Make in Arunachal

Flights Of Fantasy

[ M Panging Pao ]

Google searches everything. We chat on Facebook, WhatsApp, buy products from Amazon, Flipkart, share songs and videos on YouTube. All these use the internet; all are American owned. Likewise, GPS, Apple, Instagram, Nike, Microsoft, Reebok and KFC are all American. Mercedes, Renault, Audi, Adidas and Vodafone are European. Samsung, Hyundai, Daewoo and LG are South Korean companies. Honda, Toyota, Sony, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Canon, Nissan and Nikon are Japanese. Lenovo, Xiaomi, Huawei, Vivo and Oppo are all Chinese products.

Similarly, Tata, Mahindra, Bajaj, Birla, Godrej, Kirloskar, Wipro, Infosys, Hero and Reliance are famous Indian companies. Conversely, the situation is reverse in the Northeast and Arunachal as there are negligible products made in the region.

Arunachal Pradesh became a union territory in 1972 and a state in 1987. Fifty years after becoming a union territory, we cannot claim to be a fresher. We have some experience below our belts.

Presently, almost all products used in our state are made outside the state. Basic items like paper, pen, clothes, plates, glasses, shoes, etc, are imported from outside the state. Daily items like bread, fish, poultry and vegetables are imported. Even though we have sufficient bamboo, we import paper; even with sufficient fresh water, we import bottled water; despite harvesting large amounts of fresh orange, kiwi, pineapple, etc, we import fruits, jams and fruit juice.

Products are imported from outside the state due to lack of manufacturing industries in the region. Lack of stabilised electricity, lack of infrastructure like good roads, railways, etc, lack of single-window licensing clearance, lengthy clearance process, lack of entrepreneurial spirit, etc, dampens the opening of new industries in the state. Single-window clearance system should have been implemented.

Lack of industries in the region was very evident during the Covid-19 pandemic. During the nationwide lockdown, the Northeast and Arunachal did not have essential items like sanitisers, masks, PPEs, testing kits, etc. Many places suffered from lack of essential groceries, medicines, etc. Necessary essential items, including grocery, sanitisers, PPEs, masks, etc, were imported from outside the region. Covid-19 pandemic has taught us an important lesson to become self-sufficient and self-reliant at the earliest.

Towards this, the government has brought in concepts like Atmanirbhar Bharat and Vocal for Local. As responsible citizens, we must implement these concepts in letter and spirit and start making in Arunachal. Let’s eat food, vegetables, meat, fish and poultry produced in Arunachal. Let’s wear dresses made in Arunachal. Let’s use products made in Arunachal. Let’s become atmanirbhar at the earliest. Or else our hard-earned money would be continued to be drained outside the state.

In our lifetime, can we dream about talking on a Perme or a Ligu mobile? Can we dream about watching our favourite programme on a Techi or a Dulom TV? Can we drive on a Jini or a Pul bike? Can we write with a Wangsa or a Namchoom pen?

Do you want to make in Arunachal? (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)