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  1. 1. Abhraneel Sarma Vibhanshu Prajapati Adarsh Kumar Priyanka Roychoudhury Sivaranjani Sivamohan Tackling the illegal immigrant and other problems in the North East
  2. 2. Sunrise States: Realizing the Growth Potential of North East
  3. 3. The Background...  North East Region - The constellation consists of eight states- Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim & Tripura  Eight north east states occupies 8% of India’s geographical area. But contribute only 2.3% of GDP with about 4 million people (3.8% of India)  North East shares 2% of border with the rest of India through a narrow corridor called the chicken’s neck and the rest 98% international border sharing with China, Myanmar, Bhutan and Bangladesh.  Almost two third of north east is hills and other areas are riverine plains, swamps, hillocks and char areas.  The North East has abundant natural resources, wide biodiversity and tremendous ethnic diversity. The North-Eastern states have 475 different ethnic groups and 400 different languages and dialects are spoken here.  The majority of the region consists of tribal communities. The traditional tribes of the region has historical connection with Tibeto-Burman/Mongoloid stock and closer to South East Asia.
  4. 4. Problems of North East: the Hindrance of growth Discussion on growth potential of the North East will be incomplete, if we bypass the problems of north east because the opportunity for growth lies within these problems themselves. Many of the below mentioned problems are interlinked but these can be broadly categorized as: Geo-Political Problems  98% border is international, only 2% connected with India.  Slow development due to fear of China’s constant claim on the region.  All these neighbouring countries are either poor or hostile.  Border disputes among North East states.  Illegal migration into the country from neighboring countries Infrastructure Problems  Connectivity problem – with rest of India & within North East  Lack of infrastructure for agriculture – for production as well marketing  Acute shortage of power even though there is abundant potential for the development of hydel power  Markets are away from production sources- poor marketing infrastructure  Lack of Technological advancement for effective utilization of local resources. (lack of political support) Social Problems  General reluctance for unskilled jobs by local youth  North East people have general feeling of the exploitation of the region by the Indian Government and a Feeling of discrimination of local population  Lack of Co-operative Movement.  Low Individual land holding - constraints of adoption of modern agricultural methods.
  5. 5. Political Problems  Leadership- lack of visionary.  Political infighting  ‘Party is bigger than the state or country’ type attitude of political parties  The parliamentarian structure of government itself is faulty  Crave of major ethnic groups to secure political power for economic growth, and ethnic & cultural identity.  Delineation of state boundaries ignoring the ethnic and cultural specification. Economic Problems  Poor industrialization- poor industrial growth  Poor Service sector –IT enabled industries not exist  Closure of many existing industries Natural Problems  Difficult Terrain – Transportation  Frequent floods / devastating floods  Erosion and land slides  Frequent changing of routes by some rivers  High earthquake prone area Other Problems  Adverse opinion about NE in rest of India. (incorrect publicity outside North East)  Lack of Entrepreneurship quality of local people.  Poor role played by the Civil bodies.
  6. 6. Problems of North East: the Hindrance of growth Natural Problems  Difficult Terrain – Transportation  Frequent floods / devastating floods  Erosion and land slides  Frequent changing of routes by some rivers  High earthquake prone area Other Problems  Adverse opinion about NE in rest of India. (incorrect publicity outside North East)  Lack of Entrepreneurship quality of local people.  Poor role played by the Civil bodies. Analysis of the problem… •Looking at the problems we can realize that many of those are interlinked and one problem is giving rise of few more problems as these are not being addressed in appropriate time. •Further it is also seen that the solution of many of the problems is complementary to each other. For example, there is no proper utilization of abundant lime stone available in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, but entrepreneurs may not be attracted for setting up cement industries (lime stone is the primary raw material for cement plants) due to high transportation cost. •Many similar examples can be forwarded. Uranium (expected to be available in Meghalaya in abundance) can be fuel for nuclear power stations together with hydel power plants (in fact 60:40 power generation ratio of hydal to thermal is desired for sustainability of power)
