Passengers wait in line to get screened and disinfected at the Dimapur Railway Station

Kohima: As over 13,000 persons return to the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nagaland gears to roll out new policies to address the issue of reverse migration. Chief minister Neiphiu Rio informed that 4,612 migrant workers have left the state while 13,226 persons have returned.

Pointing out that the state’s economy is a consumer economy and not a producing economy, the chief minister emphasized the need to train and facilitate the youths who have returned to Nagaland to contribute towards the state’s economy. The ultimate aim is to build a self-reliant state.

“In order to provide support and hand-holding in locating job opportunities and to meet the training and skill requirements of returnees as well as to keep track of the people going out of the State for employment, the government has decided to set up a cell in the labor & employment department. This will be of great help to our working professionals returning and going out for work,” said Rio.

He explained that the state government will maintain a detailed record of all working professionals who have returned to the state. “For those who choose to stay back, the government will train and facilitate such individuals to get self-employed or skills to be employed,” says Rio.

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Terming the state’s economy as a salary-based economy where most people are reliant on the state government, he said the top priority besides the settlement of the Naga issue and delimitation is on how to involve the whole community to talk about growing the state economy.

“Fortunately, there are 13,226 returnees who have arrived [to the state]. So, we should take over the jobs, and that is why we [government] are working on it,” he said.

The chief minister reiterated that a committee has been set up to look into these factors. The government also set up a committee headed by the chief minister and co-chaired by the deputy CM in the Agri and allied sector for agriculture activities and modern farming.

He said that the Industry and commerce department will also provide training for entrepreneurs to do business. Other sectors such as the tourism, youth and culture, sports are also being looked into to engage further and promote the youth.

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Rio also said that all those who plan to leave the state for employment avenues will be required to register themselves with the state government agencies. While many leave the state for employment, he expressed concern that there are individuals who engage with “bad elements” and bring bad name for the state.

Speaking about the government’s plan to monitor people who will be migrating out of the state for employment opportunities, he said, “Those who want to go [out] must go and earn. But they will need the Village council’s blessings; the local administration will certify [them] and then [they will have to] register with the labor department”.

While registering with the government agencies, such persons will be required to mention about the type of employment, the city that they will live in and also make an update each time there is a change in the place of stay. He said that such requirements are to be made to ensure that in case of trouble or difficulties, they can get the support of the government—especially in times like these.

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He also informed that as on Monday, 224 patients, 4,545 students and 17,051 stranded workers outside the state were provided with one-time assistance of Rs 3,000 for students, Rs 4,000 for working professionals and Rs 20,000 for patients.

Regarding the one-time monetary assistance of Rs 10,000 for those who choose to stay back in the present place of stay and not return to the state, he said that a total of 14,878 persons had availed the assistance.

“The state government has done the maximum that is possible in the present circumstances, much more than any other state government. It is hoped that all citizens will be able to look at things from a more positive point of view and fight this pandemic together and work together towards self-reliance,” said Rio.

He also acknowledged the efforts of all agencies that have been working day and night for the returnees—including the frontline workers. “If we unitedly fight as team Nagaland, we will win the battle and defeat COVID-19,” Rio added.

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