INTRODUCTION TO NORTH- EAST ECONOMIES

 

UNIT STRUCTURE

1. Learning Objectives
2. Introduction
3. Industrialisation of the North-East Region
4. Unemployment Problem of North- East Region
5. Causes and Remedies of Unemployment Problem in North- East Region
6. Transport and Communication sector of North- East Region
7. Problems and Prospects of Small- Scale, Medium- Scale and large- Scale Industries of North- East Region
8. Some Industries in North- East Region

1. Tea Industry
2. Oil Industry
3. Tourism Industry
4. Silk Industry
9. Let Us Sum Up
10. Further Readings
11. Answers To Check Your Progress
12. Possible Questions

LEARNING OBJECTIVES



After going trough this unit you will be able to
explain the level of industrialisation of the North- East Region
discuss the Industrial policy of the North-East Region
explain the unemployment problem of the North-East Region
discuss the problems of Transport and Communication sector of the North-East Region
discuss the Problems and Prospects of Small- Scale, Medium- Scale and Large- Scale Industries in North Eastern Region
describe the Silk Industry; Tourism Industry and the Oil Industry of the North-Eastern Region.

INTRODUCTION


In this unit ,we will discuss the various aspects of north- east region. The problems of unemployment, industrial backwardness etc. will be discussed besides a brief discussion on tea industry, tourism industry, oil industry etc. This unit will help you in analysing the various problems and prospects of north- east region.

INDUSTRIALISATION OF THE NORTH-EAST REGION


The economy of North- East India has got its definite identity due to its peculiar physical, economic and socio-cultural characteristics. This region consists of eight states viz., Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim. The NER of India covers an area of 2.62 lakh sq.km. It accounts for 7.9% of total geographical area of the country. With a total population of 39 million (2001), it accounts for 3.8% of total population of India.

There are differences among the eight States in the North Eastern region with respect to their resource endowments, level of industrialisation as well as infrastructural facilities. The industrial sector has mainly grown around tea, petroleum (crude), natural gas etc. in Assam and mining, saw mills and steel fabrication units in other parts of the region. The full potential of the region is yet to be exploited and this has left the economy in a primarily agrarian state.

Industrially, the NER continues to be the most backward region in the country, and the states in the region hardly have any industrial base, except perhaps Assam, because of its traditional tea, oil and wood based industries .To some extent Meghalaya has made some headway in setting up of small and medium industries. There are a number of factors contributing to the lack of industrial growth in the region, like

  • Poor infrastructure
  • Inadequate electricity supply
  • Violence and extortion.
  • Shyness of capital due to high cost of production
  • Vulnerability of the region
  • Lack of entrepreneurial motivation on the part of the local people
  • Low level of public sector investment, etc.

    In recent years the “Look East Policy” of Government of India has made North East more important and strategic. The region has to gear up to take up more challenges and capitalize on the opportunities thrown open by the huge market in the South East Asian Countries.
    The industries of this region can be broadly classified as under:

  • Agro-based industries: It includes tea industry, sugar industry, grain mill products industry (rice, oil and flour mills), food processing industry and the textile industry.

  • Mineral-based industries: Mineral-based industries of the north eastern region include railway workshops, engineering industry, and re-Rolling Mills, steelworks, motor-vehicle workshops, galvanised wire units, cycle factories, aluminium utensils industry, cycle spare parts, steel wire net, barbed wire, cement industry etc. Moreover, the non-metal based industries include petroleum oil industry and natural gas-based industry .

  • Forest-based industries: It includes plywood industry, saw-mill industry, paper and paper pulp industry, match industry, letter industry, hard board industry etc.

  • Other industries: It includes power generation industry, fertiliser industry, printing press, brick and tiles industry, Ice industry, chemical industry etc.
    The industries of the north eastern region can also be classified into (a) organised industries and (b) unorganised industries.

  • The organised industries of the north eastern region include tea, petroleum, paper, cement, plywood, coal, jute, sugar, fertiliser etc.

