An evaluationof Self-employment schemes in Nagaland
The government of Nagaland over the last few decades has been the key agency for formulating policies and implementing various schemes/projects based on these policies. It is very essential to examine the various schemes operating in the state. The study is also vital, because a self-employment scheme becomes an important development package and also one crucial alternative to check the alarming rise of unemployment in the state. The study was attempted to critically examine - the system of selecting beneficiaries, the kind of trainings and allocation of resources, dedication and utilization of funds, identification of trade/skills vis-à-vis local economy, marketing arrangements, success and durability of the projects.
The state of Nagaland continues to be the sole agent of development and one cannot imagine of development without the state funds because the development, to many Nagas would simply mean spending of huge money. Nagaland state has quite a few foreign development models too like the Swiss model or the Canadian model. Self employment schemes have also become a crucial development package for the state. But the more important question is - are they working? Are they suitable models or proper packages in Nagaland context? One can argue it does not appear alright for you giving a foreign package or an alien medicine for a local disease. Has development in Nagaland at its present context failed? What about the flow of money in the form of special economic packages earmarked for the region and respective states from the successive central governments. Why the state continues to decelerate even while several special economic packages had been put in operation? One instance of such is Rs 365 crore Peace Bonus Package to Nagaland state from the NDA government during the Prime Ministership of Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee. These huge funds from the federal exchequer are pocketed by a few elites of the state. When an abundant money is injected into the economy without due accountability it creates a regime of corruption (Kikhi 2009: 356).
The other related issue but not lesser important is of insurgency, ceasefire and extortion in the state, discouraging private investment and thus, development. Extortion has become a serious issue affecting the economy of every household. Statements like 'they' are extorting from the 'outsiders' or 'nonlocals' do not have any rationality. No businessman (irrespective of being an outsider or insider) is foolish to run his business at a loss but will have to re-price every commodity in his shop to make up the extorted money besides making profit. The question is who is actually paying for the extorted money? It is understood that ceasefire has 'ground rules', the legitimisation of the cessation of hostilities, an acknowledgement of the fact that we need to give dialogue a chance. But the question is, does it serve the purpose or whose purpose does it serve? When the ground rules are not maintained, it appears like the Indian government is trying to buy more time or applying delay tactics to neutralize the issue or expecting it to die naturally. On the other hand,
the underground factional groups should not use ceasefire as a means to openly extort money building palatial houses in Dimapur or elsewhere. What about the general public? (Kikhi 2009: 358359).
I am led to make this micro-study not only on the basis of this introductory backdrop, but also, when a local paper reported that two youth beneficiaries of the CM Corpus funds are above 50 years of age. One can question - are not these self- employment schemes for the unemployed youth, especially for those who are educated? The study is also an attempt to deal with other questions like - Who is an unemployed youth? Are the self-employment schemes sufficient enough for the unemployed youth in the state? Are the funds/loans/money sufficient enough for the projects? Are the right persons/ right unemployed youth benefited from the various self-help schemes/projects? Are the various schemes/loans of self-employment projects properly utilized? Are the beneficiaries actually benefitting from the projects? Is the government serious in reducing unemployment problem?
The universe of the study is Kohima town in particular and Nagaland in general. Kohima being the capital town has an influx of people, particularly youth from all parts of the state - for education and employment. Thus, the territorial representation of the study is exclusive and fairly representative. The study is focused upon unemployed youths and thus the sample is sorted out by randomly selecting 10 unemployed youths from each of the 15 wards making a sample size of 150 respondents.
Both primary and secondary data are used with primary data as the main emphasis. A questionnaire which consists of both close-ended and open-ended is the main research tool for collection of primary data. Interview technique is also used to aid the questionnaire method for the needful purpose. The collection of secondary data is from the reviews of relevant literature, journals and magazines, newspapers, research and survey conducted by various organizations viz. the Census Reports, the Directorate of Employment and Craftsmen Training, the Directorate of Economics and Statistics, the Annual Administrative Reports, etc.
Unemployment - refers to a situation where persons who are able to work and also willing to work at the prevailing rate of wages, do not find work. This is an involuntary idleness leading to wastage among the unskilled, highly skilled and technically qualified persons. However, ablebodied persons who voluntarily remain unemployed are excluded from the concept of unemployment. Naba (1968) has explained unemployment as a condition of involuntary idleness. D’Mello ( 1969) has defined unemployment as a condition in which an individual is not in a state of remunerative occupation despite his desire to do so. Bajpai (1992) refers unemployment to the condition of joblessness in one's life (cited in Kikhi 2006: 8).
