KOHIMA: In his address at the 21st General Conference of the Dimapur Naga Students' Union (DNSU), Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio emphasized the significance of accurate census data as the cornerstone for effective planning and development. He raised concerns about alarming errors in the 2001 census and the subsequent challenges faced by the state.
Rio recounted his government's rejection of the 2001 census due to an implausible growth rate of 80%, surpassing the national average. Despite the state's plea for a new census, permission was not granted by the Government of India. He pointed out discrepancies in the 2011 census, where the population showed a reduction despite a decadal growth, and electoral rolls were manipulated for additional funds.
The Chief Minister urged honesty and corrective measures from the people, applauding the church for its clean election campaign. He highlighted the adverse effects of flawed census data on the Education Department, leading to the establishment of unnecessary schools and appointment of surplus teachers.
Rio emphasized the need for unity and transformation in Naga society, urging the younger generation to discard unhealthy cultural practices. He acknowledged the challenges of changing demographics, with Naga youth embracing global citizenship, and emphasized the importance of adopting positive aspects of other cultures.
Addressing economic concerns, Rio called for a shift from the predominant focus on government jobs to exploring entrepreneurial avenues. He acknowledged the contribution of the non-Naga business community to the local economy. The Chief Minister expressed concerns about the upcoming Hornbill Festival's limited accommodation facilities and insufficient options for tourists due to low production levels of local products.
In his concluding remarks, Rio encouraged students to view education as a journey of self-discovery and improvement, emphasizing the power of knowledge to shape the future. He hoped the DNSU Conference would reflect resilience, unity, and dedication to the organization's values.
Deputy Speaker of the Assam Legislative Assembly, Dr. Numal Momin, expressed gratitude to the people of Dimapur for maintaining peace and highlighted the importance of cultural assimilation and understanding between communities. He pledged support and called for peace and strengthened bonds between neighboring states.
The program, chaired by Kilentola Jamir and Kukhrunehu Sapuh, featured various speakers and cultural presentations, with a vote of thanks offered by DNSU Vice-President B Mhajan Tsopoe.