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Northeast needs special attention from rest of India, if so why?

“If any part of body is reeling under pain, it has direct impact on the functioning and body’s well being”. This goes same with any nation, a nation being body and its state being the part. If there is any unrest within its states it has direct impact on the stability of the nation.

One such case is of the Northeast Indian region, separated from Indian mainland by Bangladesh making it isolated. It is the region blessed with vast natural resources and bliss of nature. It is the region with its population being majorly the ethnic tribes. Approximately 220 tribes with equal number of dialects exist. Each tribe is having its own distinct culture, cultural identity, customs and tradition. This brings into the complexity in governance and administration of this region.

Despite our constitution providing various provisions like Autonomous councils and District councils under Schedule 6, there has been tremendous unrest and dearth of development in this region. There are several factors that call for special attention of this region in-spite of constitutional provisions and governmental policies. For instance consider the case of Autonomous councils, these are councils formulated in direction of the governor. These councils have varying degrees of autonomy over legislature. This seems good, like the tribes are getting the capability of enacting and managing their laws in accordance to their customs, but the laws become act only on the assent of the governor. Thus making these councils autonomous for namesake.

The other typical problem of this region is its geography. Lying on the foothills of Himalayas, it is vastly covered with hills. Furthermore, it is connected to Indian mainland only through small pass called the Silguri’s corridor. This has led to be constraint for infrastructure and industrial growth in this region. Thus making the region devoid of economic growth despite the states in this region have good literacy rate. Manipur has literacy rate of 91.33% and Tripura having 87.22% more than that of some of the mainland states.

Being disposed to geographical constraints, it lacks proper connectivity in transport. Thus impacting commerce and leading to impairment of economic growth. Not only transport but also in terms of communication the region suffers from poor connectivity. Recently TRAI has conducted a Telecom testing regarding call drop test for all major telecos in this region. And not to surprise each of the telecos failed the test. This shows plight of connectivity in this region.

Added to the heap of above problems, Northeast has served as soil for outgrowth of various insurgent groups like ULFA in Assam, NSCN in Nagaland and UNLF in Manipur each demanding for their independence from the Union of India. Government has been through the army in the name of controlling the insurgent areas, has been indeed instrumental in the killing of large number of people in this region. Each of such activities by the government has been counterproductive and further aggravating the insurgency in this region.

These all of the above mentioned problems, call for special attention. Is government behaving in the intent of Welfare State as mentioned in the directive principles of state policy? The problems of this region are unique, they demand for special attention and not just pouring of money in the name of policies. Government can implement some policies like relaxation of taxes for organizations setting up their industries, building proper connectivity, setting up industries and proper infrastructure. Proper connectivity can be achieved by creating transport corridor straight from Bangladesh.

Further by providing with relaxed taxation and subsidized infrastructure like internet along with proper telecom connectivity to Startups would be a thrust to “Make in India”. Northeast is paradise next only to Kashmir valley so promoting tourism would necessarily boost the economy of the region and take care of the unemployment prevalent among the literate youth of this region. “As disease can be treated only with special care and attention” the same goes true with the problems of Northeast.

- Raghuram Raju Bachu

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