Budget wish list

Flights Of Fantasy

[ M Panging Pao ]

The ongoing Ukraine-Russia war and Covid-19 pandemic have messed up the economy of the world, including India and Arunachal. The world economy is into recession and thousands are being laid off. With the national budget presented a few days back and the Arunachal budget coming soon, there are expectations of an economic recovery with a positive and progressive budget.

There is a need to rejuvenate the economy and create more jobs. With job openings in the government sector already saturated, the only way of generating jobs is by boosting industries, agri-horticulture and tourism.

Towards reviving industries, there is need to create a separate department called ‘ease of doing business’, with the aim of boosting new industries and reviving the existing industries. This department should be entrusted with simplifying and expediting the procedures and paperwork by ensuring a truly ‘single-window’ clearance system. Presently there are multiple windows. Existing industries should be boosted by enforcing ‘vocal for local’ in letter and spirit. Government departments and government-supported institutions should compulsorily procure from local manufacturers only. Another step is for the state government to adopt and handhold a few industries in all major sectors like textiles, wine, packaged water, agri-horticulture, etc. These selected industries should be boosted for a short period of 3-4 years to make these industries self-sustaining. This cycle should be repeated every 3-4 years to include left-out industries.

The tourism sector needs to be revived and boosted on selected sectors with incentives and grants. Arunachal as a preferred tourist destination may be aggressively promoted through a dedicated media/PR campaign. Incentives and grants may be given to potential tourist operators.

Another key aspect in employment generation is skill development. Skill development programmes in different sectors should be accelerated to equip our youths

with professional skills like tailoring, beautician, hospitality, computer applications, driving, electrician, plumbing, mechanic, etc. Once the required skills are acquired, our youths can pick up suitable jobs both within and outside the state.

In the agri-horti sector, the biggest challenge is to find suitable markets for our products. More buyer-seller meets should be organised to allow farmers to meet and negotiate with buyers/distributors directly. Presently, farmers are unable to find suitable buyers. Another way is to prolong product shelf life by setting up cold storages in key locations. However, cold storages need stabilised electricity.

Stabilised electricity is the basic requirement for sustaining all sectors, including industries, tourism, hospitality, etc. Though electricity is surplus in our state, the transmission lines fail frequently, leading to erratic supply. There is a need to expedite alternative transmission lines and revamp the power supply grid.

The wish list is long. However, a positive budget would ensure revival of the economy and provide jobs to unemployed youths. ‘Vocal for local’ should be vigorously pursued in order to ensure an Aatmanirbhar Arunachal. (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)