NORTH EAST, INDIA The north-eastern region of India consists of seven sister states: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, North east has 39 million population and approximately add to 4 % of the country’s population
Complexities The seven States located in India’s north-east cover an area of 2,55168 sq km. Constituting 7.9 per cent of the country’s total geographical area, but have only 39 million people or about 4 per cent of the total population of the country (2001 census). Over 68 per cent of the population of the region lives in the State of Assam alone. Religion: Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity.
Complexities continues • The density of population varies from 13 per sq. km. in Arunachal Pradesh to 340 per sq. km. in Assam. • The predominantly hilly terrain in all the States except Assam. • The region has over 160 scheduled tribes and over 400 other tribal and sub-tribal communities and groups. • It is predominantly rural with over 84 per cent of the population living in the countryside. • According to the 2001 Census, the total literacy rate of the population in the region at 68.5 per cent, with a female literacy rate at 61.5 per cent, is higher than the country’s average of 64.8 per cent and 53.7 per cent, respectively
Diversity in Languages North East is the most diversified states in the country with multi lingual, sects and cultural backgrounds Languages Spoken in 7 states Hindi, English, Assamese, Garo, Jaintia, Khasi, Bengali, Mizo, Manipuri, Nagamese, Lepcha, Limboo, Bhutia (Sikkimese), Bhutia (Tibetan), and several other local dialects Diversity in Tribes The North-East India is home to varied number of tribal groups (almost 166). Each tribes has their own distinct culture dialects and practises.
Tribal hostility long-standing and fierce conflict between the Kukies and the Nagas, the two dominant tribal groups of the region is a major issue Against the Indian state for sovereignty and independence Armed separatist movements demanding political autonomy - Naga, Mizo, Boro, Manipuri and ULFA and other movements and insurgencies
Insurgency The Naga insurgence, which started in the 1950s, known as the mother of the Northeast insurgencies, is one of the oldest unresolved armed conflicts in the world. In total, Manipur, Assam, Nagaland and Tripura have witnessed scales of conflict that could, at least between 1990 and 2000, be characterised as low intensity conflicts. Currently, most of the states in the region are affected by some form of conflict, expect for Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Sikkim in which the situation is at the moment relatively stable.
Land and ethnic conflicts • Concerns • Primarily people depend on land • Most of the conflicts are on land • Changes in tribal concept of land from territory to livelihood • Competition begins between various ethnic groups for what is left over • In the name of national development poor peoples lands are grabbed • Many tribal states community land is transferred into individual ownership • Increase in the commercial crops
Development induced displacement The Dumber Hydroelectric Project in Tripura forced the relocation of about 200,000 tribal people. The Pagladiya Dam Project in Assam, if implemented, will displace about 105,000 people.Dams have displaced massive numbers. In Assam 2 million people displaced between 1947 to 2010 Displacement due to natural causes continuous environmental degradation, floods, riverbank erosion and landslides have become endemic, leading to huge loss of life and population displacement. It is estimated that at least three million peasants have been displaced in recent years by erosion of prime agricultural land by the River Brahmaputra.
Agriculture • Concerns • Single crops system • Three types of land history – Jhum Cultivation, Aksonia Patta and Zamindary • Lack of skills in multi crops system • Lack of marketing • Shift from community agriculture to individual farming
Marketing • Concerns • There are n proper marketing of the goods • Lack of inadequate infrastructure and transportation adds to the poor marketing • Providing tax to underground Immigration • Concerns • People from outside states comes to North East states for agricultural labors dude to their poverty • People from NE also goes to other parts of the country for job
Government inadequacy Border Security Forces, special divisions of the Indian Armed Forces, continuously patrol the area and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Forces are in place to control the insurgencies The AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Power Act) for instance, shows the inability and reluctance of the government to solve the conflict with adequate political measures. The AFSPA was passed on 18 August, 1958, as a short-term measure to allow deployment of the army to counter an armed separatist movement in the Naga Hills, has been in place for the last five decades and was extended to all the seven states of the Northeast region in 1972 (with the exception of Mizoram). It was part of a bundle of provisions, passed by the central government, to retain control over the Naga areas, in which the Naga National Council (NNC) demanded further autonomous rights.
