Skip to main content

Labour shortage: How can inclusive growth in Odisha prevent large-scale out-migration

By Sudhansu R Das 

The State of Odisha has huge natural resources: a vibrant river network, coastline running over 450 km with coconut, cashew, areca nut and palm plantation on its coast. Wild life, cattle population, exotic tourist and pilgrim destinations etc., add muscles to the economy of Odisha.
The State can graduate from exclusive growth to inclusive growth if it develops the capacity to conceive original State specific development concepts. In fact, the development initiatives will not create inclusive employment opportunities in the state but the quality implementation of development works will increase the productivity hours of people which will increase the quality of life.
But for the quality implementation of different programs and development projects, a State needs quality human resources who can show commitment, a sense of belongingness to the State, to its people and its culture.
In spite of having so much potential for employment in different sectors, the State witnesses large-scale migration of young people from villages and towns to cities across the country. The State needs to create employment and prevent migration. The migration of educated, skilled, unskilled, semi-skilled and illiterate young work force to other States creates shortage of quality manpower in every sector.
There is an acute labour crisis in the agriculture sector which has made farming difficult. Free food, freebies and subsidies dissuade labourers from physical work; it also leads to the loss of entrepreneurship among people and creates many social problems. People have land and money to invest but they don’t get labor to work in the field. The majority of the ageing farmers feel that they are the last generation of farmers.
Thousands of farmers on the bank of the river Nua Nai in Puri district used to grow rice, vegetables and fruits; they used to catch a variety of sweet water fish from the Nua Nai which flows into the Bay of Bengal. The State government is dredging the Nua Nai to join it with the Bhargavi river with the objective of saving the paddy field from flood.
There are other means to check floods; understanding the root causes of floods is very important. Unfortunately, the dredging has filled the river with salt water from the sea; it has created acute drinking water shortage in the region and has adversely affected the agriculture production.
The sweet water fish from the Nua Nai have almost disappeared. There is a need to understand nature's engineering marvel which sustains lives and livelihood. The farmers in the region say if they get water for irrigation, they can happily grow two crops in a year.
There is an urgent need for dedicated research to know the root cause of the deteriorating art and craft traditions in the State. The State needs to replace the inefficient officials with honest and genuine handicraft experts for craft development. The tendency to create hype with the help of social media, photographs, seminars, powerpoint presentations and flowery speeches should be curbed; this rot in the form of gloss is spreading fast.
The economy of scale in art objects does not click. It is the quality, grace and artistry in handicraft and handloom products which sustains the demand in domestic and international markets. Besides, transparent marketing facilities should be created right from the purchase of yarn to the finished products.
The State has a vibrant pilgrim sector which can generate employment and boost the unorganized sector. Many ancient temples in the State are in a neglected State; the ancient architecture, sculptures, pristine look, the fine carvings and the spiritual aura around the temple should be preserved.
The Odisha government has developed good roads to the pilgrim destinations but the State has to do a lot in order to keep the temple surroundings free from unsocial activities which begin late at night. Special police force should be raised to curb unsocial activities around the ancient temples.
Migration of educated, skilled and unskilled young work force to other States creates shortage of quality manpower in every sector
There are contractors who mint money by selling arna prasad in some temples of Cuttack. Those contractors dump the leftover food, plates and plastic glasses outside the temples. Cuttack municipality should strictly advise those contractors to install their own bio-gas plant to dispose of the garbage.
Good roads free from encroachment, electric rickshaws, battery operated mini buses, vending zones, closed drains and cleanliness will create employment for local people in Cuttack city. The municipality, strong willed politicians, NGOs and the educated professionals of the city should educate residents how to keep the city clean.
Instead of delivering speeches in the seminars and meetings, they should move from ward to ward and make people aware of the importance of cleanliness. Hundreds of people die in the city due to kidney infection as they urinate in municipality drains regularly.
Out of 59 wards in Cuttack, not a single ward has closed drains. Cuttack municipality should showcase at least five wards with closed drains and good roads. Though the municipality puts cement slabs on the drains in a few wards, they keep gaps in between slabs which let plastic and garbage into the drains creating more problems than before.
The officials of the Cuttack municipality should not sit in their office, they should move from ward to ward on foot for monitoring the work. The historic municipality pond and the public park just opposite to Cuttack municipality office are glaring examples of neglect. Both the pond and the park have become garbage dumps for the local residents.
The economic condition of the original Cuttakites gets ruined due to mosquito menace, substandard roads with patches, potholes and broken slabs. They spend more on vehicle repair and on treatment of their body parts due to road accidents. The repeated digging and repair of roads shows that the contractors take decisions for the road work.
Quality monitoring of roads, schools, ponds, libraries, hospitals, playgrounds, heritage places and crop procurement centers etc. will achieve inclusive growth for the State.



