M Ashwinikumar said in case any corrupt activity is detected the ministry officials will recommend for initiation of punitive action against erring officials.

Interacting with this daily on Thursday, Ashwinikumar alleged that due to administrative incompetency and patronising corruption by the ruling Congress government the state has been lagging behind on all sectors subsequently resulting in the people suffering serious inconveniences.

Following constant conveyance to the centre about rampant corruption in the state, the NDA government has eventually decided to depute two officials of no less than Joint Secretary rank of different ministries, he confided and revealed that after proper assessment and authenticating report about corruption the officials would recommend for punitive action to the central government.

Even though BJP state unit has been urging the central government to provide adequate development fund such an initiative would not yield the desired result if the Government of Manipur has no financial accountability or transparency, the general secretary affirmed while asserting that checking corruption is inevitable to usher development in the state.

Contrary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi bestowing establishment of a national sports university to Manipur in recognition and honour of excellent achievements by state sportspersons construction activities of the said sports university are being unjustifiably delayed owing to inept handling on the site selection process, he said adding that centre is not satisfied with the state government’s failure to allot land for the varsity.

Even if the Chief Minister is desirous of setting up the sports university within Thoubal district a proper and controversy-free location should be identified at the earliest possible, suggested the BJP leader while cautioning that any further delay might have adverse impact on the project.

Informing that Union Minister for Road Transport and Surface Communication Nitin Gadkari will be arriving here after the parliament session end, he expressed confidence that the Union Minister might announce raod/highway development projects.

 Moreover, Union Social Justice and Women Empowerment Minister Thawarchand Ghelot is scheduled to visit Manipur on February 6 followed by the arrival of Union CAF&PD Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on February 14 or 15, Ashwinikumar conveyed adding that subsequent to intimation by the state BJP there are specific information about the central government likely to appoint a full-time Governor of Manipur in the second week of February.

Maintaining that state BJP organisation has been gaining strength with each passing day, he also said that two newly constructed halls would be formally inaugurated during the visit of one of the Union Ministers.

At-least five persons, including three civilians, have reportedly been injured when unknown persons launched a grenade attack near a mobile check post of 40 Assam Rifles in Lilong area at around 7.45 pm Thursday.

Despite five persons wounded in the attack, two of them suffered minor injuries and have been released after first aid medication at Lilong Community Health Centre. The duo has been identified as Md Wasim (20) son of Md Tomba of Thoubal Moijing Litanpok and Md Maheijuddin (45) son of Md Tomba of Lilong Mairenkhul.

The three other injured persons have been identified as 40 AR Naik Subedar Kunjamon KG (47) from Kerala, rifleman of the same unit Deepak (30) and Laishram Bobychand of Yairipok Poirou Khongjin Mayai Leikai, a civilian.

According to police report, the grenade attack was carried out by unknown occupants of an auto-rickshaw when the AR troopers were conducting frisking and checking duty at the mobile check post.

While the AR troops were manning the check post, two of the injured civilians are said to be passing through the area in a Tata Magic passenger carrier and the third riding on a bicycle when the incident occurred.

The two injured AR personnel have been admitted to RIMS Hospital while L Bobychand has been taken to Advance Hospital, Palace Compound. All three are said to be out of danger.

Information has also been received about five persons detained at Lilong police station for questioning after they were rounded up from different locations of the Imphal-Lilong road during checking and frisking operation conducted by security forces soon after the blast.

Friday, 30 January 2015 00:00

Centre, states to meet on smart cities

The central government will give a shape to its Smart Cities programme after a two-day meeting of secretaries of state governments and union territories on this issue in New Delhi from Friday, said Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu.

"A final shape to the smart cities concept would be given at the meeting. Each state will have three smart cities, excluding the state capital," said Naidu at a conference on Tamil Nadu Smart Cities organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here Thursday.

The central government has plans to develop 100 smart cities.

According to Naidu, the smart cities would be developed through public-private participation (PPP) model. The central government, state government and the urban local bodies would collaborate in developing the smart cities.

At the two-day meeting with the secretaries, issues like the kind of support, hand holding that would be needed, ensuring citizen's participation in urban governance, reforms needed to be undertaken and other related matters would be deliberated, he said.

Naidu said countries like the US, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Sweden and Germany have showed interest in building smart cities in India. He said the centre is also mulling to announce a "city challenge" initiative where aspiring cities would be measured on defined parameters.

Friday, 30 January 2015 00:00

Indefinite bandh on Imp-Moreh road begins

The Tengnoupal Village Authority has called an indefinite bandh along Imphal-Moreh section of National Highway 102 with effect from Thursday midnight in protest against alleged prohibition/restriction on free movement of Tengnoupal villagers and surrounding villages by 24 Assam Rifles.

Addressing media persons in this regard, Lunminthang Haokip, secretary of Tengnoupal Village Authority said the Village Authority and people of Tengnoupal will impose indefinite bandh along Imphal-Moreh section from Thursday midnight. The indefinite bandh has been called to protest prohibiting free movement of locals after 6 pm by the 24 Assam Rifles posted at Tengnoupal, said the secretary.

