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Whither Industry !!!
Subir Bhaumik
Whither Industry  !!!
PHOTO : Author Subir Bhaumik speaking at Tripura Conclave 2015 at Rabindra Bhavan. TIWN File Photo

There seems to be hardly effort to attract investments for industries in Tripura. The government seems to be blissfully oblivious of opportunities . While the extension of the submarine cable from Cox's Bazar is somewhat delayed because of the classic inefficiency which has become a BSNL trademark, it is surely going to come through in the next few months. After that what ! Has the state government started any dialogue with IT majors to come and invest in Tripura ! Have they worked on any policy changes that may be needed to get them here ! Have they planned a roadshow anywhere in the country to attract IT related investment !

The Tripura Conclave organiszd by www.tripurainforway.com this year focussed on potential of It industry. Some CEOs and CTOs of top IT majors were flown down for the Conclave to Agartala and lively discussions took place. Senior bureaucrats of the state government turned up in droves and the Governor joined the discussions , bringing to bear all his technocratic knowledge.

But ministers who turn up to attend small time Pujas organised by non-descript entities were conspicious by their absence.None of them took any interest to work on getting investments for the state. The chief minister made a rushed visit to AAP's convention on federalism, only to rush out ahead of Mamata Banerji's appearence. Mamata stole the show there. Question is why turn up at a conference when you are not sure whether you can stay on . Was this a classic gesture of trying to appease Kejriwal while avoiding possible bonhomie with Mamata Banerji, whose musclemen are thrashing the Left all over Bengal !  Why involve in a needless political exercise when you are not sure of sustaining it !
 
Can I ask a fairly simple qiestion !
 
What has the Tripura government and its great ministers done so far to attract investments to the state !  Except writing out an industrial policy which would hardly make sense unless it is implemented. Investments dont come walking, comrades, these days you need to compete for them, run around for them.
 
What the Hindutva brigade is doing in name of protecting cow is horrible, a complete abnegation of the country's secular traditions. They deserve nothing but outright condemnation. We have worthless ministers surrounding Modi who court controversy whenever they open their mouth. And we have a few saffronites who should only find a place in jail. I fully endorse the CPI(M)'s line on cow slaughter.
The latest People's democracy editorial is absolutely on spot  -- India's rural economy cannot afford 5.3 million unproductive cattle that will add a burden of 200 billion rupees if they are not disposed off to the abattoir -- or to neighbouring Bangladesh where there is a greaty demand.
 
But inspite of his many failings , not the least his silence on the Dadri killings for too long, Modi has been successful on one count. India in the last six months has attracted -- for the first time -- more investment than China. In the last six months, India has attracted nearly 30 billion dollars against 28 billion dollars that China attracted . It is now easily one of the world's most preferred investment destination. 
 
While it is true that controlling social and political temperatures is crucial to maintain this new found interest in India and it is absolutely important to silence the Hindutva motormouths, the fact that India is attracting so much investment is no small achievement. Though I am not exactly very fond of Modi's antics and his narcisstic obssession with social media, let us give the devil his due. His tours across the world has generated investors interest in India.
 
The question is what has Tripura's politically correct ministers done for their state. In today's competitive world, one needs to sell his or her state. Not sell it to the highest bidder for personal gains, but sell it as an investment destination.  Tripura's left ministers often boast of performance certificates in this field or that. There is a tendency to promote it as the best governed state in Northeast.  I would be proud as a Tripuraite if that was true. Until reently, I believed my state was the least corrupt in the region , until the big scams broke. And to find a Communist party fuinctionary rolling over cash to derive Mammon satisfaction was such a shock that I could never come to terms with. Just expelling that fellow did not cover the decay that is eating into the vitals of a party that once produced stalwarts like Nripen Chakarabrty, Biren Dutta and Dasarath Deb. 
 
These certificates of implementing cental government programmes means nothing unless one can build on it and attract investments to Tripura. I am getting increasingly apprehensive that the inaction of the know-all ministers in Tripura will cause a disaster. The IT gateway in Mumbai did not bring IT investments to Maharastra -- it went to neighbouring Karnataka. Similarly, Tripura's inaction may help our neighbouring states like Assam run away with IT investments and we are left only circling the gateway. 
Now even Goa is trying to develop its own IT industry to back up its superb tourism industry. In a orevious column, I had provided details of Goa's new IT policy that could provide a cue to Tripura. Unless the leaders feel their plethora of community halls and endless lectures full of boredomn and bombast is good enough to generate a 'talk economy' in Tripura.
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