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E-Pao! Opinions - THOUGHTS ON OUR STATE ECONOMY

THOUGHTS ON OUR STATE ECONOMY
Mr. Rajkumar Umesh Singh

As soon as this year's budget will be reveal, local ruling politicians will be happy with hail and praise of their annual booty. At the same time, they will fail again to mention the issues that might stand in the way of achieving the state economy goals. I am neither an economic or financial expert to advise the minister of finance and state economy. But I speak as a citizen and poor people of the state whose "fingers have been burned" by some ministerial decisions and as one who suffers always from the shortcomings that plague all of us in the state.

The new government nominates members of cabinet, the board chairman and advisory chairs to the various departments and councils. These members are presumably highly talented, devoted and well qualified to carry out their duties.

Why then do we have so many problems? Is it because of inadequate funding to each department or because of lack of revenue or because of existing regulations, which stand in the way of progress? Or is it because of the interests of some pressure groups only?

Like most law-abiding citizen I have lost interest in the defection politics of Manipur and deteriorating vision of Manipur economy. The Ministry of Finance and state economy designer alone knows the secrets - if there are any. A former Minister of Finance said on an earlier occasion that the Ministry paid contractors without delay. Any delays can be blame on because the required formalities had not been properly completed.

I consider such a statement a diplomatic attempt to sidestep the Ministry's failure to pay millions of Rupees owed by the state govt. to the centre and to the public or private sector. Government depts. can pay contractor only if the work is included in the budget. If there is no budgetary provision for the contract, the official who made the payment should be punished. A bill has to go through a number of formalities before it can finally be paid. If the formalities are not completed, the bill will be delayed in a bureaucratic maze.

Another important question asked by the people is why government revenue is insufficient to meet expenses and pay the public debts? Common people consider it is a waste to spend 60 to 70% of state revenue on salaries. This is paid to both productive and nonproductive state employees. It is not right to spend millions of Rupees on these employees while one third of them could be declared redundant without affecting the quality of service offered to the public. A restructuring could get rid of unnecessary employees. The govt. restructuring only to provide required services instead of govt. creating new departments and ministries. The govt. should help surplus employees find work in govt. sectors or allow them to take early retirement.

The state has been targeted by the profit makers and bloodsuckers, especially when the state get some grant or sanction money from the central govt. Several outside firms make a beeline to the state to market their dumped goods or to construct 2nd rated bridges and dams, draining scarce state fund.

Is it not possible to cut salary expenses to less than 40%?Is it not possible to scale down spending on ministerial expenditure by half without jeopardizing its activities? Can't govt. operating expenditure cut one third of its current operating costs? These are the questions to be studied by this new government. We should explore different ideas for, and methods of avoiding future economic crises.

The responsibility of this new govt. is very large if it is keen to provide all govt amenities to every citizen of the state. If the government is determined amenities provide each district with its demands and cover its own financial obligations for the next 5 years, it cannot be done even if the central funding is lesser twice what it is today. The government should cut all unproductive and wasteful expenses and make each department accountable for the money it wasteful revenue target collection should be 100% efficient and augmented with new fees and taxes from those who can afford to pay.

There are committed people who can offer good solutions to our state problems. Every govt. employee should be accountable for his/her actions. He/she should explain to the govt how he/she got every rupees he/she possesses. Any obstacle to the proper functioning of the public monitoring rupees and administrative investigations department should be removed.

The efforts of this new govt. must make our lives more safe and comfortable. The ministry's efforts must include govt solving unemployment problems, industrial development, tourism programmes related infrastructure developments, citizen ID cards, improvements in telecommunication, health services, road development and train connection programmes with Assam valley, and so on.

There are other questions to be answered. How long will Imphal continue to be sunk in rainwater and sewage? Do remote and unimportant regions get their Imphal of budgetary allocations for in rainwater Is there any solutions for terrorist problems? What is the use of the high court issuing a judgment without a deadline for its implementation? Why do those who give bad cheques go unpunished? The list of questions is very long. Will constructive criticism and differing opinion check us?

The most dangerous situation in our state is our leaders stands without doing anything, putting all the blame on others instead of accepting their own responsibility. Only changing ourselves can change the painful reality. I believe that this message is directed to all the state citizens and officials. We need more transparency from the government. The new directed govt. should not leave ring or loop without correcting it, every leader shall be held responsible for their actions. We should put our state interests over anybody's self interest.


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