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  1. 1. Amritanshu Mishra Devesh Prakash Vaibhav Patni Sumit Gupta Apoorva Goyal Sunrise States: Realizing the Growth Potential of North-East IIT Kanpur
  2. 2. Challenges of North East India A) Insurgencies and ethnic conflicts leading to unstable eco-political scenario  Absence of endorsement of ethnic plurality in certain classes of the society  Economic marginalization of the northeast leading to discontent among the people  Counter-productive machismo of counter-insurgency measures B) Geographical isolation from mainland India  Connected to mainland India by a narrow stretch of Silliguri Corridor (22-44 km)  Geopolitical complexities arising from large stretches of international border C) Ill-planned impetus to economy  Snail-pace development of agrarian sector  Potential in secondary and tertiary sector  Non-inclusive growth D)Human Development Indices  Focus on skill set development  Striving for a healthy populace
  3. 3. InsurgenciesandEthnicConflicts Absence of endorsement of ethnic plurality in certain classes of the society  Private sector investment is indispensible for the long term economic development of North East. Insurgencies have acted as an impediment to it.  It is imperative to expand the scope of talks by including all major and minor concerned groups keeping in mind the past failure of talks due to non-inclusion of all representative groups. ( eg. Failure of agreements between Bodo Liberation Tigers and Govt. of India due to non inclusion of Bodo Liberation Front.  Cultural centers along the lines of Indian Council for Cultural Relations(ICCR) need to be established across the North East for promoting hinterland Indian culture, the diverse North-Eastern cultures and shared common heritage across the region. Promotional programs such as cultural festivals and awareness campaigns could be organized under the ambit of such councils. Economic marginalization of the northeast leading to discontent among the people  The volume of unemployment in the North-East in absolute terms has risen in the post globalization period. Such unemployed section of the society become an easy prey to insurgent propaganda.  There needs to be a concerted focus on developing the vocational skill-sets for the youths.  The languishing secondary sector needs to be given a boost to absorb workforce.  Impetus needs to given to PPP model for increasing productivity and economies of scale.  Modern best practices need to be induced in agricultural sector(This sector employs about 60% of total workforce in the North-East) to increase general prosperity in order to keep the youth from falling prey to insurgencies, drug abuse etc. 25.9 37.9 47.1 17.1 21.1 20.9 13.1 17.4 29.8 0 50 % of Population BPL (2009-10)
  4. 4. InsurgenciesandEthnicConflicts Counter-productive machismo of counter-insurgency measures  The powers granted to the military under AFSPA has been misused and been a major cause of sustained discontent in the North East. (eg; Irom Sharmila in Manipur) leading to a feeling of surrogate treatment at the hands of the central government among the people there. AFSPA should either be completely repealed or at minimum the controversial articles(2 out of 6) should be removed in order to win confidence among the people. Policemen and soldiers guilty of human rights violation should be punished.  The innocent general masses have been a collateral damage in the cross fire between army and the insurgent groups.  The centre has followed a strategy of dealing with one issue at a time giving concession to one ethnic group or the other at a time leading to distrust among communities of the region (eg; An example is the 2001 extension of the ceasefire with NSCNIM to all the Naga inhabited areas in the neighbouring states. It resulted immediately in a conflict in Manipur where over half of the territory is inhabited by Naga tribes  The centre has to take a long term unified approach of dealing with the insurgency problems in the North-East with focus on finding a political solution to the problem rather than dealing with it with an iron fist.  Stress should be put on fostering a sense of compromise amongst all concerned parties and finding a peaceful solution to the problem(eg. Naga insurgents have a better chance of negotiating a deal with the central government in T Muivah lifetime. It is quite likely that a post-Muivah NSCN will be far less influential and credible than it is now.Thus it is imperative for them to strike a deal while the leader is still alive )  Constant interference by the central government with the functioning of democratically elected state governments must end.  History is rife with illustrations of pain, anguish and brutality that accompanies the process of nation building( eg. American civil war, China’s troubles in Tibet and Xinjiang etc.) but India as a modern democracy should set higher standards for dealing with these issues than those set before)
