Self-Reliant Youth

When this newspaper first hit the stands about six months ago, it began with the deep conviction about the human resource potential of the younger generation and having a strong belief in their capabilities with the hope to nurture a self-reliant society. Naga youths caught as they are in a ‘quagmire’ due to unfavorable political and social circumstances this has had a demoralizing effect on their young minds to think and act. Such has been the constraints imposed upon them that today most young people pursue life without a sense of direction. To add to this anomaly there is poverty of choice and of opportunity, which in turn has bred a dependency syndrome. 

At the same time, it is encouraging to note the changing mindset of the young and old alike to the question of career options outside of the government sector. This can be gathered from the results of a recent Morung Express Poll wherein an overwhelming majority of readers (80%) voted for Private Entrepreneurship to the question: Which are the leading career options for young Nagas? It was indeed a pleasant surprise to note that only 7% favored Government Service. However, such figures may only be possible indicators or worse still an outpouring of frustration that everything is not well. 

Interestingly one respondent pointed out that Naga parents think that their children are a failure if they don’t get government jobs. It is this mindset that would need to change if at all true youth empowerment is to be fully realized. Surely, the large number of opportunities available for employment, outside of the government has to be explored so as to fully harness the human resource development of the young work force. For this, the government may have to initially step in to encourage private entrepreneurship.  

In a study ‘Naga Youth employment in Delhi’ initiated by some young Naga professional based in Delhi and supported by Member of Parliament Wangyuh Konyak, T.R. Zelaing, Rishang Keishang and Mani Charenamani among others, it was revealed that one of the reason for the youths migrating to cities was because, most of them believed that the government is not doing enough to support and communicate with the youth population. And many feel that the State government should make itself more accessible.

As per the study this was the understanding of the youth in spite of the government declaring the year 2004 and 2005 as youth empowerment year. As rightly suggested, the government also needs to restructure its policy on youth development besides conducting more training on capacity building, professional skills, have a stronger youth development policy, allocate more funds to youth development programs and also consult with the youth on policy and programs that affect them.

Also, Naga youths need to get rid of their aversion to working outside the borders of the State and go out to explore the endless possibility that awaits them. Whether it is fashion designing, sporting activities, computer engineering, music, media & communications etc, the youths must now view things outside the box if at all they wish to become self-reliant.