Chief Minister, Mizoram, Shri Lal Thanhawla emphasized the need for adoption of a development model for the N.E. Region that relates to the traditional values of the people and the ground realities of the region. He said that the high poverty level in the region was not only the result of historical, geo-political and other factors, but is also largely due to the faulty development approach. He suggested that development to be inclusive and economic prosperity to be distributive, a new development paradigm with adequate thrust on development of the primary sector and rural upliftment, which impacts the life of 87 % of the region's population living in the rural areas, has to be introduced.
The Chief Minister made these observations while speaking at a seminar entitled "The North-East - Challenges of Governance" organized by the Centre For North East Studies at Jamia Milia, Islamia, at New Delhi on 14th September, 2010. The keynote addressed was delivered by Shri B.K. Handique, Hon'ble Minister of DoNER. The Vice Chancellor of Jamia Milia University presided over the seminar which was attended by academics, senior bureaucrats, social activists, representatives of media and large numbers of young students.
Lal Thanhawla pointed out that there has been a huge communication gap between
the N.E. region and the mainland
He said that peace, Governance and Development are closely inter-related one impacting the other directly. All the three, he said, should go hand in hand.
Talking about peace, he said that peace is the eternal and substantive fact of human life. Violence is only an aberration. Why then, he asked, violence, which is antithesis to all great human values, has erupted on violent movements in parts of North East, grew out of certain fears and grievances. Possibly we woke up to the reality a little too late. The administration could have possibly been more sensitive to the issues raised and could have handled them with greater foresight and imagination. The 20 year long insurgency in my State was caused by the insensitive approach of the government of the time which failed to assuage the hurt feelings of the Mizos who had suffered a great deal due to Mautam - famine caused by bamboo flowering. Vested interests found the situation ideal to sow seeds of violence. I would cite another instance of non-responsive and negligent attitude of administration that helped left-extremism grow. As late as in the early seventies social scientists and economists warned that the extremely backward and poverty ridden pockets in parts of West Bengal and Bihar, particularly in tribal areas, might breed violence unless adequate and timely measures were taken for amelioration of the people's economic condition. Things were allowed to drift and now Maoist violence has become one of the biggest threats to peace and public order in the country. A stitch in time saves nine. That seems to be the lesson to be learnt. What I have stated need not ipso facto apply to other similar situations. What needs to be highlighted is the fact that progress demands as much a peaceful environment as good governance.
Continuing he said that peace efforts to be successful there has to be spirit of dedication and sacrifice on one hand, and realization of futility of violence, on the other. Both sides involved in the peace process have to demonstrate a spirit of give and take. Also needed, is a willing bureaucracy committed to the cause. He said, "Bullet does not always solve problem of insurgency. Dialogue and ballot do".
On governance, he said that North East needs a type of governance that comes close to the Gandhian concept of democratic government which provides for continuous process of dialogue and optimum voluntary participation of people in deciding their own future. Such a decentralized governing system is not only in tune with the basic concept of federal polity but, more importantly, it fits into the tradition and socio-cultural ethos of the people in that region. North East has a vibrant tradition of local-self government run through traditional elected institutions.
It is the degree of probity, accountability, sensibility to popular needs and demands, and transparency of administration that goes to make good governance.
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