The economic paradox of north-east India

December 18, 2009

India’s seven northeastern states, known as the seven sisters, have been “on the map, but off the mind”, if one goes by the title of a Tehelka-organised seminar on the Northeast.

INDIAThe region, connected to India by a narrow stretch of land called the “chicken’s neck”, has been through a string of conflicts, seen the rise of many rebel groups, lack of infrastructure and poverty.

The World Bank describes conditions in the region as a low-level equilibrium of poverty, non-development, civil conflict and lack of faith in political leadership.

According to the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, more than 426 billion rupees were kept for the northeast between 1998 and 2006.

Also, central government ministries have been earmarking 10 percent of their annual budgets for northeastern states since 1998.

The Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India has said that funds to the northeastern states add up to more than what India gets from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

Even with the constant and heavy flow of funds, why is development still distant from the seven sisters?

B.K.Handique, minister for the Development of North East Region, said in Parliament that the growth rate of the northeastern states has been less than the national average.INDIA BLOCKADE

Is it corruption in the political sphere that funds do not reach the grassroots level? Or is it because of rampant extortion by rebel groups?

Is the Northeast “on the map, but off the mind” for you as well?


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This issue is off the mind of most of us..there is a need to put in concerted effort rather than just doing lip service as is happening till date. I think what our politicians are considering North East is a mere vote bank.What starts from Delhi, whether its a financial package or a policy matter, hardly takes its desired shape in the region.

Posted by viga | Report as abusive

It is a fact that people from North eastern region are not easily accepted as fellow citizens by other Indians. It is necessary for Indians to remember and follow the ideals of great persons in the past like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who was responsible for bringing the bulk of Manipuris into the fold of Hinduism. Separatism in Manipur is rampant today because many of the present day Indians have forgotten the ideals of Chaitanya and deride the Manipuris as Chinkies.Concerted efforts are needed to increase recruitment of North eastern people in Central Government services including the armed forces. I have personally met several persons from the North east who have served in the armed forces and not one of them favoured separatism. Development of infrastructure needs to be accelerated so that the isolation of Northeastern people is brought to an end. It was a right step to start an IIT at Guwahati- though many more such steps are necessary. In sum, the rest of India needs to make it worthwhile for the Northeasterners to remain in India, and the onus certainly does not lie on politicians alone.

Posted by VVC | Report as abusive

i would love to know the answer to your question. Born and living in Assam, I wonder how can politicians keep lying to us. Are we blind?

Posted by vatoad | Report as abusive