Governor Address - 1980
ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR OF MANIPUR SHRI LALLAN PRASAD SINGH TO THE MANIPUR LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY ON 18.2.1980
Mr. Speaker and Hon'ble Members,
I have great pleasure in welcoming you to this first session of the third Legislative Assembly. We have amongst us today many who have joined this Assembly for the first time. I am sure that the experience of those who had been members of the Assembly on earlier occasions and the fresh concepts and ideas that the new members bring with them will enrich the deliberations of this House. I extend my felicitation to all the members.
2. It is a matter of satisfaction that the elections to the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assembly were conducted in a free and fair manner. The outcome of this election and the sweeping changes in the political scene, both in the country and the State, demonstrate the inherent strength and resilience of Indian democracy. I hope that the new Legislative Assembly will live up to the expectation of the people and give them a Government which will be stable and fulfill their aspirations.
3. In the year gone by, we experienced seriously disturbed conditions in the valley with various extremist groups indulging in a serious of violent activities such as murders, including the killing of security personnel, armed robberies, looting of shops, banks and Government funds, and snatching of arms. In the period immediately preceding the elections, these activities of the extremists were not free from political overtones and there were apprehensions about the personal safety of some political leaders and prospective candidates. The Government took all possible measures to maintain law and order and within the means available, provided a security cover to those who felt threatened. It is however a matter of regret that we do not have amongst us today the elected representative from Keishamthong Constituency where elections had to be countermanded due to the murder of Shri Th. Bira Singh, a candidate from that constituency.
4. While there has been some reduction in the intensity of extremist activities, the Government continues to keep a close vigil on the situation and will take all possible measures to ensure that law and order is maintained and culprits brought to book. At the same time, it is necessary that steps which have been initiated to persuade those who have taken to the path of violence are followed up so that the energies of these young men and women can be utilized for the speedy economic and social development of the State. I am sure that the Government will receive unstinted co-operation and support from all the Hon'ble Members in this endeavour.
5. The past few years have seen an erosion in the confidence that a common man should have in the Government. People at large feel that they have virtually no say in the fashioning of Government policies, even when they relate to matters which closely affect their day to day life. The Government is irrevocably committed to the policy of democratic decentralization and will do its utmost to strengthen the panchayats and district councils as this alone can ensure the much needed involvement of the people in political as well socio-economic activities beginning at the grass-root level.
6. The institution of a truly secular and socialist society are important corner stones of the policy frame of the Government. Everything will be done to ensure that people belonging to different religions are able to pursue their religious belief without any fear or intimidation.
7. Programmes designed to make the tribal population self-reliant and to bring the benefits of development and progress to the weaker sections of the society such as the small and marginal farmers, weavers and rural artisans will be expanded and intensified. In this context, the Twenty Point Programme which had been considerably diluted will be vigorously implemented.
8. The availability of various essential commodities at reasonable prices has always been a vexed problem for this remote and land locked state and any increase in income is quickly neutralized by increase in prices. The Government shall evolve a comprehensive programme of opening fair price shops, establishing godowns and setting up an efficient procurement agency to eliminate such exploitation of the people. The commodities to be sold through fair price shops will also be increased so that all the daily needs become available to the people in abundance and at reasonable prices. The large scale multipurpose co-operative societies in the hills and the gram panchayat level co-operative societies in the valley will be closely associated in the setting up of an effective public distribution system.
9. The need for finding a solution to the problem of unemployment, under-employment and poverty will be given high priority it deserves. There is no simple and immediate solution. The answer lies in making a multipronged attack on the problem including generation of self-employment schemes and increased productivity in agriculture, dairying, animal husbandry, horticulture, fisheries and forestry. The practice of single cropping will have to be replaced by multiple cropping and agriculture diversified to the maximum possible extent. New economic activities suitable to the region like sericulture and the growing of plantation crops like tea, coffee and rubber will have to be introduced. Simultaneously, arrangements will have to be made to ensure that increased productivity in the primary sector does not result in the farmer losing his profitability due to a decline in prices. This would require the setting up of a large number of small, medium and even large industries where the produce from the primary sector could be processed and subsequently marketed.