Inadequate representation of Legislators The north eastern states, having a comparatively small electorate (4% of India's total population) are allotted just 25 out of a total of 543 seats in the Lok Sabha (4.6% of the total number of seats).
Infrastructure The biggest problem facing the North East is the lack of adequate and reliable infrastructure. Building infrastructures like power, road, rail, river routes and airports in the fragile hills and in plains crisscrossed by innumerable rivers is both time consuming and costly. Lack of access to markets both within India and outside deters the producers and farmers to produce for surplus. While some progress has been made in social infrastructure like education, health, a lot more to be done.
Environmental Issues Deforestation, Flood, Automobile Exhaust Emission, Water quality of river Brahmaputra, hydroelectric projects and Industrial activities like Coal mining operation, Crude oil exploration, Petroleum refinery, Fertilizer industries, Paper industries, Cement industries.
Human Trafficking Trafficking of women and children from the North-Eastern states of India and the bordering countries in the north-east is a serious issue but has so far not drawn public attention. The result of a survey done by NGO reveals a fact that 10,000 people, mostly children, are trafficked into the Northeast with a good number smuggled in from Bangladesh, Nepal and other South East Asian countries. India has been identified as a source, transit and destination point in the international circuit. Most of the trafficked are engaged as cheap labour in coal mines of Meghalaya, tea gardens in Assam and prostitution.
Lack of investors in North East and unemployment To make the economic condition worse, investors shy away from the NE India as ethnic disputes and insurgency raises its ugly head at alarmingly regular intervals. Businessmen and investors are especially wary of setting foot into the perceived ‘muck’. In this context it is easy to understand why that the unemployment levels are very high. With the number of private investors and businesses at a bare minimum, the Indian government has become the major employer for these people
Other Issues Corruption Unemployment Easy access to drugs Malaria TB HIV
HIV/AIDS situation in North-East India In Asia, an estimated 4.7 million [3.8 million–5.5 million] people were living with HIV in 2008. Asia, home to 60% of the world’s population, is second only to sub-Saharan Africa in terms of people living with HIV. India accounts for roughly half of Asia’s HIV prevalence. (source UNAIDS). 2.5 million Indians are HIV positive of which the northeast accounts about 45,000. Manipur alone has an estimated 25,000 people living with HIV/AIDS.
HIV/AIDS situation in North-East India Continued The HIV/AIDS epidemic in north-eastern states is becoming heterosexual in nature. It is an ominous sign for India's AIDS control programme. Experts from NACO have evidences of intravenous drug-users in the north-eastern states infecting their partners with HIV by having unprotected sex. Nagaland has already reported such a trend. India is home to nearly two lakhs IDUs; of these over 50,800 people are from Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Meghalaya. Over 20% of them are HIV+ solely due to sharing of contaminated needles. The situation is really threatening as now IDUs are indulging in high risk behaviour. Manipur may soon follow
Manipur Manipur stands highest among HIV infection and mainly through sexual transmission and by needle sharing HIV status (Data as on January 2011) No of HIV patients: 31256 No Of AIDS cases: 4724 Deaths due to AIDS: 658 (source: http://manipursacs.nic.in/assets/docs/epidem_jan_2011.pdf)
Mizoram Mizoram stands second in prevalence of Aids/HIV amongst the North Eastern states and was only next to Manipur. According to the Mizoram State Aids Control Society (MSACS), sexual contact was a major cause of the high incidence of HIV/Aids, followed by blood transfusion and sharing of syringes and needles by drug users HIV Status as on April 2011 HIV positives 5650 HIV Death 204 (source: http://mizoramsacs.nic.in/newsite/hiv_status/latest_status.html)
Nagaland State data on current HIV status as on March 2011 Source NSACS office documents)
Assam ASAM State AIDS Control Society reports that as on March 2011, there are 4251 HIV positives and 1070 AIDS cases reported in Assam. "A record 86 per cent of the people living with HIV contracted the virus through promiscuous sex. With Assam considered the gateway to the northeast, truckers from outside the region are to a great extent responsible for spreading the virus," said Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. ( Source: http://www.hindustantimes.com/HIV-AIDS-cases-on-the-rise-in-Assam/Article1-556241.aspx)
Tripura The HIV threats loom large over Tripura though the situation is not at all alarming yet. But going by the figures released by the government , the situation warrants immediate attention and effective prevention campaign. As per official statistics, as on date Feb 3 2011 there are now 168 AIDS patients. Among them 36 are female, 128 are male. Of them four are children -3 male and one female. Besides, there are total 580 HIV positive including 20 children. Among them 150 are female and 410 male (Source: http://www.tripurainfo.in/admin/ArchiveDet.aspx?WhatId=9497)
