The price of rice, both locally grown and superfine, are rising every year. Now we see another steep rise this years recently. The economically weaker sections in the peasantry class are affected the most with the ever increasing price of rice. The urban poor are also getting hit very badly. These are the section who are buying rice from the shops. These sections do not own land for cultivation of rice or do not own enough land for cultivation to feed themselves after selling the rice which they grow in their paddy fields. They have no rice piled up in their kei-s to feed themselves till the crisis is over. Since the price of rice which is an everyday necessity has increased, the price of other commodities will also rise in order to make up the increased amount that people are spending on rice. The women of peasantry and the urban poor who are the road side vendors in the markets of the Valley will have to increase the price of other commodities since they are paying more for the rice.
Those who have the so-called regular income, a large section people employed by the state government, are faced with an economic crisis. They are the ones who buy the commodities from the women of the peasantry in the markets. With the state government overdrawing more money than it should, RBI has ordered the SBI to stop payments to the government of Manipur. Even if the government has assured that government employees will get their salaries on time, the memories of overdraft in 1990s still haunts the people and the assurance does not subside the insecurities of the people. Hence, the insecurity persists. Given this insecurity, the state government employees are not going to spend a lot of money these days because of the fear that they would not get paid next month. So, those who are selling the produces would want to increase their prices because of the increase of the price of rice but it remains a question whether they can increase the prices as a large section of people are not willing to spend a lot of money on things as of now. These are a recipe for disaster.
The argument that when the state is hit by a crisis and ministers and MLA are camping in Delhi playing the game of thrones puts pressure to the government to look into the crisis. It gives a hope that there will be some temporary respite if they listen. However, it will not guarantee any long term solution, given the political relationship that state has with the mainland. Who wins the game of thrones would hardly matter for the core issues such as the economic crisis. Our youths are not going to get jobs, the price of rice will continue to increase whoever gets the thrones. Manipur will reel under an agrarian crisis which the Economic Survey Manipur noted again and again, blaming it on the lack of irrigation.The solution of the crisis should lie somewhere but it is not in inviting more meeramcha to meddle in our affairs. Foreign Direct Investment is nothing indigenous. We should not look for answers in those places, especially when the working class of the mainland is protesting against FDI calling the policy anti-people.The situation of urban working class in the cities of India is horrifying. There are only contractual jobs where you can get fired at any point of time. We should not desire such a situation in Manipur. We need jobs for youths where they have security. We need to do away with the agrarian crisis. These are systemic economic problems. The question that where the money has gone, the timings of withdrawal of huge amounts of money by this government and the inquiry committee are all necessary but very limited.
Writer- Michael Samjetsabam