10. We will have to face numerous constraints in implementing such a programme. We require a vastly improved physical infrastructure in terms of communications; the availability of electric power and water supply. Above all what will be needed would be a large force of qualified people. Towards this end, an appropriate restructuring of the education policy would be necessary and emphasis will have to be placed on technical and vocational education which will produce the required engineers, agricultural experts, accountants and managers.
11. The other important facet of this problem is inevitably linked with the need to curb the growth of the State's population. It is true that the family planning programme had once come into some disrepute. There can, however, be no escape from the fact that there is an ever increasing need to limit the size of families. The State Government will implement this programme on a voluntary basis through education and persuasion. There will be no compulsion of any kind. Simultaneously, the Government is fully aware of the need to restrain influx of unauthorised persons into the State and will take appropriate steps in this direction.
12. The preparation of programme designed to implement the broad policy frame outlined earlier requires an efficient Government machinery which is both sensitive to the hopes and aspirations of the people and can function over a broad spectrum of activities in an integrated and co-ordinated manner. With Government's deep commitment to planning as an essential tool for engineering social and economic change, the capability of the Government is this regard, both at the State and District levels will be suitably strengthened. In conjunction with democratic decentralisation and with greater responsibilities devolving on the panchayat and district councils, it will be necessary to also decentralise the Government machinery. The focus must now shift from the Secretariat in Imphal to the district and sub-division headquarters, where most matters relating to the implementation of programmes must be dealt with. A sustained process of administrative decentralisation and delegation of authority to levels lower than the Secretariat where contact with the people can be meaningful will be started immediately and will progress towards a stage where the Secretariat will deal only with policy issues leaving executive action to other more appropriate levels.
13. The Government is fully conscious of the anxiety of the Hon'ble Members and the people of the State in respect of preserving and protecting places of historical and cultural importance in the State. We are committed to ensuring an early vacation of the area of the Kangla by the 4th Assam Rifles and the restoration of the Kangla to its original historical glory. Every possible measure will be taken to expedite this. Similarly this Government shall take urgent steps to complete the memorial pillar dedicated to martyrs at B.T. Park with the installation of the Kangla Sha on it. The Government have also initiated steps to preserve all historical places and monuments under the Manipur Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act. Twenty three such sites have so far been identified.
14. The Government will take steps to implement the Manipur Official Language Act.
15. As the Hon'ble Members are aware, the new Government has now been in office for barely a month. The process of formulating the next year's plan after detailed discussion with the Planning Commission has not so far been completed. The budget spelling out the various socio-economic programmes formulated for implementing the overall policies of the Government will be presented later in the course of this session. There are, however, some matters relating to the programmes of the various departments which merit mention.
16. For the financial year 1979-80, the Planning Commission had approved an outlay of Rs. 31.00 crores for the State's Plan. Besides, the State had been allocated Central Assistance of Rs. 2.00 crores on account of discontinued Central and Centrally Sponsored Schemes and Rs. 1.26 crores under the Tribal Sub-Plan. During the course of the year, the Government had sought additional assistance for dealing with the situation which had arisen due to drought and we had been allotted Rs. 2.62 crores for this purpose. It is expected that all these outlays would be fully utilised. There is, however, likely to be a shortfall in expenditure in the programmes undertaken under the N.E.C. for which Rs. 136.81 lakhs had been allotted. Due to shortage of bitumen, cement and other construction materials, the implementation of the programmes under the transport sector have not progressed at the anticipated speed.
17. For the year 1980-81, the State Government had for its annual plan, proposed an outlay of Rs. 41.25 crores to the Planning Commission. After discussions at the official level the Planning Commission have recommended programmes involving an investment of Rs. 35.00 crores for the next year's plan which is 13% more than the outlay in 1979-80. The central assistance which will be provided in lieu of discontinued central and centrally sponsored schemes and for the Tribal Sub-Plan would be over and above this outlay. The N.E.C. has allotted Rs. 150.00 lakhs for the various schemes which is also substantially more than the provision last year.
