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  2. 2. A Glimpse of North-East India  NEI which comprises of seven states of Indian Union namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura is a region with special features like landlessness, poor expansion of economic opportunities, immigration, ethnic turmoil, insurgency, etc.  The region has a population of 38,857,769 (as per 2011 census) comprising of 3.8 percent of India’s population and geographically covers 8.05 percent of the country’s total geographical area.  Projected population/sq.km of the 7 states is shown in the table.
  3. 3. Projected Population: 11-14 Years State 1991 (Actual) 2001 2011 Boys Girls Total Boys Girls Total Boys Girls Total Arunachal Pradesh 27 25 51 37 35 72 34 45 79 Assam 740 709 1449 1092 1058 2150 751 711 1462 Manipur 59 58 117 80 83 163 76 106 182 Meghalaya 58 57 115 79 82 161 74 105 179 Mizoram 25 25 51 35 36 71 33 46 79 Nagaland 41 38 79 55 55 110 52 70 122 Tripura 92 87 179 125 125 250 118 160 278 North-East 1042 999 2041 1503 1474 2977 1138 1243 2381 All India 27876 25128 53004 38495 35973 74468 32104 30418 62522 % of North- East 3.74 3.98 3.85 3.90 4.10 4.00 3.54 4.09 3.81
  4. 4. Natural Resources  The North-Eastern India is the land of rising sun in the sub- continent. Assam and other seven sisters including Sikkim consist the whole landmass of the North-Eastern India. The green belt of India, so called land of forest and tribals, the entire north-east region is rich in its natural resources-oil, natural gas, minerals and most importantly valuable forests. The worlds largest river Island 'Majuli' is situated in the heart of the river Brahmaputra. The Kaziranga National Park in the Jorhat district of Assam is the home for the world famous one-homed rhinoceros. The place of highest rainfall in the world “Cherapoonji” is situated in Meghalaya.  Assam produces the largest share of tea that's nearly 53% of the all India production. Besides Assam; Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh & Tripura also contributing to the tea production, though output from these states is yet to gain momentum.
  5. 5. Identical Crisis  Transportation Problems in hilly areas: The North East’s hilly terrain is usually considered as a major impediment to boost transport connectivity. Improvement of roads and transport continue to be the thrust areas during successive five year plans. A good communication network is the prerequisite for development of hill areas.  Insurgency: National security and local insurgency prevent investment and trade. Paradoxically security concerns also arise due to absence of economic growth.  Environmental Problems: Though the North-East is an industrially backward region, the existing industries, deforestation and flood are causing serious problem to the environment in the region.  Power Crisis: The peak hours demand of power in the northeast region is around 2,300 MW. But less than a quarter has been developed. The power crisis has affected irrigation and drinking water supply.
  6. 6. Other Challenges  Poor Industrial Growth: Geographical remoteness, non- availability of well connected road network, poor purchasing power, lack of resources and skills are some of the major impediments in the industrial growth of the hill areas. There is also dearth of institutional credit. Hill areas have rich sources of minerals but their potential has not been properly tapped.  Literacy: The region’s average literacy rate stands at 79.64% vs. the national average of 74.04% according to the 2011 census. Which results in non-awareness in people to take the advantage of the resources available to them.  In today’s scenario, the rate of school dropouts is increasing significantly which can be observed in the table for the region.
  7. 7. State Promotion Rate Dropout Rate Boys Girls Total Boys Girls Total Arunach al 68.6 68.6 68.6 30.4 30.3 30.4 Assam 70.1 69.5 69.8 30.6 31.7 31.1 Manipur 84.5 84.0 84.3 15.6 15.2 15.9 Meghala ya 67.7 68.3 68.0 30.6 30.9 30.8 Mizoram 77.2 77.2 77.2 23.9 23.6 23.8 Nagalan d 78.4 76.5 77.5 21.4 22.9 21.9 Tripura 66.0 66.2 66.1 32.0 32.1 32.1 India 74.8 74.3 74.6 25.6 26.0 25.8 Indicators of Efficiency:
  8. 8. Conflicts in Northeast India: Issues, Causes  Insurgency in India’s Northeast has been very much a product, if not an outgrowth of the historical, economic and political circumstances of society in the region.  The Institute of Conflict Management estimates that 5283 people have been killed due to insurgency related events in the North-East since 2005.  For instance, the Naga insurgence, which started in the 1950s, known as the mother of the Northeast insurgencies, is one of the oldest unresolved armed conflicts in the world. In total, Manipur, Assam, Nagaland and Tripura have witnessed scales of conflict that could, at least between 1990 and 2000.  The reasons for the respective conflicts are wide ranging from separatist movements, to inter- community, communal and inter-ethnic conflicts.
  9. 9. Issues Of Governance  The Indian government’s past and ongoing processes of national integration, state-building and democratic consolidation have further aggravated the conflict scenario in the region. For instance, the eight states comprising the Northeast is populated by nearly 40 million inhabitants who vary in language, race, tribe, caste, religion, and regional heritage. Therefore, most often, the clubbing of all these states under the tag of ‘northeast’ has tended to have a homogenizing effect with its own set of implications for policy formulation and implementation; not to mention local aversion to such a construct.  The AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Power Act) for instance, shows the inability and reluctance of the government to solve the conflict with adequate political measures. instead of resolving the problem, it led to an ongoing escalation of the conflict by bringing it on a military level.
