Rethinking Unemployment in Nagaland

Our society is facing numerous problems; alcoholism, nepotism, bribery, corruption, and one of the most serious of all these is of unemployment. Theoretically, unemployment is a situation where a person in a certain age group is able and willing to work, but is out of work because of lack of opportunities. There have been many instances where concerned citizens have deliberated on this issue, not just in our state but at a national level as well. This is going to be a continuing problem for our society unless due attention is paid to address the issue, and is dealt with at the earliest.   We have been brought up talking about values like honesty, obedience, discipline, perseverance, and particularly ‘dignity of labour’, but these have seldom been put into practice and exhibited in our society. If we adhered to these principles, our society would have been different and most of our problems would have been non-existent. We must ask ourselves this question before we try to blame others: are there fewer employment opportunities, or are we simply unemployable? This is a reminder that our society is in the making, and that each of us has a responsibility to contribute towards the progress of our society.  

We have been complaining about unemployment in our state, whereas, in my opinion, the reality is otherwise. What about the employment opportunities we have been providing for the non-Nagas? For instance, the construction sector and daily public transport services are areas where non-Nagas are being employed in terms of thousands. Moreover, due to lack of proper infrastructure—be they schools, hospitals, colleges—the revenue, which should circulate within our society, invariably find their way out of the state, thus benefitting other regions. Dimapur is our de facto ‘commercial hub’ where a majority of stakeholders in businesses are non-Nagas. Why are we dependent on them for our economy?  

Our society is proficient in imitating Western cultures, yet several aspects which can be advantageous for the upliftment of our society have been ignored altogether. It will be a different picture altogether if we learn their work culture and the way they earn, rather than the way they spend. It will also be good if we try to be independent like them when we come of age. We are unable to look beyond the traditional employment sectors and venture into new areas. We are heavily dependent on the government, and in addition, our youth today are much too distracted. It’s frequently mentioned, time and again, that there has been an unspoken law in our society, that the educated should get government jobs. There has been immense pressure to fetch financial security at the earliest, and as such, there is very little room for the educated to pursue their interest and creativity. The educated folk, or otherwise known as the ‘graduates’ in our society, are encouraged not to take jobs which are in the private sectors. What’s more, a person may have degrees, but may lack the aptitudes required to meet the needs of the present job market. The problem is our educational system is not industry oriented. It still focuses on school knowledge that has long lost its validity in this fast changing and globalizing world. In other words, there is a mismatch between the aspirations of the graduates and employment opportunities.  

The twin effects of globalisation and information technology have altered the nature of today’s working environment. Therefore, our job at hand is to use these changes to our advantage. We have to come up with new ways to generate a skilled labour force and provide education geared towards the needs of the present job market, in order to satisfy the service demands. Also, it is important that the present generation of youths should join institutes and select courses as per their interests. Along with these efforts, positive changes can be experienced within a short period of time if the government encourages and develops agriculture-based industries in the rural areas.  

Many entrepreneurs and business firms have done their part by creating numerous job opportunities and platforms for training. These efforts must be applauded. Our society as a whole has to offer support and encourage such efforts. Along with all these efforts, a change in our attitude, our mind-set is essential. This is necessary because many of us have the potential, but are not willing to take risks. It is not possible for any government to provide jobs for all, and therefore, a desire to do something on our own will solve to a great extent, the problem of unemployment for both the uneducated and educated people.  

“Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought delves into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr. Hewasa Lorin, Anjan Behera, Nivibo Yiki, Kvulo Lorin and Dr. Salikyu Sangtam. For feedback or comments please”.