Thursday, April 25, 2024

North Eastern Region must find its niche


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Two months ago we had a training in Guwahati on our Annual Survey of Industries. l remember that most of what was being said in the training program just flew over my head; what got me pondering instead was the sad state of affairs of the industrial sector in our state and in the other five north eastern states.The governments in the six northeastern states have had to formulate industrial policies mostly in the form of carrots to attract investments from outside the region and this to a small degree has managed to bring in the much needed investment into the industrial sectors of the six northeastern states; what prompted the government of the respected states to formulate such kind of an industrial policy is because the initiatives on industrial activities are hard to come by from the indigenous population of the respective states.
The only bright spot in the entire NER region is obviously Assam.Even though Agriculture is still the dominant sector even in Assam,yet over the years industrialization has started gaining pace and what’s heartening to see is the growing active participation of the local population in the industrialization process.Take the tea industry for example; Assam produces almost 50 percent of the nation’s total tea and nearly 20 percent of Assam’s entire population are employed directly or indirectly in the tea industry; what is more impressive is that Assam tea has a global demand and a global reputation and this makes it the heartbeat of the secondary sector in Assam.The other North Eastern States need to find their niche; with AI and the rapid pace of automation, large scale manufacturing and the service sector will definitely take a hit. The bright side is that the MSME sector, the sector which is best suited for the entire NER region will probably not suffer much disruption. In fact a door might open for it to take centrestage.
Yours etc.,
Gary Marbaniang,
Via email

Veracity of Opinion Polls

The editorial “Curtains up for polls” (ST March 18, 2024) made interesting reading. The editorial has raised a pertinent issue that, “more important issues might overtake CAA in the coming days. The electoral bond issue, for one.” The editorial may be partially correct in pointing out that, “it would be foolish to rely on the opinion poll released much before the real tempo for the campaign started building up.” But it cannot be denied that, ‘Opinion Polls’ play a crucial role in understanding public sentiments, but their reliability depends on several factors. The purpose of Opinion Polls is to gauge public views and preferences on various topics, including politics, social issues, and consumer behaviour. They provide insights into the thinking and experiences of a larger population based on a smaller sample. High-quality opinion polls follow rigorous methodologies which matter such as Random Sampling where pollsters select a representative sample from the population interest. They have a ‘Structured Questionnaire’ where consistent questions are asked to all respondents.
As far as ‘Data Collection; is concerned polls can be conducted via phone, online surveys, or in-person interviews. Reliable polls report a ‘Margin of Error’ to account for sampling variability. There are ‘Challenges and Limitations’. Opinion Polls are ‘Volatile’ because public opinion can change rapidly due to events, campaigns, or news. Then there is another issue and that is ‘Non-response Bias.’ Some people may refuse to participate, leading to potential bias. Then there is ‘Question Wording’ – the way questions are framed can influence responses. Further there is ‘Social Desirability Bias’, where respondents may provide socially acceptable answers. Lastly, ‘Trustworthy Polls’ rely on polls from organisations with a track record in survey research, such as Pew Centre of Research or Gallup. Trustworthy polls look for transparency in methodology, sample size, and data collection. Summing up, while opinion polls provide valuable insights, it is essential to consider their quality, methodology and context while interpreting results.
Some reliable pollsters in India known for their accurate predictions and reputable research are Axis-My India and CDDS-Lok Niti. The former is a polling agency that has gained a reputation for being one of the most accurate pollsters in India. It has successfully predicted the outcomes of several recent elections. The latter Centre for the Study of Developing Societies is a well-respected research institute. They have been conducting surveys and exit polls in India since the 1960s. Their data collection and analysis are considered reliable and insightful. But we should remember that while these pollsters have a good track record, it is essential to consider multiple sources and methodologies when interpreting election predictions. If I am asked to choose between an ‘Opinion Poll’ and ‘Exit Poll’. I would prefer the latter because the former gauge pre-election opinions while Exit Polls assess actual voting patterns after citizens have cast their ballots.
Yours etc.;
VK Lyngdoh,
Via email


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