Hon’ble Prime Minister, Union Home Minister, Esteemed colleague Chief Ministers, Members of the Administrative reforms Commission, Senior Government functionaries of the Government of India, Ladies and Gentlemen.
- I thank the Hon’ble Prime Minister and the Hon’ble Union Home Minister for having organized this conference to give an opportunity to the Chief Ministers of the States to present our views on the 5th report of the Administrative Reforms Commission. Such inclusive process of deliberations, on very important issues relating to internal security, as contained in the Report of the Administrative Reforms Commission, are vital for the nation building process,and I hope that the views of the small and remote states like Nagaland will be taken into account and given due considerations.
- Before I come to the agenda items of this conference, being a matter related to the theme of the report of the 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission, which is ‘Public order : Justice for each … Peace for all” I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to the Central Government, for providing all necessary support for the elections that have been just concluded in the State. The august gathering is aware that elections under the constitution of India either for the Parliament of the State Legislative Assembly is always a very tense affair in the backdrop of the chronic insurgency movement that has spanned over six decades. In fact the Assembly elections have been boycotted on several occasions in the past and in all elections, the candidates and their supporters, irrespective of the party that they may belong to, face immense threats and difficulties just to contest the elections. The support of the Government of India in the form of deployment of unprecedented number of Central Para Military Forces has definitely helped and the present election has been reasonably peaceful, without loss of precious lives, as used to happen in the past.
- It is also felt that the overwhelming support given by the people to vote the DAN to power, for an unprecedented third term is actually a statement of the people of the policies of the DAN government that were based on the slogan “Peace for Development and Development for Peace”. The people of Nagaland long for peace and further endorse the development that have taken place in the state under the relative conditions of peace that prevail in the State due to the ongoing peace process of ceasefire, negotiation and dialogue. I therefore, would like to take this opportunity, to urge the Central government to expedite the peace process and bring about an early settlement of the vexed Naga problem that the people await with great expectations. Side by side it is also our sincere appeal and request that the Government of India continue with its generous assistances to help bring about speedy development of the State which is another dimension of peace and freedom and crucial for the internal security of the country.
- Coming to the 5th report of 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission we appreciate the efforts of the ARC and are further in broad agreement to the various recommendations of the report. The subject matter dwelt upon being – Strengthening of legitimate institutions and introducing major reforms with special focus on the improvement of the Criminal Justice System and Police working system – are also, all very important and the nations needs to attend to them at the earliest. The State government has been, from time to time, giving our replies and comments on the above lines as and when we have been asked .
- While we are in broad agreement to the issues and recommendation of the ARC, as mentioned earlier there is a need to appreciate and accommodate the aspects of the diversity of the country while implementing them. India is a very big country with astonishing diversity both in terms of the geography as also the socio-cultural milieu. The historical perspectives of the regions and the states also vary greatly. It has therefore, been the constant plea of the States of the North East that all policies of the Government of India may not be equally applicable to all the regions or the States and that the policies drawn up by the Centre should give space and scope for the states to make appropriate modifications to suit the local conditions provided we do not deviate from the basic spirit of the policy. For a nation like India, we really do not have much choice but to adopt such a stand and it is our plea that we should favor such approaches as we discuss the various recommendations of the Administrative Reforms Commission.
- To amplify the point, the same model, which may be appropriate and effective for big states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh etc., may not be equally appropriate for small and remote states with distinct and difficult geographical terrain.
- Firstly there is the issue of funds and finances to implement the reforms. We have the rich and the very rich states overflowing with resources. On the other hand we also have the small and very poor states that are hardly able to make both ends meet despite being given special supports of the Government of India as Special Category states apart from the special programs for police modernization and reimbursement of Security Related Expenditure.
- While on this issue it will be pertinent to point out that the state has huge Security Related Expenditure (SRE) claims amounting to Rs 67,50,68/- (Rupees sixty seven crores fifty lakhs sixty eight thousand) pending with Ministry of Home Affairs and the states of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Delhi Union Territory. Such financial burdens are very difficult to bear for small states like Nagaland. Similarly, subsidy claims for Helicopter services in the state has been pending since February 2010 to date amounting to Rs 24,22,21,275/- (Rupees twenty four crores twenty two lakhs twenty one thousand two hundred seventy five). These are all colossal amounts for a resource starved state like Nagaland and we request the Centre to kindly look into the matter and expedite settlement of the claims at the earliest.
