Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging Pao ]
A group recently organised a two-day exhibition of indigenously made textile and agri-horti based products at the Dorjee Khandu State Convention Centre in Itanagar. The aim was to promote and showcase locally manufactured products of the state with the theme ‘Be local, buy local’.
There are negligible such industries in Arunachal Pradesh and North East India, and most products are imported from suppliers outside the state. With no supporting ecosystem, it is difficult for local products to compete with products from other cities of India. Many local industries including cottage industries, and horticulture farms are struggling in the state and many are closing down; unable to sustain in the competitive market dominated by multi-national companies and manufacturers.
It is seen that many government organisations and departments are ordering or sourcing products from outside the state when similar products are being produced in the state. This is due to the legacy of continuing with old agents and suppliers from outside the state. Many products like uniforms, sportswear, shawls, silk products, curtains, gales, mineral water etc are sourced from suppliers outside the state despite these being manufactured in the state.
Recently, a few states like Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka have passed laws or are planning to enact laws for compulsory provision of employment of at least 70 percent local persons to be eligible for state incentives. Though the Constitution allows all Indians to work anywhere in the country, many states implement policies to support local products and promote local labours or employees. Should not Arunachal also enact such a law?
If local departments and the people support and buy local products, the money remains circulated inside the state, contributing to economic growth of the state. However, if local departments and people prefer buying products from outside the state it leads to economic drain of the state. This economic drain leads to development of other states with our money!
The Indian freedom struggle started with concepts, such as ‘Swaraj’. Slogans like “Be Indian, Buy Indian” and “Boycott Chinese products” are propagated. In the same line, lesser developed states must promote and support local manufacturers and farmers by buying and using local products. The ideal support is when local population, including local officers, local organisations, local NGOs, student groups instinctively buy and use local products.
If local industries, and local fish farmers, horticulture farmers etc blossom, large employment will be generated; the economy will be boosted and dependence on central grants would reduce.
Are you ready to promote and support local products?
(The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)