Meghalaya According to the records available with the Meghalaya Aids Control Society (MACS) as on February 2011, A total of 430 HIV positive cases have been detected in Meghalaya. They include 208 males, 206 females and 16 children ( Source: http://www.sentinelassam.com/meghalaya/story.php?sec=2&subsec=8&id=69938&dtP=2011-03-31&ppr=1
Arunachal Pradesh As many as 158 cases of HIV positive have been detected till March 2010 as per the records available with the government http://www.dancewithshadows.com/pillscribe/hivaids-spreading-fast-in-arunachal-pradesh/
North east State wise HIV Statistics 2010 Source: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=67292
Government efforts Vision 2020 On July 3, 2008 the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh amidst the presence of Union Minister, Governors and Chief Ministers of North Eastern States, launched the Vision 2020, a compendium of various strategies, proposals and action plans for achieving peace and prosperity in the NE Region and for its people. He said, “The north eastern region is the land of rising sun for India. The time has come for the sun to shine on it and shine brightly. This Vision 2020 defines the path to that bright future.” http://www.asthabharati.org/Dia_Jan%2009/madh.htm and http://icrindia.org/?p=270
Vision 2020 official signatories
North East The challenges identified in the vision 2020 • To ensure peace and progress in the region are formidable. • The gap between the region and the rest of the country in terms of various developmental outcomes, productivities and capacities of people and institutions is large and growing, and has to be bridged. • Even within the region, there are vast differences, particularly between populations living in the hills and in the plains and between those living in the towns and villages. Given the vast disparities • within the region, a development strategy will have to be evolved depending upon prevailing resources, conditions and people’s needs and priorities. • Further, the development strategy for the various tribes in the region will have to be participatory and should be calibrated in their own setting. • The successful transformation of investments into developmental • outcomes requires a variety of strategic initiatives
vision 2020 Progress to Peace and Prosperity –way forward Catching-up with the Rest of the Country Improving the standard of living of the people would require sustained increases in per capita income levels and its fair distribution amongst all sections. By 2020, people of the North East should have living standards comparable to people in the rest of the country. North Eastern region will have to grow have to grow at 12.95 per cent per year on an average, or at 11.64 per cent in per capita terms Structural Transformation Growth acceleration in most of the North Eastern States requires structural changes in these economies. Acceleration in economic growth will have to come from agriculture, manufacturing and non-government service sectors. This calls for significant changes in the development strategy followed so far, and the creation of an enabling environment for private investment in productive sectors
vision 2020 Progress to Peace and Prosperity –way forward continued.. Poverty Eradication in North East The vision of the people is to banish poverty from the region by 2020. Maximising Self-governance Maximising self-governance for the people and building capacity in people and institutions to achieve it in all the areas in the NER is extremely important not only for the political and economic empowerment of the people to determine their own destiny but also to create a sense of pride and belonging through participation in the development strategy. Sustainable peace and prosperity in the NER is possible only when people participate actively in political and economic decisions. An equally important component of Vision 2020 is the establishment of peace and harmony. Security of life and property is essential for the happiness of the people
vision 2020 Progress to Peace and Prosperity –way forward continued.. Harnessing Resources for the Benefit of the People The vision of prosperity for the people requires participatory development by harnessing the resources of the region. The region is rich in resources, including natural resources such as land, water, minerals, forests and of course, people. It is also important to utilise the savings of the people which are deposited in financial institutions for investment in the region. The people would like to see the large river systems converted into a source of prosperity. Mineral wealth can be used to create opportunities to increase employment and income. They would like to harness the vast hydroelectric energy potential and use the comparative advantage to expand economic activities in the region
vision 2020 Progress to Peace and Prosperity –way forward continued.. Building Capacity in People and Institutions An important component of the people’s Vision 2020 is to achieve a high level of human development. Raising the quality of education and health is as much a goal in itself as it is a means to enrich the quality of life for people, and expand their life choice Creating a centre for trade and commerce Opening up trade routes will expand economic opportunities for the region and accelerate its growth process. The region can regain its place as a centre of flourishing trade with East and Southeast Asia through the land (silk) route to China and Myanmar and through the sea port from Chittagong and Kolkata.
