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E-Pao! Incident - N Times Taxing 2

N Times Taxing 2
* Anonymous Singh



If you haven’t read the previous article, I would suggest that you read the article and then come back for this one. Many people, including me, have been good at criticizing what is going on in Manipur while very few of us have come up with suggestions on what can be done to fix the problems. I would like to start out by discussing the consequence of N Times Taxing and then continue with suggestions on how to fix the problem.

The consequence of N Times Taxing is mainly on the economic front. There has been a lack of development in Manipur for decades and N Times Taxing is taking Manipur back to the stone age. Manipur is far behind the other states of India, in terms of development and much further behind the developed nations, may be five decades behind. The solution to the present problem also lies in economic prosperity. But neither the government nor the militant groups are providing an incentive for investment in Manipur. The investors will not like being taxed many times by the militant groups and they will not like the infrastructure of Manipur. The government has to do their part on developing good infrastructure in Manipur and the militant groups have to do their part in limiting or abolishing the tax system. High tax is not a good incentive for economic development. Even the Bush administration has cut taxes to stimulate the economy.

All the countries in the world, from United States to China to India, are trying to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), which will help in increasing their gross domestic product and also provide jobs to its citizens. The need for private companies investing in Manipur is similar to the need of FDIs by these countries. In order to uplift the economy of Manipur, investment is very much needed. The factors that attract foreign companies to invest in a country are political stability, market potential and accessibility, repatriation of profits, infrastructure, and ease of currency conversion. The factors that will attract investors to invest in Manipur would be political stability and a good infrastructure, which is non-existent.

Some militant groups have talked about the uplifting of the economy of Manipur by imposing wearing of "phaneks" by the women folk and by banning Hindi movies. This is certainly a good initiative to improve the situation but in my opinion they are missing the “big picture”. By creating an environment which drives away investments, they are driving away jobs and economic prosperity from Manipur. The sale of “phanek” and Bollywood style manipuri movies will not be enough to provide economic prosperity. What we need right now is big investments. Only a good infrastructure and a stable law and order situation can bring that.

In regards to the political front, the Government of India has been very successful in implementing the 'divide and rule' policy in the northeastern states. By divide and rule I mean that the representatives from each northeastern states to the parliament is very small in number and the bargaining power in any issue by the representatives is almost non-existent. The development policy of the northeastern states can be sidelined and a 'step-motherly' treatment can be given to these states. In this regard the militant groups in northeastern states have done a good job in opening the Central Government’s eyes. The militant groups have been able to get the attention of the Central government.

It is a game of numbers in the national politics. The politicians of the northeastern states should come together and form a party to take advantage of the situation in the Center right now. Not a single party is able to form a government. It is going to be a coalition government almost every time in the Center. A party with 8-15 seats is able to get a cabinet ministry and they have a lot of bargaining powers. The politicians of northeastern states should bury their differences and work for a common goal in the northeastern states. All the seats from northeastern states combined together woud form a good number and they will have a bargaining power. They will also be able to grab one or two cabinet ministry. The states can rotate the cabinet ministry among themselves and work for development of northeastern states.

With regard to solving the problem of militancy and bringing normalcy to the law and order situation, Mr. Ibobi cannot solve the problem by bringing more and more security forces to the state. It can only aggravate the situation. People don’t like the ill trained security forces near their homes. People don’t like security forces who do not understand the value of human rights near their homes. More CRPF will not solve the problem. CRPF personnel are like laymen holding guns. They are not trained properly and they do not know the meaning of human rights. The highest number of deaths among the security forces in ambushes by militants must be of CRPF (No Statistics, just guessing).

The bringing of more CRPF or any other security forces, will not solve the problem. It is a political problem. The concerted effort of the people of Manipur and the government will solve it. The government should try to bring the militant groups to the table for negotiations. If the government’s intention to solve the problem is sincere they should also make a road map to peace like the road map made by US, for Israel and Palestine.


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