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Op-Ed

The new paradigm of development in a new era

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By EMN Updated: Nov 06, 2013 9:21 pm
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Text of the Concept note on Special Economic Development Zone and the Foothill Super Highway presented by
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio at the consultative meet held on November 6, 2013, at the Capital Convention Centre, Kohima.

 

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Naga people need to evolve new paradigms for development in accordance with the dynamics of the emergent situation and to prepare to face the challenges of the future.
We have progressed far since our statehood fifty years ago and today we need to reorient our directions of growth and development in accordance with the needs of the future generations, especially the youth who have become educated and modern and have their visions set on becoming citizens of the 21st century. We have to plan to meet their aspirations so that they can grow according to their genius. Of special concern is the growing number of educated that today number 4.11 lakh students in schools and over 40,000 in colleges in the State. The number of students pursuing higher education outside the state is even larger. Taken together, it can be accounted that there are over 5.00 lac students of Nagaland for whom we have to prepare the ground and opportunities for their gainful livelihood or employment.In such a perspective the government employment is saturated and the scope for more employment in the government cannot enlarge much more than what is available today. In fact the main reason for the serious resource crunch faced by the state is because of the huge overheads of the salaries of its employees. This is being paid at the cost of development as the first thing task, before we arrive at the Plan outlay, is to cover the huge BCR gap arising due to the salaries of our employees. In any case it is understood, in all other parts of the world, that government can meet only 10% of the needs of the people and all other aspects of economy including employment and services has to emerge from the private sector.
In such a perspective, we have to plan and prepare for the private sector to grow and flourish but such a process cannot come about by wishful thinking alone. All the North East States have been dreaming about such a process ever since the winds of liberalisation began to blow in India. This is evident from the numerous ‘Investors Meet” that have been held since the first one held in Mumbai in 2001. There has been countless meets including abroad like in Bangkok, Vietnam and even in New York. Such meets have not produced results because of some inherent deficiencies in our existing systems. The more important need is to restructure and reform our systems and create the appropriate condition for our development to emerge in the right direction, especially to enable investment to flow into the state.
Firstly our urban centres are concentrated in the mountains. They have grown beyond their carrying capacities and many are bursting at their seams. For example Kohima has clogged traffic and face acute water problems. We are facing basic problems of even our garbage disposal which is amounting to 50 (fifty tons) a day even now. Land is further becoming beyond the reach of many, particularly the common man. Under such a situation it is therefore, not possible for us to visualize larger growth of our mountain top urban conglomerations, much less to try and induce industrialisation to take place in our hilltop towns. We know that this is not feasible from the practical or even the ecological aspect of our existence.
Industrialisation and Urbanization is an imperative for the development of trade, commerce and the economy of a people. This historical process has been evident ever since the beginning of human civilization when mankind started to focus on settled agriculture and surplus production. Such a process is beginning to assume its ultimate form in the 21st century. In most developed countries the Urban population is exceeding the rural population. The United Nations estimate that by 2008 50% of the global population will be living in urban areas. Even today, in countries like Canada and Australia the Urban population comprises over 70% of the population.
The process of urbanisation is emerging even in Nagaland which is clearly indicated by the 2011 census. The matter of a wrong census of 2001 apart, our urban population has grown from 19% in 2001 to 28% in 2011. This growth of urban population of Nagaland is recorded despite the fact that the state’s population has seen a decrease by (-).43 % during the decade. Urbanisation is here to stay and we have to think and plan in accordance with the global historical process.
For such a process of urbanisation to take place we have to evolve concrete policies and in this direction the following thinking has emerged that needs to be discussed:
i. A futuristic superhighway that will be four to eight lane road along the foothills
ii. A Railway line along the foothills.
iii. Development of SDZ (Special development Zones) along this foothill super highway and railway where urbanisation will emerge and where eventually industrialisation will take place.
The SDZ areas so defined will be large areas along the Super highway where special legal interventions will have to be made as follows:
i. The first aspect will be to restructure the land tenure system through intensive cadastral survey identifying the ownership.
ii. Such an exercise will be followed by the introduction of title and ownership deeds and its registration to give legal coverage and sanctity.
iii. Such a process is intended to regulate the land tenure system to facilitate legal ownership and transfer of land and thereby facilitate investment and industrialisation.
iv. This will entail the relaxation of the existing systems of land ownership and tenure systems that are largely tribal in nature.
v. In such SDZs the ILP system based on the BEFR will need to be relaxed.
The SDZs are so named as to differentiate from the regime of the IGC (Industrial Growth Centres) and the the SEZ (Special Economic Zones) as currently understood in the industrial policies of the Government of India. The present thinking for the development of the SDZ will be in the following areas such as Jalukie, Dimapur, Niuland, Merapani, Bhandari, Longtho, Longnak, Tuli, Yonglok, Shetep, Tiru, Nagnimora, Tizit and any other areas that may be included later in the proposed NSDZ through Government’s notification. The exact identification and demarcation of the areas to be included in the NSDZ will be done by the State Government, in consultation with the concerned tribal hohos and the people/ landowners of the areas concerned.
In these SDZs the Government has no plans for acquisition of the land and the areas, unless deemed necessary for special intervention or to initiate special development activities. The land will belong to the individual or the people. The fundamental idea is to restructure the legal land tenure system leading to commodification of land as has happened in all other societies and civilizations all around the world.
The SDZs will be subject to intensive planning and the formulation of Master Plans to give scope for futuristic cities to emerge with all the modern facilities and amenities and with anticipation of the needs of future global societies.
There will be coordinated and concentrated provision of infrastructure such as power, roads and water supply along the urban conglomeration in the foothills to create enabling environment for the growth of the cities and Industries.
It should also be understood that the Foot hills comprise the treasure chest of the Nagaland people with our rich natural resources comprising of Oil and coal.
Population will grow. Human needs will grow. Human aspirations will continue to grow but land will not and therefore it is the duty of the present generation to plan for the future Naga society so that the true value of our precious land will be put into optimum for the benefit of the future generations to own, possess and benefit.

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By EMN Updated: Nov 06, 2013 9:21:30 pm