For all the bad news Manipur has been embroiled and crippled with for the past many decades, finally it seems the state is taking off for good towards the destination that we all long for: a modern, well connected and internationally accepted tourist paradise. Just can’t stop being euphoric, such a move will increase harnessing available international opportunities especially from our neighbouring countries, openness of our society, international interactions, employment, earning capacity of our people, and not the least but good governance of the state as well. Most important, this will help generate the much needed positive vibes Manipur needs to counter all the negativities inherited during the recent decades. Everyone must support this move.
Imagine Manipur becoming a flourishing state, well connected with many of India’s neighbours to begin with, and later with other developed world, hosting people from different places coming to see the beautiful landscapes and the rich heritage of our state! This may no longer be the dream now. The Chinese international tourists have superseded that of USA’s during 2012 in terms of both spending and quantity. That means they have a powerful spending capacity and they are just next door to us. What a news! Myanmar (Burma) is a new found economic hot cake of the world, given her yet to be exploited rich natural and mineral resources. For the first time, Myanmar hosted the much coveted international forum, the World Economic Forum on East Asia at Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, 5-7 June 2013. Again, what a god sent opportunity! Better still, officials from both the countries are set to participate in our Sangai Festival.
There is much to gain by our people, indeed by default. If Manipur really opens up to international tourist and business, our people will have to be more open than before to the queries and curiosities of the visitors. After all, they are going to deal with people who are of some value to them, which until now have not come to them as an opportunity. This will help in the mind set change of our people and eventually, we will get to learn many things that our people never had in the past. This educational aspect will not only help in empowering their own decision making but also will help in changing their perceptions about others. In fact, it will bring a paradigm shift in the mindset of the people which will be good for the government to be dealt with in various issues. Goa in India is the best example in this regard. Goa is India’s richest state, the best place state and the best people state in terms of tourism and hospitality. Manipur can easily supersede Goa, we have all the better means than Goa.
The international air connectivity and the inflows of valued tourist to Manipur will create more jobs at much faster rates by expanding the core and allied businesses. Small and medium enterprises (SME) will mushroom; travel agents, ticketing agents, B&Bs, tourists guides, souvenirs manufacturers, food and beverage manufacturers, cultural tourism, health tourisms, sanitary and hygiene maintenance, cleanliness and professionalism to name few, all will have to take off and will take off eventually. This will decline dependency on government jobs for employment and one’s economic sustenance. Goa, Bangalore and many states have more people employed in private sectors than in government sectors. This is one reason why we see those places more efficient than state’s like ours.
When the culture of ‘rewards equals your sweats’ is inculcated, it will drive people’s efficiency up, it will reduce chronic dependency of people’s employment on government jobs, consequently, it will reduce corruption and other social malaises. These are what we need. In private sectors, harder you work, greater the rewards you get. Generally people love rewards therefore they will work hard; this will make people busy and will not apply the saying ‘an idle mind is the devil’s workshop’ to them. It will mean less ‘bandhs’ , road blockades, strikes and lockouts. This is what the government want and the public wants, a free life, fear of nothing, impediment of nothing. Few decades ago the Republic of Ireland was the poorest and one of the most lawless western European countries of the world. Everybody felt sick of poverty and lawlessness, one-day they all agreed to sign the Good Friday agreements, thus paving the road towards prosperity by opening up their economies more to foreign investors, encouraging more SMEs , incentivising small businesses and entrepreneurs to create more jobs for the youth and, hugely by promoting and selling Ireland to the world for tourism. Today, Irish are one of the top 10 happy people with high net worth, high GDP and high human development index in the world
Increase in connectivity with the outside world will empower our home grown entrepreneurs also, and this is good news for all of us. Most important, home grown enterprises should be motivated, supported and assisted with incentives because they are the ones which can create multiple jobs. This is a well researched finding that home grown enterprises create more jobs than the multinationals. Seeing Manipur’s Classic Hotel, Shija Hospitals and KB enterprises being consulted and promoted by the government is a perfect example of encouraging home grown enterprises. Classic hotel group provides employment to more than 1000 Manipuri youth and the same is true for the Shija hospital. We need to congratulate and put pressure to our state to encourage many more other home grown enterprises being motivated this way. It will only mean fewer headaches to their governance for the state.
Another advantage is of the compulsive increase in efficiency syndrome in the governance as it is incumbent upon them to look after the visitors in the state, for their safety, security and well being. State machineries will have to be trained further to cope with the new challenges and demands due to the international characteristics of our visitors. They will be mindful about abusing their powers while dealing with the public and stepping beyond the prescribed norms, the failure of which will present an unpalatable taste to the visitors which will not be in the interest of the government. It is also quite true that people behaves well, observes the manners and norms, when they have visitors. We can expect such behaviours from our state and our people if Manipur has to become an international hub for tourism and business.
Enough is enough, we have been criticising our place of birth for so long and it has reached to the threshold of literally making Manipur a synonym to ‘Hell’ instead of ‘Sanaleipak’ though we all wanted. It is time to motivate each other including those on the other side, the government and our home grown entrepreneurs. Manipur is finally taking off, let us be onboard.
Bishwajit Okram, (LLM, ACCA, CPA) is presently based at Ireland.Bishwajit has more than 15 years of corporate experience in the field of finance, accounts and corporate law.Currently he works as Finance Controller for a large multinational Irish SME.Bishwajit is a qualified Chartered Certified Accountant of UK/Ireland and Associate CPA of Australia. He is also a member of Bar Council of Delhi, practiced law in Delhi for few years.
Book written: Corporate Goals and Responsibilities published by Lambert, aGerman publisher.