An unemployed person therefore, is - one having potentialities and willingness to earn, but is unable to find a remunerative work. It has the important three elements: a) an individual should be capable of working. b) an individual should be willing to work. c) an individual must make an effort to find work (Kikhi 2006: 8).
Youth - It is essential to determine the age bracket that constitutes youth in order to launch any meaningful policy and programme. But, it is difficult to accurately assign lower and upper age limits for the youth, because this varies from society to society and also from time to time. As for instance, amongst the Angami Nagas, men is still considered youth even at the age of 50 while a woman simply by virtue of being married (with or without kids) is exempted from youth membership and youth activities. To Kuppuswamy (1984), early youth would refer to the 13 to 19 years age group. To some others, it refers to the 12 to early 30's ( Chauhan, 1990). The UNO has categorized youth to be between the age group of 15-24 years. In India for census operations, and in accordance with the practice of the government of India, the age-group of 1534 is recognized as youth which is further classified into three groups: a) 15-19 years as
sub-junior, b) 20-24 years as junior, c) 25-34 years as senior youth (Saraswathi, 1988). Thus, the working definition of an unemployed youth in this study is anyone between the age group of 15-34 years who is capable of working, willing to work and making an effort to find work but is unable to find any remunerative job (cited in Kikhi 2006: 9).
EMPLOYMENT-PROMOTION PROJECTS OPERATING IN THE STATE
The Indian experience shows that each intervention has to meet the specific requirements of the specified target groups. a) For some categories of people, selfemployment is the right answer, while b) for some others; wage-employment needs to be propped up. For promoting self-employment, i) training and skill-upgradation seem to suffice in some cases, ii) But in some other cases, capital assistance is a must, iii) while in few other situations, market support remains the most crucial element (Chadha, 2000). Moreover, it is understood that self-employment projects/ schemes are just one alternative and cannot be the entire solution of unemployment. Employment-promotion programmes are divided into two sets: a) one dealing with employment-promotion for people in general which includes the youth of the country and b) the second set directly, and exclusively, approaching the problem of youth unemployment ( Chadha, 2000). Likewise there are a number of employment-promoting programmes directed specifically at the educated youth and directed at people in general in the state. The important employment-promotion programmes operating in the state of Nagaland over the last two decades have been highlighted below focusing on the core objectives. i) SEEUY (Self- Employment Scheme for Educated Unemployed Youth) was launched in 1983-84 in the state. It aims at providing financial assistance to unemployed youths, to the educated unemployed youths for undertaking economically viable activities. ii) PMRY (Prime Minister Rozgar Yojna) is another programme which was launched on October 2, 1993 and had been designed to provide self-employment to more than a million of educated unemployed youth in the age-group of 18 to 35 years through industry, service and business routes. This scheme also sought to associate reputed NGO's in its implementation, especially in the selection and training of would-be entrepreneurs and in the preparation of project profiles. It began as an urban programme in 1993 but just after a year, it encompassed both rural and urban areas to suit the majority Nagas rooted in the villages.
Under the scheme, projects up to Rs. 1 lakh are covered in the case of individuals. And if two or more eligible persons joined together in a partnership, projects of higher cost can also be covered. For availing financial assistance for the project, the prospective entrepreneur is required to contribute 5 per cent of the project cost, the rest will come through institutional loans. The central government provides a subsidy @ 15 per cent of the project cost subject to a ceiling of Rs. 7500 per entrepreneur. The schemes stipulate compulsory stipendiary training for a period of 15 to 20 working days for service/ business sectors, after the loan is sanctioned. In Nagaland, the department of small-scale industries has framed suitable training modules for industry and service/business sectors. iii) IRDP ( Integrated Rural Development Programme) and its allied activities were major self-employment programmes for poverty alleviation. The basic objective of IRDP was to enable the identified rural families to create avenues of selfemployment through acquisition of creditbased productive assets and inputs, which would generate additional employment on a sustained basis. Assistance is given in the form of subsidy by the government and term credit by the financial institutions for income generating activities. The scheme had been in operation in Nagaland since 1983-84. This was a centrally sponsored scheme funded on 50:50 bases by the centre and the state. It was stipulated that at least 50 per cent of the assisted families should be women. This scheme was merged with another scheme and remained in August 1999.