    LET US KNOW

    In a relative sense, Assam is by far the most industrialised state among the eight states of the region. Tea and petroleum sector dominates the industrial scenario of the state. Assam accounts for slightly less than half of the total crude oil production, 52 percent of tea and about 55 percent of plywood production in the country. Apart from these, the notable addition to the industrial sector has been the setting up of the fibre blended polyester yarn mills based on polyester fibre produced in the Bongaigaon Refinery and Petroleum unit.

    CHECK YOUR PROGRESS


    Q 1: Mention two factors responsible for slow growth rate of industrialisation in North- East region.

    Q 2: Give two examples of agro based industries of North- East region.



UNEMPLOYMENT PROBLEM OF NORTH- EAST REGION


A person is unemployed when he is willing to work at the going wage rate and has also the capacity to work but finds no employment. The magnitude of the unemployment problem is growing in India and has become an important socio-economic problem. Unemployment in India can be divided into two categories—rural unemployment and urban unemployment.

Rural unemployment is again of two types: Seasonal unemployment and Disguised unemployment.

About 70% of India’s cultivable land is dependent on monsoons. Lack of irrigation facilities makes many of the farmers seasonally unemployed.

Disguised unemployment is the result of the growing pressure of the increasing population on the limited supply of available cultivable land. Such a situation has led to the emergence of surplus labour in the agricultural fields.

Urban unemployment is of three types: - industrial, educated and cyclical. Among all these types of unemployment, disguised unemployment and educated unemployment are very prominent.

Industrial unemployment is a consequence of two factors: (a) Slow industrialisation, (b) Exodus of labourers from rural to urban areas. The rate at which the population eligible for work is growing in the urban areas is much higher than the rate at which industries are growing.

The most important type of urban unemployment is the educated unemployment which is also a socio-economic problem with far-reaching consequences.

The unemployment rate of the North-eastern region represents one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country, with an unemployment rate close to 12%, against the national average of 7.7% [1999-00].


CAUSES AND REMEDIES OF UNEMPLOYMENT PROBLEM IN NORTH- EAST REGION


A. Causes of Unemployment :
Unemployment is the cumulative result of many causes. Rapid growth of population, under-utilised natural resources, primitive agriculture and slow growth of industrialisation are the main factors responsible for the problem of unemployment in north-east.

The basic causes of unemployment are as follows:

  • Rapid growth of population : The most fundamental cause of large scale unemployment in the north-east is the rapid growth of population which increases the labour force. The higher rate of growth of population along with growing migration of population from neighbouring countries is responsible for this widespread unemployment in the north-east.

  • Primitive agriculture : Heavy pressure of population on land and primitive methods of agricultural operation are responsible for the rural unemployment and under-unemployment in the north-east. More than 60 per cent of the population of the North-Eastern Region depends on agriculture for their living. Cultivators in the North-Eastern Region remain unemployed for five to six months every year. Unemployment in North-East is also aggravated by endless sub-division and fragmentation of land holdings. Application of modern methods of agriculture on such uneconomic holding is impossible and thus there is little scope of expanding employment opportunities in Agriculture in the States of North-East.

  • Poor rate of growth : The rate of growth of the north-eastern regions is very poor. Thus, the increased employment opportunities created under successive plans have not kept pace with the additions to the labour force in the north-east every year.

  • Slow industrialisation : Another cause of unemployment in north-east is the poor industrial growth. Most of the small scale and medium scale industries suffers from various problems. Without a sound industrial growth, the problem of unemployment in the north-east could hardly be tackled effectively.

  • Prevailing education system : The prevailing education system in the north-east is full of defects as it fails to make any provision for imparting technical and commercial education. Huge number of matriculates, undergraduates and graduates are coming out every year leading to the increasing gap between employment opportunities and job seekers among the educated middle class. Professional guidance and training facilities are almost inadequate.

  • Immobility of labour force : Immobility in the labour force is another factor responsible for growing unemployment in the north-east. The system of joint family is also retarding the growth of employment opportunities in the north-east.

  • Attitude of educated people : In the north-east, the educated people have apathy in accepting trade and commerce as a profession. Due to this, the educated people of north-east are sometimes not availing the employment opportunities available in the States of the north-east leading to the growth of widespread unemployment in north-east.


