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  1. 1. North East India: Our Gateway to a Sustainable Future Prepared by: Team Vishnu (IIT Roorkee) -Abhishek Goel -Abhishek Vats -Divya Prakash -Himanshu Garg -Karan Chowdhary
  2. 2. Flanked by hills and with mighty Brahmaputra slashing a central path between its north and south, the North East is bounded by the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. North East Region (NER) is quite peculiar in nature due to its distinct topography, extreme climatic conditions, inaccessibility and remoteness of the places, dense forest cover. The region is witnessing a series of insurgencies and is alienated from the economic resurgence that the rest of the country is facing. This is because the region, connected to the rest of the country by a narrow stretch of land called the ‘chicken’s neck’ needs significant investments and development aids. The large hydro potential in the NER could be used for exporting to the power deficit northern and western regions of the country. The power generation will itself attract large industries, annulling large transportation costs. While the spill over benefits for the region will be development of infrastructure such as roads, communications, and electricity supply to remote hilly areas, thus resulting in better quality of life. Introduction
  3. 3. Introduction (contd...) Also opening up and augmenting trade with the neighboring countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar and through Myanmar to South East Asia will also help in realizing the full potential of the region. Though we fully realize that development of any kind may lead to socio-political issues such as displacement of people, the policy and aids of the central and state governments should address these issues to accelerate the completion of development projects. Strongly focusing on roads, airports and hydropower developments are some of the key steps in this direction. Using this framework we are trying to analyze and hence suggest possible future opportunities based on regional comparative advantage, that can lead to the growth and prosperity of north eastern states while maintaining their unique ethnicity and diversity.
  4. 4. Strengths -Vast ecological and water resources -Natural Resources (Oil and Gas Hydrocarbons) -Large Pool of Technical Resources: A high literacy rate of 65% provides a good pool of educated human resources. -Though North Eastern Region is blessed with abundant resources for industrial and social development, they have not been used to their fullest potential. -Policy level initiatives like formation of separate ministry (Ministry for development of NER) Weakness -Lack of physical Infrastructure. -Inclement weather and difficult terrain. -Poor Connectivity and isolation from the mainland. -Subsistence Society (70% dependence on agriculture) -Tense International Relations. -Lack of Proper Grievance Redressal Mechanism that has lead to belligerent agitations. -Highly prone to natural disasters which gets exacerbated by lack of coordination between different disaster management groups. -Problems in land acquisition and clearances. Opportunity -Power: The north eastern region is endowed with perennial rivers providing a huge hydroelectricity potential. Tapping this potential will upshot the infrastructure such as roads, communication, electricity, etc. -Infrastructure: The deficient in infrastructure provides ample opportunities for fast paced development aimed at increasing the institutional capacity of the North East. Micro, Small and Medium Industries need to be encouraged. -Tourism: Local Tourism and medical and educational tourism needs to be promoted to give a fillip to the economic aspirations of the locals. -Cross-Border Trade -Inland Water Navigation: It can be a cost effective, viable alternative -Encouraging response of private sector players Threats -Insurgency: The greatest threat is extortion carried out by various insurgent groups. Extortion has become an organized activity and is a major source of fund for the militants. -Border issues: International boundaries in the North East have not crystalized into lines separating sovereign countries on the ground. China has constantly been encroaching upon Indian territory especially in the Arunachal Pradesh region. Intelligence is the key in securing border areas. -Threat to the Integrity of the Nation: demand for smaller states SWOT
  5. 5. International Trade Corridor Connectivity is important because it promotes trade, brings people closer, and integrates the economies. Improving connectivity is essential for a region’s prosperity, continued growth, and, most importantly, for poverty reduction. Improved connectivity lowers costs and increases reliability. In the absence of adequate connectivity, these enormous opportunities may stop at their international borders. CHALLENGES -Poor physical infrastructure. -Inadequate railways, roadways, maritime and aviation networks. -Strained international relationships. SOLUTIONS We wish to create a functional single market in Asia to overcome the missing links in transportation, the lack of interoperability and infrastructure gaps reducing the efficiency and weakening the global competitiveness of the Asian industry. As a major step in this direction India initiated the Look East policy in 1991.
  6. 6. International Trade Corridor • To boost cooperation with its eastern neighbors India signed Free Trade Agreements (FTA’s) with the ASEAN countries which are essential to India’s growing engagement with them and will lead to better integrated markets. • To further develop the cross border trade and investment flow it is necessary to restore NER’s traditional route corridors through Bangladesh which will help overcome adverse geographical condition and ensure speedy development of NER. • Development of these corridors will require huge funding investment which is expected to come from the private players. The government also needs to step in and support expanding the use of Public Private Partnerships (PPP’s). • Cross border trade and investment flow will eventually open up new avenues for growth and development and lead to a deeper intra-regional economic interaction between India and ASEAN countries and hence contribute towards the integration of an integrated Asian community.
  7. 7. H Y D R O P O T E N T I A L Environmental Concerns Obtaining MoEF clearance has become a major issue in the recent past and this particularly applies to NER with its rich bio-diversity. State government/ Ministry of Power should see to it that genuine cases are getting faster clearance from MoEF Physical Infrastructure Power projects require massive infrastructure backing especially roads to transport heavy equipment and helicopters to transport smaller sized equipment, particularly for Small Hydro Plants. In the prioritization of roads and highway development in NER, and in the deployment of helicopters, power sector requirements need further prioritization.
  8. 8. Transmission & Distribution Due to scattered demand in the region, per unit cost of transmission is higher compared to other parts of the country. For example, the associated transmission system for evacuation of Kameng (600 MW) power is estimated at Rs. 11 billion, about 50% of the cost of the generation project. Further, difficult terrain and hostile weather coupled with lack of qualified manpower is delaying execution of the projects. This has lead to inadequate development of transmission and distribution (T&D) system facilities in the States of NER, adversely affecting the reliability of power supply to the consumers. To overcome this issue, Union Government can provide a centrally sponsored scheme to support inter-state and intra-state transmission and distribution projects. Further, State governments may provide incentives to developT&D system. Riparian Issues Most of the river systems of NER are transnational. For example, the Brahmaputra River originates in Tibet, flows into India and empties into the Bay of Bengal after traversing Bangladesh. Lack of proper agreements, and disputes on water sharing, inhibits from utilizing the full potential. Also, state border issues, like in the case of Subansiri are delaying the project development. The Central Government, in consultation with the State Governments could put in place a mechanism to sort out outstanding border and share allocation issues. International Riparian disputes would have to be discussed between the governments for resolution in a spirit of cooperation for mutual benefit and satisfactory utilization of the waters of the river system.
  9. 9. Conclusion • Integrated and sustainable development at the economic and social level requires economic incentives supported by political will. • With India moving into a new era of economic liberation, the region needs to be brought into the mainframe. • It is evident from the presentation that while the north-eastern states have an excellent scope of development, they need to be provided with much needed help, support, infrastructure and facilities. • A proper framework should be set up that could support the north east in its endeavour to contribute to the economic resurgence of the rest of the country.
  10. 10. Conclusion (contd...) • Such a framework must include mechanisms for  equitable sharing of benefits along with an impact on poverty reduction at the community level.  Social empowerment  Economic empowerment  Collaborations between the government and the private sector  Transparent, accountable and an open governance • All these changes need to be brought about right from the grassroots level. • As multiple avenues for growth and development emerge, it is of paramount importance that the region, as a collective identity, embarks on a vibrant journey to realise the dreams of a better future. This vision can be realised only through the combined effort of all stakeholders.