8013523310, 8013435423,9051643933, 9836954099, 9836802643
University: Jadavpur University, Kolkata.
Nirjhar Mukherjee, Arja Sadhukhan, Ashmita Banerjee, Sayak Ray,
Constructing a New Dawn:
Dreaming a Prosperous North East
Theme: Sunrise States:
Realizing the growth
potential of North-East
Team Name: JUktibaadi
Partition increased the distance between Kolkata and Agartala increased from 362 kms to 1600 kms, the
ports of Chittagong and Mongla were lost to East Pakistan. Geographically marooned, politically
marginalised , culturally alienated and economically stranded, North Eastern India has not been at par
with the rest of the country in social, economic as well as cultural spheres.
The Paramount Importance of the North
• The ful ru of I dia’s Look East Poli y- door
to ASEAN, the Far East and Oceania.
• Immense geopolitical importance to I dia’s
foreign policy and energy and maritime
• Scope for India to aggrandise its national
power due to favourable conditions.
• Stable North East needed to counter China.
Also can open fronts for engagement with
• Foreign Trade- Export oriented benefits,
South East Asia, a perfe t arket for I dia’s
• Reservoir of untapped resources: economic,
agrarian and industrial, as well as the service
sector. Examples: Hydroelectric power,
The Distress of Eight Sisters
• North East: one of the most underdeveloped
regions in India.
• Neglected financially, racially, culturally and
politically, the North Eastern states are a
breeding ground for insurgency, drug trade and
• Shunned and disillusioned, the people have lost
faith in the system.
• The area is today a hotbed of insurgency,
trafficking, drugs and all sorts of illegal activities.
• The situation is being exploited by countries like
China which gleefully wants such turbulence to
o ti ue at I dia’s e pe se.
• There is comparatively high literacy. However,
lack of employment opportunities make the
ground fertile for such ills to thrive.
It’s high ti e that e look i to a alter ati e ple ia a d sustai a le odel. We seek to reate a alter ati e y
asking the government to implement more pragmatic policies and establish a new organisation for implementation.
We suggest the government to build a development model, inspired by Amartya Sen a d Martha Nuss au ’s theory
of development though capacity building where the development comes through increase in options for the people.
The State in the North East: Engagement and Reaction
• Mammoth sums invested (in fact the highest per capita investment in
India). Some corporations set up like NEDFI. However, there is a total lack
of research and knowledge of ground realities.
• Money disbursed through the regular state bureaucracy.
• Aggressive military presence to combat insurgency. Army endowed with
wanton powers like AFSPA.
• Use of traditional sops to attract investment.
Results and Scope for Improvement
• The state is unable to understand the real needs and aspirations of the people and ground
realities. Adequate research and development is a must before investment.
• Unnecessary allocation of resources in certain sectors while severe shortage of resources in
ore i porta t e tures. The state ust prioritize i s ith the people’s aspiratio s a d
needs. Ground level research is the need of the hour.
• Skyrocketing corruption. North East India has lowest levels of percolation rates. A separate
system to oversee percolation needed in addition to anti corruption drives.
• Aggressive presence of the armed forces have further alienated the populace. They are
pere iall stu k i a de il’s alter ati e: et ee the ar a d the i surge . AF“PA has to
go, unconditionally. The state has to reclaim its legitimacy in the eyes of a suffering people
with genuine grievances.
• Sops fail to work out due to insurgency, native hostility aggravated by influx of people from
other states, poor roads and infrastructure etc. Building roads a must. Investment must
generate huge employment for natives. Self help organisations must be encouraged.
The people of the North East have been systematically alienated since independence. And it
is the Indian State which is largely to blame. Thus the onus of reconciliation also lies on the
hands of the sate. Moreover, the people of the North East have been marginalised culturally.
Thus the I dia i il so iet at large a also ot ig ore it’s respo si ilit i the ultural
integration of the North East. An alternate model can be developed through the use of
utual ooperatio usi g the a ariatio of Ga e Theor . The idea of o operatio –
development model as illustrated later on. [see annexure 1]
Chronological Sequence Three [Future Prediction]: Indian State Still Cooperates,
People of North Also Cooperate.
Gain for the Indian State Gain for the North East
Chronological Sequence Two [Future Case One]: Indian State Cooperates,
People of North East Defect.
Loss For the Indian State Loss For North East
Chronological Sequence One [History/Present]: Indian State Defects, People of North
East also Defect.
Loss For the Indian State Loss For North East
Thus, as per Ro ert A elrod’s theor of e olutio of ooperatio , people (or t o a tors ith
mutual suspicions) start cooperating, once they realise that there is gain for both from doing
the same. Moreover, defection on either side will harm both actors. It stays as a shadow of the
Political and Policy Making
• Peace talks with rebels and try integration into the mainstream.
• Offer attractive surrender terms. Adept policy making needed.
• Make concessions. Amend political blunders. Eg. AFSPA must go!