18. It will thus be seen that already substantial funds are in sight for the coming year. Our endeavour will of course be to further enhance this availability. At the same time, however, a broad strategy for their effective utilisation has to be kept ready.
19. The plan strategy inevitably falls into three broad categories. Firstly, we have to continue to give attention to laying down necessary physical infrastructure which involves construction of roads, bridges and other means of communication, generation and transmission of electric power and provision of irrigation facilities. Secondly, various production programmes are to be designed specifically to exploit available natural resources with the help of the established physical infrastructure for maximising the production and productivity in various sectors of economic activity. The third aspect of the strategy relates to measures designed for improving both the quality of life of the people as also equipping them with ability and skills to participate in various economic development projects. The provision of health facilities, drinking water supply and education are some of the important spheres of activity here.
20. As regards Development of rods, priority is being given to the completion of bridges and culverts on roads connecting state head quarters with district and Sub-divisional of quarters and under the minimum needs programme, construction of inter-village roads to connect villages not so far linked with an all weather road. An investment of Rs. 5 crores is being planned and priority will be given to roads which yield the maximum returns keeping in mind the location of various economic development programmes. Apart from the ongoing programmes taken up under the N.E.C. that is, the construction of Khongsang-Tamenglong road and Jiribam-Tipaimukh road, construction of the road from Tamenglong to Haflong via Tousem, which will give us a much needed alternate connection with the country's railway network will be started this year. The work on Khowzawl-Sinjol-Thanlon road will also commence in the coming year.
21. Inadequate availability of electric power which continues to be the main constraint to development of industries is now also inhibiting the growth of lift irrigation and agriculture production. Priority is, therefore being accorded to programmes of power development particularly hydro-electric generation. Two micro-hydel schemes namely Nungshankhong in East District and Lokchao in Tengnoupal district are expected to be commissioned by the end of 1982-83, adding 1.9 MW to the total availability of power in the State. Besides, attempts would be made to bring power from neighbouring surplus States by expediting the construction of transmission lines. Next year's programme will emphasise the spread of electricity to rural areas and its use for agriculture and small and village industries. Five schemes of rural electrification involving electrification of 314 villages are under implementation and more such schemes are being prepared for being taken up in the coming year. With the help of funds from the Rural Electrification Corporation, a total investment of over Rs. 3 crores in 1980-81is being planned for this sector.
22. The State is still to exploit much of its irrigation potential. It is estimated that of the one Lakh Fifty Thousand hectares under permanent cultivation in the State, water resources are available to provide seasonal irrigation to almost the entire area. We have so far made arrangements to irrigate only 5,000 hectares from the waters available from Loktak Phase I and Khoupum Dam. It is hoped to bring an additional 6,000 hectares of land under irrigation next year by completing Loktak Phase II and partially commissioning the Imphal Barrage. An investment of Rs. 590 lakhs has been planned for the year 1980-81. The bulk of the expenditure will be incurred on four on-going projects, namely, Loktak Lift Irrigation Scheme, the Singda Multipurpose Project, the Imphal Barrage and the Sekmai Barrage. Work will also start on two new projects namely the Thoubal and the Khuga Multipurpose Projects. The formal clearance of the Government of India for the Thoubal Multipurpose Project, which will cost Rs. 45 crores, has already been received and that in respect of the Khuga Project is expected to be received shortly.
23. The Government is laying special emphasis on the evolution of new projects and survey in respect of the construction of new railway lines such as Karong to Diphu and Tousem to Haflong are being taken up. Simultaneously, investigation of more multipurpose hydel projects such as the one located on Barak river in the area north of Karong at Lairou is being accelerated.
24. The other important aspect of our development strategy is concerned with the utilisation of the State's natural resources for maximising and diversifying various economic activities on which the economy of State is dependent.
