“Manipur lacks behind the national norms with respect to their agrarian output resources, level of industrialization and infrastructure facilities. Lack of entrepreneurial culture, poor transport linkage, inadequate infrastructure facilities, poor employment opportunities with resultant diverse ethnic insurgency are the main factors which has caused an overall adverse economic development of this region”. The above is an extract from the report on ‘Pre-investment Feasibility Study on Industrial Potential Survey for Manipur’ provides a vision for development of potential industries in the State for the next ten years conducted in 2003. The report also points out Potential Industries Based on the various factors, sector wise survey by the Pricewater Cooper Private Limited team which are: (i) Agro Based: such as- integrated rice parboiling, hulling/ dehusking/ milling, bran stabilizing and captive power generation (based on rice husk biomass gasified duel fuel) unit, Non-flavoured potato chip projects. (ii) Horticulture Plantation Based: Multi-fruit juice project, Orange Squash & Jam/Marmalade, Pineapple/Mixed Fruits Jam and Jelly, Tomato sauce, Ginger oleoresin Extraction (iii) Bamboo Based: integrated bamboo based project of Bamboo Mat Board, Bamboo Mat Corrugated Sheets and Bamboo Floor Board. There is scope for setting up of Bamboo shoots project in the State. (iv) Animal Husbandry Based: Pasteurized Milk & Cream Project can be viable in this sector. (v) Mineral Based: Green marble (serpentine) slab, tiles & idocrase stone (semiprecious jewelry stone) processing plant may be set up as well as a Cement unit can be set up based on the locally available raw material resources. (vi) Power Sector: Manipur has the potential of several biomass gasifier based rural/remote local area power project exploiting endless and regenerative bamboo resource. (vii) Other Sectors Investments in following demand-based industries are suggested for Manipur: Galvanized corrugated/plain steel sheet, Aluminium extruded household product project, PVC insulated electrical wire, Nursing Home cum Diagnostic Centre Project, Garment Project, Silk Reeling unit, to name a few.
While almost all of these potentials have remained untapped and underutilized till date owing to various reasons both genuine and concocted, the Union Budget for 2016-17 presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presents some interesting and encouraging prospects for the state which, if utilized efficiently and judiciously, could pave the way out of the social quagmire we are in right now which is, if not all, for the most part a result of the lack of opportunity to be gainfully employed by the teeming educated and unemployed youths of Manipur. Of special importance would be the plan to set up 1500 multi-skill development centres at a cost of Rs. 1,700 crore, as also the provision for Entrepreneurship training to be provided across schools, colleges and massive online courses. The decision to establish hubs to support SC/ST entrepreneurs would provide the much needed fillip for entrepreneurs to set up units and help in generating products, employment opportunities as well as improve the social situation. The effort to bring 5 Lakh Hectares under Organic Farming over a three year period presents a very good opportunity for the farmers of the state to sell their certified organic products not only in the state but to other states as well. And to top it all, the state can be developed into an important hub for Information Technology for the NE region as well. All these prospects and opportunities, however, depend on the sincerity and efficiency of the state government to be converted into ground reality. The state cannot afford to miss the bus- rather the train this time around.