THE SUNRISE STATES
REALIZING THE GROWTH POTENTIAL OF NORTH EAST
The North Eastern Region (NER) , a distinct socio-cultural entity , is enunciated as ‘a
….extraordinarily diverse and colourful , mysterious when seen through parted clouds’
• Problems in North East state
• Civil Conflict
• Limited connectivity
• Lack of Political Leadership
• Topography & Biodiversity
• Unemployment & poor Infrastructure
• Scanty coverage in National Media
• Solutions to the problem
• Look East Policy
• Challenges &Impact
• North East states includes the seven sisters - Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya,
Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura, along with a small and beautiful cousin in the Himalayan fringes,
• The region has a long international boundary, about 96 percent, with China and Bhutan in the
north, Myanmar in the east, Nepal in the west and Bangladesh in the south and west.
• Hill States in the region are Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland .
• The eight States cover an area of 2,62,179 sq. km. constituting 7.9 per cent of the
country’s total geographical area, but have only 39 million people or about 3.8 per cent of the
total population of the country (2001 census).
• The density of population varies from 13 per sq. km. in Arunachal Pradesh to 340 per sq. km. in
• Identified as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots;
• The forest cover in the region constitutes 52 per cent of its total geographical area.
• Reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the region constitute a fifth of the country’s total
• The region is covered by the mighty Brahmaputra-Barak river systems and their
tributaries. Geographically, some flat lands in between the hills of Meghalaya and Tripura,
the remaining two-thirds of the area is hilly terrain interspersed with valleys and plains.
• The altitude varies from almost sea-level to over 7,000 m above MSL(mean sea level).
• The region’s high rainfall averaging around 10,000 mm and above creates problems
of eco system, high seismic activity and floods.
PROBLEMS IN NORTH EAST STATE
•A society undergoing constant economic regression and acute
scarcity of means of livelihood may express its resentment
through general unrest and regular disturbances which may
eventually culminate into ethnic problem and separatist
•A demand for separate state may also arise in the hope of
alleviating their sufferings.
• Paucity of roads, lack of railways network(3.7%), poor
transportation and communication facilities.
• The region is connected to rest of India by a narrow
stretch of land called the “chicken’s neck”.
• Political ignorance by national parties due to less vote
• Any government schemes( Northern Association for
Development and Security of Northern State, Quit Foreign
Policy, etc ) from centre was swallowed by the local
governments and the bureaucracy, little reaching the
LACK OF FAITH
• The region is a mixtures of hills and plains.
• The region is a meeting place of large number of races,
creeds, cultures and languages.
• At current trends it is predicted that in the decade of
2011-2021 there will be only 2.6 million jobs for 17
millions job seekers in the North Eastern Region.
• The region has huge potential in terms of hydroelectricity
around 50,000MW but due to poor infrastructure, less
than a quarter has been developed.
• Only one or two states (mainly ASSAM) were covered
regularly while the remaining states received no coverage.
• Small briefs barely containing 50 words showed the main
stream media’s bias in giving newspaper space to these
states unless there is special coverage.
●Vast potential for agriculture,
horticulture and forestry .
1> Rubber and bamboo can attract a lot
of investment opportunities.
Tripura has been declared as the ‘second
rubber capital of India’.
2> Bamboo, accounting for 65% of
India’s production value and 20% of the
global production value.
3> Advantages in producing fruits, vegetables and other
horticulture products Setting up small-scale processing
units for the local market which will also boost rural
4> scope for dairy processing and poultry, fishery
processing in the region.
● The region needs a green
revolution to eradicate poverty
and boost its economy.
● Agriculture provides livelihood
to 70% of the region’s population
● options in agriculture:-
Railways are the best mode of mass
transportation in the country.
In the hilly terrains the expense to setup rail
networks is relatively high. This accounts for
the absence or nominal presence of railway
lines in hilly states .
INLAND WATER TRANSPORTATION
Inland water transport can be a viable, cost-
effective alternative in the plain areas of NER
given the high cost of expanding other mode
of transportation. It will also create
employment opportunities, promote tourism
and open up inter-country routes for trade and
commerce. HELPING HANDS
• There is a need to improve facilities for night navigation and mechanical handling.
• Cargo vessels and terminals should be increased to meet the rising demands.
• Emphasis should be on PPPs(Public Private Partnership) for the development of fairways and infrastructure in
TRAVEL & TOURISM INDUSTRY
●Planned outlays in training and awareness for imparting correct skills-set to the community for the states to
preserve the biomass is required.
● There is a need to build up skills-set and use of modern tools to help provide a scientific basis to further enrich
traditional skills that help produce handloom and handicrafts having unique geographical origin.
HYDROELECTICITY- Construction of dam on the
Brahmaputra waters will lead to the development of
hydropower potential in the northeast, including
Arunachal Pradesh, considered to be the ‘future
powerhouse’ of India...
PRIVATE ENTERPRENUERS need to be encouraged
to set up storage, distribution and marketing
infrastructure such as a cold storage chain along
major arterial highways. This will help exploit the
horticulture potential of the region and bring
perishables speedily to marketing hubs
BORDER TRADE-Opening up and augmenting trade
with the neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh,
Myanmar and through Myanmar to South East Asia
will also help in realising the full potential of the
KEY FACTORS TO BE IMPLEMENTED
SKILL DEVLOPEMENT- A twin approach for developing skills for both local employment and for those who seek to
migrate. Setting up and augmenting the capacity of training institutes in the region in important fields through line
Ministries, NEC or states
• Institutions of higher education focussing on environment sciences (viz. forest sciences, social forestry, botany,
environment and ecology sciences, etc.) need to come up for building local community awareness to ensure
conservation of NER’s forest resources.
