Nagaland CM disputes census accuracy, calls for correct enumeration

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and others during the 21st general conference of the DNSU held at NEZCC Amphitheatre Dimapur on November 29. (Morung Photo)

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and others during the 21st general conference of the DNSU held at NEZCC Amphitheatre Dimapur on November 29. (Morung Photo)

DNSU observes 21st general conference

Morung Express News 
Dimapur | November 29

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio stated that a proper documentation of census in the State was required for economic planning and allocation of funds in each sector. 

“Our census is totally wrong,” he asserted, addressing the 21st general conference of the Dimapur Naga Students’ Union (DNSU) held at NEZCC Amphitheatre, Dimapur on November 29. 

To buttress his assertion, Rio explained that when he assumed the role of Chief Minister in 2003, his Government rejected the 2001 Nagaland census data because "the growth rate was about 80%" whereas national growth rate ranged from 17 to 20%.

Such a high percentage growth was not possible, he said, further maintaining that the State then pleaded for a new census but it was not allowed by the Government of India. 

When the decadal census was conducted again in 2011, with the help of the civil societies, churches and student bodies, there was a minus growth rate (less by 11, 980), Rio pointed out.   

“How is that possible? Who will believe you? …and how will you do planning?” he questioned. 

The Chief Minister further stated that manipulation of data was also practiced during electoral rolls on households to get more funds. 

Accordingly, he stressed on the need to do away with all such practices; to be honest and to make corrective steps for which it was the collective responsibility of all the people. 

Rio further alleged that due to wrongful entry of census, the education department had recently made a huge blunder, “because as per our census, we can set up more school and appoint more teachers, but today, our student-teacher ratio, when we look at it, we can see they are wrong.”

He pointed on how there are many school with nil enrolment or single digits, possessing more teachers than students. 

Here, he opined that the education department was finding it hard to merge and redeploy the teachers correctly.

He maintained that according to GoI guidelines, the student-teacher ratio is 1:30, whereas in Nagaland, it is 1:14 teacher.

However, in the government schools, it is 1:8, and in private, 1:19 students, he said. 

In this manner, revenue of the State Government is almost nil because of various issues and unnecessary expenses for wrong enumerations, and as per guidelines, we are in trouble, he said.

Nagaland a salaried-economy
Meanwhile, Rio opined that Nagaland State and its economy have a recurring, underlying problem known to all - next to zero economic production worth mentioning.

“Though there are many people doing well (in private), our economy is a salaried economy depending solely on the government,” he said. 

Taking the example of the power sector, he explained that power requirement of the State was 180 Mega Watt, but availability was only 130, of which, 90% was purchased. 

Moreover, the State spends about Rs 554 crores annually with collection of revenue only at Rs 286 crores. 

Every year, for power purchase, he said that Nagaland was losing huge revenue, compounded by issues of non-payment of bills, transmission loss and power theft. 

Rio further lamented that Nagas do not discuss enough about the economy.

‘Everyone is talking about politics while very few are discussing about State, community, district, family, and individual economies,” he said. 

He also underlined that business sector in Dimapur and its adjoining areas are dominated by the non-Naga community.

While expressing gratitude to them for their contribution, he reminded the Naga people to learn the skills and trade from them
“Locals, we say that we are unemployed. And the outsiders who come, they are employed. So that is something is wrong with you and me,” he opined.

CM further said that government jobs were saturated, and that there were few business people, entrepreneurs, who handle big firms.
Most youths, educated or school drop outs, look for government jobs, and if not government jobs, they look for government contracts and government supplies, he maintained. 

Regrettably, when we go outside, we are questioned on sources of revenue, produces and we have no answers, he highlighted. 
Dwelling on the Hornbill festival, he stated that when tourists visit, it was a shame to note how very little the State produces in terms of handicrafts and other related products. 

“We have much potential on our handloom and handicrafts, but since we have less production, they would take back their money,” he added. 

Here, he maintained that road shows and tribal festivals were held to promote, improvise their songs, dances, handlooms, handicrafts, and ethnic foods, at their own respective locations. 

As such he suggested that every year one can make an assessment whether their tribe was improving or not, in production and economic activities. 

“There are so many ailments in society and therefore, this awakening is required that in the Naga society, total transformation is required,” he announced. 

Various other speeches were delivered by others including President of DNSU, Moayanger Jamir; President of Naga Students' Federation (NSF), Medovi Rhi; Naga Council Dimapur (NCD) Etsungmomo Kikon; and Dr Numal Momim, Deputy Speaker of Assam Legislative Assembly.