  7. 7. Realizing the growth potential  The large scale influx from neighbouring countries, the change of demographic structure of the region, communal conflicts and impingement on cultural identity, crisis of agricultural and construction labourers.  The market constraints of the northeast region, as it shares 98% of its borders with other countries.  The lack of proper infrastructure and connectivity with the rest of the country due to the slow pace of infrastructural development in the region.  Despite availability of abundant water resources and infinite potential for the development of hydro- electricity, there are still acute power shortages in the region.  The large-scale insurgency activities that are plaguing these states with demands ranging from sovereignty or separate states in order to protect their cultural identity, to abolishing the AFSPA for bringing an end to the wanton exploitation of the masses. The ethnic communities which are native to the north-eastern region have cultivateda strong sense of unity over the years. Ever since Independence, some misdirected policies of the government have propagated a sense of alienation amongst the people of this region resulting in the need for them to protect their cultural identity. Before the anti–foreigner agitation, Assam received a meagre Rs. 42 per tonne of crude oil as royalty whereas the Government of India collected six times that amount in cess. The repressive Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 in Assam and Manipur, which gives special privileges to the army in these regions has become redundant and taken up a dictatorial mask leading to harassments and inhumane treatment of the common people in the region. These and numerous other examples can be cited here. In order to protect the demography of the region, to include its native ethnic population in the socio-economic development of the region and move towards achieving the much discussed inclusive growth, we need to tread cautiously in these waters. The issues that we must address are:
  8. 8. Addressing the Problem...  Controlling the rate of immigration over the borders. The government is presently constructing the Indo-Bangladeshi barrier, a 3,406 kilometres fence of barbed wire and concrete. Assam shares a 263 km of border with Bangladesh of which 119.1 km is riverine. Fencing of 221.56 km of the border in Assam has been completed. However, in many places the Indo-Bangladesh border is nothing more than a barbed wire strung between two high posts. There have also been instances of the fence being cut through resulting in infiltration without any checks. India's border with Bangladesh is incredibly porous, and the government’s actions have not made much progress to cease the illegal migration. To mitigate the problem, a proper impenetrable border of fences is required to be constructed immediately. This border should be patrolled by the BSF continuously, requiring provisions of a motorable road also along the entire border. Moreover floodlights should be set up at occasional distances along the border to facilitate the survey of border activity by security personals. Owing to the large scale influx of illegal migrants, the demography of the North-eastern states has changed. It has also given rise to several instances of ethnic conflicts in the recent years. According to a Census report (Primary Census Abstract of Assam, 2011), the decadal population growth rate in nine districts, which are allegedly dominated by illegal immigrants, is over 20 per cent. As per 2001 census there are 3,084,826 people in India who came from Bangladesh. However, no reliable numbers on illegal immigrants are currently available. Furthermore, the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, which was created to protect the minorities in Assam during the Assam agitation and repealed only a few years ago, has provided these illegal migrants protection from identification and deportation. Although the problem has been identified, there has been very little progress in finding a solution to it. The situation has degraded to such an extent that some illegal migrants have been able to include their names in the voter's list. As this concern is over an international border, it is the duty of the Indian government to take swift and necessary action.
  9. 9.  Issuing work permits to new migrants. There isn’t any doubt that there will always be attempts to cross the border in search of employment opportunities, and coupled with the problem of a shortage of manual labourers in the North-East, an attempt to prevent people from entering India will be futile. However necessary alternative steps can be undertaken to solve this problem. For example, for every adult who chooses to cross the border in search of work, the government can issue a work permit. The facility of receiving work permits should be created at the border itself. This will create an official identity of the migrant and will ensure that he can be identified easily. The work permit should be similar to that of the passport, and will, for all purposes, be his identity proof while he resides in India. The work permit should be for a short duration of time, not more than 1 year. The records of these permits should be maintained strictly and prompt action should be taken to violators.  The status of the migrants in India. The illegal migrants, while they stay in India, will not be considered as a citizen of the country, and hence should not receive any such privileges that the government of India provides to its citizens such as voting rights. The people should be given special ration cards, which are different from the normal ones. Under no condition, should voting rights be provided to them because it may lead to rigging of votes by political parties. After a work permit is granted if the person indulges in any criminal or unlawful activity he/she should be immediately deported. Also, an immigrant with work permit should not be allowed to buy any property in India. Also, they should not receive any benefits under NREGA. (National Rural Employment Generation Act)  Managing the affairs of these immigrants. An independent arbitrator like minorities commission should be set up to handle the affairs of these immigrants who are given special provisions under the prescribed scheme. The head of this commission should be of the level of governor of state or above or some administrative officer of at least the level of principal secretary of the government of India . Fast track courts should be set up to handle the cases of these immigrants since they are not citizens of India and hence there are bureaucratic hurdles to handle the cases of these immigrants.