• Using IT as a tool to upgrade skills.
POLITICAL STABILITY- The political leaders must emphasize on concerns related to the development, conflict,
proper utilizations of central as well as state government funds at root level in order to build up socio-economical
models of rural regions providing political stability and integrating peoples.
LOOK EAST POLICY
• India’s Look East Policy seems to offer huge potential and developmental scope for India’s North Eastern
• However, there is an absence of sincere dialogue between the North Eastern states and the center,
resulting in an obvious gap between policy and implementation.
• In the year 1991-92, under the then Prime Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao, India launched its “Look East”
Policy (LEP), an active economic policy of engagement with Southeast Asia to be implemented.
• The encouragement of trade links with individual partners
• To provide foreign employment for India’s own expanding work force.
• The ‘Look East’ policy was a major shift in terms of India’s policy prioritization because up till then, India
never really had a concrete strategy to create an economic hub in its North Eastern Region by exploring
the trade and commerce prospects with its ASEAN
• “to draw dramatic attention to our geographical proximity…draw commercial interest in
infrastructure…promote tourism and development”. – ATAL BIHARI VAJPAYEE
• The LEP provides an invaluable opening for the NER to overcome its state of developmental and
economic dormancy, it would also be helpful to view this policy as a vital opportunity for the Indian
State to shed off its tendency toward parochial.
• The integration of the NER within a dense economic framework spreading over Myanmar to Korea
through Bangladesh, Thailand and the new ASEAN states, “might ultimately help the marginalized region
to transcend the historical tyranny of fixed borders and allow its inhabitants the fullest possible benefits
in the process of economic exchanges qua the Look East move”
• A framework should be created to invite private investors in higher education, to reduce
migration of student to the rest of the country.
• Some initiatives in the public private partnership mode.
• Aim at preserving and economically exploiting the cultural heritage. A growth in tourism will be
followed by growth in the hospitality sector.
• This region has a large English speaking population that finds employment in the hospitality
industry across India and outside.
• Subsidy at 90% of the transport cost of raw materials brought from outside the region as well as
the finished goods sent from the region to other parts of the country.
• Income tax exemption for five years for the new industrial units set up in the region.
• Growth centre and IIDCs to be converted into total tax free zones for the next ten years.
• Some benefits to new industrial units or their substantial expansion in other growth centre or
IIDCs of industrial estates, parks, export promotion zones set up by the states.
• The entire region has tremendous potential for generating hydro-electric power which provide
employment to engineers and technicians in generation, transmission and distribution of
• The border haats would be allowed to sell local agricultural and horticultural products, e.g. spices,
minor forest products , fresh and dry fish, dairy and poultry products, cottage industry items,
wooden furniture, handloom and handicraft items, etc.
• No local tax would be imposed on the trading, and both Indian as well as Bangladeshi currencies
will be accepted.
CHALLENGES & IMPACT
• A study of North-Eastern states shows that not only J&K situation in North Eastern states too is
quite grave. Nature of problems may vary but seriousness of NE is no less.
• There is growing lawlessness because of many revolutionary organisations supposedly dealing
with failures of these states. Some of these are
• UNITED LIBERATION FRONT OF ASSAM(ULFA), NAGA’S KHAPLAN ORGANISATION,BODO etc.
• Local disturbances, hooliganism & terrorism have led to a state of anarchy .
• In NE states, the kind of political system and bureaucracy that is ruling them is no worse than in
other states or the centre.
• Increases the Gross Domestic product (GDP) of the nation.
• Developing the hydroelectric power plant, will meet current requirement of the nation.
• This will result to the People of North East states to come forward to run the country.
• Socio-economic prosperity will bring integrity among people of the North East region.
• Civil conflict will reduce which results in peace in the NE states.
• Mission 2020 (India to be superpower) wont be completed without being developing these NE
• Institutional change supporting economic enhancement and growth at a social level requir economic
incentives, supported by political will. With India moving into a new era of economic liberation, the
region should not be left out. The framework for development of the region can be broadly based
upon four vital components
• Social empowerment- It needs to empower rural communities, create sustainable institutions
so that they manage common activities around microfinance, livelihoods and natural resource
• Economic empowerment- The objective of this component should ideally be to develop the
capacity of rural communities to plan and manage funds for various economic initiatives and
common activities for the public.
• Partnership development- The objective of this component should be to partner with various
service providers, resource institutions and public and private sector organisations to bring resources
such as finance, technology, and marketing into the project so that the community groups are able
to improve their livelihoods.
• Project management- This will facilitate various governance, implementation, co-ordination,
learning and quality enhancement efforts in the project.
• I Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region.(2011). Human Development Report of
North East States.
• Retrieved from http://mdoner.gov.in/sites/default/files/North%20East%20Report%20-
• 1 Coverage of the North East, The Hoot. Retrieved from
• Ii Varma, S. (2009, November 2). 7 of 8 Northeast states lag behind average India income. The
Times of India.
• Retrieved from http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2009-11-
• Iii Nayak, P. (n.d.). Human Development Reports on North-East India: A Bird’s Eye View.
• Iv Asian Power. (2012). India's north east is new hub for power genera tion. Retrieved from
• V Mahajan, S.K. (2009). Attainment of Human Development: A Study of North East India. Delhi
Business Review.10(2). Retrieved from http://www.delhibusinessreview.org/f.pdf