    B. Remedies for the unemployment problem :
    The following are the important long-term and short-term measures that may be adopted for solving the problem of unemployment in north-east.

    1. Long-term measures : The long term measures are as follows :

  • The present high rate of population growth must be arrested. This can be done by intensifying family planning programme, particularly in the rural areas and also by stopping infiltration of people from the neighbouring countries.

  • Adequate steps must be taken for rapid economic development of the North-Eastern Region, especially through quick and diversified industrialisation. This will create new employment opportunities, especially for the educated persons and skilled workers. This will also divert surplus labour force from agriculture to industries and thus reduce the pressure of rural unemployment

  • Modernised methods of cultivation should be introduced in the north-east in order to increase the employment potential of agriculture. Spread of new farm technology will help the economy of the north-eastern region by raising their agricultural productivity.

  • The system of education prevalent at present has to be changed thoroughly. The present literary educational system must be replaced by technical and vocational education system to make it production oriented.

  • Steps must be taken for introducing network of employment exchanges both in the rural and urban areas of the north-east. This will increase mobility of labour and reduce unemployment due to social time-lag.

  • For enlarging the scope of self-employment, liberal institutional finance should be made available.

    2. Short term measures : The short term measures are as followes :

  • For establishing small industries and business, special assistance should be provided to individuals and small groups of people.

  • Arrangement should be made for the establishment of work and training camps at places where a provision of work opportunities is available under the plans such as irrigation, power projects and road construction programme.

  • Training facilities should be arranged in those areas where there is a shortage of man power at present.

  • The products of cottage and small scale industries should be given active encouragement by public authorities through sympathetic stores and purchase policy.

CHECK YOUR PROGRESS


Q 1: Explain two causes of unemployment problem in North- East Region.

LET US KNOW

The Economic Survey (2006-7) shows that unemployment continues to rise in India. The growth rate of 9.1 per cent is the highest for the economy, but at the same time, the unemployment scenario is the worst ever. The survey also confirms the structural changes the Indian economy is undergoing: from being agriculture-oriented to becoming services oriented. The survey admits that the government has failed in meeting the employment creation target set in the 10th Five-year plan. The 10th plan aimed at the creation of approximately 50 million employment opportunities (30 million from the process of growth and an additional 20 million from special initiatives) during 2002-07. Quoting the recent survey of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), it estimates that 47 million people have been provided employment during 2000-2005.



TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATION SECTOR OF NORTH- EAST REGION


Now we turn to the infrastructure facilities in the region that may be crucial at this juncture. The ratio of surfaced road to total road length in NER is 0.27 against 0.51 in India and road length per 100 sq km of area is 46 kms against 64 in the nation. Except in Assam and Tripura, there is hardly any access to the railways. In 1985 about 48 percent of the villages in the region were identified as problem villages with respect to availability of water. This figure was only 28 percent for the nation. Over the years, this problem has been addressed to, but much is yet to be done. There is an urgent need to improve the conditions of these problem villages.

A. Transportation Infrastructure :
Till date, the North- Eastern region presents a dismal picture in terms of transportation networks. It has the lowest road and railway density in the country. Inadequate road and rail links have left many areas inaccessible and their great potential in forest products, cash corps, hydropower, animal husbandry and tourism remain unexploited.

The geographical position and geographical isolation of the region are mostly responsible for such backwardness. In the absence of proper transportation and communication system, the economic development of this region is being retarded. The major transportation systems of this region include – Rail Transport, Road Transport, Water Transport and Air Transport.

A greater part of the total area of the North-Eastern Region is hilly and undulating resulting into low density of population on the one hand and low per area production of merchandise on the other. Location of human settlements is sparse and the population size of settlements is smaller on an average. In such a terrain railways cannot connect all areas cost-effectively. Consequently, roadways are the major infrastructure for transportation. It is to be noted here that although the railways are initially costlier while the routes are being laid down, in the long run it serves as the cheapest and perhaps the most efficient means of transportation with its far-reaching impacts on the economy of the area. The long run cost of railways as the transportation infrastructure is much less than the roadways infrastructure. Moreover, railways are more environment-friendly than roadways since vehicles on the roads burn much more fuel per volume of the traffic.

