Year of Entrepreneurs?

An organization going by the name ‘Entrepreneurs Union’ consisting of those selected under the State’s ‘Year of Entrepreneurs’ has brought to the attention of the Government of Nagaland on the need to expedite what it called the “implementation process” and “give out proper guidelines” for entrepreneurs selected under the State’s ‘Year of Entrepreneurs.’ The entrepreneurs reportedly met in Kohima recently and in the meeting held the state government responsible for “not seriously upholding” commitment made in the Year of Entrepreneurs. Such complaint if true is a matter of concern and should be looked into. It will be unfair to comment at this juncture on the direction in which the ambitious Year of Entrepreneurs’ programme is heading unless we hear from the government side. Nevertheless there seems to be a gap in the way the current programme is being handled. Whether it is to do with fund constraint, procedural delay or any other hindrance, the State government needs to clarify to the general public and also rectify it at the earliest as we are already behind schedule since the DAN government had declared 2010-11 as Year of Entrepreneur. According to the ‘Entrepreneurs Union’ the concern is over the “delay and vague policy” and “categorically blamed the government for not seriously upholding its solemn declaration.” The one thousand entrepreneurs of Nagaland state selected under the ‘year of entrepreneurs’ therefore appealed to the chief minister to expedite the implementation process and give out proper guidelines for the selected entrepreneurs. It is another matter that the CM is on a tour to UK and the concern Commissioner & Secretary was last heard to be in London attending some business summit.
During the last Assembly Session in September this year the Parliamentary Secretary for Industries & Commerce had in fact clarified that payment was yet to be made as preparation and submission of Detailed Project Report (DPR) by the selected youth was not completed since the Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) for 84 beneficiaries was still in progress. Even if we were to give the benefit of doubt to the government, it is now high time to take the Year of Entrepreneur programme to the next level of implementation.  To recollect public memory, it may be mentioned here that during one of the Budget session the CM had announced that a sum of Rs 10 crore has been proposed. And as per news report, the Rs 10 crore was to be used as seed money and the selected entrepreneur/s would then be assisted in getting the necessary bank loans. In an earlier editorial ‘Re-look at E-Programme’ we had commented that the ratio of Rs 10 crores for 1000 entrepreneur seems a bit unviable. If this is shared equally, then every entrepreneur will be entitled to Rs 1 lakh only. This is way too little for such an ambitious programme. Either the fund allocation should have been increased or if that was not possible the number of entrepreneurs to be selected should have been brought down. That way at least we will be ensuring quality by selecting only the most deserving people and backing them up with more funds. It will be now interesting to see how the funds to the 1000 eager young Naga entrepreneurs will be distributed.  Likewise if the government plans to give loans by linking the entrepreneurs to banks, there is every possibility of falling behind in repayment of loans and accumulating huge debts. This is not a healthy way of promoting a government programme especially involving our youths. Hopefully the concern authority will provide the best practical option and one that will do justice to the potential of the programme itself and also the young people waiting to tap opportunities.