Nagaland 2024: What to expect this year
KOHIMA — As Nagaland welcomes the New Year, the state has several pressing issues to address, from combating the critical issue of drug abuse to working towards achieving fiscal stability.
In this report, Eastern Mirror charts the key areas citizens of Nagaland can look forward to as the state navigates through a spectrum of opportunities and challenges across various sectors.
The protracted Naga political issue continues to shape Nagaland’s socio-political narrative. The ongoing negotiations between the Government of India (GoI) and the Naga Political Groups appear to be in suspended animation.
Simultaneously, the demand for Frontier Nagaland by the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) adds layers of complexity to the political fabric, with talks continuing between the parties.
Reaching a conclusive agreement on these issues would foster peace, stability, and development in the region.
Lok Sabha and ULB elections
The 18th Lok Sabha elections are scheduled for May 2024.
Nagaland elects one member to the lower house (Lok Sabha) of the Parliament, and the incumbent MP, Tokheho Yepthomi’s tenure will come to an end in a few months. This election is crucial for determining the union government’s composition and could impact Nagaland’s development priorities.
The Nagaland municipal elections are set to be held in 2024 for the first time in two decades. This is a significant development for the state, as it will allow citizens to directly choose their representatives in urban local bodies (ULBs).
The elections will also see a historic 33% reservation for women candidates, marking a step towards increased political participation for women in Nagaland. This is in line with the constitutional provision for one-third reservation for women in urban local bodies.
In this connection, the Nagaland government has assured the Supreme Court of India that the election process would be completed by April 30, 2024.
Polity and governance
The ‘war against drugs’, which was launched by the chief minister of Nagaland on the 77th Indian Independence Day in 2023, is expected to be pursued with a renewed vigour and collective effort in order to eradicate the social ill.
In terms of fiscal health, Nagaland faces a complex situation with its budget deficit. Although there have been recent improvements, and efforts are being made to reduce the deficit, it remains a tough situation.
Meanwhile, strengthening and making use of Information Technology (IT) interventions in the form of e-governance, healthcare system enhancements, and infrastructure improvements, as well as promotion of entrepreneurship and other skill development and people-centric initiatives across the state are expected to be at the forefront of governance.
These interventions will be crucial towards taking development to the doorsteps of the citizens.
Among others, Nagaland is currently lacking its own set of land laws, but there are anticipations for the formulation of such laws in the near future. These anticipated laws would replace the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation of 1886 and address various aspects of land administration tailored to different regions within the state. It seeks to account for the diverse conditions and circumstances prevailing in the state, providing for the adaptation of land administration practices in different areas.
Furthermore, the legislation is expected to safeguard traditional rights and customary practices while incorporating modern approaches to land administration, survey, and land records. The overarching goal is to enable the comprehensive and economic utilisation of land as a valuable asset.
As the state government continues to push for infrastructural development with a focus on improving roads, bridges, and connectivity, the completion of railway connectivity with the state capital Kohima, four-lane and two-lane road in various parts of the state are awaited, besides the foothill road.
Examinations and education
The Nagaland Board of School Education has already released the exam schedules for classes 10 and 12, starting with English papers on February 12 and the 13th respectively.
The Nagaland Public Service Commission and the Nagaland Staff Selection Board will also be conducting civil services, technical and other allied services examinations. The recruitment for police and other allied uniform services are also anticipated.
The department of school education is set to implement its initiative focusing on the ‘rationalisation of schools,’ the redeployment of school teachers, and the perhaps, introduction of Saturday as a school holiday starting from the upcoming academic session.
In the realm of sports, the Nagaland Olympic and Paralympic Games 2024 have been scheduled for February 12 to the 17th, and the state will also be hosting the 3rd Northeast Olympic Games this year.
Additionally, one of the biggest crowd pulling sports event in the state, the 29th Nagaland Wrestling Association Championship, is in the offing, while the annual 17th edition of the Hornbill International Naga Wrestling Championship will also be held alongside the Hornbill Festival in December.
It is also anticipated that the Dr. T Ao Inter-District Football Tournament, which was postponed in 2023, will be held this year in Tuensang and hosted by the Tuensang District Football Association.
Agri & allied fields
As the agriculture department, government of Nagaland, strives towards enhancing food security, promote organic products, and facilitate value addition and exports, the focus is expected to go beyond the existing Geographical Indication (GI) tagged products such as Naga Mircha (King Chilli), Naga Tree Tomato, Naga Sweet Cucumber, and Chakhesang Shawl, by including more products for GI registration.
Late last year, the advisor for Agriculture highlighted the potential registration of four indigenous crops that are endemic to Nagaland and featuring distinct varieties. The registration process is said to be underway and expected to be completed in the early part of this year.
Culture and events
Besides the annual festivals celebrated by the various communities of Nagaland, the spotlight will be on the 25th edition of the Hornbill Festival, which will be celebrated from December 1 to the 10th.
The state will also be hosting the Asia Music Summit in Kohima from February 1 to the 3rd which will be participated by delegates from at least 15 countries and representatives of music festivals from different parts of the country and abroad. The summit will be jointly organised by the state’s Task Force for Music and Arts (TaFMA) and MusiConnect Asia. Citizens can also look forward to events including the Brillante Piano Festival, and a host of other music and art initiatives, cultural events, sports competitions, summits and conferences this year.