Nagaland government focusing on low-performing districts — Kronu
Kohima, Sep. 9 (EMN): Minister for Planning and Coordination, Land Revenue and Parliamentary Affairs, Neiba Kronu on Thursday said that the government is trying its best to bring the low-performing districts at par with the rest.
He said this while addressing a press conference at Nagaland Civil Secretariat Kohima.
“Yes we admit that we could not reach up to the expectations of the people in many ways but still we can say that we are not the worst; we are also trying our best,” said Kronu.
He said there were 17 goals in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) index and added ‘all are very important’ and being a United Nation (UN) programme, he stated ‘every country is trying its best’.
He said in the overall performance percentage rated by the SDG for the north-eastern states for 2020, Sikkim was on top with 71%, followed by Mizoram with 68%; Tripura 65%; Manipur 64%; Nagaland 61%; Meghalaya 60%; Arunachal Pradesh 60%; and Assam 57%. Advisor (SDG) of Niti Aayog, Sanyukta Samaddar had stated that the country would achieve its SDGs if only the state stirred the entire process and took them to the district, block and village levels.
She had stated that the north-eastern region would play a major role wherein ‘Nagaland fared well in clean water and sanitation, poverty eradication, clean energy, sustainable consumption and production, peace justice and strong institutions and hope that the state performance will improve in the coming years’.
“So yes, we could not do well in certain areas; a few districts that we could not do well, even districts like Zunheboto, Longleng. We really have to improve. Kiphire district being an Aspirational district, we will all try our best on how to bring it at par with other districts especially,” the minister stated.
He maintained that Noklak being the youngest district, is yet to be picked, but based on the Vision 2030 document, the government would try its best to bring about change, for which he sought the support of the people.
He said that when reports are not clear, it creates confusion among the people.
He admitted that the state is at the bottom when the SDG index is ranked district-wise but the overall performance was ‘aggregate’.
The minister pointed out that it is a requisite for a state to have clear vision and concepts as it affects the policy matters. He asserted that the state ‘now has come to know where more attention is needed to be given’.
Further, he maintained that the government would exercise the same during the budget session and for allocations for districts that need to be concentrated on.
‘We should settle political issue’
With national media blaming the insurgency issue in the state as the cause of low performance in the SDG Index, the minister asserted: “Our state could not participate for two to three “five-year plans”, so that means we were late and that was just because of the insurgency problem”.
“When we have political problems, every system is affected, that we all know,” he said while expressing the desire of the government to settle the issue.
“But when we are talking too much and things are not coming to shape or a solution, there are some people saying they are tired and others from different corners, but still then we have to try,” he said.
“Without bringing solutions, it affects our working system too,” stated Kronu, adding that it was the reason behind the opposition-less government. He said the move was for a purpose — to bring together the negotiating parties so that everyone could understand each other better.
He informed that recently, the state Cabinet had also met the interlocutor and had requested him ‘not to give up’.
He informed that the meeting was held as it was observed that ‘talks cannot be continued’ and the government felt that the relationship should be renewed and the talk should resume.
When asked about the reaction of the interlocutor, Kronu said: “He is a man who understands.”
“Of course, we respect him as a Governor but we really respect him as an Interlocutor and through his efforts, and by now, he has come to know so many things and can even brief the government of India, the prime minister, the union home minister and other leaders,” he said.
‘The talk is still alive,’ he asserted.
He shared that sometimes people become aggressive and hurt each other.
“We have got to this stage and if we go back, I think that may not be good for all of us because just before reaching the destination, if we give up that may not be good,” said the minister.
He expressed the desire of the government ‘to bring together people and settle this (political) issue’ so that development would pick up faster.
On present political scenario
Speaking about the political conditions and the meeting of the chief minister with his party legislators and officials upon his arrival in the state, he said the discussion was to dwell on how to understand each other better. He informed that more discussions would be held.
Kronu asserted the discussions would also make the leaders understand the political issues better and in what manner it could bring the public together.
“Unless we (legislators) are together, it is very difficult to bring the public together, and unless they are together, it becomes a stumbling block,” he said.
When asked about the stand of the BJP party apparently playing ‘delay tactics’ despite signing the Nagaland United Government (NUG) for an opposition-less government for the Naga political issue, Kronu replied, “It was the desire of the Government of India for us come together and the BJP party during the election had said ‘election for solution’ and even now they really meant it”.
“To my understanding of the meeting with the prime minister and the union home minister, they really meant to settle the issue, and they have even requested the Assam chief minister to come to Kohima, Nagaland, told the state that both the opposition and the ruling should endorse the October 15 meeting with the tribal hohos, intellectuals and other stakeholders and that was their desire,” he maintained.
Further, Kronu said that Rio ‘have come back with everything positive to work together’.
“Rio leadership as of now and even for the future also, they (BJP leadership) have a regard and that I know,” he said.
On the NSCN/ (K) Niki group signing ceasefire agreement with the government of India, the minister said it was a positive move and everyone must sit across the table and ‘only then we can settle the issue and hammer out a solution because for every problem there is a solution to it and we believe in that and their coming is good’.
Nagaland Land Reform Bill
Meanwhile, Kronu who holds the portfolio of Land Revenue, said that ever since he took charge, he has been trying to bring about land reforms, with land issues becoming a major hurdle for developmental works.
He stated that till date, the state is using the Assam land laws for which land pattas were in existence although it was amended in 1978.
He said that the state will have its own land system and the government has been taking the opinion of the experts. It was informed that the draft is underway while one has already been sent to the Law department.
‘Both will be compiled,’ he said, adding that it is ‘very delicate matter’ involving the Article 371 (A); there are also other practical problems such as village authorities not willing for the cadastral survey.
Informing that the new law would protect the land of the state, he hinted at the possibilities of new land ownership certificate, the format for which was also stated to have been worked out.
Kronu also exuded hope that the department would be able to present the Land Reform Bill in the next Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) session.
‘ULB election should be conducted’
The minister opined that the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) should be held while taking women into confidence and added that a system should be brought where both men and women can participate.
He said that the government is working on the same and that some exercises have been done and the opinion of the tribal organisations taken so that when elections are held, ‘it would not happen like the last time, as it was mainly because of the 33% women reservation issue’.
He maintained that a system can be brought where both men and women can agree and legislate, and subsequently conduct elections.
Kronu went on to stress that not holding ULB elections ‘is affecting the SDG Vision too’.