The recent discourse on the changes of Nagaland’s demography by the Angami Youth Organisation made a shocking revelation that out of 23 thousand shops in the state, only six thousand are run by Naga business men and women. An even more alarming fact according to records is that there are approximately six thousand unemployed youths in Nagaland. Interestingly, there have been six thousand inner line permits issued by the government of India. The state’s demography is under threat from the influx of illegal immigrants and the issue raised is that the employment of these illegal immigrants is causing a corresponding rise in youth unemployment in the state. The issue of unemployment is one that’s is tackled all over the world and it is pertinent that it is addressed for future generations.
In the US, President Donald Trump stated that ‘American workers are hurt by immigration’, and in 2018, he sought to sharply restrict immigration. Similarly, Nagas believe that illegal immigrants are stealing jobs, and argue for stricter legislation and patrolling. The blame is on the illegal influx allowed by the government and business owners employing without verification. However, there is another way to look at the issue. Perhaps, Nagas are part of the problem, as we stand by and allow more willing and determined alternatives to secure jobs in Nagaland. During the discourse arranged by the AYO, a number of points were raised by Richard Belho, noted Architect and chairman of Zynorique on reasons for unemployment in Nagaland. He highlighted laziness, inadequate educational system, lack of dignity of labour, pushing down one another and sole focus on school toppers and disregard for dropouts or failed students as crucial issues proliferating the issue of unemployment.
There are other factors potentially aggravating the problem, these include the fact that many Naga families rely on one sole member to provide for the entire family; many live beyond their means and on borrowed money. Though several women are employed and successful in Nagaland, there are several more that can also join the workforce and become more independent. There is also a lack of ownership and responsibility to give back to Nagaland, not only in monetary terms but also time and energy in uplifting the state and the community with it. It is time to appreciate and emulate the few entrepreneurs that have invested in the state, creating employment opportunities for the inhabitants of Nagaland. Perhaps, successful people should not be looked at as rivals but rather as an inspiration to do better and motivation to be in competition with our former selves. Several organisations too are working hard to impart practical skills and knowledge to the youths of Nagaland and they must be lauded for their efforts. A shift in mentality is the need of the hour; it is time for the six thousand unemployed youths to get up and become go-getters, apply for internships, enrol in skill classes, and dream big. There is nothing like the satisfaction of a hard day’s work – the confidence that is built, the experience that is gained, the potentials are boundless.
“There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honour your calling. It’s why you were born. And how you become most truly alive” – Oprah Winfrey