  10. 10. POLITICAL ALIENATION  The Government of India has tried many things in order to resolve issues in the Northeast in terms of the conflict there. It has tried throwing the army in the security forces and heavily armed the police giving them special training in counter insurgency to deal with the insurgents but all this hasn’t worked. And the reason is that you cannot deal with a political issue or problem by using brute force, you have at some point come to a discussion or negotiation that enables the resolution of the problem.  The government has also faced criticism in the way in which it has been looking at the Northeast as an issue of territorial security rather than development per say. The fear of a growing Chinese influence, as well as, increasing cross-border terrorism (Myanmar, Bangladesh) in the region are some of the factors cited as reasons for limiting India in its attempt to open the region.
  11. 11. Seeking Solution for Conflicts  While we can understand the need to protect, the military in times of operation cannot be above the law because we ultimately work within a democratic framework. You have to, at some point come to a discussion or negotiation that enables the resolution of the problem. So, if the Naga issue or the ULFA problem or any other concerns which have been troubling the North-east for a very long time has to be solved then there has to be some give and take, some opportunities created for discussion and negotiation.  To deal with the issues of political alienation and conflict in India's North-east, what we need is inclusive growth through inclusive development, with focus on improved governance. We need to do away with the draconian laws; and ensure that communities are empowered to implement basic needs and services.
  12. 12. Possible solutions for transportation  The mountain ranges and hill areas of this region have a crucial role to play in determining the climate and physiography of the country and are important determinants of socio-economic development of plain areas as the rivers have their genesis here and the protection and climatic control they provide have enabled India to sustain its position as an economic power. Keeping in view the increasing population pressure in the hill areas and the need to preserve their fragile ecology, the Central Government has been allocating Special Central Assistance to these areas through the Hill Areas Development Programme/Western Ghats Development Programme which have been in operation from the Fifth Five Year Plan in designated hill areas.  Improvement of roads and transport continue to be the thrust areas during successive five year plans. A good communication network is the prerequisite for development of hill areas. Special attention has been given to road connectivity to rural and remote areas, which are not yet connected to the main roads. There are 3600 kms. length of roads in Karbi Anglong. Similarly in N.C. Hills, this figure is 1011 kms. Priority is being accorded to connect additional villages by roads and building of RCC bridges during Tenth Plan period.
  13. 13. Solutions to improve literacy, pollution  The literacy levels of the hill districts are low compared to the rest of the state. The educational programme should be oriented to provide free and compulsory education to all children up to 14 years of age and emphasis should be given to the schemes like free textbooks, midday meal, free uniform to motivate children.  Out of the total area of 15222 Sq. Km. about 2711 Sq. Km. is under state reserve forest and 2491 Sq. Km. is under council reserve forest. The plan programme of Forest Department should be oriented on increase of plantation and regeneration, strengthening of protection forces, mobilization of forest produce, creation of Ecological Park and Botanical Gardens.  Strategies will have to be aimed at setting up large mining and agro based industry around available mineral and natural resources and link support of small industrial units through industrial loans, supply of improved tools, and other such incentives.
  14. 14. Steps to achieve inclusive growth of region  It has to start by bringing accountability at the local level and by ensuring that there is inclusive growth through inclusive development. It means communities, village groups, all the organisations and institutions - both traditional and constitutional - at the local level are empowered to ensure basic needs.  North-east needs to grow at 8-12% over the next few years to match up to the rest of India.  Communities must be better organised and build over the social capital that is such a niche of the North-east. The whole issue of social capital has been to a degree enabled in Nagaland through the communitization programme where local communities are enabled to handle issues such as power, tourism, education; they pay the salaries etc. Basically if the Panchayati Raj effectively implements this kind of approach, then there will be an improvement in the situation.
  15. 15. Financial resource requirement (Help and Funding)  To achieve the said targets, financial support is also the essential part.  Improving the growth of the region may require funding as it is consisting of some expensive activities.  For improving the road and transport facilities in the rural areas, considerable amount of financial help is needed to accomplish the work.  There are some financial supporters namely, IMF(International Monetary Fund), IFC(International Finance Corporation), World Bank which can provide such supports.  The other resource for it may be donation by the public and private sectors so that it may fulfill financial requirement for the implementation.
  16. 16. Conclusion  Innovation, Initiative, Ideas, and Implementation - the four I’s also need to go together in the North-east if things have to change. You can make a big picture, you can try and do big things but in the final analysis, it’s what you do at the local level and how well you do it, that’s going to make a difference.  Another solution here is the whole connectivity to Southeast Asia, to the neighbouring countries - Bangladesh, Myanmar and so on. The whole great quadrangle that is coming up is a very important part of this whole process of connectivity and growth. That will take time but it has to happen because North-east cannot keep depending on Delhi to bail it out. It has to depend upon its own resources - in terms of its advantages, resources and the connectivity deals with the neighbours who are its natural trading partners.
  17. 17. References  http://planningcommission.nic.in  http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com  http://www.educationforallinindia.com  http://in.news.yahoo.com  http://www.in.boell.org  http://southasia.oneworld.net