Highlighting the unique role the village councils (VCs) play in the Naga context, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said on Thursday that respecting the Naga customary laws, the Indian Constitution exempts the state from the Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI).
Rio emphasised on the need to protect, uphold and practice the unique customary laws and traditions of the Nagas, and reminded that in VC system, leaders are not elected but nominated based on the consent of the VC members.
The Chief Minister also deplored the conflicts and discords within the village councils and village development boards, which he said leads to stalling of projects and dispersal of funds at the village level.
Inaugurating the new Kigwema Village Council Hall building at Kigwema village in Kohima district, Rio further asked the members of the VCs to work in unity and avoid litigation of disputes in the high court.
The Chief Minister also shared the difficulties faced by the state government in planning due to the discrepancies in tabulating the Census in the past, which he said has given rise to a number of problems such as excess teachers’ appointment and setting up of government schools with disproportionate student-teacher ratio.
He said that schools with no students or zero pass percentage in the last 3-4 years will be combined with other schools.
Similarly, in the election process, he said Aadhaar based biometric systems need to be used to avoid frauds in voting.
Rio emphasised on the importance of self-sufficiency in food production and need for modern farming methods, and encouraged the youth to venture into agriculture and allied sectors.
Acknowledging the importance of education in development, Rio promised to look into the matter forwarded by the Kigwema village for upgrading the Government High School, Kigwema, to higher secondary level with science stream.
Nagaland Legislative Assembly Speaker Sharingain Longkumer, advisors to various departments, village elders and others were present during the inauguration of the new VC hall.