TRIPURAINFO

5 Point Suggestions for Post COVID 100 Days Action Plan in Tripura

Mr. Jayanta Debnath and Mr. Pinaki Ranjan Dey

May 1, 2020, 11:09:51   

Action Plans

The following suggested Panch Sutra Action Plan consists of action oriented suggestions on five critical and strategic areas. These action points are suggested to be undertaken on a war footing basis. It is believed that these strategic action points can quickly bring the State's economy back on track and most importantly, might usher in a new wave of entrepreneurship, rural development and economic prosperity in the State in the longer term. Besides providing immediate oxygen to the frail economy of the State due to unavoidable lockdown, these Panch Sutras are also expected to help check price rise of essential commodities and a new sense of self reliance in the State.

1. Rural Livelihood

1.1 Increase the productivity and market linkage should only be the key word for 100 days after COVID -19 regimes. Can departments like agriculture, horticulture, fisheries, animal husbandry etc. forget everything during these 100 days and help the farmers in productivities and market linkages for their produce across the State.

1.2 Agri Market Linkage Task Force (AMLTF) can be formed with a small team of agri marketing experts, department officials, traders and even commission agents.

1.3 Traders and commission agents have a very useful knowledge of the agri supply chain which can be handy for the departments. These people should be strategically made a part of the marketing system which will also provide them a sense of recognition in the society.

1.4 Missions like TRLM, JICA etc. can forget training and capacity building for these 100 days and the field personnel of these missions can be roped in by the agri/horti/fisheries/animal husbandry departments. Their only assignment during this 100 days post COVID-19  can be target based production and  marketing activities, just like there are sales/marketing teams of private companies/corporate.

1.5 All the Government officers should be in the field and they should also have marketing and production targets.

2. Promote Made in Tripura and Promote the SMEs

2.1 TIDC and related industrial promotion agencies should form a Make in Tripura Task Force (MITTF) for these 100 days which can actually continue thereafter too.

2.3 A list of all those household items used by the common people of Tripura in their day to day life should be listed out. Simple household items like various food items,  broom, agarbattis, soaps, detergents, gamcha, simple household plastic items and host of other items can be listed out which can be quickly manufactured by the SMEs already functioning.

2.4 Before undertaking this step, right from now, people of Tripura can be urged to use Made in Tripura tagged products as much as possible. Traders should also be urged to promote and sell such products.

2.5 Considering the dedication and cooperation of the entire people of Tripura exhibited during the COVID-19 lockdown period, one can reasonably expect that people of Tripura will wholeheartedly buy as much Made in Tripura products as possible. This will booth employment generation and add to the State's Gross Domestic Products (GSDP).

3. Promote Tourism Within The State (Amaar Tripura, Amaar Gorbo !)

3.1 Appeal to the people of Tripura to visit various Tourist places within the State without going to outside the State tourist places since the threat of COVID is expected to loom large for quite some months even after lockdown ends completely in bigger States and Metro cities.

3.2 State government may extend 50% subsidy in all the government run tourist facility centres for the domestics' tourists.

3.4 This will promote local tourism based livelihood in the form of home stays, hotels, restaurants etc.

3.5 Each district can compete with each other in promoting their respective places of tourist attractions and woo the people to visit such spots.

3.6 A task force under Tripura Tourism can be constituted.

4. Focus on upcoming Durga Puja Festivities to promote local economy

4.1 Urge the people of Tripura to purchase clothing made from local weavers through Purbasha.

4.2 Urge the people to make Tripura Handloom products a 'Fashion Statement' this Durga Puja.

4.3 This will help a lot of SHGs, poor handloom weavers and overall economy of the State to gain profitably from the purchase made by lakhs of people during Durga Puja shopping spree.

5. Promote Dairy by encouraging rural youths into milk production

5.1 A task force under the Animal Husbandry Department can be constituted to sensitize educated youths of the State to take up dairy farming by availing livestock loans, insurance and other facilities.

5.2 Drive the message that dairy farming is as respectable as a Teaching job or perhaps even more than that.

5.3 Drive the point that Tripura is highly deficient in milk production.

5.4 Gomati Dairy can increase its processing capacity quickly and arrange to procure milk from every blocks by forming Block Milk procurement Centres (BMPCs).

All these activities to be undertaken on a war footing basis can be monitored and controlled by a high power Apex Level Task Force (ALTF) directly under the observation of the Chief Ministers Office (CMO). This ALTF can be formed by empanelling sector experts from within the State, motivated and interested experts of Tripura Origin settled outside the State and willing to contribute on a pro-bono or nominal honorarium basis, Ministers of relevant Departments and other relevant members.

Possible Support Mechanisms

The Panch Sutras as mentioned above shall need adequate and holistic support system in order to derive maximum benefits during the immediate period and also thereafter. Following support initiatives are requested from the Government under the leadership of Chief Minister and his team of able, action oriented and committed Misters and Senior Bureaucrats of the State:

1. Agri based industries and all other industries in the State should be given six month holiday (should be exempted) from paying electricity, internet, water, piped gas and other associated utility bills. This will help the organizations to reduce their operational costs.

2. Business organizations including SMEs should be provided interest free or at a nominal interest working capital loans for short term. This will help the organizations to tide over the need of working capital to run their business after the lock down ends.

3. If possible, Government should bear the cost of EPF, ESI of the employees engaged in private sector in the State including if possible payment of 50% of their monthly salaries.

4. Waive off the interest on the loans taken by all those entrepreneurs in the State who have availed term loans from the banks to set up their business units.

5. Allow workers to be engaged in agricultural operations from sowing to harvesting of crops to be included under MGNREGA scheme.

6. Provide essential agri inputs like fertilizer, organic manure, seeds, plant protection materials free of cost to all the farmers including to all those SHGs registered with missions like TRLM, JICA etc. for crop cultivation.

7. Special incentives should be given to interested SHGs, new agri-entrepreneurs and SMEs in the State who would like to set up organic manure production units like vermin-compost, NADEP compost, Azolla based bio fertilisers etc.

8. There are lakhs of saplings/seedlings of various valuable fruit trees, bamboo, sal trees etc. in various Government Nursery units spread across the State. These can be distributed free of cost to villagers who can be encouraged to establish nutritional garden in their homestead. Missions like TRLM can take up related supporting role in this regard.

9.  All the outstanding payments still to be paid by the Government to the contractors, owners of industrial units, owners of SMEs, agribusiness units etc. should be released immediately.

10. As per the memorandum issued by Chief Secretary Shri Manoj Kumar dated:- 28/04/2020 regarding austerity measures for achieving economy in government expenditure in which it was mentioned that all government purchase should be preferably made through government e-market place (GeM). In this connection our honest view is that, instead of GeM state government should prefer to purchase all government needs from local markets through the local businessman / suppliers / entrepreneurs / manufacturers to boost the local businessman. Because there is hardly any registration of local businessman /suppliers /entrepreneurs /manufacturers in the GeM portal. If the said materials is not available locally then the government may go for GeM or direct tendering process.

11. Current stock situation of all those essential goods brought from outside the State should be quickly assessed. Following this, immediate and quick action should be undertaken to bring such goods from outside and if possible, special rebate can be given on the freight charges (cargo brought by air or by railways) for a specific period of time after the lockdown ends. This will help contain the price rise of essential goods.

 

Writer

Shri Jayanta Debnath is the Editor & MD of Tripurainfo.Com with 30 years of experience in the field of Print and Web Journalism)

Shri Pinaki Ranjan Dey is an Agri Business Consultant

   (Tripurainfo)

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