Avoidable Narmada floods: Modi birthday fete caused long wait for release of dam waters

Counterview Desk  Top advocacy group, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), has accused the Sardar Sarovar dam operators for once again acting in an "unaccountable" manner, bringing "avoidable floods in downstream Gujarat."  In a detailed analysis, SANDRP has said that the water level at the Golden Bridge in Bharuch approached the highest flood level on September 17, 2023, but these "could have been significantly lower and much less disastrous" both for the upstream and downstream areas of the dam, if the authorities had taken action earlier based on available actionable information.

Biden urged to warn Modi: US can declare India as worst religious freedom offender

By Our Representative  During a Congressional Briefing held on Capitol Hill, Washington DC, Nadine Maenza, former Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), has wondered why the Biden administration should raise issues of mass anti-minority mob violence  -- particularly in Haryana and Manipur -- with Modi. Modi should be told that if such violence continues, the US will be “compelled by law” to designate India as one of the world’s worst offenders of religious freedom, she urged.

From 'Naatu-Naatu' to 'Nipah-Nipah': Dancing to the tune of western pipers?

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  Some critics have commented that the ecstatic response of most Indians to the Oscar for the racy Indian song, “Naatu-Naatu” from the film, “RRR” reeks of sheer racism, insulting visuals and a colonial hangover. It was perhaps these ingredients that impressed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, one critic says.

Why iconic Urdu book stall, publishing house Maktaba Jamia died an 'unnatural' death

By Firoz Bakht Ahmed*  We have all grown through the fragrant flavours and flairs of our childhood, one of them being our childhood mother-tongue historic magazines like, “Thakurmar Jhuli” (Bengali), “Khilauna”, Payam-e-Taleem" (Urdu), “Hans” (Marathi), “Parag” (Hindi), “Chitralekha” (Gujarati), “Chandamama” (Telugu), etc. I “drank” Urdu while suckling his mother and learnt the language not from any madrasa, school or college but from these publications only — my treasure trove!

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Asset managers hold '2.8 times more equity' in fossil fuel cos than in green investments

By Deepanwita Gita Niyogi*  The world’s largest asset managers are far off track to meet the  2050 net zero commitments , a new study  released by InfluenceMap , a London-based think tank working on climate change and sustainability, says. Released on August 1, the Asset Managers and Climate Change 2023 report by FinanceMap, a work stream of InfluenceMap, finds that the world’s largest asset managers have not improved on their climate performance in the past two years.

Evading primary responsibility, ONGC decides to invest Rs 15,000 crore in sick subsidiary

By NS Venkataraman*  It is reported that Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) will infuse about Rs 15,000 crore in ONGC Petro-additions Ltd (OPaL) as part of a financial restructuring exercise. ONGC currently holds 49.36 per cent stake in (OPaL), which operates a mega petrochemical plant at Dahej in Gujarat. GAIL (India) Ltd has 49.21 per cent interest and Gujarat State Petrochemical Corporation (GSPC) has the remaining 1.43 per cent.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Sales, profits of Indian firms 'deteriorate', yet no significant increase in cost pressures

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad's (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES), a monthly exercise, has said that while cost perceptions data does not indicate significant increase of cost pressures, sales and profits of the Indian firms have deteriorated.

Why Bangladesh is achieving 'new heights' amidst economic collapse of Pakistan

By Sufian Siddique*  Pakistan's economy is on the brink of bankruptcy like Sri Lanka's. Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves have fallen below $3 billion. They have asked the IMF for a 'bailout loan' a long time ago, but the IMF is trying to impose strict conditions that Pakistan's current ruling coalition has no capacity to meet. Even China and Saudi Arabia, Pakistan's long-standing loyal friends, are now reluctant to shoulder Pakistan's burden.