vision 2020 Progress to Peace and Prosperity –way forward continued.. Strengthening Infrastructure The people in the region envision having state-of-the-art infrastructure not only to enhance the quality of life but also to dictate the pace of economic activity, and the nature and quality of economic growth. The infrastructure deficit is a major deficit in the region, and acceleration in economic growth and the region’s emergence as a powerhouse depend on how fast this deficit is overcome. The lack of connectivity has virtually segregated and isolated the region not only from the rest of the country and the world, but also within itself. Poor density of road and rail transportation within the region has not only hampered mobility but also hindered the development of markets. The traditional transportation routes through inland waterways have become virtually non-functional after Partition. The region is also poorly linked by air, and sea routes have been blocked.
vision 2020 Progress to Peace and Prosperity –way forward continued.. Effective Governance: Establishing Peace and Harmony An integral part of the people’s vision of development is of a land living in peace and harmony, and free from insurgency. Without peace, progress is not possible. Insurgency has taken a heavy toll on economic progress and people’s happiness in the region. The people of the North East would like peace to return to their lives, leakages to cease and development to take precedence.
Vision 2020 - The Strategy • The strategy propounded in the Vision document has six components: • Empowerment of the people by maximizing self-governance and participatory development through grassroots planning. This will help in creating conditions for development, in determining pattern of development based on the resources of the region according to the needs and aspirations of the people. • Rural development with focus on improving agriculture productivity and creation of non-farm employment opportunities. • Development of sectors with comparative advantage such as harnessing the enormous hydropower potential, tourism, agro processing, sericulture and investment in manufacturing based on available resources.
The Strategy continued • Improving skills to enhance their productivities to generate a class of entrepreneurs and to increase capacities to implement plans and programmes. • Augmenting infrastructure like road, railways, inland water, air transportation, power through hydro, coal, bio-fuel, and communication network. Connecting Myanmar and through it to China and South East Asia. Developing transit routes through road, rail and inland water cargo across Bangladesh to rest of India. Access to Sittwe port of Myanmar and Chittagong in Bangladesh will provide outlets to the outside world. Creation of a hospitable investment climate for private investment is an important element in the strategy. • All these will require huge investment and, therefore it is imperative that adequate fund flow for public investment needs to be assured. Most of the funds, at the beginning will have to come from the Central Government, and partly from State Government, and later, when congenial atmosphere is built up, private sector participation is likely
"Development and North East India is seen to be opposite to each other. One of the strategic regions of India with seven vibrant states with each having distinct social, cultural, economic indicators, the region needs fruits of development along with rest of the country. It is high time that political representatives, policy framers, policy executioners, corporate entities and development experts focus on increasing development requirements in the region. We at Development Association of Nagaland are making a small efforts in enabling development initiatives in the region across diverse sectors. We urge various stakeholders to join us in these efforts to enable development reaching the communities at the grassroots in the distant lands of North East India."