Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Bring change

It is quite evident that Nagaland has failed to reach the level of development as in other parts of the country. Compared to the rest of the states in India, our economic performance is at the bottom of the pyramid. Surprisingly our state is abundant with large and wide range of resource availability, but it has failed completely to avail of its benefits. This state of affairs can be attributed to reluctance and stubbornness to change. Change is important to be brought about. Though management of change is a cumbersome process or it is resisted by many, but change in positive direction is always welcome. In every sector of our state, innovation and creativity have to be pumped in. That will fetch better results. We have an ailing health care, underdeveloped tourism and hospitality sector, as well as obsolete education system. So it needs a massive overhaul. Today our state has been marooned onto the shores of hopeless mis-governance and economic paralysis by, besides a lot of other things, a lack of political will to usher in prosperity and economic dignity. But what does change mean, what would it entail and what would it lead our state towards. Our state economy is perhaps the most centralized and nationalized economy in the world. Our state government enjoys an unimaginable manipulative and obstructionist power over our resources, our economy and our wronged and suffocated private sector. We understand that no state can grow and develop without a blossoming private sector which would in turn translate into job creation, economic mobility and eventually a respite from the debt trap that we are reeling under. Successive governments in our state over the years have misused their powers by employing more government employees. Jobs have been used as political bribes and doles to lure our economically persecuted people to the polling booths. Most, if not all, of these promises have predictably been broken. We must know that it is not the role or responsibility of the government to create jobs. It is, however, the utmost responsibility of the government to create a conducive and positive atmosphere for a growth in our private sector – which in turn would lead to employment generation. This will be possible only when we start a process of economic liberalization. It is time we allow the people of our state, its hoteliers, entrepreneurs and businessmen to grow at par with people in other parts of the country. At the same time, due to decades of misrule, corruption and lack of political will and leadership, our state is severely deficient in public infrastructure – wider roads, good hospitals, electricity, good public schools, etc. A growth in infrastructure won’t come through photo-ops, granite plaques and ribbon cuttings but through new policies – visionary urban development plans, deadlines for project completion, penalties for delays and incentives for good, effective and timely deliverance. Today our master plan is utterly flawed and lacks vision. We need a master plan that will be relevant and conducive in 2050, not a master plan that is stuck in the realities of 2000. We need an effective and world-class health system. We need government schools with modern facilities and learning tools that are run in partnership with the private sector and monitored for results. We need to create sector specific policies with yearly benchmarks for improvement, infrastructural additions and growth. This should include policies in the sectors of health, education, urban development, rural development, social welfare, power development, floriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, agriculture and tourism. Today there are a many things that have gone wrong in our state. For instance, the welfare of a person should not depend on his political leanings but on the tenets of equality, objectivity and justice. The system of administration should not depend on political favoritism or political vindictiveness but on the bedrock of nation building. Political leadership should not be measured by maneuvering coalition constraints or surviving in the chair but measured by the benchmark of statesmanship, etc. Indeed as we celebrate the 72nd Republic Day today, let us all pledge to check these aberrations and discrepancies and to take our state towards prosperity.