The road transport system is one of the most important modes of transport in the North-Eastern region. In the difficult and inaccessible areas, of the region, road transport is the only mode of transport. Road transport renders valuable and speedy transportation services in short-distance routes of the region. In the absence of extension of rail transport in the different north-eastern states, the importance of road transport in this region is quite high.


B. Communication Infrastructure :

The network of Post Offices, Telephone Exchange and telephone connections are the major infrastructure for communication. Of late, spectacular technological innovations are being introduced in the communication sector making exchange of information much cheaper than it was earlier. As a result, telephone based communication is increasing at a very fast rate. In the North-Eastern Region, the area served by a Post Office is twice larger than that in the country, largely due to sparse location of settlements and low density of population. A telephone exchange serves 59 thousand persons in the region while this figure is 141 thousand for the Nation. In the region telephone connections are relatively more per population than that in the country.

Post Offices and telephone exchange as social overheads for communication therefore are costlier in the region as compared to the country, which is mainly attributable to the sparse location of settlements and low density of population in the region.

Although the average area served by a Post Office in Arunachal Pradesh is comparatively very large (vis-à-vis other States in the NER), the average number of people served by the Post office there is not so much. This is due to very low density of population in Arunachal Pradesh.

Schemes are being formulated to improve the communications network in the North East through telecommunications. The Department of Telecommunications has plans to connect all the villages of the NER by telecommunication link.


PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS OF SMALL SCALE, MEDIUM SCALE AND LARGE SCALE INDUSTRIES IN NORTH- EAST REGION


Small- scale industries have been defined as those units that have investment in plant and machineries up to Rs. 1crore. This sector has occupied a place of prominence in our economy. But this sector is suffering from various problems which hamper its growth.

A. SMALL SCALE INDUSTRIES :
Problems of small- scale industries
The small- scale industries are facing a number of problems. They are:

  • Inefficient manpower : Manpower plays an important role in any industry. The inefficiency of manpower in small- scale industries due to illiteracy, ignorance, lack of training facilities etc. affected the growth of small- scale industries.

  • Lack of credit facility : Another major problem of small- scale industries is the lack of credit facilities. Before nationalisation, commercial banks were not interested in providing finance to this sector. This situation has been changed after nationalisation of commercial banks but it is far from satisfactory level.
  • Old and obsolete machineries : The small- scale industries are facing the problem in production due to old and obsolete machineries. They are unable to compete with the products of large- scale industries.

  • Lack of marketing facilities : The small- scale industries also facing the problem of marketing their products. There is lack of organised marketing facilities for these industries. They have to depend on the middlemen for selling their products. In many cases the market for their products remains untapped.

  • Old designs : the small- scale industries are continuing with the age old designs. The products are unable to meet the modern demand.
    Prospects of small- scale industries

    The small- scale industries play an important role in the development of the economy. Even in developed countries, they occupy an important place. In under-developed countries also, they make great contributions towards economic development. The prospects of small- scale industries in North- East Region may be discussed as under:

  • Labour intensive : The small- scale industries are labour intensive. They will provide more employment opportunities as compared to large- scale industries. It will help in solving the unemployment problem in the region.

  • Low capital investment : Small- scale industries need lower capital investment as compared to large- scale industries. As capital is scarce in this region, small- scale industries are most suitable for this region.

  • Quick return : In case of small- scale industries, there is less time gap between capital investment and production of goods. Thus, it brings quick return to the businessmen.

  • Reduction of pressure on land : People of this region excessively depend on agriculture. The development of small- scale industries will help in diverting the excess workforce to this sector.

  • Development of entrepreneurial skill : The development of this sector will result in change of attitude of people of this region. People will develop an entrepreneurial skill, which will help in identifying new areas of investment. This will help in the economic development of the region.


