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Op-Ed

Response to public discussion on NSDZs, NIB & the NLTP Act 1989 (Part-II)

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By EMN Updated: Oct 10, 2014 9:32 pm
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Dr. Chumben Murry, Ex-Minister

[dropcap]C[/dropcap]onsequent upon the Assembly Resolution of July 2010 on Article 371(A), the Nagaland PNG Rules and regulations came into being. Obviously, this is just the beginning in the right direction after having slept over the Article for half a century. But, rather than Unity we fight over the Article and the resolutions the Nagaland Legislative Assembly adopted from the start point itself. Why be argumentative on filtered areas when, the need of the hour is to come together in a positive manner. Pertaining to PNG, it is interesting to note that, seeing our disunited stand, Govt. of India has written to our State to withdraw the resolution on PNG as it is unconstitutional. This tantamount to telling us that, Indian petroleum Act will prevail even in the State of Nagaland!1) In conclusion, I feel that the Government should go ahead with the NSDZs project and summarize my suggestions in the following four areas –
a.) Land: Land, with or without wealth below or above, it still is the most important resource. It is the first commodity industrial investors will look for. It is agreed that, because of topography and the limited quantum of transport capabilities of our hill areas, major industrial potential lies only in the foothills. Therefore, for NSDZs to become a reality, select areas of the foothills have to be converted into industrial development investor friendly areas. In this regard, it is imperative that, the Government of the day review all existing Rules & Regulations and Acts on land use in the State and promulgate necessary Amendments in the light of emerging needs and make them user friendly.
b.) Peace: The second commodity investors will look for is Security. Peace and development are interdependent . Specially in the private sector, few or no investors will take risk of investing in an atmosphere of turmoil. Therefore, the Government, and all Nagas be it individuals, Political Parties, Tribal/Community based organizations, Church/Religion based organizations, Women and Youth organizations must WILL ourselves to proactively make the peace process a mass movement for the ultimate resolution of our political issue. Therefore, importantly the Govt. of the day should leave no stone unturned to facilitate and help bring about a final resolution of our political issue in the foreseeable future.
c.) ILP/RAP: Seeing the primitive and susceptible Nagas, the British and the post British India took upon themselves to protect the Nagas by way of ILP or RAP. But today, we live in a globalized scenario where interdependence has more or less become the key word to existence. Yet, we want to stick to the ILP promulgated ages ago and make hue and cry about relaxation of ILP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent visit to USA declared that, US Tourists will have visa on arrival in few months time. Without question, this policy will have a far reaching impact and consequences for India and its international relationship yet, I will call this moving forward. I think, Govt. of Nagaland has to seriously think about reviewing the existing laws from our own perspective and context and in tune with our times. Government will have to if need be, categorize visitors to Nagaland whether one is a tourist, short duration business entrepreneur or long duration establishment or industrial investor and issue ILP according to the nature of visit. Remembering that Rome cannot be built in 15 days, there should be provisions for prolonged ILP/RAP for large scale investors. Nagas have to understand that more stringent or relaxed ILP has nothing to do with illegal immigration. Today, most of the townships in Nagaland have on non-naga businessmen who have been running their establishments for more than 20,30 even 40 years and we are silent on such issue.
d.) Feasible Roadmap: The onus on establishment of Nagaland Investment Board (NIB) should lie with the Government. However, there should also be a good focus on mobilization of our own resources and channelizing them gainfully rather than look for 100% external funding. While thinking about the high level modern industrial development, we tend to forget the small grass root level cottage to small-scale industrial developments which are essentially step boards to bigger developments. I believe that a policy slogan of “THINK BIG, START SMALL AND SCALE UP” will prove to be more result oriented. In this regard, a principle or broad roadmap would be called for since, the objective of the NIB and at large the NSDZs is essentially a vision.
NLTP ACT:
Abuse of alcohol is the root of many evils. Rev. Increase Mather, one of the most influential puritan ministers of the late 17 century said “Alcohol is a good creature of God and that, man should partake of the gift without abusing it”. Jeffry A. Miron said, “Prohibition can only reduce demand if consumers exhibit respect of the Law”. The Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition Act 1989 was passed by the Govt. in place at that period of time under the influence of the churches. It might have been appropriate at that period of time to do so. Whatever the reasons, when an Assembly or Parliament passes an Act, it becomes obligatory on its citizens to contribute in making enforcement of the Act a success. Laws are made for the betterment of the people but, when such Laws become redundant or ineffective of its objectives because people fail to respect them then, a review to repeal or amend is the logical sequence. Looking back, our own NLTP Act 1989 has been theoretically a happy venture but practically an utter failure in spite of the efforts put in by the concerned Department, Law enforcement agencies, volunteering Women Organizations etc.
Ours is a secular democratic form of governance and while the Government of the day is responsible for orderliness in its day-to-day affairs, it is also responsible for taking its citizens to a level of progression as per the demand of the time and situation. The decisions and policies adopted should be on analysis of the totality of the situation not on the wishes of a section of the people. Nevertheless, today after 25 years of experience on the issue of prohibition, the ongoing discussion is healthy, as it will hopefully enable the Govt. take further rational decision in the interest of its people.
The main concern here is that as elsewhere, the prohibition in its present form gave birth to some collateral problems and menaces. The following comes to my mind.
i.) Smuggling of Alcohol.
ii.) Criminalization among participants.
iii.) Bootlegging & introduction of spurious alcohol
iv.) Health problems arising out of the Sequel of prohibition.
v.) Additional expenditure on its enforcement while revenue is cut off.
To be continued
chumbenmurry@rediffmail.com

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By EMN Updated: Oct 10, 2014 9:32:36 pm