iv) TRYSEM (Training of Rural Youth for SelfEmployment) was a facilitating component of poverty-eradication programme, IRDP. It aims at providing basic technical and entrepreneurial skills to the rural poor in the age group of 18 to 35 years to enable them to take up self- or image-employment. At least 40 per cent of the beneficiaries had to be women. Training was imparted both through training institutions and through the non-institutionalized mode, e.g. master craftsmen functioning from their own place of work. Every TRYSEM trainee became eligible to avail assistance under IRDP for setting up a self-employment enterprise like dairy-farm, piggery, poultry, goatery, etc. v) SGSY (Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana) is another centrally sponsored scheme introduced in the state during the year 1999-2000 with the objective of bringing every assisted poor family above the poverty line within three years through the provision of micro-enterprise. The poverty alleviation programmes were clubbed together into these schemes which included all IRDP programmes i.e. a) IRDP and its component TRYSEM which we have already discussed above, b) DWCRA, c) GKY, d) MWS and Tool Kits. vi) JRY (Jowahar Rozgar Yojana) has been launched on April 1, 1989 as a centrally sponsored scheme. Its main objective is to generate additional gainful employment for unemployed and underemployed people, both men and women, in the rural areas through the creation of rural economic infrastructure, community and social assets, with the aim of improving the quality of life of the rural poor, which include the beneficiaries themselves. At least 30 per cent of the employment is to be provided to women. In practice, the programme is self-targeting. JRY since April1, 1999, has been renamed Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana (JGSY). The new JGSY programme is dedicated entirely to the development of rural infrastructure at the village level and is implemented by the village panchayats. vii) EAS (Employment Assurance Scheme) is another centrally sponsored scheme operating in the state. viii) IAY ( Indira Awas Yojana) is another programme that is operating in the state with the objective of helping the targeted poor people in constructing houses. ix) Grants/Aid to Village Development Board is allocated to every VDB in the village @ Rs. 750 per household to take up socio-economic programmes as well as to develop basic infrastructures. x) BMS ( Basic Minimum Services) was a programme introduced by the government of India in 1996-97. The main objective of the programme is to bridge the gap in the infrastructure sector and the economic development of the people. The Rural Development department is implementing the BMS under two sectors: a) Rural Housing and b) Road Connectivity (Kikhi 2006: 131). xi) CM Corpus Fund is another programme introduced by the government of Nagaland in 2003-04 upto 2009-10. The main aim of this programme is to facilitate and generate sustainable income to unemployed youth of the state through generation of self employment avenues and capacity building measures. To supplement the working capital requirements of potential entrepreneurs and to enhance the capacities of the youth to make them self reliant, for instance, a corpus fund of Rs. 8 crore has been earmarked during the years 2009-2010. The type of activities that can be assisted through the corpus fund include for the year: a) Training and capacity building programme which will result in sustainable employment for the trainees. b) Attending coaching classes - for appearing competitive exams of Union Public Service Commission. c) Linkages with institutional finances. d) Finance inputs and subsidies in critical
areas. e) Promoting recruitment/ self employment by bringing likely employers and the unemployed youths on a single platform. f) Assistance to organizations/entrepreneurs doing exemplary work in generating employment opportunities in the state. g) Develop programmes and projects that will result in self employment for the youth (GON 2009-2010: 3-4).
Under the CM corpus fund, all indigenous persons of the state, who are not otherwise employed, are eligible for availing assistance through the programme. The guidelines state, the first priority to be given to registered educated unemployed youths in the Employment Exchange of the State who have passed minimum of class IX standard and who have not availed any financial assistance under any scheme of the government. As the scheme is basically targeted at empowerment of the youth, through creation of self employment opportunities, the guidelines also lay down the condition that the scheme is reserved for the youth in the age group of 25 to 40 years (GON 2009-2010: 6).
On this backdrop, table 1 has been presented to show insights on the preferences of unemployed youth about the nature of job. The table is arranged in order to assess the opinions of the unemployed youths towards selfemployed jobs and self-employment schemes. The findings confirm that about 67.34 per cent of the youths’ most preferred job is government service, while about 27.33 per cent youths’ preferred self-employed jobs, and about 05.33 per cent youths preferred private jobs. Similar study was conducted in Uttar Pradesh by Bajpai (1992) and the findings put the self-employed jobs (about 8 per cent) at the last cadre of preference. However the present study reveals that the self-employed jobs are better preferred above the private jobs in the state of Nagaland. In other words we can conclude that the unemployed youth in the state has slightly better favourable attitude towards selfemployed jobs as compared to the state of Uttar Pradesh.
On further investigation, the study reveals that these unemployed youths prefer government jobs due to service security and stability of employment. It may be summarized that the social recognition of government service is another factor to motivate the youths for government jobs. Again, it appears that most of the youths do not want to take any entrepreneur risk involved in the self-employed jobs, and therefore, they give very less priority to it. Many educated unemployed youths also lack entrepreneurship zeal or skill and at the same time in the traditional system, land market does not exist, as land is owned by the community. The absence of land markets is a serious hindrance to the flow of investment particularly from outside the Nagaland.
