‘A Mighty Force’ is what India Today’s description of Nagaland Police in its 18th edition of the ‘State of States’ (SOS) survey. The annual survey ranked the 'best performing' and 'most improved' states in 12 parameters – Economy, Infrastructure, Tourism, Cleanliness, Inclusive Development, Agriculture, Environment, Healthcare, Entrepreneurship, Education, Law and Order, Governance. For the best-performing state category, the latest available data for these indicators were considered; for the most-improved states, data from the past five years were examined, according to India Today.
Overall, among big states, Tamil Nadu emerged as the best-performing big state while Assam topped the list of most improved states. For small states, Goa and Tripura took the honours respectively.
Nagaland has many reasons to be satisfied with the result, though there are many vital parameters in which the state was lagging.
On a positive note, for two successive years, the state's police force was declared overall best in Law and Order. The criteria include policemen per 100,000 people; cases (under IPC), Murders, kidnappings, rapes and molestation cases, riots and pending cases.
In terms of diversity, the survey noted that Nagaland at 22.8 per cent led the six states and Union territories in which women make up more than 15 per cent of the police force.
Again, quoting the 'Status of Policing in India Report 2019', the survey said that the working hours for the police personnel in Nagaland was lowest- eight-hour workdays on average; it was 11-18-hour workdays in as many as 21 other Indian states. More police personnel than the state's sanctioned strength was attributed as one of the possible reasons.
The India Justice Report 2019 which reflected that the prison system in Nagaland, in terms of human resources and related parameters, is one of the best in the country was also cited. As reported by The Morung Express, among others, the number of inmates per cadre staff in Nagaland was one, far above the ideal ratio suggested by the Model Prison Manual (MPM), 2016 - maximum of 6 inmates per cadre staff.
In the category of entrepreneurship and cleanliness, Nagaland also won the most improved award. In tourism (3rd), and education (4th), the survey showed continuous improvement and an upward trend.
However, there were some crucial misses. For instance, the overall ranking of the state was non-mover – 7th among 10 small states. In crucial areas such as governance, economy, agriculture, healthcare, environment, and inclusive development, the State’s performance had declined.
Take the case of inclusive development, which include population below poverty line and progress in poverty alleviation; persons benefiting from NREGA; the progress of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana; households with any usual member covered by health scheme; PDS offtake; average days of wage provided per household etc. For 9th position in 2018, Nagaland's ranking slide down to bottom among 10 small states in 2019.
In case of Agriculture, which among others, is based on money spent on agriculture in the last budget compared with area of agriculture and loans extended to agriculture cultivating land, the state’s performance declined from 5th last year to 7th in 2019. A similar decline was also seen in the environment parameter (from 3rd to 6th).
While improving, Nagaland’s position in healthcare (7th), infrastructure (6th), economy (8th), and cleanliness (8th) needed serious thinking from policymakers. Governance also remained a non-mover at a lowly 7th position.
While trying to hold on to the positive results reflected in SOS, low performances in some crucial aforesaid areas detrimental to the welfare of the common citizens is cause for great concern.
Nagaland needs to adopt a ‘Mighty Force’ to combat these drawbacks.