TODAY -

UNC demands separate budget for Nagas to FC
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 08 2013 : The United Naga Council (UNC) has demanded separate budget for the Nagas in Manipur outside the Government of Manipur.

A team of the United Naga Council met the Finance Commission at Imphal Secretariat today and submitted a memorandum demanding separate budgetary provisions for Naga areas in Manipur.

Bringing to the notice of the Commission that the Nagas in Manipur under the aegis of the UNC had declared severance of ties with the Government of Manipur (GoM) in the Naga People's Convention held on July 1, 2010, the UNC pointed out that it is now engaged in a tripartite dialogue process with the GoM and the Government of India (GoI) at the initiative of the latter on the demand for an alternative arrangement outside the GoM pending settlement of the Indo-Naga issue as per the memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister of India through the Union Home Minister on Sept 14, 2010 at Delhi.

It also pointed out that there has already been 6 rounds of talks including the last one which took place at Delhi on Aug 30 this year.

"The issue on which we have based our demand is not about development deficit or bringing improvement in the existing system.

Our considered view is that development will not and cannot happen in the tribal areas unless an alternative arrangement outside the existing political system of the GoM is put in place.

The demand is for political empowerment where the life and governance of the Nagas and tribals are not subjected to the interest of the communal Government of Manipur which is informed and determined by the brute majority of 40 representatives from the Imphal valley in a total legislative Assembly of 60," the UNC memo addressed to Dr YV Reddy, Chairman of the 14th Finance Commission said.

The demand is also premised on the sharp social divide on communal lines in the present State of Manipur, which the Prime Minister of India had noted with concern in the 40th conference of DGPs on Aug 26, 2010, it reminded while adding that this social divide is not a recent develop-ment but was inherent in the construction of the present State of Manipur and even prior to the merger of Manipur to the Indian Union.

"It was vitiated by decades of suppression, subjugation and hegemonic domination of the Nagas and tribals by the communal Government of Manipur.

The impossible conditions in which Nagas and tribals exist under the Communal Government of Manipur, unable to live with dignity and honour and have their land, traditional institutions, culture and way of life protected is the core issue," the UNC stated.

"Through use of State forces and sanctions obtained with brute majority the rights and interest of the Nagas and the tribals in Manipur are being surely and irredeemably taken away," the UNC asserted adding that the Commission cannot fail to appreciate during the visit to the State that even after completion of the 13th Finance Commission, the Naga areas stands out with its backwardness and underdevelopment, devoid of infrastructure and the essentials of good life.

"The GoM of Manipur has submitted lists of projects as development initiatives taken up in the Naga and tribal areas of the state in the course of the dialogue process.

We have made visits to 19 such projects identified at random and our observation on them amply exemplifies how in the name of development of the tribal areas sanc- tions are obtained for projects and funds released but without any effective facility or benefits generated for the tribals.

The projects are being capitalised upon as opportunities to misappropriate funds by agents and front agencies of the GoM," highlighted the UNC memo that was also enclosed copies of cover note and observations on the 19 projects along with photographs which were submitted in the 6th Tripartite talk.

"At this juncture, it is our contention that the GoI must make separate budgetary provisions for Nagas in Manipur respect of all development and welfare programmes so that the diversion, misutilisation, underutilisation and non-utilisation of the funds provided by the GoI for the Nagas and tribal areas is put to a stop to ensure social and political, social and economic justice for our people," it demanded.

Should the GoI plead helplessness citing the technicality of centre-state relationship, then it condemns the Nagas to continued deprivation and suppression and GoI becomes the knowing and willing abettor of the injustices to which we have been subjected to, said the UNC representation while soliciting the initiative of the Commission for provision of clearly separate budget for the Nagas and Naga areas of Manipur to guarantee that their people and homeland are not condemned to perpetual underdevelopment and backwardness.


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