25. Agriculture which is the main economic activity in both hill and valley areas of the State is being given the highest priority. The approach here is to accelerate the change over from monocropping to multiple cropping and maximise productivity by application of the complete package of improved techniques. In the coming year, which we hope will be a normal year after two years of drought, 10,000 hectares are sought to be brought under multiple cropping by introduction of an early paddy crop in the coming pre-kharif season. Such an approach would involve augmentation of minor irrigation, the provision of large quantities of improved seeds and a vastly stepped up availability of fertilisers.
26. The State has a vast potential for development of horticulture and plantation crops like coffee, tea and rubber. A good deal of preliminary work for introducing these crops has already been done. The Tea Board and other expert organisation have already been associated and have shown keen interest in establishment of tea estates in the State. The Coffee Board which has been impressed by encouraging result in the experimental plantations have offered substantial assistance for promoting coffee cultivation in Manipur. The Government is planning the setting up of a plantation corporation which will become the focal point for introducing these new activities on a commercial scale. This programme will be of special significance in the hills where it could replace. “Jhum” cultivation with an activity which besides providing greatly enhanced incomes to the people, will also reverse the trend of ecological degradation of the area.
27. The Government is now adopting a new approach for developing horticultural crops in the State. The main constraint in the past has been lack of after care and poor returns to the farmers due to inadequate marketing facilities. The effort now will be to concentrate this programme in suitable areas so that proper arrangements for marketing and aftercare can be made. Such areas for various horticultural crops like pear, plum, oranges and pineapples are being selected. The programme of supplying nursery material to the farmers is being expanded. Simultaneously, Government is also planning the setting up of a well integrated processing and marketing organisation and it has been decided to establish an agro-industries corporation. The organisation will arrange for the required inputs and ensure that at the farmers get an economic return for their produce.
28. Shifting cultivation or “Jhumming” is a serious problem in the hills. Approximately 65,000 hectares of land are brought under this form of cultivation every year and this area increasing rapidly with the increase in population. Considering the damage this practice causes to the ecology of the State and keeping in mind the diminishing returns from this activity the Government is planning a vastly expanded programme for control of shifting cultivation which would be implemented in a scientific manner. The programme is being recast on the basis of a whole village approach and will be implemented on a sub-watershed basis. The selection of sub-watershed will be made on the basis of poverty of the population the extent of degradation of forests and frequency of shifting cultivation. The Government is also contemplating appropriate organisational changes to facilitate the implementation of this programme.
29. For the various programme under agriculture including minor irrigation, horticulture and soil conservation, there is likely to be an availability of approximately Rs. 410 lakhs in the coming year.
30. Forestry is perhaps the most important facet of land management and economy of the State. The rampant felling of trees has been denuding our forest and recurrent drought followed by floods which have become a yearly feature is indicative of the damage that we have already done to our ecology. Unless immediate steps are taken to reverse the trend, we may well reach a point of no return and may leave behind us nothing but an inhospitable desert. As Hon'ble Members are aware, the Government had earlier formulated a comprehensive forest policy. I hope that the co-operation of the Hon'ble Members, particularly those coming from the hills, would be forthcoming for the implementation of the policy. Programmes in this sector are being designed with this policy in mind. Besides plantations of various kinds, including a greatly expanded programme of social forestry it is necessary to place restrictions on the unplanned felling of trees. Naturally the Government will simultaneously ensure that those who depend on the sale of timber for their livelihood are provided with alternative means to sustain themselves. Arrangements are also being made to import coal which can replace wood as the common man's fuel so that any diminishment in the supply of wood as fuel does not create difficulties for the people. An outlay of Rs. 84 lakhs is being planned for the sector.
