Dr Asangba Tzudir
Even as the State gears up for the upcoming NLA elections, the issues and ‘problems’ that has emerged attests to the fact that elections are centered not on public issue, rather on money and power. The party manifesto for this year yet to be made known, and the fact that election is not simply about voting but privileging and empowering the candidates to build Nagaland in the next five years.
Beyond money and power, the manifestos of the various parties are a much anticipated feature and many a time finds loaded with sugar coated promises mainly to persuade voters. One can most assuredly say that if the manifestos are translated into reality, then Nagaland can be very close to ‘paradise.’ However, pursuing solution to the Naga Political problem becomes the headline of any manifesto and somehow it covers up all the other important aspects that amount to raising the standard of living.
The ‘Nagaland condition’ is such that it requires intensive care, and it is difficult to imagine a situation with an overnight transformation. While each and every individual based on their own desires, wishes and aspirations may envisage their own context of the quality life, the same to a large extent when viewed from the collectivity requires serious imagination and envisaging on certain integral aspects in the building of quality life of the people.
The Covid-19 pandemic laid bare the inadequacies in the health sector. That, nothing is more paramount than Healthcare and saving lives, and even as the state greatly lacks in infrastructure, the concerning aspect is that, it continues to fail in healthcare delivery which is a serious concern. This is where good governance becomes very pertinent to manage human resources especially when it concerns life.
The state has been reeling under an economic dependency syndrome which was also attested by NITI Aayog’s report which declared Nagaland as the worst-performing state in Northeast in Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Index in 2021. To put it in context, Nagaland performed poorly in six goals – poverty, good health and well-being, affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, industry and innovation and infrastructure. These are issues that lie at the heart of not just good life but quality life.
The rising problem of unemployment is another serious concern where the number goes over 90,000. A storehouse of human resource is living mostly idle, and while the State Government is in no position to provide government jobs to the unemployed youths, it should seriously engage in ways that would further open up the various potential avenues where the unemployed youths can gain employment. Of the many avenues, one very neglected sector is sports and a lot is desirable on its infrastructural and human resource development.
Roads are a lifeline to economic development and better connectivity is required to bring all the 16 districts together for fostering exchange of goods and services in a more productive manner. Most importantly, it will also enable closer interaction and better understanding of each other, so also the life’s realities and everyday struggles, and the condition in which we live.
All these and more, are essential to improving the quality of life, and while we call ourselves a democratic society, the issues that needs to be addressed are those that concerns quality life and well-being of the people living in a democracy.
Once again, the onus of responsibility rests on the 13,09,651 voters, and the pertinent question being – What are you going to vote for? Will you vote for quality life? And on the whole, this coming NLA election should focus not on money and power but for quality life. That, Naga Political Issue, as much as it is important, should not simply be brought in to cover up all the issues that are at the heart of defining ‘quality life’.
(Dr Asangba Tzudir contributes a weekly guest editorial to The Morung Express. Comments can be emailed to [email protected])