‘Abandoned Naga students and their ailing future’
The long prevailing silence on the release of post matriculation scholarships, to fund the Naga students studying outside the state, has proved Nagaland Government's apathy towards tackling the staggering issue of unemployment that the state continues to witness.
Nagaland continues to have 60 percent of its youth remaining as unemployed, despite several schemes launched by the central and state Governments to address the issue. Though over the years unemployment had started witnessing a marginal decline following migration of Naga students to metro cities where they continued to pursue jobs after studies. But the situation seems to get reversed now with the lapse in the payment of post-matric scholarships by the state Government.
It has become alarming as the Government failed to acknowledge the issue even if over 150 students from Nagaland recently had to leave a college of engineering and technology in Uttar Pradesh, midway into their course after their scholarship failed to arrive. They had run up a bill of Rs 1.86 crore.
Under the post-matriculation scholarship, the students have not just been able to finance the higher studies in better educational institutions, which Nagaland and other Northeast states lack, but also finance their stay in the metro cities which otherwise is not feasible for every Naga parents to fund.
With the discontinuation of the scholarships by the Nagaland Government, despite assurances by the Government officials to credit the student's accounts by Nov 20, over 500 students from various colleges from across India have returned back to Nagaland under various critical situations, including leaving their terminal exams mid way and no assurances of being given a second chance.
However, even in such situations the Nagaland Government has preferred to keep their eye and ear shut, which is shocking.
It's not that the issue of inability to release funds for various types of scholarships have not arisen in other states, but the lesson to be learnt by Nagaland Government in such a situation is that if they continue to have such a stand towards the career of its own students then soon the state would end up becoming the next Bihar, where 70 percent of the youth in urban areas and 20 percent in rural remain unemployed despite several Government schemes.
And of course, the administrators of Nagaland would not want to push the state decades back, where the only option for a source of income for the youth was to join the existing militant groups as being part of the tertiary sector was a distant dream due to the lack of qualification.
Nagaland and it's Chief Minister, T.R. Zeliang need to understand that by failing to address the funding issue of its own children, it is pushing the state to further downfall, which not just Nagaland but the entire region has witnessed despite having the potential resources to emerge as the best.
However, on the other hand the Government should also remember that establishment of varsities and standard educational institutions can bridge the gap which the state has seen over the years, and which to some extent is the only reason behind the state's demand for funds from the centre in the name sake of their student's career.
Though the establishment of good educational institutions and varsities are not a easy task, the Government should ensure that till all the set up is made to nourish the Naga youth educationally there is no barrier in their educational funding, especially when ensured by the central Government and the role of state government remains mere to release it into the needy student's accounts.
However, irrespective of all, scholarship funds and the future of the Naga students continue to hang in limbo. The Nagaland Government and it's honourable chief Minister T.R. Zeliang also need to answer the other query emerging that where is the amount of Rs. 27, 03, 30, 887 that was funded by the Tribal Affairs Ministry for the scholarship of the scheduled Tribal students of Nagaland.
(By Rupesh Dutta)
Featured image: Representational
The views reflected in this piece are that of the author and need not necessarily be that of TNT-The Northeast Today