  10. 10.  The status of existing illegal migrants in India. Although there are illegal immigrants in all parts of the country, the situation is acute in the North-east region, and its demography has been changing dramatically over the last couple of decades. There should be an attempt to identify the existing illegally-settled population in India. Once identified their right to citizenship should be evoked, and an attempt should be made to deport them immediately.  Issues regarding deportation of illegal immigrants Since it is India's responsibility to protect its borders from foreign migrants, and there is no proof of which nation these foreign immigrants actually belong to, efforts in deporting these illegal immigrants could prove futile. If that situation arises, to prevent further instances of ethnic conflicts and protect the demography and cultural identity of the region, the population should be distributed over the entire country which will have the twin benefit of sufficing the need for labour in other labour deficient states. The other Issues plaguing the North East...  The market constraint of the landlocked northeast region can be transformed into an opportunity by opening up the trade links between the neighboring countries like China, Bangladesh and Myanmar, and through Myanmar to South East Asia. India’s ‘Look East Policy’ on the heels of economic liberalization followed by the ‘Kunming Initiative’ in 1999 dedicated to promoting the growth of a trade quadrangle between India, China, Bangladesh & Myanmar, and subsequently the ‘ASEAN Car Rally’ are some of the noteworthy beginning.  The power-starved North-Eastern Region is blessed with a huge hydro power potential. According to estimates, the North east has a potential for the generation of about 58971 MW of hydro power (Arunachal alone has a potential to generate 27000 MW of hydel power), of which less than 2% has been harnessed.  Along the lines of the Indian government's policy of large-scale infrastructure development, improved transportation and communication of the NE region with the rest of the country, will also provide better access to the Indian market, for the goods produced in the NER. There is also a need for improved connectivity within the region.
  11. 11. The above measures outlines the steps necessary for the economic development of the region, thereby ensuring socio-economic welfare of the native communities. This would reduce the insurgency activities in the region up to a certain extent. However, insurgents should not been be pardoned for murder, extortion and other crimes that they have committed. Similarly, the AFSPA should be revoked. (as asked by the UN, on 31 March, 2012) Impact...  The control of illegal immigrants entering the North east, and ensuing their status as temporary workers will not only serve to protect the demography of the land, but also eliminate the fear amongst the native ethnic communities of becoming a minority community in their own land.  The provision for work permits to illegal immigrants will meet the manual labour requirement in the region, while also ensuring that they are not able to settle in India permanently.  opening the trade links and designating these areas as free trade areas, the ongoing illegal trade activities will cease and its benefits can be utilized by the entire population.  Extensive projects to tap into the potentially infinite resources to generate hydro-electricity will apart solving the acute power shortage issue in the NE, will also provide incentives for companies to invest in industries in the NE. The power harnessed can also be exported to the other states of the country. This will also create numerous job opportunities for the local population.  The growth of industries in the North east will also provide opportunities for the socio-economic upliftment of the population. It will also utilize the region's vast natural resources and improve the economy of the region.  Since most of the insurgent activities are performed by unemployed youths to demand socio-economic development of their ethnic community, or a separate sovereign state to protect the interests of this community, there will also be a decline in such activities.
  12. 12. Concept Risks... • The government might desire a different and more direct approach to tackle ethnic conflict and insurgency in the region. • Some illegal inhabitants have also been able to obtain ration cards, and get their names included into the voter's list. Implementation Challenges... • The construction and maintenance of a fence over the entire Indo-Bangladesh border will require a large investment by the government, and a large labour force. Also continuous patrolling of the border will require a large no. BSF. • The terrain over the Indo-Bangladesh border is riverine and difficult to construct fences or concrete walls. • The construction of the border fence should be completed within a stipulated time. And this deadline should be maintained, and not extended. • Identification of the existing illegal migrant population settled in India will be extremely challenging. • Distribution of the illegal immigrants in various states might pose The images show the “impenetrable Indo-Bangladesh border between India and Bangladesh.