- In this regard Nagaland also has peculiar problems. From the very inception of the state due to serious insurgency problems, the State has been raising many Armed Police Battalions leaving a big gap in the district police establishment. With a semblance of peace emerging in the state due to the ongoing peace process, it has become necessary to strengthen and improve the normal crime, law and order and investigation policing. Due to these the state Govt. has created 10 (ten) Nos of new police stations and 6 (six) nos of new police outposts and also up-graded 9 (nine) Nos of existing outposts to Police Stations. In order to avoid creation of new posts with huge financial implications and also to streamline the manpower deployment, my Govt. has decided to convert 1 (one) Coy each from the existing 8 (eight) Nagaland Armed Police Battalion (NAP) to District Executive Force (DEF) and re-deploy them in the newly created Police Stations and Police Outposts. The actions have been taken in some ways to take up restructuring with some measures of austerity. But we still need some infrastructure, such as provisions of Police Station buildings, staff quarters and barracks in many places, for which we have no funds. We request the Central Govt. to provide liberal assistance to create the necessary infrastructure, mobility and communications and so on.
- In such a scenario setting up a large number of organizations and committees both at the State and District level will not be viable for small and resource starved states like Nagaland. As it is we are already burdened with an oversized bureaucracy due to historical reasons and we are finding it difficult to even meet the salaries of the existing government employees. Accordingly, while we agree with the proposals to improve the various proposals for improving the ‘Accountability of the Law and Order Machinery” as also the strengthening of the “Prosecution and guidance to investigation” we feel that separate “Investigation Agency” would be a bit premature at this juncture. We also have to keep in mind the existing ground conditions of insurgency in the state. In fact there is a greater need for cohesive police action, with more focused command and control to deal with the situation rather than bifurcating the existing systems. When we talk of reforms there is a need to have separate model for states which are small in terms of geographical area, population and resources. Hence, this aspect needs to be looked at from different perspectives.
- It has always been the primary aim of my Govt. to strengthen the Criminal Justice System, Security Institutions and provide people friendly services be it in terms of providing collective security, good governance and creating employment opportunities. But Nagaland also has a peculiar history being perhaps the only state of the Union of India that has been formed a product of a political agreement. Special Constitutional provisions have therefore been provided under Article 371 A to safeguard the customary and traditional practices of the people. In such a process, a large amount of the administration of Law and justice has been allowed to be exercised by the communities in villages. In some ways the maintenance of law and order and the dispensation of justice has been more effective and speedy along with being more cheap and affordable by the tribal people. We feel that such a process needs to be build upon. Reforms and restructuring will also need to take these issues into consideration.
- It is also seen that the ARC has mainly focused on the policing aspect of Law and order. However, as mentioned above development administration is also another crucial facet of peace and internal security. In this regard we are finding that the financial resources available with our state are not adequate to meet the administrative and developmental demands. The need for modernizing and upgrading the District Administration to meet the developmental challenges of the 21st century is very acute. I therefore, take this opportunity to request the Central Government to extend the scope of the ARC to cover the aspects of modernization of district administration. We have also been making the plea to the Central Government to consider a program for the modernization of the District Administration on the lines of the ongoing program for Police Modernization. I mention this as we feel that it is as crucial for internal security as the issues for enhancing the policing capabilities of the state.
- I would also like to take this opportunity to offer the views of my state on the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC). The NCTC is proposed to be headed by Director, IB and further, to be vested with powers of arrest, search, operations, investigations, etc. The Intelligence Bureau, as we all know, is essentially supposed to be an organization for secret collection of intelligence while the operation and action on such information is to be left to other agencies. In most democratic countries, powers of arrest, search, seizure, investigation is not given to any intelligence organization, except in authoritarian countries. In India, till date, such powers are vested with CBI, NIA and state police. There is an apprehension that if such powers are vested in an intelligence agency, there is chance of misusing it, especially for political considerations. Hence, Nagaland Govt. would like to suggest for a separate of National Counter Terrorism Centre as distinct from the Intelligence Bureau.
- Before I conclude I would like to take this opportunity to raise a few issues which we feel are pertinent to the matter before this house. Nagaland is a small hilly state bordering Myanmar which falls within the Zone V of the Earthquake risk zones. The Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority under my chairmanship has been functioning for the past few years. 5 (five) Coys of India Reserve Battalion personnel have been trained in Disaster Response. However, due to lack of resources the NSDMA could not do much. The state could not raise dedicated State Disaster Response Team. The scope of the Administrative Reforms Commission could also be expanded to cover the critical and relevant issues of prepared for Disaster.
- The setting up of full- fledged Passport Office in the state has also been a pending issue for a long time and the residents of the state face lots of problems in getting their passports as the nearest passport office is in Guwahati. So also the number of people applying for passport has increased considerably. The problem is compounded by the requirement of additional verification by Intelligence Bureau (IB) which is not so in the other states. In fact it has been done away in the neighboring states. Such measures only add to the feeling of alienation among the Naga people which eventually fuels unrest and insurgency. I, therefore urge, the Central Government to kindly review this at the earliest and further look into the possibility of opening a full -fledged Passport Office in Nagaland.
- I thank the Hon’ble Prime Minister, the Hon’ble Union Home Minister and the august house for giving me a patient hearing, not only on the views relating to the recommendations of the ARC, but also on the problems faced by my state. I hope this august gathering will take the issues into special consideration in the interest of a stronger India.