He further informed that the decision was taken by the villagers after AR personnel prohibited villagers who were coming home from Pallel and Imphal to proceed further at Sita Lamkhai near Tengnoupal on the National Highway. Even Village Authority members who went to urge them allow the villagers to proceed were abused by the AR personnel, said Haokip

Strongly condemning action of the Assam Rifles, the secretary said all right thinking individuals and organisations should condemn the AR for depriving right of the villagers to move freely.

A lady CRPF personnel was arrested by security personnel stationed at Imphal-Tulihal Airport for carrying live ammunition while trying to board a Guwahati-bound Indigo flight number 6E128 from Imphal Tulihal Airport, Thursday evening.

According to reports reaching The People’s Chronicle, the apprehended lady CRPF personnel who has been identified as Kimnu Kipgen was found in possession of a live round of 5.56mm. she has been handed over to Singjamei Police Station for further interrogation.

Meanwhile, a person identified as Md Abdul Hassan (38) of Lilong was also arrested by Airport authorities after he was found carrying 103 packets of SP capsules while trying to board a Kolkata bound Air India flight (AI713) from Imphal-Tulihal Airport. He has also been handed over to the police.

Friday, 30 January 2015 00:00

NSCN-IM leaders in Delhi to resume talks

Thuingaleng Muivah, general secretary, NSCN-IM left for Delhi, Thursday at around 1.30 pm to join Chairman Isak Chisi Swu who is already stationed at Delhi since the first week of January, for Indo-Naga peace dialogue.

According to a source available to The Herald Today, Muivah left Nagaland for the national capital along with some of the steering committee members and top bras of the outfit on the invitation of the Central leaders. The precise dates for talks and key issues to be addressed in the meeting are not defined.

It may be noted that several rounds of talks have already been held after the path-breaking first round. The format of talks between the Government of India and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M) "has been changed" with both sides agreeing to expedite the talks willing to find an amicable solution as soon as possible. A decision was taken to do away with the practice of holding one or two rounds of formal talks in a year. Such a practice was going on for years without much progress.

The GoI has already made its points clear to the leadership of the NSCN-IM and its limitations in clear terms. In response, NSCN-IM leaders had also expressed their limitations on certain issues. Those points are now being discussed in detail to find a solution acceptable to both parties.

A mysterious animal disease currently widespread in Koide, Thingba Khullen, Purul, Oinam, Keize and Reah villages has reportedly claimed more than 300 cows and 200 buffaloes, according to sources in these villages.

The epidemic continues to claim the lives of cattle posing threat to hundreds of poor farmers whose family income rely heavily on cattle. Panii, secretary of Thingba Khullen, today informed The Herald Today that the symptoms of the mysterious disease include bacterial infection between the claws, swelling above the hooves, fever, lack of appetite, red urine, pale, yellow gums and eyes. The same disease broke out in the past too, however, this is the worst case ever, he added.

Th Veinii of Lower Koide, speaking to The Herald Today, said most of the affected cattle are calves between 1 to 3 years. These calves are more vulnerable to succumb to the infectious disease due to lack of breast fed milk.

It is noteworthy that almost every family in the village owns cattle to generate income and also use them for agricultural purposes. If the situation is not put under control before further spread of the epidemic, economy of hundreds of families will be severely hit. So far, no staff from the department concerned has come to provide medication or suggest remedies for the disease. Villagers are aggrieved as they are in helpless situation, said the disgruntled farmer.

It is also reported that cattle-owners bought medicines in their own capacity from the market and Vety Department, Senapati as immediate option for cure. However, only few were saved.

The anguished villagers appealed to authorities concerned, departments and other agencies and individuals to take stock of the situation at the earliest. The villagers also expressed their trepidation that the disease may transfer onto human if not addressed on time.

Probing an unusual case of law enforcers turning rogue, NIA has charge sheeted five policemen including one of the rank of Superintendent of Police for allegedly selling arms to cadres of Naga militant group NSCN-IM.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed charge sheet against Sejongmong Sangta, who was the then Superintendent of Police, James Ovung, who was the then Sub-Divisional Police Officer of Enyihi, Longlise Sangtam and Sashitsungba Ao (all Nagaland Police officials) under various sections of IPC and Arms Act for allegedly supplying arms and ammunition to the Naga group who used them against other groups including arch rivals NSCN-Khaplang outfit.

The charge sheet, submitted in Special NIA court at Dimapur earlier this week, said that during investigation, the accused police officials "were found involved in misappropriation of huge quantities of ammunition from the Arms Kote of District Police Wokha, Nagaland by preparing forged documents during the period of 2011-2012, with an ulterior motive."

The NIA claimed to have established that the charge sheeted police personnel including the senior officials during their service tenure in the district of Wokha, allegedly entered into a criminal conspiracy with common intention to commit criminal breach of trust by indulging in pilferage of huge quantities of live ammunitions from Government Kote and to sell it "to anti national elements in exchange of money."

The case came to light with the arrest of a Nagaland police constable by Assam Rifles troops on April 20, 2012 and it was found during initial probe that he had been involved in selling ammunition meant for Nagaland Police to NSCN-IM since last seven years.

The NSCN (IM) was using the ammunition for training their cadres and youths for waging war against India, the agency sources said.

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