Agartala, Aug 10, 2020, ENEWSTIME Desk
The Research and Information System (RIS) for Developing Counties of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi and the North East Training, Research and Advocacy (NETRA) Foundation, Guwahati in collaboration with the Mizoram University, Mizoram as knowledge partner organised its 6th Webinar on the “Issues and Challenges of Localising Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Perspective of North East India with special reference to Mizoram” on August 8, 2020.
One of the aims of the webinar series is to discuss and deliberate the challenges and issues related to the localisation of SDGs in NE States of India. The webinar also aims to increase awareness and involvement of the academic community, administrators, non-government organisations/ civil society’s organisations, students and the people in general in the process of decentralised development besides seeking specific way forward towards improving the implementation at the local level so that the SDGs agenda is achieved by 2030. The webinar is attended by participant from India in general and North East Region in particular.
The introduction to the 6th webinar and welcome address to the panellist and the participants are given by Professor Kanak Haloi, President of NETRA Foundation. While introducing the webinar theme, he welcomed the Chairperson of the webinar sessions Professor Subhomoy Bhattacharjee, Senior Adjunct Fellow, RIS. Also he introduces the panelist of different sessions namely; Naveen Verma, Former Secretary, Ministry of DONER, Government of India, Dr. C. Vanlalramsanga, Secretary, Planning and Implementation Department, Government of Mizoram, Dr. C Lalfakzuali, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Mizoram University, Aizawal, Dr. Bidhu Kanti Das, Assistant Professor, Department of Management, Mizoram University, Aizawal, Professor Tluanga, Secretary, Young Mizo Association and Controller of Examination, Mizoram University, Aizawal and Dr. Jayanta Choudhury, General Secretary, NETRA Foundation.
Also he welcomes the participants for their keen interest exhibited by way of taking part in the webinar.
Naveen Verma while presenting his session on inclusive development perspectives in the Mizoram state context highlighted various positive parameters where the state is ahead of others. With good number of new infrastructure projects, the state is to be the gateway to east of India.
Towards enhancing inclusive development, the state according to him need to focus on making it as carbon sink by acting on climate action, make Aizawl city hazard free from congestation and natural calamities, enhance access to safe drinking water, reduce cancer like health related issues and address horizontal inequalities.
Also he highlighted the advantages in which the state is positioned like the bamboo resource, spices, anthurium, avocado, passion fruits, and home stay tourism for attaining inclusive growth.
Dr. C Vanlalramsanga presented and discussed about the implementation status of SDGs in the state. According to him, the state has completed the tasks of setting vision and mission statements, completed the task of strategic alignment with the sectoral department besides linking the implementation of SDGs at district and village level.
The mapping of the indictors at the district and block level, the devolution of budgetary provision, the time line of the target including the role and responsibilities have been completed. The tasks of awareness building and capacity building training activities have also been carried out to a large extent despite lack of external funding support.
The involvement of Village Council and the Young Mizo Association in the localisation of SDGs in state according to him has greatly enhanced the process.
On gender issues related to localisation of SDGs, Dr. C Lalfakzuali presented the scenario of women participation in the state. Women in Mizo society although looks empowered in general, she highlighted the areas in which the state still need to work hard are political participation, partnership building recognition to the unpaid works, participation in higher education.
The efforts from YMA, Church authorities, women federation etc are on but the challenges are far from removed inviting necessary initiatives to address.
Dr. Bidhu Kanti Das in his presentation on Industrial development in Mizoram with special reference to MSME outlined the function of Industry and Commerce Department of the Government of Mizoram, the type of activities the department discharges in the state and the status industrial develoment based on the online data source of the government department. Given the growing employment demand in the state, he stressed for ustilisation endowed resources by incorporating more and more value addition dimension in the economic activities and for enhancing the inclusiveness character of growth in the state.
On the role of civil societies organisation in the localisation of SDGs in the state, Professor Tluanga made an elaborative presentation referring the case of Young Mizo Association. In line with the SDGs and the expected role it has to play, he illustrated the task the YMA has been performing with its village level network system that are available in every village with total members strength of 446623 persons. It has for the purpose as many as 19 sub committees to attend specifically each of the goals of sustainable development.
The campaign is made using print and visual media besides the village level awareness camp. Towards smooth discharge of its role, it has made MoU with many key departments like health and family welfare, public health engineering department, public works department, rural development department and departments like agriculture, horticulture, Forest, tourism etc.
Professor Subhomoy Bhattachargee in his concluding remark as session Chairperson focussed for the need of realisation of SDG agenda for the larger benefit of the humanity. The conscious decisions the provincial governments are the key considering the available ways and means, the level of development in the state and the knowledge and information systems that are available in hand.
The problem like data gap, unemployment, drinking water, connectivity and the gender inequality in health, education, employment, political participation although are of common in nature in most of the Indian state, there are leading states at the same time to emulate and to make progress.
The role YMA and Village Council playing at the villages is worth emulating in the localisation process of SDGs in the state. The strength that state has at the grassroots level, there are scope for enhanced empowerment of the local bodies for attainment of higher level decentralised development enabling inclusive growth.
In the question & answer session, a good number of questions came up on the part of the participants and also across the line of panellist in the areas gender participation particularly women, data gap, enterprises development, drinking water, health, hazards etc which concerned panelist aptly clarified.
At the end, DR. Jayanta Choudhury, General Secretary of NETRA offers the formal vote of thanks to all panellists, participants and to RIS for making the event a successful one.