ITANAGAR, Dec 19: “Arunachal Pradesh will not develop if its villages are not developed,” said Governor Gen (Rtd) J J Singh citing that true Arunachal Pradesh is in its villages. Singh was speaking in a seminar titled ‘A long way to go for empowering the people of Arunachal Pradesh, economically for its sustained growth’ here at NERIST today.
Highlighting the projects envisaged under the PM’s package, Singh said, once the roads, railways and airports come, any small investment will give returns. Striking at the core of the seminar organized by Indian Council of Small Industries (ICSI), he emphasized that while big projects were always welcome, small projects ought to be taken up urgently to address the growing unemployment problem.
He envisioned a developed and prosperous Arunachal Pradesh if the people laid emphasis on making the best out of the bountiful nature, as he stressed the need for developing the cane and bamboo sectors to their full potential. Citing the instance of the Raj Bhawan initiative of a bamboo-processing unit at Poma near the State capital, Singh hoped that it would become a model to make village economies self-sustainable.
“Not only will the villagers earn sustainable income but the entire area will develop with similar efforts for rural tourism, education, health, bee-keeping, etc. Such a model village in my mind is the ideal realization of the concept of sustainable growth by empowering the local people,” he said and urged the ICSI to promote similar ventures in the State. Calling upon financial institutes to come forward to empower the people, Singh said rural people have little, if any, access to financial services. The high costs and low returns associated in addressing their savings, loans, transmission and insurance needs prevent commercial banks from serving this segment of the market. He said that the State Khadi and Village Industries Board, the NABARD, the District Industries Centre, the Banks and other financial institutes must act as a catalyst for stronger and sustainable growth of the rural people. Quoting the President of India, Pratibha Devisingh Patil, who said, ‘Education is the most important tool for empowering the people of a country’, Singh said, in our endeavour, the Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU) along with its affiliated institutions and NERIST were playing an important role. The State Government, led by Chief Minister Shri Dorjee Khandu and the Education department were in the process of revamping the education system of the State, he added.
RGU Vice Chancellor Prof K C Balliappa, guest of honour, urged upon all to change their attitude, which he termed as ‘manufacturing defect.’ He said indigenous people have tremendous skill, which need to be nurtured. He appealed to all enterprising people to become true entrepreneurs.
In his address, NERIST Director Dr Joram Begi said that, with proper direction and environment, the State has huge scope for industrialization particularly in the small-scale industries (SSI) sector based on cane and bamboo, herbal products and honey. Citing teething problems in developing small-scale industries, he stressed on the role of banks and KVIB for it to materialize.
In his keynote address, ICSI Secretary Prof K K Sarkar said any planning is a clinical path and it should be done after consultation with the people and cultural assimilation by the planners. Stressing on cultural acclimatization of the civil servants about the denizens before bringing out an action plan, Prof Sarkar pointed that until the sixties there was no development in this part of the country. Whatever were there, were due to their natural ability and capacity. Hence all civil servants should know the pulse of the people for empowering them, he said.
Prescribing terrace farming like that in Sikkim, he also suggested proper soil test to enhance production. While emphasizing on rural industrialization projects, Prof Sarkar called for injection of some elements of skill and training among the rural community. Pointing out at the exotic flora and fauna in the State, he urged upon the people to take up herbal and honey projects. Appreciating the initiatives of the Governor, Prof Sarkar suggested to him to create a people’s army or Arunachal Regiment, which he felt would address the growing unemployment problem, especially amongst the educated youth, who otherwise might be misguided.
ICSI President P Kumar said unless the people were empowered economically, no economy could develop. The academics and those involved in the helm of affairs should contemplate on the theme in various technical sessions and come out with various suggestions. Getting a cue out of the deliberations, a future action plan would be drawn up , he added.
The one-day seminar is being organized in association with RGU and NERIST and sponsored by the Planning Commission. The day-long programme included technical session on selected topics for developing the State economy, meeting credit needs of small entrepreneurs, availability of credit from banks for micro and small enterprises, rural economy, rural employment generation, promotion of self employment and developing entrepreneurship, etc. THE SENTINEL