North Eastern Region Vision 2020 document provides an overarching framework for the development of the North Eastern Region to bring it at par with other developed regions under which different Ministries, including Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region have undertaken various initiatives.
Near Siliguri, a tiny passage known as the chicken neck connects the North East to the rest of the country. Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Nepal, and Myanmar surround the North East. It is crucial for India’s strategic interests. Plain terrain covers only around 30–35 percent of the North East, largely in three basins: the Brahmaputra, Barak, and Imphal rivers. The rest of the area is made up of hilly terrain.
- Social- The rapid expansion of migration from the North East to other areas of the nation, primarily in quest of education and work prospects, has had a significant impact on local life. Drug usage is a severe problem among the young of the North East, with more than 30% of them abusing drugs. The HIV/AIDS epidemic, which is rapidly growing in Manipur, Nagaland, and Mizoram, is also a major source of worry. The average size of a land holding in the surrounding territories of the North East (Bangladesh and the states of Bihar and Bengal) was lowered to roughly one hectare.
- Economic- North East have limited tax collection and internal resources. The reliance on central devolution grows as a result of this. Financial management is inefficient, resulting in money leakage. Agriculture’s production circumstances are conventional, with poor agricultural yield, little irrigation coverage, and minimal chemical fertiliser use.
- Political- The 1962 Chinese aggression on Arunachal Pradesh (then known as NEFA) appears to have deterred large-scale private investment in the North East. Large-scale migration from Bangladesh has resulted in a slew of socioeconomic and political issues. The culture of ‘bandhs’ is a unique NER issue that is widespread in Assam, Manipur, and Nagaland. Individual property ownership is not properly established in three-quarters of North East, and there are no appropriate land records.
- Governance- The ability of NE states to utilise funds is limited. As a result, only a small portion of the funds were released. In Assam and Manipur, the MGNREGA spending per rural poor in 2016-17 was barely Rs 1630 and 4953, respectively, compared to Rs 15657 in Kerala. Many projects in the NER are stalled because to issues with land acquisition and forest clearing, the current state of peace and order, and the short working season caused by excessive rains. Administrative capacity and organisational structure are both lacking.
- Geographical- In the North East, heavy rains, fluctuating river courses, a poor drainage system, and narrow valleys routinely cause major floods, erosion, landslides, and sand deposition, resulting in the loss of vast swaths of important agricultural land. The terrain is hilly, inaccessible, and undulating, resulting in poor transportation linkages. Big amount of land is under ‘Jhum cultivation’ which leads to large scale deforestation resulting in soil erosion and loss of soil fertility.
- Infrastructure-Basic infrastructure, such as roads, canals, and energy, as well as social infrastructure, such as educational institutions and health facilities, are in poor condition. NER controls around 6% of all national roads and 13% of all national highways. The railway network accounts for only 4% of India’s total rail network.
- The North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project (NERCORMP) aims to enhance disadvantaged people’ livelihoods in a long-term way. The North Eastern Council, the Ministry of DoNEAR, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development have collaborated on NERCORMP (IFAD).
- The government is supporting the MSME sector through the North-East Industrial Development Scheme (NEIDS).
- The North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme intends to solve infrastructure deficiencies in both the physical (water supply, electrical connectivity, etc.) and social sectors (education and health).
- The Ministry of Development of the North East Region (MDoNER) was founded in 2001 and serves as the Central Government’s focal department for matters relating to the socio-economic development of the eight NER states. It serves as a link between the Central Ministries/Departments and the NER State Governments.
- Projects such as the first train from Mendipathar in Meghalaya to Guwahati in Assam, India’s longest bridge, the 9.15-kilometer Dhola-Sadiya Bridge in Assam, and the laying of the foundation stone for IIIT Guwahati have accelerated the pace of development in the North East. The government has stepped up its efforts to provide air connectivity to the NER. Hydel power investment, particularly in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
- In 1985, the Mizo National Front and the Indian government signed the Mizoram Accord. In 2015, the Centre and the NSCN (IM) reached a peace agreement.
- Connecting the North East with East Asian nations will improve the movement of personnel, materials, technology, and ideas from and to the North East automatically. The Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project, the Rih-Tedim Road Project, and Border Haats are only a few of the important initiatives.
- Bezbaruah Committee- The committee investigates the complaints of people from North Eastern states who live in other regions of the nation, particularly in metropolitan areas, and makes recommendations to the government.
- The NITI Forum for the North East has been entrusted with identifying different impediments to fast, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth in the North Eastern region of the country and recommending appropriate measures to overcome such limitations. The Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog and MDoNER will co-chair this forum.
- Several tourism initiatives in NERs have been sanctioned by the Union Government to promote eco-tourism and adventure tourism.
- The implementation of the Bezbaruah committee’s findings and proactive measures will promote a safe social climate of mutual respect and understanding for NER migrants to all parts of the country.
- Creating small and medium-sized businesses based on massive amounts of bamboo, cane, jute, rice husk, and medicinal plants.
- The central government should take the required steps to address migration and ethnic insurgencies in the North East.
- The culture of the North East is highly rich, and the region’s young have a lot of skill in music, dance, and painting, among other things. In these industries, the government should generate job possibilities.
- Special recruitment campaigns for North East youth should be launched in railroads, nationalised banks, central paramilitary forces, including Assam rifles, airlines, oil refineries, and other large central public sector companies.
- The significant number of young people who are fluent in English may prompt policymakers to invest heavily in establishing BPOs in the region.
- The people of NER should fight the harmful culture of ‘Bandhs,’ and hold their state governments accountable for inadequate governance.
How to structure:
- Give an intro about North East India- use a map
- Analyse the need for progressive measures and mention/challenges the issues prevalent
- Discuss the measures taken
- Way forward