• Crackdown on drug lords, trafficking and remaining hostile insurgents.
Material Sustainable Development
• Develop industries sustainably. PSUs, PPPs, encourage private players.
• Impetus to cottage industries, export promotion and tourism.
• Invest i9n Human Capital. Engage in Human Resource development
through educational institutes. Promote research, think tanks.
• Build infrastructure of basic amenities and social services.
Connectivity: Material and Cultural
• Connectivity: Build and repair roads and highways and railways.
• Internationalise Guwahati and Aizawl airports.
• Promote North Eastern culture, tourism. Promote exchanges.
• Provide media footage. Promote, subsidize sports and other activities.
• Stop cultural hegimonisation. Help in retention of cultural identities.
Setting up of a Government Body Exclusively For the Development of the North East.
1. Directly under the Ministry for the Development of the North East Region
2. Highly decentralised and autonomous. To have branches in each North Eastern state . Priorities
subjective to the needs and aspirations of the particular state.
3. Funds to the North East to be disbursed to and spent by this body.
Name of Body: Comprehensive Development Corporation or CDC. Composition:
1. Top bureaucrats, scientists, medical staff, social workers , academicians and other experts in various
2. Management experts and social scientists. Best brains to be recruited from top B Schools and other
3. Foreig poli e perts: the shall e eeded due to the i porta e of the North East ith I dia’s
4. Local people in the local units. Who shall be there and at what level shall be entirely subjective to
the specific needs and requirements of the area. Also elected representatives, both urban and
rural, of the people.
5. A cadre of trained personnel to be recruited through competitive public exam. Dedicated full time
to development of the North East region. Different types of cadre to be selected as per requirement.
6. Local units to have a great deal of autonomy. Many important office bearers of the unit to be
elected by the members of the CDC unit.
7. Tie ups with existing bodies like NEDFI and other corporations. All to be merged with the CDC.
8. As evident from above, the people will be joint stake holders along with the state. Thus
development comes to the hands of the people themselves.
•Autonomy for units. No interference from higher authorities.
•Will reduce red tape and bureaucratic miscalculationsDecentralisation
• Different levels of the CDC will have different powers and
well defined jurisdictions. No possibilities of clashes. A
higher level does not mean power over lower units.Separation of Powers
• Presence of local people and experts will keep the policy
makers in touch with ground realities.
• Will be feasible for the CDC to oversee proper
Working and Powers of the CDC
1. The CDC will be have a central committee and eight state committees. One each in all
the eight sisters. The central committee will consist of delegations from the state
committees and experts, recruits appointed at both the central and state levels.
2. Ce tral o ittee’s po ers li ited to affairs of e tral o ittee: R&D, allo atio of
funds to state committees, awareness drives. No power to dictate over lower units.
3. State committees to have most of the powers. To have a sub unit in each ward/village.
The local units decide on local policy implementations. Each unit to be autonomous
with its own executive committee. This is an attempt to shift governance, production,
economy and power from the elites to the local people.
4. The touch with the people may enable the state to gain some legitimacy in the region.
Foreign Policy Measures Conducive to North Eastern India
• Diplomatic negotiations with Bangladesh and Myanmar. Try to open Mongla, Chittagong and
Sittwe ports to Indian goods. Establish joint naval patrol. Also a counter to Chinese string of
pearls strategy. Water sharing treaty and development of Bangladesh is very important.
• E ourage further order trade a d i itiati es like ross order haats or te porar arkets
with both Myanmar and Bangladesh.
• Ensure strong security checks to prevent illegal immigration.
• Build roads and rails facilities in Myanmar and Bangladesh as they will help in movement of
Indian goods in those countries and open markets. Infrastructure developments across the
border are of strategic importance as far as trade goes.
• Build and/or repair roads to international trade centers at the border points and connecting
these points through the existing roads to state capitals is important. Link them to foreign cities.
• Engage with BIMSTEC and ASEAN for development projects. Example: establish Free Trade Area
(FTA), Trans Asian Railway (complete rail routes like Jiribham – Hanoi), Energy Centre, Weather
and Climate Centre, international highways to South East Asia. Take part and complete Mekong
Ganga Co operation, Kunming Initiative, Kaladan Multi Modal project etc.
• Enter into joint agreements with Bangladesh and Myanmar for the extradition of rebels in all
countries. A strict zero tolerance towards insurgency has to be consistently followed. Myanmar
and Bangladesh have insurgencies of their own in the border region.
• Use international collaboration to clamp down on human trafficking and drug dealing.
• The question of mass migration must be mutually dealt by the three states.
A joint development pact must be signed by India, Bangladesh and Myanmar for the
development of this region. This area is a troubled area and one of concern for all three
countries. It will only help to go for a joint development programme.
Domestic Policies to Help the People of North East India
• In addition to building new educational institutes, provisions must be made for the students of
North East India to get easier access to higher education in the Rest of India. Example: Train fare
concessions, hostel reservations, subsidies for students.
