Kohima: On the occasion of the 74th Independence Day, Nagaland governor RN Ravi regretted that “waves of positive change and growth” seem to have been bypassing the state of Nagaland. The governor said Nagaland has the dubious distinction of the worst performing state in the country, including the Northeast region, on almost all the significant indicators of human development.
In his message to the people of the state, Ravi said that Nagaland, which is the 16th state of the Indian Union and the second oldest state in the Northeast, is endowed with one of the finest of human and natural resources.
“For quite some decades since its birth it raced ahead of several other states in the region despite odds. Unfortunately, today, it has the dubious distinction of the worst performing state in the country including the Northeast region on almost all the significant indicators of human development,” the governor said.
Human resource is on steady decline
The governor said that the state’s human resource, which is the most precious asset and is crucial to fulfill the Naga dreams and aspirations is on steady decline.
Citing that around 25% of the children are not enrolled in schools and that 60% of the youth have not seen high school, Ravi said that the literacy in Nagaland may be technically over 80% in reality as those who have not even been to high school cannot be called functionally literate.
“One wonders what positive contribution they can make to their family, their village, their community and the state,” he said. The governor also said that despite the highest pupil-teacher ratio in the state as compared to the rest of the country, the drop-out and failure rates in government schools are “alarming”.
According to him, the absence of internet connectivity and information communication technology facility in majority of the schools is holding back the youth in the global race for progress. “It has made online teaching, specially in COVID-19 situation, impossible, pushing them further behind,” he added.
Investment climate is worrisome
Ravi also pointed out that the investment climate in Nagaland is “worrisome”, recommending that there is a need to build investment friendly eco-system to encourage investors from the outside and within the State and to have sufficient confidence to set up enterprises.
“Unfortunately Government job is the main source of employment and economy is largely based on salaries of Government servants. Even our agriculture and horticulture sectors which are the mainstay of our State’s economy are in distress. We have to encourage and incentivise entrepreneurship,” the governor said.
Misappropriation of dividends of peace
“Ironically, relative decline is more obvious during the recent decades” he said. Ravi, who is also the interlocutor for Naga peace talks said that when the security forces and the Naga armed groups agreed to suspend operations against each other paving the way for political settlement, the legitimate expectation of the people of Nagaland was dividends of peace – freedom from fear of guns, better health, better education, better infrastructure, better livelihood opportunities, an atmosphere to dream and an eco-system to pursue their dreams.
Ravi added saying “Incongruously a deeply entrenched network of vested interests has emerged during the period which has misappropriated the dividends of Peace and did not allow them to reach the people. There is mass scale mayhem and miscarriage of dreams and expectations of the people of Nagaland. It is unendurable and unacceptable”.
Nagaland cannot be left behind:
In India’s grand march forward, Ravi said that “Nagaland cannot be left behind” as the people of Nagaland have their natural right of a dignified future.
“For this we will have to build and strengthen institutions of accountability, justice and fair play. We will have to break the vice – like grip of the vicious circle of the network of vested interests and make way for the virtuous circle of peace, prosperity and happiness for our people”,. he said.
Ravi goes on to say that this cannot be achieved by government alone and the the co-operation of the two million people of Nagaland is needed. He added: “I have deep and abiding faith in the inherent goodness and capability of our people”.
Tribute to COVID-19 warriors
The governor also expressed “special heartfelt tribute” to the COVID warriors who have demonstrated exemplary commitment and extraordinary courage to serve and save the people.
He also thanked the family members of COVID warriors for their strength and support. “My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of COVID-19 victims,” he added.
Civil Society and grass root organizations have been playing a crucial role and their support to the State Health Sector and vulnerable communities is unparalleled, the governor said. he further acknowledged the volunteers for their self-less services in this hour of need.
Governor RN Ravi lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi who took timely proactive and pre-emptive measures to issues related to COVID-19.
On the COVID-19 situation in Nagaland
“I am happy to note that today our State, Nagaland is certainly better prepared to save precious lives from this deadly virus. We have built our own BSL Laboratories in record time,” he said.
Although there is need to build more laboratories, he said that the state no longer depend on the neighboring States for testing suspected COVID-19 samples. While doctors and lab-technicians are testing far more samples with far greater efficiency and frontline workers have better protective equipment, he said that hospitals have better treatment capacities with greater availability of life saving oxygen and ventilators. He added that the citizens are better aware of the COVID-19 preventive protocols and the State Government is better energized and synergized with the COVID War Room at the State level and the District Task Forces at the Districts.
“Although the number of the COVID +ve cases are increasing, we are fortunate that the mortality has been low. I appeal to our people not to panic and not to lower guards,” he said.
As the nation observes the 74th Independence day, the governor also paid “homage to all the heroes and martyrs, millions of working men and women, whose sacrifices under the leadership of the Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, wrought this freedom and the Union of Free India was born”.
“We also pay respect to those heroes whose relentless vigil has kept this country secure and those whose contributions made this Union great and glorious,” he added.