Govt should support local entrepreneurs

In keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to promote local items through the ‘Vocal for local’ initiative under the Atmanirbhar Bharat programme, the state government has also announced to promote local entrepreneurs. Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Thursday directed the textiles & handicrafts department to finalize its modalities to procure government office requirements from local NGOs, societies, SHGs and entrepreneurs. The CM also directed the officials to complete the process within a fixed time. This is a welcome move and will definitely help the local entrepreneurs. However, at a time when the CM himself is promoting the ‘Vocal for local’ initiative, his government is going ahead with the plan to procure government supplies through the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal.
Various organizations, including the All Nyishi Youth Association and the All Arunachal Contractor’s Welfare Association have opposed the move, saying it will hurt the interests of the local contractors. The concerns raised by them are genuine. In fact, the decision to go ahead with procurement through the GeM portal goes against the very spirit of the Atmanirbhar Bharat programme, which is to support the local entrepreneurs. If the state government is not happy with the quality of supply or work, they should take strong action against the local contractors and also against the government officials for failing to check the quality. At a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the state hard, the local entrepreneurs need the support of the government. But instead of offering them a helping hand, the state government is trying to take away their livelihoods.