• Special scholarships to students from the North East based on merit.
• Special sops and attraction like bonuses to be given for faculty from other parts of India for
teaching in North East India to attract talent.
• Tax holidays and other attractive business incentives should be given to investors for investing.
However, jobs should go to locals and not hamper demographics. Everything should be
supervised and scrutinised through the proposed CDC.
• Develop Kolkata as the nearest metro. Great value. Similarly, Assam has to be developed as a
state. Guwahati should be developed into a Metro.
• Stop racism! North Eastern people are as much Indians as Punjabis, Bengalis or Tamils. They are
not Chi ese or Chi kies ! La s should e e a ted agai st ra is .
• The CDC should be able to oversee projects like the Kaladan Multi Modal project . Alternatives
must be sought quickly if there are hurdles to any particular project.
Funding the CDC and Challenges
1. Funding: The CDC is a to be endowed with the investment amounts which are directly
poured into solitary projects. It is a comprehensive alternative. Addition funds would
should be provided by the central government. The CDC can be funded by raising
additional taxes from tobacco , alcohol (where applicable) and other luxury items.
2. No doubt that the CDC will face challenges from allegations of central dominance to the
question of partiality. However, it is through raising mass awareness, engaging the local
population backed by positive, inclusive politics which can help in ameliorating the
situation. When the people will be a part of their own progress, faith will be restored.
Some Select State Specific Solutions to State
• Build massive
irrigation scheme to
• Build a strong patrol
system along borders
to prevent illegal
• Repeal AFSPA. Justice
must be delivered for
• Connect Moreh with
main roads. Repair
• Counter insurgency.
•A massive rural
for basic amenities.
must be controlled
But only to
• Defend the border.
for better troop
movement. Road to
Tawang must be
• Rampant opium trade
must be eradicated
• Stop shifting
destruction of forests.
• Launch a massive
food security drive.
• Bridge the gap
migrants and native
• Counter insurgency.
Stop wanton advances
of extremists like
• Stop communal
politics involving the
Church and Hindus
and the tribal people.
must be restored.
• Wo e ’s Issues ill
have to be dealt with.
needed on issues like
• Illegal immigration
Myanmar must be
• Challenges are to be many. Insurgency will not disappear in a day. Nor will organised
crime especially in a setup with entrenched corruption. Good surrender terms and
employment for locals will have to be systematically increased sway them away.
• Sustained opposition will come from reactionary elites who have vested interests in
status quo as they benefit from the system.
• As of now, the people have resentment against the state. Astute persistence,
continued development, integration and good policies are needed to win their trust.
• Funds need to be spent properly and new funds mooted. Moreover, the policies
suggested must be whole heartedly and impartially implemented.
Hoping for the Best and Proceeding Earnestly!
However, despite everything, we hope that the model mentioned above provides a
solution to these problems. If the policies are implemented earnestly with dedication,
adequate concentration and integrity backed up by equally tactful state governments and
a diplomatically successful foreign ministry, there is no reason why the North East cannot
develop. Vision 2020 as declared by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2008 would not
e that u h of a illusio . The pri ipal reaso for people’s alie atio is that the are
ruled and oppressed by local elites. The state has so far been another oppressive elite who
has come to rule them. The evolution of powers from the elite to the people through the
CDC system has potentials of a landmark breakthrough. If people through the CDC are able
to evolve into their own policy makers, the state is bound to win some much needed but
much lacking legitimacy. This it is time to start thinking in a new way of ruling by letting
the people rule over themselves. There lies the essence of true democracy!
This is a a itious odel take fro the o ept of o operatio odel ased o priso er’s dile a
from Game Theory. It is seen that usually mutual co operation is beneficial for both parties.
We are using a variation of the prisoners dilemma here. In the original game (situation)
Situation 1. A defects, B Co operates.
Situation 2. A co operates, B defects
Situation 3. A co operates, B co operates.
However, here in situation 1, when A defects, B also defects. This is because human behaviour cannot be
predicted with cent per cent accuracy by any mathematical model and situations in real human life are
often different from optimised and/or customised ones used in examples. Moreover, when in politics,
counter defection is often very quick. Thus we adapt a lot from this model but refrain from copy pasting it
as it does not match the chronological history of North East India.
The people of the North East ha e ee opposi g I dia or defe ti g i priso ers dile a ter i olog .
Now the idea is to take the situation to a level of corruption. The people of the North East have been
defecting due to prolonged maltreatment, underdevelopment and alienation. Thus it is the Indian State
which defected first! Naturally (matching with game theory) the result was that the people of North
Eastern states also defected. We all know the result. Both the state and the people of the North East
suffered. Now, thanks to the distrust and disrepute of the Indian state, the people of the North East are
likely to defect when the state offers co operation. However, the people of the North East will see that
they are losing out. More importantly, the state must continue to keep its policy of cooperation even at
the wake of continued defection as the people of the North East would ultimately realise that there is
more to gain from co operation than defection!