14th NLA Begins: Some Reflections

Dr Asangba Tzudir

The First Session of the 14th Nagaland Legislative Assembly has begun and is scheduled to go on till the 28th of March. The 60 elected members have taken oath, of which 31 are returning members and 29 new members. Beyond the win result and the ‘thanksgiving’ celebration, what a proud moment it would have been for the 60 members especially the new members and more so the two women to enter and be seated in the august House for the first time. Considering the different levels of hurdles and difficulties with which they have won, it must have been the dawn of a realisation of reality and to savour the cream of success. 

Moving on, an opportunity was presented to have an opposition in the assembly, but the Naga Political Issue seems to have become a very good excuse to come together within an opposition-less government. However, it is now time to be settled, get serious in consideration of the way forward tasks ahead which includes budget for the year 2023-2024. 

Of the many pressing concerns confronting Nagaland today is the issue of economic dependency syndrome even as ‘outsiders’ are making a comfortable living by ‘transforming waste to gold’. It is a contradiction for a state to have unemployment problems in a land of opportunities. Nonetheless, there is need to re-generate the existing avenues, so also create new avenues where the youths can express one’s true potentials and make gainful employment and make a dignified living. However, the culture of working hard also needs to be revived instead of thinking about overnight windfall.

Another issue is the economic inequalities which of course is a concern in almost all countries. The unequal distribution of income and opportunity has trapped many in poverty with little chance to climb up. Education, enhancing skills and trainings on a large scale has to be regimented along with social assistance programs in order to reduce the gap of inequalities.

While we continue to talk about poor roads and connectivity and the need to develop, it is sad and ironic to be still talking about the needs for roads and connectivity on the aspect of development, when it should rather be serving as a launch pad for other avenues of development. The issue of poor roads and connectivity comes within the issue of the inequalities of development in the State. This has been a subject of much debate which finds tied within the politics of development and prioritization. An all-round equitable development map is an urgent requirement.

The idea of equitable development should be mapped not from developmental politics but from human rights perspective in consideration of the growing economic inequalities. Development and inequalities are intricately related so much so that with deepening economic inequalities, it only poses a serious threat to human rights and consequent human rights violations, and while it is difficult to discuss the level of economic inequality vis-a-vis the human rights fulfilment, there is need for structuring a strong normative framework in order to address the various inequalities.  

Such a framework should address resource distribution so as to ensure a progressive fulfilment while also guarantee at least a moral minimum of human rights enjoyment without discrimination or exclusion. The framework thus needs to be clustered within the normative foundation of the ‘Right to development’ which seeks to erase wealth disparities and in turn try to promote human rights, and thereby foster well-being for the people.

There is a serious lack of social order today, and the lack of it is a symptom of the growing economic inequalities and of developmental disparity. These are pressing concerns which cannot be totally erased but realising its implications on people, it is time for the state Government to build a strong normative framework towards building an economically robust and an equitable society.

 (Dr Asangba Tzudir contributes a weekly guest editorial to the Morung Express. Comments can be emailed to asangtz@gmail.com)