The main parties in the fray are the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress, National People’s Party (NPP), Naga People’s Front (NPF), and Trinamool Congress (TMC), with the BJP in power for the last five years.
Prior to that, the Congress' Okram Ibobi Singh was the chief minister of the state for 15 years.
One of the seven sisters of the Northeast, Manipur is dependent mainly on agriculture, forestry, and cottage industries. One of the major issues in the state is insurgency, which emerged in the 1960s and continues till date.
In this article, we explore the performances of the Biren Singh government on certain key parameters like – economic performance, jobs, crime, health indicators, and ease of doing business.
How Has the Economic Performance Been?
The year-on-year growth in the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) at constant price increased at an average rate of 5.8 percent between 2012 and 2017 (FY13-FY17).
The same increased by 6.6 percent from 2017 to 2020 (FY18-FY20), according to the data available on the website of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
The data for the FY21 is not available but the trends in most states of the country show a fall in GSDP numbers due to COVID-19 pandemic
The per capita income in the state has also seen an increase under the current government. The per capita income went from Rs 38,954 in FY13 to Rs 53,930 in FY20, as per the data provided by the RBI.
The average year-on-year growth rate increased from 3.52 percent from FY13-FY17 to 4.64 percent in FY18-FY20.
The per capita income for FY21 was not available for Manipur.
It is important to note that the per capita income in the state has been significantly lower than the national per capita income, but the year-on-year growth has been more.
While the per capita income of an average Indian was Rs 94,566 in FY20, the same in Manipur was a little more than half at Rs 53,930.
The literacy rate in the state, according the 2011 census, was 76.90 percent, higher than the national average of 72.99 percent. Despite the high literacy rate, unemployment has been a long-standing issue.
Lack of infrastructue development and no presence of private companies has increased the rate of unemployment. Lack of jobs, on the other hand, has pushed youths into drugs and insurgency.
The unemployment rate in the state, however, has been higher than the national average, which was 6.1 percent in 2017-18. The unemployment rate in the country was half of that in the state at 4.8 percent in 2019-20.
While the unemployment rate has dipped, the state's labour force rate (LFPR) participation increased by two percentage points from 48.1 percent in 2017-18 to 50.3 percent in 2019-20.
The next indicator that we looked at was crime to see how the BJP government has fared in the last five years in terms of law and order.
As per the data documented by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the number of cases reported under different crime heads (Indian Penal Code) in Manipur has decreased under the current BJP government. It fell from 3,170 in 2016 to 2,349 in 2020, after increasing to 3,416 in 2017.
It is, however, important to note that several states reported a reduced number of cases in 2020 due to the lockdown induced by COVID-19.
Another major problem in the state has been insurgency, which began in the 1960s and continues till date.
As per a response given in the Lok Sabha on 19 December 2017 by then Minister of State (MOS) Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, there were 35 Hill and Valley-based outfits and 23 Underground Outfits.
According to another Lok Sabha answer in 2019, the number of insurgency incidents and deaths have decreased in Manipur. In 2014, the number of reported incidents were 278, which decreased to 127 in 2018.
As many as 23 civilian deaths were recorded in 2017, the year the current government took over but it has since been able to keep it under 10 until November 2021.
South Asian Terrorism Portal (SATP), a non-governmental group that tracks terror activities in the South Asian region, also noted a decline in the number of insurgency-related incidents and civilian deaths in the state in the last five years.
Health: Infant Mortality, Fertility Rate
The Infant mortality rate (IMR) shows the state of the region's social, economic, and environmental conditions. It is defined as the number of deaths per thousand live births under the age of one.
The IMR has worsened from the previous NFHS-4 survey conducted in 2015-2016 which was 21.7 deaths per 1,000 live births, when the national average was 40.7.
Ease of Doing Business
The economy in the state has been better off since the BJP took over in 2017, however, in case of the Ease of Doing Business – an indicator of the investment-friendly business climate – Manipur's rank worsened from 28 in 2016 to 29 in 2019, as per the Ease of Doing Business Report.
The rankings from 2020 and 2021 are not available.
India's standing in Ease of Doing Business rankings has become better in the past few years. According to the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business ranking published in 2019, India has improved 14 spots since 2018, making it stand at 63 among 190 countries. The World Bank's report has since been discontinued.