Government Notification No.Con.3/PAP/65/10: Dated Kohima the 29th June 2019 concerning “Registration of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland” (RIIN) with a seemingly simplified objective of preventing issuance of fake Indigenous inhabitants Certificates, is froth with possible abusive outcome that could be detrimental to the original sons of the soil unless certain operational benchmarks are first strictly laid down with absolute clarity.
(A) At the outset, it is the considered view of NSCA that the Government needs to first and foremost clarify what record it is referring to when it says “based on official records” in the matter of extensive survey at the village and urban ward level: (Clause 2. of the notification No.CON-3/PAP/65/10; Dated Kohima the 29th June 2019; and at Clause 10 of the same notification for the Deputy Commissioner to adjudicate claims and objections) at the later stage. In this regard NSCA would like to firmly place on record and state that the overwhelming majority of original Naga inhabitants of Nagaland do not constitute to be a real threat factor. Instead it is the minority sector of ‘Non-Nagas’ and ‘other Nagas’ who settled in Nagaland before 1-12-1963 that calls for prioritising RIIN exercise rather than unnecessarily compounding the problems by plunging the whole State into a mega exercise with the inclusion of the less questionable indigenous majority population of Nagaland through this cumbersome scrutiny. In this connection NSCA would like to refresh the mind the Government of Nagaland that the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (Administrative Reform Branch) vide its Notification NO.AR-8/8/76: Kohima, the 28th April, 1977 officially laid down the following regulatory criteria: (Quoted Verbatim): 1. The Governor of Nagaland is pleased to decide that in order to qualify as an “Indigenous Inhabitants” of the State of Nagaland for the purpose of employment as envisaged in the order No.APPT-18/6/67 dated 6-7-73, a person should have settled permanently in Nagaland prior to 1-12-1963. The following shall be the criteria for determining a person to have had a permanent settlement in the State prior to 1-12-1963.
(1) His/her name or name of parents or legitimate guardians, in case the person was then a minor, should have been entered in the Electoral Roll published on 5-12-1963.
(2) The person or his/her parents or legitimate guardian should have been paying house tax prior to 1-12-1963.
(3) The person or his/her parents or legitimate guardian should have acquired property and patta on it prior to 1-12-1963.
2. IT has been further decided that only those certificates issued by a Deputy Commissioner or an Additional Deputy Commissioner shall be accepted and with immediate affect the form of certificate as annexed shall be used.
3. This supersedes this Department’s Notification of even number dated the 17th December, 1976. ( Sd:- A. SHANMUGAM, Joint Secretary to the Govt. of Nagaland.)
This Notification was issued when honest application of mind was still the standard functional norm of the Government sans questionable motivation against the interest of the real indigenous Naga inhabitants of the State of Nagaland. To the best of our knowledge this notification in question has neither been superseded nor nullified and is still relevant as a rational and fair benchmark for ‘other Nagas’ from elsewhere and ‘Non-Nagas’ to qualify as indigenous inhabitants. Therefore these criteria must strictly remain as the guiding principle in the implementation of RIIN.
(B) With the Cabinet having decided to extend ILP coverage in Dimapur, NSCA wonders why the Government is in such a tearing hurry to implement RIIN over the general populace at this stage rather than focus on streamlining the colossal complexities concerning the non-local population that have settled in Nagaland after 1-12-1963. While conceding the necessity of streamlining Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland for long term sanity, this RIIN exercise does appears to be more of a misplaced diversionary priority weighed against the circumstantial backdrop of qualifying the commercial hub of Dimapur as an ILP zone. It is a considered opinion that the status of the ‘Non-Naga’ and ‘other Naga’ population within Nagaland, especially in Dimapur, should precede the present general exercise of RIIN. It is an irrefutable fact that the upper strata of the Non-local population represent powerful Mega Business Houses who dubiously contaminates the Government working system with their ill gotten untaxed profits. Their influence over the entire system has grown rapidly over the years with unhealthy ‘closed eye’ compliance from the Politicians, Bureaucrats and Technocrats ruling the roost. Indeed even the common man who lends their names to the Non-Local businessmen for a measly monthly remuneration thereby affording the Non-Local businessmen to annually earn crores from the State exchequer through ruthless bribery and at the same time evade crores of income tax burden owed to the Centre/ State exchequer. While not excusing the State Government’s deliberate laxity in this matter, even the Nagaland Contractor’s Union ought to have imposed befitting strictures within their fold to disqualify such person(s) from all contractual business with the Government as a penalty for prostituting their names to the Non-Local businessmen. NSCA is of the opinion that the Non-locals by all means should be given a fair opportunity to do business in their own names and pay income tax as is due by them. Unless this deadly loophole is plugged, corruption in the state will continue to escalate beyond our control. The one step in the right direction to eliminate this cancerous system is therefore to first identify the legitimate Non-Local inhabitants in the State who then must carry out their business in their own names in the future and be liable to fulfil their income tax responsibility to the State and Centre.
(C) In as far as the ‘Other Nagas’ from beyond the state boundary is concerned, as long as they were settlers in Nagaland State before 1-12-1963, they should be given every legitimate rights due to them. Necessarily RIIN would then officially confer on them all privileges through authenticated registration as indigenous inhabitants based on the working criteria as mentioned above. While warmly accepting ‘other Nagas’ as brothers in the matter of social co-existence it would grossly be selfish and unfair on their part to want to enjoy dual privileges from the State they geographically belong to as well as from the State of Nagaland. It would be a pathetic stupidity on the part of the Nagas of Nagaland to allow this to continue. A clear strict line therefore needs to be drawn until such time the Indo-Naga political solution defines the final ground reality.
Having expressed our serious concerns with a clear conscience in the interest of the indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland, NSCA would like to entreat with the Government to call for an urgent public meeting with all the relevant NGOs at the earliest in order to streamline the operational yardsticks on a clear footing. Until this is done the present RIIN implementation should necessarily be put on hold.
Khekiye K. Sema IAS (Rtd)
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