The Public Service Aspirants of Nagaland (PSAN) has rightly decided to stage a peaceful sit-in protest on July 3 in Kohima. Formed in 2016 by a group of like-minded civil service aspirants, sharing a common concern for the educated unemployed Naga youth in particular and the public in general, among others, PSAN is protesting for strict adherence to State’s employment policies; bans and termination of contractual appointments; and stopping of rampant deputation on political grounds.
Most importantly, the Association is demanding “Free, fair and open competition for entry into offices under the Government of Nagaland in accordance with Article 16 of the Indian Constitution.” Ruing that the “elders have failed” the youth miserably and the system is at its “worst possible condition,” it called for standing up against the injustice. Fair demands, one would agree and every thinking citizen should support and propagate the same.
A simple lesson in economics and common sense would tell suggest that when resources are scarce and have alternative uses, a rational human being would have to decide how to use resources efficiently given the fact that our wants are unlimited. Using the same logic in the case of a society or an economy, the central problems facing any entity is deciding – what to produce, how to produce, and for whom to produce or how these products should be efficiently distributed.
Inefficient distribution results in economic as well as various other socio-political problems plaguing the society with discontentment, disharmony and conflict between the different strata of the population. The method to carry out such distribution differs and is often contentious; for instance, theoretically, control of resources by the government and sharing it equally under socialism, or freedom of private enterprises under capitalism. However, giving equal opportunity, devoid of any outside influence, is the central theme of any mainstream economics.
In Nagaland, theoretically and practically, both socialism and capitalism have failed miserably. What we have is a hotchpotch of both, putting common people worse-off and definitely not better off than before. ‘Trickledown’ economics dissipates at the top.
Devoid of such opportunities, we have perfected the art of crony capitalism, simply described as “an economic system characterised by close, mutually advantageous relationships between business leaders and government officials.” Mix a little bit of innate dictatorship inherent in the society, and the concoction is dystopian.
The corrupt electoral practice is one of the best manifestations. Again, the system becomes a quid pro quo whereby each entity perpetuates the existing ‘malpractices.’ Secondly, it becomes a tool for the politicians, political parties or their aspirants to manipulate the electorate. Thirdly, those at the helms of affairs make decisions just for the benefits of self, monetarily or otherwise. Many upright officers and workers haplessly become a mere spectator in this jamboree. This is tragic – both for the society as well as the people.
Over the years, we have seen those at the helms of affairs espousing the idea of private initiative to lighten the burden of the government. But how can private enterprises survive, when the fate of the society is decided by the whims of those at the helms of affairs? Can anyone honestly say that an efficient and equal opportunity is given to all in the pursuit of such vaunted goals?
At the nascent stage, it is accepted from both sides of the economic schools that government has a crucial role not only to enable people to fulfill their potential but also providing a level-playing field to everyone. Development is whole round development of the society, not just the improvement in statistics.
Estimating an annual entry of 13,000 educated young people into the job market apart from the existing 70,000, the recent ‘Nagaland Vision 2030’ document stated that there is a need for creating of at least 10,000 employment opportunities annually. It does not include those ‘uneducated’ or unregistered. An insurmountable task, having dramatic ramifications, it pertinently called for strategies that are not based on maintaining the status quo.
Though lacking in deeds, we are affluent in words. Youth as the future leaders has become the most vented cliché to anyone who cares to listen.
But for many, such opportunities never come; it was fixed yesterday and purloined today.
Don’t give the youth tomorrow; just give them what is rightfully theirs today.
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