TODAY -

Employment in non-Government sectors in Manipur

Oinam Nabakishore Singh *



Manipurís economy is largely agricultural and employment of most of the population is in this sector. Small landholding and practice of jhum cultivation in the hills are responsible for subsistence agriculture with little or no surplus for trading. Reliance on subsidized foodgrains under the public distribution system, now implemented under the provisions of National Food Security Act(NFSA), is very high especially in remote hill villages.

There is great pressure on the plain agricultural land from competing needs, namely, homes, schools, hospitals, other service industries, etc. Availability of agricultural land is decreasing over the years. So is the employment of rural people in agriculture.

Farm mechanization is being practiced widely in the state. Almost all ploughing of fields is done by tractors and power tillers with little involvement of cattle and labour. Harvesting and threshing of rice are also being done mechanically leading to huge displacement of agricultural labour. Surplus labour force has to find jobs somewhere else.

Next after agriculture, maximum employment, part time or full time, is generated by handloom weaving by the women folks. Due to change in preference of clothes and household furnishings produced by mills and powerlooms over the handloom products, change in fashion of garments and non-competitive prices of handloom goods, weaving by handloom has becomenot very attractive.

Besides, handloom weaving is tedious and time consuming. On the other hand, powerloom weaving has started challenging handloom weaving gradually in Manipur. It is going to replace handloom weaving of plain clothes over a few years.

The implication of mechanization of agricultural operations and introduction of powerloom weaving will be less employment in these sectors and need for creating new avenues of employment for the displaced persons.Further, we have to identify the needs and aspirations of new generation.

Creation of jobs and employment are the result of efforts to meet the needs of the people in different parts of the world. The most basic need is the food and drinks, which comprises of products containing carbohydrate, protein, fats, minerals, vitamins, fibers, caffeine, tea, juices, alcohols, etc. With the growth in economy and improved purchasing power in the hands of people, share of carbohydrate in the pie of food has decreased.

Meat and fish consumption has increased. Similarly, consumption of fruits and vegetable too has increased. The change in demand for different food products in Manipur, which does not export much food products to other states of the country, should result in change in production and required employment of agricultural labour force in the state.

Requirement of rice, which is the major source of carbohydrate in the state, is met by local production and national food security subsidized entitlements of rice brought from other states by the Food Corporation of India. The decrease in availability of area under agriculture and farm mechanization has resulted in lesser employment in rice production. Other minor sources of carbohydrate in Manipur are wheat, maize, potato, sweet potato, cassava, colocasia root or taro root, etc.

There can be huge change in demand for labour in plantation, harvesting, grading and packing, transportation, etc. if there is expansion in area of crops, which are exportable to other states and additional demand is created within the state.For instance, with increase demand for maize to produce feed for chicken and livestock, cultivation of maize on a wide scale in the hill slopes is possible. The chain of production of maize, its processing, transportation and trading will lead to generation of employment.

Unfortunately, now most of feed is imported from neighbouring states. This needs to be reversed. Recognizing the rising demand for chicken meat in the state, many youths in Manipur have venturedinto the occupation of poultry farming. Production of poultry feed, farming of poultry, trading, transportation, retailing, etc. have created new jobs and entrepreneurship. Similarly, several people have made fish farms to meet increasing demand of fish in the state.

A large number of agricultural farmers, who were earlier engaged in production of paddy, shifted to creation of fish ponds by making ring bunds in the submerged areas adjoining Loktak lake. As of now, fish produced locally is being sold in raw form without any processing and packaging. There is potential for creation of jobs if we set up units to process, package and brand fresh water fish of Manipur.

Similarly, several dairy farmers have started bringing milch cows, which produce good amount of milk,from Haryana. Consumption of milk, its allied products-curd, paneer, ice-cream is also on the rise with resultant demand. The chain of activities of dairy farming, milk processing and trading generate employment.

Manufacturing activities in the state are still in nascent stage. Labour intensive industries, namely, garmenting, handicrafts, food processing, to meet the demand within the state and outside have potential to create additional jobs. A number of new start up in manufacturing is visible. However, the investment being very small, the economy of scale is yet to be realized. In order to make manufacturing in the state, it is necessary to provide subsidies by the state government to the units in order to support them to be viable.

Construction of roads, bridges, buildings, etc. generate huge jobs in the economy. It is one of the most labour intensive activities- a chain of activities with forward and backward linkages. In Manipur, production of building materials like bricks, quarrying of sand and stones, crushing of stones, sand collection, cement and steel generate employment.

In Manipur, we see a lot of construction activities in most of the individual houses. In building construction, masons, electrical, sanitary, painting, internal design, etc. lead to generation of more than 10 percent of jobs in the economy.


Views expressed are personal


* Oinam Nabakishore Singh wrote this article which was published at The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on February 07, 2019.



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