  5. 5. North East connected to mainland India by a narrow stretch of Silliguri Corridor (22-44 km)  Traditional transportation routes rail, road and river linking Chittagong ports and Kolkata became inaccessible post-independence (Current distance btw Agartala and Kolkata port is 1700 km whereas earlier it was 325 km trough territory of Bangladesh.)  Density of railway routes in North-East India (5.558 km/1000 sq.km.) is much less than Indian average of 19.47 km/1000 sq.km.  Focus should be on transforming North East from “Landlocked to Land-linked” by development of alternate trade routes linking North East with potential markets o Special impetus needed to be given to multilateral projects like Asian Highway, Asian railway link projects, Lumding-Agartala railway o Alternate routes by bilateral agreements on the lines of Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport facility should be envisaged and implemented o Strategically framed treaties with neighbouring countries to abet growth in the North East. Recent increase in agricultural produce have meant better opportunities for agriculturists and industrialists in North East e.g. ASEAN, BIMSTEC,SAARC o Enhancing digital connectivity of North-East with Mainland India and other countries eg Optical fiber cable Link b/w Morey in Manipur and Mandalay in Myanmar o Encouraging local editions of national dailies to increase participation of North East in mainstream discourse of the nation. o Need to increase cost-effective air connectivity btw North East and mainland India (currently only10 commercial airports) o The ATF(Aviation Turbine Fuel) could be made available at a cheaper rate to airlines in the North East which would provide incentive to airlines to increase their north east operations  Urgent need to settle international border disputes with neighbouring countries for a stable secure ground condition to boost investor confidence. Traditional transportation routes such as rail, road and river linking Chittagong ports and Kolkata became inaccessible post-independence (Current distance btw Agartala and Kolkata port is 1700 km whereas earlier it was 325 km trough territory of Bangladesh.) GeographicalisolationfrommainlandIndia
  6. 6. Geopolitical complexities arising from large stretches of international border  An impressionistic assessment reveals that there is a rise in negative activities like cross-border insurgency, gunrunning, smuggling drugs, narcotics and AIDS, money laundering, trafficking women, illegal immigration etc. which further add to the existing multifarious problems in the region.  India Myanmar Issues: Both nations sought to cooperate to counteract drug trafficking and insurgent groups operating in the border areas. The persecution of Rohingyas in Myanmar has forced them to take refuge in Indian North East which has aggravated the problems of terrorism and cultural conflicts.  The under fencing of Assam-Bangladesh border has infiltrated many immigrants, mostly Muslims over the yearsAs it is difficult to differentiate between Bangladeshis and Indian Muslim Bengalis many genuine Indians have been discriminated against. In 2005, a Supreme Court bench ruled Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act (IMDT) as unconstitutional while, with reference to the Sinha Report, maintaining that the impact of the "aggression" represented by large-scale illegal migrants from Bangladesh had made the life of the people of Assam "wholly insecure and the panic generated thereby had created fear psychosis" and other north- eastern States  Even though both sides to the dispute India and China are able to marshal voluminous legal evidence in support of their claims , making the issue appear as one of extreme complexity, this complexity is entirely fictitious and specious. It is imperative to find a political solution to this issue via diplomatic means in order to allay cross-border tensions.  In order to solve all the above mentioned issues it is essential that the government takes proactive measures on the diplomatic front while at the same time ensuring successful fencing of porous borders of North-East India. GeographicalisolationfrommainlandIndia
  7. 7. Snail-pace development of agrarian sector  Lopsided investment in transport, communication and social sectors while agriculture which was the productive base of NE economy  Dedicated council for agricultural development with focus on food self sufficiency for north east required (a number of states like Manipur don’t even have a draft agricultural policy)  Need to encourage best agrarian practices . IT can be used to provide frequent tips and advice to the farmers through information kiosks or cell phones  Promotion of high yielding variety of seeds and fertilisers.(Currentfertiliser consumption is 67Kg/Ha in the NE which is less than 50% of the national average which is 144Kg/Ha)  There is an urgent need for developing professional base to carry out research and development and train the local populace in modern best practices in the agrarian sector(there are very insufficient number of agricultural universities in the North-Eastern region)  72% of NE India is hilly. Sheet floods in these areas leave little water for profitable cultivation of tea and horticulture in absence of irrigation infrastructure.  