31. The development of fisheries is also being emphasised since programmes in this sector, particularly paddy-cum-fish culture are of significance both from the point of view of adding to the income of the people and that of establishing an ecological balance by proper water management. The popularity of these programmes and the aptitude shown by the people in adopting new techniques has encouraged the Government to greatly expand its activities in this sector which are by and large being financed by funds available from institutional resource. Besides the on-going schemes, the Government has with the assistance of the NEC taken up a scheme to control various aquatic weeds, a problem which once solved will greatly expand the prospects of inland fishery development in the State. This scheme will be implemented in the Takmu farm at an approximate cost of Rs. 3 lakhs. The NEC is also considering the establishment of a regional grass carp breeding centre at Loktak at an estimated cost of Rs. 7 lakhs.
32. Notwithstanding the programmes being taken up in agriculture and its allied sectors, it will be necessary to diversify the economic activity in the State as land, on which agriculture is based will soon cease to have the capacity to absorb the increasing population in a productive manner. In this context emphasis is being laid on activities such as animal husbandry and industries.
33. In the field of animal husbandry, besides expansion of the programmes of cattle development and introduction of high yielding exotic breeds, a programme for increasing the capacity of the diary which alone will ensure the availability of a lucrative market for milk is being draw up. It is expected that we will, in the coming year, be able to extend the capacity of the dairy to 5,000 litres of milk everyday.
34. Since there is growing demand for meat, eggs and poultry, suitable programmes to expand the production of these commodities are being made. The approach being adopted is based on the concept that activities should be concentrated in groups of suitably selected villages so that the required arrangements for provision of inputs as also marketing of the produce can be made. There is likely to be an availability of Rs. 55.00 lakhs for this purpose in next year's plan.
35. Since industrial projects have fairly long gestation periods, the time is now ripe for initiating an ambitious programme of industrialisation in the State. The Government has already completed the preparation of project reports in respect of a bamboo based paper mill, a pine-wood based insulated paper factory and a starch and glucose plant based on locally grown maize. These projects, which represent an investment of approximately Rs. 100 crores, will be pursued and their implementation started as early as possible. In respect of the proposed paper mill, it may be advantageous to enlarge the project so as to include the manufacture of rayon grade pulp within the complex. A suitable revision of the project report is being taken up. With the advent of multiple cropping in the State many commodities which require industrial processing such as oil seeds and sugarcane are likely to become available in adequate quantities. Plans to integrate this development with the setting up of forward linkage processing industries are under preparation. Simultaneously, the Government is planning the establishment of an organisation which can, besides training the prospective entrepreneurs, also assist them in every possible way to set up these small Industries. Such an organisation would be established in the coming year itself.
36. The emphasis now being laid on the development of small, medium and large scale industries does not in any manner signify a neglect of the traditional cottage industries for which this State is famous. The programme for assisting the handloom industry is being strengthened. A mechanised dye house will be set up in the coming year and arrangements made to make the availability of yarn at reasonable prices easier and the marketing of the finished product more profitable.
37. Manipur is now recognised as one of the important sericulture centres of the country. This programme which is based on wild oak available in abundance in the State is of particular significance to the hills and the tribal communities residing there. The programme is now being expanded and Government proposes to open at least 20 more grainages during the coming year. It is expected that this programme will provide gainful self employment to about 14,000 persons in the coming year.
38. As the Hon'ble Members are aware, development of State's mineral resources has been seriously neglected in the past. Government will now try to correct this imbalance. The existing organisation will be augmented so as to be able to take up detailed survey and investigation after the presence of a mineral has been established. It is expected that it will soon become possible to take up fruitful activity in this sector also.
39. The total availability of funds for investment in the Industries sector is of the order to Rs. 245.00 lakhs. These funds will be substantially augmented by institutional finance and you will be glad to know that in the preparation for this, the Industrial Development Bank of India has agreed to our proposal of allowing the Manipur Small Industries Corporation to also function as a financial institution for making institutional finance available for development of industries in the State.
