CALLING OUT FOR CHANGE IN 2019: Young people enjoying a concert in Dimapur. Young people from Nagaland spoke to The Morung Express about their hopes and expectations from 2019. (Morung File Photo: For Representational Purposes Only)
Dimapur | January 11
From infrastructure to education and immigration to environmental concerns, young people of Nagaland harbor hopes to see a better year in 2019.
Speaking to The Morung Express about their aspirations and expectations for Nagaland in the new year, several young professionals, activists and academics hoped that the ongoing road projects would be expedited or completed; called for efforts to help curtail endemic corruption and developing the battered infrastructure; while also suggesting educational reforms and pragmatic actions on the Naga political issue.
“I want the four-lane project between Kohima and Dimapur to be completed at the earliest and all other intra and inter-district roadways without compromising on quality and durability along with ensuring dust-free roads by covering all soil exposed areas,” stated Khrievo Seleyi, a young teacher. He also hoped that the railway track to connect Zubza is expedited.
Creator of Naga Blog and IT professional, Yanpvuo Kikon also called for better connectivity and added that all apex organisations and citizens should ensure that the government, agencies like NHAI, and local contractors strictly comply with the National Green Highways Policy 2015.
“This will allow us to have lots of beautiful flower and fruit bearing trees, plantations and maintenance activities along the highways and even within our towns,” he added.
Pragmatic approach to Naga issue
On the Naga political issue, Kikon said that “a phase-wise progress with each NPG would be a pragmatic means towards achieving the end of the prolonged political conflict.” “Political stability in our region would enable us to focus on socio-economic progress and prosperity for our people,” he said.
Another respondent, who asked to remain anonymous, observed that while the Indian government has succeeded in their tactics, “the Nagas have failed to make structural changes” since the ceasefire agreement. She said that Nagas need to “wake up to the bigger dangers/threats instead of squabbling among ourselves”
Education reforms and
With regard to the education sector, many youth suggested that time has come to discard the norm of enabling promotion despite failing in optional subjects.
“It will be good to revert to the previous norm of adding marks above the pass marks of the additional subject, but making it compulsory to pass even in the optional subject,” Khrievo recommended.
Imtisunep Jamir, owner of e-commerce site Ilando meanwhile said education should go beyond theories and rather focus on professional and skill oriented programmes.
On the issue of scholarship and salary delays, Livika, a student urged the government not to take citizens on another “roller coaster of betrayal and underperformance.”
Keneiseno Niehu, a research scholar from Dibrugarh University meanwhile hoped that the concerned department would solve the problem of scholarship delays and pending salary of the SSA and RMSA teachers, enabling the education fraternity to function smoothly without strikes.
Addressing migration issue
Rongpang Ozukum, a student citing the year’s first bone of contention—the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016—said that the state needs a strong opposition against it.
“The Government can develop the online Inner Line Permit(ILP) system within an achievable timeline by keeping in mind the continuity of our vulnerable indigenous demography without compromising our entire future for the small revenue earned through it,” he said. Yanpvuo suggested that with political will, the government at a cabinet level needs to mandate the new online ILP system.
With regard to employment, Imtisunep Jamir touted more progress in the field of entrepreneurship.
“It’s not about the aspiration of starting big that matters, but it’s about starting with limited resources and learning along the way to master that acquired knowledge,” he said.
Jamir urged young people to seriously consider entrepreneurship as an alternative and hoped the government recognises entrepreneurs who are engaged in unique enterprises.
Towards this, he hoped that the Software Technology Parks of India incubation center at Kohima IT Park undertaken by local contractors would be completed soon thus enabling entrepreneurs to establish their startup ventures and generate jobs.
Comedian and online personality, Merenla Imsong meanwhile touched on the issue of environmental sustainability, hoping that the state would consult with experts on this issue. “Sensitising people about rain water harvesting has been long overdue and a ban on plastic bags once and for all would be wonderful,” she stated.
A message to leaders
The youths had messages for leaders of the state too. Theologian, Khrievi Sahu called upon them to be far-sighted and enterprising. She hoped that “we look beyond bad roads and do away with pointing fingers, personal gains and rise above tribalism and political views.”
“I also hope that we put good values above everything else – that we have more intentional leaders who will lead exemplary lives,” she added.
Gender representation was another area young people hoped to see progress in 2019. Merenla Imsong hoped that 2019 would usher in an era where strong capable women find voice in politics.
Activist Vitono Haralu meanwhile called for building an ecosystem of trust and belief. “It is a time of awakening for our people to see, feel and act and learn how to ask help and learn how to help. Building an ecosystem to trust one another is only possible if we come together,” she stated.