Sandy tracts on plain need to be constantly supplied with water  Urgent need for a robust irrigation system to facilitate large scale production of ravi crops during the dry season from October to may  Average cost of traditional drip irrigation techniques are estimated at Rs. 50000/Ha. Currently 50% of this sum is contributed by the state and central govt. With indigenous techniques like bamboo and pitcher drip irrigation, this sum can be further brought down enabling the govt. to bear the entire burden of the project  There needs to be a special focus on development heterodox cash crops and fruits like organic crops that have been in high demand in developed markets. North east is specially well positioned to capitalise on the organic crop market given the high gestation period of the organic crops and virgin cultivable land availability in the North east coupled with historical pattern of low chemical fertiliser usage.  The government could also create a provision of minimum support price (MSP) for fruit and vegetable planters in the North East. This will have the double impact of growing per capita income in the north east (given that about 60% of work force in the North East is involved in agrarian activities) and will also help in securing confidence of the masses in the central government of the Union of India.  The fact that North east is rich in production of medicinal plant needs to be leveraged by providing focused connectivity to markets for such products. Ill-plannedimpetustoeconomy
  8. 8. Ill-plannedimpetustoeconomy Untapped Potential in secondary and tertiary sector  There is scope for large strides to be made in the secondary sector in North-East in order to absorb large swathes of workforce  The state has a crowded and unproductive labour force in the primary sector. On the other hand the secondary sector’s contribution to the workforce has declined consistently.  Another aspect has been the growth of unregistered manufacturing sector whose contribution increased to 5.36% as compared to below 1% contribution of registered manufacturing.  Most of the PSUs established during pre-liberalization period has been shut down.  Peripheral economies like those of North-Eastern states has been serving as capital markets for the countries indigenous capitalist class  The approach to development has been largely ad hoc and unsustainable in nature  There is a need for fresh approach to development with focus on PPP model to tap the huge potential of the region.  North East is favourably positioned for making huge gains in the following sectors:-  Ayurvedic medicine and cosmetics industry(800 crores),Perfume Industry(600 crores),Furniture Industry (Bamboo)(10000 crores),Sports goods Industry, Fishing, poultry, meat processing (goat, rabbit, pig),Dairy industry (goat milk products) ,Plastic based industry ,Agro based industry (fruit processing, ginger processing, coffee, spices),Textile and Sericulture, Rubber and paper, Rice beer (lao-pani: an ethnic North- Eastern drink)  A co-operative model along the lines of Anand Co-operative Society in Gujarat can be promoted for greater productivity and competitiveness.  Tax incentives can be given to private firms for setting up manufacturing units in the region as well as for hiring high skilled people from north east for their operations in other parts of the nation  For growth there is a need for a strong financial sector to manage and provide capital.NE is highly under-banked with only one bank per 21000 people which leads to high economic disadvantage and creates a saving deficit for many working class, minority and young citizens  Some solutions to improve banking sector  Setting up of Very small aperture terminal (VSAT) and other modes of terrestrial or fiber communication, wherever available like mobile banking services  Giving incentives to private banks to opening rural branches and VSATs in the region  Tourism Industry has the high potential to absorb skilled and unskilled workforce  WWF has identified the entire Eastern Himalayas as a priority Global 200 Eco-region  Alternate medical tourism, Eco-tourism, Hotels and Spa, Adventure Sports, Nature and wild-life photography should be priority areas of focus
  9. 9. Non-inclusive growth  The region has over 160 Scheduled Tribes and over 400 other sub-tribal communities and groups. It is important that the road map to economic upliftment of the North East does not marginalize the indigenous people.  It is important that Schedule V and VI of the constitution which provide for substantial degree of self-governance in districts where indigenous people are a majority and also a share in the royalties from minerals found on tribal land to local councils be enforced in right earnestness  North-East has a very high potential for development of hydro-electric power. According to certain estimates North East accounts for about 43% of the hydro-electric potential in the country.  According to reports memoranda of understanding has been signed with developers for 148 hydroelectric projects by the Government of Arunachal Pradesh  Most of these dams are planned to be exclusively hydropower and not multi-purpose which will lead to great unevenness in potential gains and losses  Project impact assessments have not paid due attention to the adverse impacts of such projects on downstream livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people who depend on fisheries and subsistence agriculture.  The influential 2000 World Commissionon Dams(WCD) report had concluded that the record of the building has been one of “pervasive and systematic failure to assess the range of potential negative impacts” including the impact on “downstream livelihood”.  