On being asked a question would you take up self-employment projects if you are given assistance? The findings confirm that about 96 per cent of the youth would take up if they are given assistance. But, only a meager 9.33 per cent had tried for self-employment schemes so far. And this has presented a dubious question which needs further in-depth study. It could also be that the majority of the unemployed youths do not know about the self- employment schemes or are not aware of these projects which are meant for them. Of the 14 respondents (i.e. 9.33 per cent), who have tried for the schemes/projects earlier, 05 persons have tried for SEEUY, 03 persons have tried for JRY, 02 persons have tried departmental schemes and the remaining 04 persons have tried other schemes not listed in the questionnaire.
Majority of the youths are of the opinion that the assistance rendered by the government is insufficient to start any self-employment project (in terms of money). Again, of those who know about these schemes have argued that the schemes are not running fairly and a number of mal-practices are involved in issuing the grant such as commission pay-offs, wrong selection of beneficiaries, undue delay, etc. Further, on analyzing the responses of the unemployed youth in the questionnaire, the selfemployment schemes that are operating in the state seem to be, by and large a total failure. This statement can be supported by the following arguments.
Firstly, the finding shows about 50.00 per cent of the unemployed youth responded that the self-employment schemes available in the state are 'not sufficient' for the youth, while about 22.67 per cent critically responded that the projects are ' not at all sufficient'. It has to be noted that only 26.67 per cent of the unemployed youths responded that the projects were ' just sufficient' and a meager 0.66 per cent (i.e. 1 respondent) agreed that the projects for the youth were ' fully sufficient'. It can be argued that the findings are obvious, because only a few hundreds are benefited from the selfemployment schemes in a state which has more than 45,000 unemployed youths registered on the Live Register.
Secondly, as shown in table 2, about 72.67 per cent of the unemployed youths are of the opinion that the funds (money) provided for the programmes are not sufficient to implement the projects. Generally, the self-employment schemes include subsidies and loans which have to be repaid in due time. The study finds that in many occasions, most of the beneficiaries landed in problem due to failure of their projects and as also they have to repay the loans. On other questions relating to the technology of production and marketing, the study finds that the projects are not technologically hooked-up with modern industrial enterprises and thus, it invites its own failure in the open and competitive market.
Thirdly, about 69.33 per cent of the unemployed youths agreed, that the deserving youths are not benefited from the various selfhelp schemes. Therefore, the weakness of the programme, most notoriously, the identification of beneficiaries and the provision of credit has been a matter of great public debate. Many beneficiaries under the various schemes are actually ineligible on various counts including age and educational qualifications, apart from inclusion of those already having established business or being employed elsewhere. The youth unanimously agreed that the main beneficiaries of the scheme are those associated with local politicians and other luddites. The study also indicates that few beneficiaries have managed to get project loans twice at the cost of other beneficiaries who are denied even once.
Fourthly, the loans (money) provided for establishing self-employment are not properly utilized as agreed by 64.67 per cent of the youth. The projects seem futile as most of the unemployed persons are interested in gobbling up digest the money subsidy and not for the success and maintenance of the project (Kikhi 2006: 135).
Fifthly, about 80 per cent of the youths are of the view that the unemployed beneficiaries are not actually implementing the projects. This study shows that many of the projects begin and end with simply availing of the provision of short-term training in different trades. Again the study also reveals that many schemes are often unrelated to the trend and growth of the local economy. In majority of the cases, there is no follow-up in building the projects, thus, failing in the sustenance of the projects.
And sixthly, the CM Corpus Fund has shown that the three basic criteria for selecting beneficiaries are: i) one should be a youth, ii) educated and iii) unemployed. Yet an educated as defined in academic circles should be at least matriculate and above, but in he case of Nagaland it becomes questionable when an educated has to include class IX standard. The
age bracket for youth is also questionable because UNO defined age bracket as 15-24 years. In India for census operations, and in accordance with the practice of the government of India, the age-group of 15-34 is recognized as youth.
Thus, the pertinent question of why the self-employment schemes in Nagaland are failing will lead us to conclude with the following observations: a) Inadequate resource allocation needed for
achieving the objectives. b) Wrong identification of beneficiaries. c) Lack of dedication to the job assigned. d) Improper utilization of funds. e) Lack of commitment on the part of the
beneficiaries to execute the programmes. f) Lack of political and administrative will and g) Lack of sympathy for the poor vis-à-vis
schemes for the poor.
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