Having made his debut onto the political stage to take up the cause of the indigenous tribal communities fighting for their existential rights, that of “Jal”, “Jungle”, “Jameen” Mr. Arjun Munda’s politics has centered and revolved around the core and fundamental issues of the right to life, liberty, and peaceful co-existence. He looks at politics as an enabler; a viable and powerful tool of socio-economic transformation at large for the whole of India and for Jharkhand in particular.
Over the years Mundaji developed and refined his vision for his people and his beloved State as an inclusive and egalitarian paradise of healthy and educated people living in seamless unison with Nature and its surroundings where natural and mineral resources are utilized in the most responsible, accountable, transparent and environment-friendly ways by its enlightened citizenry; where credo is not the end in itself but the nature, kind, and quality of the means deployed to achieve the end goals ensuring preservation and continuity of the goodness of Nature and its bountifulness and not permitting its ravaging plunder and mindless exploitation for quick booty.
He envisioned the crying need and indispensability of well-developed physical and social infrastructure to realize his dream of a developed and prosperous Jharkhand. The plan would entail unhindered road connectivity across the State starting from the Capital City meandering down to District Towns, Block and Panchayat Headquarters and go all the way to the Villages since roads could potentially serve as the lifeline for people and spur economic and commercial activities by providing mobility and connecting them to markets. For energy, the State would utilize its renewable and non-renewable natural and mineral resources to generate electricity to light its homes, irrigate its farms, and fire up its factories in a responsible and environment-friendly way. Being blessed with abundant minerals and 300-plus days of sunlight in a year Jharkhand would also endeavor to embark on an ambitious plan to develop power as an economic asset and sell electricity by becoming a power surplus State. A robust communication network for telephony and broadband internet would be set up to potentially unleash a revolution in the field of education and healthcare through plans for generic and vocational education along with technical and professional courses and the best of healthcare for its citizens via a network of medical facilities in a pyramidal format starting with PHC at Villages and Panchayats and going up the ladder referral hospitals at Block levels and full-fledged and specialized facilities at District towns and up. Idea was to tap and leverage the physical infrastructure to build essential components needed to develop the social infrastructure – schools, colleges, hospitals, banks, marketplace and so on which in turn would produce a healthy crop of informed and educated citizens who could be socio-economically productive and could create wealth through a variety of economic activities for themselves, their family and the State.
Having a very young population, with nearly 60% people below the age of 30, the vision had the stratagem and efficacy to tap into the windfall of its demographic dividend by deploying its well-equipped educated and skilled workforce into government, business, and commercial operations and help the State become rich and prosperous quickly through fast and healthy growth and development cycles. This could help Jharkhand surge ahead and emerge as one of the leading states of the Indian Union. Some of the pearls of his vision are reflected in the innovativeness and novelty of his various schemes and their futuristic thinking and benefits.
One such scheme was to provide bicycles to girl students. Mr. Arjun Munda was probably the first Indian politician who saw the extraordinary power of a simple bicycle in increasing school enrollment manifold for girl students and in drastically reducing their dropout rates. Who could have thought a petty bicycle could come to mean mobility, freedom, safety and much more for the beneficiary girls, unleashing a silent social revolution of some sort in the countryside of Jharkhand where schools are invariably far off and the daily commute is a hardship and a dangerous enterprise that many parents considered not worth the risk. Vocational education through a chain of ITIs; Electronics and IT Clusters near industrial centers; Knowledge hubs in Khunti and Bokaro; MoUs with leading Indian Business Houses and the MNCs were all conceived as essential and integral components of the grandiose vision for education, skill development, and employment for its burgeoning youth.
Thousands of check dams and wells were built with a view to transitioning Jharkhand farmers from their existing single-crop situation to becoming multi-crop growers which consequently could increase State’s output of food grains manifold and enrich its farmers. The prosperity of farmers in villages has the potential to boost trade, commerce, and other economic activities leading to an increase in local consumption and acquiring an innate ability to support and sustain the local economy on its own without needing much outside help and support.
Development of allied agricultural operations for Fisheries, Poultry, Dairy, Horticulture, Floriculture, Sericulture and others was aimed at supplementing the grand vision for agriculture and expand the allied agro footprint across the State generating income and employment for the unskilled, non-agricultural workers, as well as the marginal and seasonal farm hands. Setting up of necessary infrastructure and ecosystem for such operations had the promise and potential to create several additional revenue streams for the workers and the State. Launching of a plethora of enterprising economic ventures and activities in the allied agricultural domain could potentially usher in an entrepreneurial culture in the State generating thousands of jobs and creating a lot of wealth in the process.
Jharcraft is the crown jewel of his allied agricultural vision. It has demonstrated what magnificent transformation is possible through a visionary thinking and an honest and timely execution of that vision. Jharcraft has exceeded all projections and expectations of growth and profits and has been steadily generating a healthy income for thousands of artisans involved in silk production and processing. It has also created a formidable brand name for its organic silk products, the Kuchai Silk, which has been receiving rave reviews in domestic and international markets for its fine fabric and its beautiful texture.
The process of socio-economic transformation also dreams of a decentralized polity at work in the villages and Panchayats delivering public service on a sound and robust platform of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) where a 32 year long jinx was broken when elections were held for the 3 layers of PRIs, as per the SC directives, electing an impressive 57% women candidates to come forward and take up leadership positions.
Some Notable Achievements of Mr. Arjun Munda:
- Appointment of the 1st Lokayukta of Jharkhand, a step toward transparency and effective governance
- Recruitment of Primary and Para Teachers for schools to fulfill education and training requirements
- Recruitment of Police personnel to strengthen law and order and guarantee citizens’ safety and security
- World-class sports infrastructure built at Ranchi and successful hosting of 34th National Games in 2011
- Decentralization of administration and governance through PRI Elections and devolution of authority
- Establishment of Panchayat Sachivalaya; Launch of e-Tender and e-Procurement systems in government
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