It is necessary to adopt a participatory approach treating the affected people as active negotiating partners and not as passive victims or beneficiaries.  The liberalisation of economy has opened new financing avenues for such projects bypassing the world bank focused financing approach .  North East has seen rising protests against mega dam projects (Lower Subansiri project is a case in point) leading to a danger of new red-corridor in the north east along Arunachal-Assam border.  Stress needs to be put on projects for the development of river basin region as a whole which would boost irrigation, fisheries development, riverine transportation, biodiversity preservation.  Per capita power consumption in the North-Eastern states(413 kWh/year) is less than 50% of the national average(851 kWh/year)  Special privileges could be given to the North-East states in terms of the percentage of the power generated committed free of cost to the state govt as royalty. The current norm is 12% committed by the NHPC. This figure could be renegotiated and pushed higher specially considering the high proportion of private players. Ill-plannedimpetustoeconomy
  10. 10. Focus on skill set development  Although North east india accounts for a fair share of central universities in the country, in absolute terms these numbers need to be pushed up  None of the 13 universities of the region received 5 star grade , the highest possible grade form NAAC, an accreditation body under the UGC  Vacant faculty positions also need to be addressed. According to certain reports 25% of the total faculty positions in the University of Guwahati are lying vacant.  The financial conditions of the universities are very weak  Nepotistic appointments to university positions have been common which need to be checked immediately  The lack of highly skilled labour force in the north east is also adversely affecting the progress of government projects like the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna(PMGSY). Due to lack of requisite workforce the central funds remain unutilised and have to be sent back  Private sector could be given incentives to establish quality educational institutions in terms of performance based tax exemptions.  There is an urgent need to establish affordable market oriented vocational training institutes to equip people with skill sets for joining the blue collar workforce  Further India must leverage its strength in affordable Information & Communication Technology to provide quality distance education and certification to the people of Northeast. Tele-education in extension campuses of established universities from rest of India can be used for tailored certification programme Striving for a healthy populace  The Vaccination coverage in a number of North Eastern states(Nagaland(21%),Arunachal Pradesh(28%),Assam(32%),Meghalaya(33%)) is much less than the Indian average of 44%  Life expectancy at birth(61.9) ,Infant mortality rate(55/1000) and fertility rate (2.7) as compared to 66.1, 44/1000 and 2.4 respectively for national average  A concerted effort is required to revamp the heath system  Private hospital chains should be given capacity based incentives in the form of tax exemptions for starting their operations in the north east  More stress needs to be given to family planning  Govt. subsidised generic medicine could be made available in private nursing homes and hospitals other than in govt hospitals  The fast growing concept of tele-medicine should be implemented with utmost urgency in the north east . Physicians from other parts of India and abroad could provide preliminary consultancy through tele-conferencing  Home-ownership in the North east is 25.75% which is less than the Indian average of 55%. A scheme for providing govt. sponsored homes to the people of NE would go a long way in helping the people there achieve their full potential HumanDevelopmentIndices
  11. 11. Closing Note In the course of our research about North-East India for Manthan our views regarding the complexities of the problem as well as the potential of the region underwent a paradigm change. Although it is true that our peripheral sisters have now long been mired in veritable problems but it is high time that the soul of the region found utterance and renewed its tryst with destiny. For our nation’s tryst with destiny is incomplete unless the North-East plays its due part in it. To quote Barack Obama “We can acknowledge that oppression will always be with us, and still strive for justice. We can admit the intractability of depravation, and still strive for dignity. Clear-eyed, we can understand that there will be war, and still strive for peace. We can do that for that is the story of human progress; that's the hope of all the world; and at this moment of challenge, that must be our work here on Earth”. Thank You !
  12. 12. Bibliography 1. Economic and Political Weekly 2. Reserve Bank of India 3. Patriots and Partisans by Ramchandra Guha 4. Economic Times 5. Pax Indica by Shashi Tharoor 6. Wikipedia 7. Planning Commission database 8. Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region 9. FAO Corporate document repository 10. NEDFi Databank