40. The success of this strategy of economic development however depends on the manner in which the people of the State have prepared themselves for the task. Have the young men and women who are today protesting against the ever increasing problem of unemployment been prepared and trained to make use of the opportunities which are today available? Do we have an education system which gives them the required training? These, Hon'ble Members are in my opinion, the most crucial question which have to be examined and the education system completely reorganised so that it can meet the future needs. The government has already initiated a detailed examination of the problem. While this study may take some more time to be completed, it is obvious that the education system is not balanced in the sense that while there is a surplus of persons belonging to some disciplines resulting in their remaining unemployed there are serious shortages elsewhere. For example if we take the case of degree holders in arts subjects, of which the various colleges in the State produce about 1,000 every year, we find that at the end of current year itself, there will be a backlog about 2,000 unemployed persons. On the other hand, there is a paucity of doctors, engineers, agricultural graduates and veterinary graduates, of which we produce about 400 every year. By the end of 1983, we shall be short by almost 400 persons with such qualifications. Further, there are many disciplines such as accountancy, advertising, business management, banking, to mention just a few, in which virtually no personnel is available. The advent of modern and diversified agriculture and the setting up of industries will give an impetus to the expansion of the tertiary sector. This will open up large opportunities for the employment of such persons. The Government of Assam , in consultation with the Assam Agricultural University , have agreed to take appropriate steps to make the Manipur Agricultural College a campus of the Assam Agricultural University . Government is also hopeful of establishing a full-fledged University in Manipur in about two year's time.
41. In this context, the Government has to engage in the task of preparing a plan for reorganising the education system. Both from the point of view of introducing new disciplines, which are in demand, as also setting up facilities in which those who have already finished their education could, by taking up a short duration course, pick up a trade which would facilitate their employment.
42. Hon'ble Members are all aware of the tremendous latent talent for sports in the State and its rich tradition of arts and culture. Our young men and women have already, made a name for themselves in these activities in spite of inadequate facilities. Government has now decided to make all the necessary arrangements required for fully developing this talent and has decided to set up a separate department for Arts, Culture, Sports and Physical Training.
43. There are two other aspects of the Government's development strategy which merit a mention. These relate to the Health and Water Supply Sectors. Social and economic development of a people is dependent on their health as that determines their ability to absorb education and training and builds the physical and mental resilience to face adverse circumstance. In view of this, programmes in these two sectors have been included in the twenty point programme which, as you know, is being expanded and given a high priority.
44. There is likely to be a provision of Rs. 105 lakhs for the various health programmes. The effort of the State Government will be to ensure early completion of all the primary and subsidiary health centre so that the norm prescribed under the minimum needs programme of having one primary health centre for every 50,000 persons and one subsidiary centre for every 10,000 persons in the valley and one primary centre for 25,000 persons and one subsidiary centre for every 5,000 persons in the hills, is achieved. In the coming year, one primary and thirty subsidiary centres will be started. Emphasis will also be laid on an early completion of all incomplete buildings and improvement of the District hospitals. With an expansion in the fleet of ambulances the mobility of the health staff and their ability to deal with sporadic outbursts of disease in an epidemic form will be enhanced.
45. The experience of the last two years of drought has shown the serious shortage of water supply faced by the people in both urban and rural areas. The Government therefore plans to undertake an accelerated programme to augment water supply arrangements. For the urban sector besides speeding up the progress on the Singda Dam, short gestation projects such as the Ningthem Pukhri water supply scheme and Leimakhong power house phase II scheme are being taken up. It is expected that these schemes will provide an additional 18 mgd of water. Investigations for evolving other suitable measures which can further increase the supply in a short time are also under way. These include geological surveys to locate underground water. As regards rural areas, with the revival of the minimum needs programme the Government hopes to be able to complete water supply schemes for 320 villages in the coming year.
46. Hon'ble Members, I have placed before you the salient features of the Government's policy and the broad development strategy which is proposed to be followed. We look forward to a speedy and efficient implementation of development programmes based on this strategy. I sincerely hope that the co-operation of all the Hon'ble Members and the public will be forthcoming in full measure for this purpose.
47. I wish all of you success in your deliberations and in the discharge of the trust and heavy responsibilities placed on you by the people.