Post Mortem

Anti-social, digital divide and government plan for COVID-19

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 9/1/2020 1:31:07 PM IST

 In today’s world, where the deadly Corona virus has grown and escalated in all corners of the world, to save public during these dire times, the government is required to provide well established hospitals with appropriate facilities and care. Along with the medical assistance, the government is also required to implement safety measures. The public must adhere the SOP not only for ones safety but also community. I would like to highlight two challenges ahead of us: Anti-social menace and digital divide between the rich-poor and urban-rural. Government must announce its strategic long term plans to address the issues. 

According to the Nagaland Covid-19 high powered committee, due to the inflictions caused by corona virus, 15,699 registered Naga youths (many which are unregistered) working in different regions have returned back home and hence, providing jobs to these many unemployed youths have now become a bigger problem than the ongoing pandemic. If adequate jobs are not provided, there will be more anti-social menace like day-light robbery, armed gang groups, commercial sex, illegal taxation, and many illegal businesses will flourish. We are already experiencing such anti-social activities. The government, and also churches and civil societies, need to critically think and come up with a practical solution to relive our despairing youths who have returned home, and are now jobless. The burden inflicting upon our land due to this would be far greater than we realize. Let us remember that without work, there is no inflow of money, and this is turn would lead to stealing and even committing serious crimes such as murder. What are the strategic long term plans of the Government for future young Nagas? 

Another problem is growing digital divide in the society. With the directives provided by the Director of School Education, free lessons are being telecasted through various video channels such as You Tube, Facebook and Jio TV. Along with this, Nagaland Government has provided free pen drives to students of classes 5 – 12 to aid the students living in the remote areas where there is no proper network connectivity and accessibility. We are yet to see its benefits. Shri. Tableland Lyngwa, District Commissioner, Meghalaya, West Khasi Hills said that according to government’s 2018 data, internet connectivity has only reached about 35 percent of the population in the North Eastern States and around 8600 villages still do not have access to the internet. Online classes are still not a possibility in many remote areas. Even in district headquarter areas like Mokokchung, internet connection is extremely poor. Private operators are not interested in investing in remote places because their rate of return is not that much. No profit, no service. The main service provider is BSNL, but they are unable to cover the remote areas; the towers are installed but the link is erratic. WE cannot have online classes without uninterrupted internet connection and power. Students in Tsuruhu village in Nagaland have taken their online exams inside a dense forest for the past two weeks. It is the only area in the entire village that receives network connectivity. Online education is thus creating a very serious digital divide between urban-rural and rich-poor community. The reality of having all school going children to attend online classes is much harsher than we perceive. There are countless number of families without the means to buy a single smartphone. To provide each child with the access to a smartphone is beyond imaginable for many families. The chances of having an access to a computer are much more slimmer, let alone a smartphone. At a time when even food has become very difficult to come by, how can parents afford to buy smartphones or modern technologies such as a computer? Will free distribution of pen drive help students who do not have access to computer? 

The negative implications caused by Covid-19 are going to be immensely heavy to bear by Government alone. We need to fight against corruption in various levels. The churches and civil societies also need to work shoulder to shoulder to help the needy and poor students. We can win this war if we stand united. We can work together with Government like the Shillong All Faiths Forum to address anti-social, corruption, through different innovative programs, and help students who are facing distress in life. Let us remember the words of Mahatma Gandhi; “A rose does not need to preach. The fragrance is its own sermon.” Covid-19 has given an opportunity to us to become like a rose that emits fragrance, a light that enlightens others; salt that prevents from being corrupted adds taste. We needs a paradigm shift from institution centered to people centered initiative. It is our duty to support people in time of despair and crisis. Ratan Tata’s words is relevant when he said that for the year 2020 one must not lament over the loss of wealth, but rather having the ability to save one’s life would be a much greater achievement. Together we win, divided we fall. 

L. Yapang Mollier (Impur)

 

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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