    B. MEDIUM AND LARGE-SCALE INDUSTRIES :

    Problems of medium and large- scale industries in North- East Region :
    The large-scale industries are very crucial for the economic growth of an economy. In under- developed countries, the development of large- scale industries is essential to accelerate the growth rate of these economies. However, these industries are facing a number of problems, which may be discussed as under:

  • Lack of skilled personnel : The region is facing the problem of lack of technical and efficient personnel required for the large- scale industries. In the absence of technical personnel, it is difficult to handle sophisticated machineries necessary for the industries.

  • Industrial sickness : Industrial sickness is another major problem facing by the industries in this region. The major industries are facing losses due to inefficient management.

  • Lack of infrastructural facilities : The industries in this region are facing the problem of lack of infrastructural facilities such as proper transportation and communication facilities. It restricts the growth of large- scale industries.

  • Lack of market : The large- scale industries produces goods in large quantities. But the limited size of the market, they are unable to sell their products resulting in loss to these industries

  • Poor law and order situation : For proper development of industries, a stable and peaceful environment is essential. But this region is facing the problem of poor law and order situation which restrict the growth of industries.

    Prospects of small and large- scale industries in North- East Region
    The prospects of large- scale industries may be discussed as under:

  • Expands employment opportunities : The establishment of large- scale industries play an important role in providing employment opportunities. As the region is facing the problem of unemployment both in urban and rural area, these industries are essential for the region.

  • Self- sustained economy : The development of large- scale industries will help the region in attaining self sufficiency. This sector has higher capacity for saving and investment as well as for generating employment opportunities.

  • Growth and stability : This region is agriculture based. But agriculture is seasonal in nature and depends on rainfall. The growth of industries will reduce the dependence on agriculture, which will help in the development of the region.

SOME INDUSTRIES IN NORTH- EAST REGION


After discussing the various problems and prospects of small, medium and large- scale industries, we are going to discuss some basic industries of the region. These industries are contributing towards the economic development of the region. At the same time they are facing a number of problems due to which their growth prospects has reduced to a considerable extent.


Tea Industry



Tea being an agricultural plantation crop and a major revenue generator, it plays a vital role in improving the socio-economic condition of the States of North Eastern Region of India. Assam and Tripura are the traditional tea growing areas in this region. Assam is the largest producer of tea in India. Some effort has been made in the recent past to introduce tea in all the other North Eastern States viz Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim. Assam accounts for nearly 53% of the all India production and 69% of North Indian production.

It may be noted here that the sudden rise in the number of tea gardens of Assam and its area under tea (to around three lakh hectares), particularly since the latter half of 1990’s was due to the unemployed youths taking to small scale tea production as their profession. There are around 2500 small tea gardens in Assam today adding to the State’s total production by more than 50 million kg. This is certainly a welcome change. But, since they grow in small scale, they cannot go for factory manufacturing and, hence, have to sell out only green leaves to the large estates which often subject them to exploitation.

There are, however, a number of problems of tea industry of Assam. A considerable number of tea gardens of the State have gone sick over the period due to lack of infrastructure, modernisation and efficient management. The Assam Tea Corporation, a state-level public sector enterprise, for example, is not functioning at all. Though Assam tea is still earning around 50 per cent of the foreign exchange earned by India’s tea industry, its demand is already in recession due to better quality-tea supplied by countries like Sri Lanka, Cuba etc at comparatively lower prices.

That the fate of India’s tea industry is largely dependent on what happens to its eastern sector of Assam and West Bengal is well known. What is seriously worrying the tea industry is that even though India still produces 27 percent of global tea output, the quality of product is sadly doubted in the global market.Studies confirm that the root cause of closure of a number of tea gardens in parts of the country was low productivity and lack of investment in plant development activities.

The problems of high cost production and stagnant productivity need be addressed on an urgent basis. It is heartening to note, however, that some important steps in recent times have been taken for development and modernisation of the sector. The most important of them are the following:

(1)Withdrawal of additional excise duty of Re 1.00 per kg on tea as announced in the Union Budget 2005-06.

(2) Sanctioning of two schemes viz grant of subsidy for production of orthodox teas and assistance to the two Research and Development institutions, viz Tea Research Association at Tocklai (Assam) and United Planters’ Association for Southern India Tea Research Foundation with an estimated outlay of Rs. 93 crore for financing. The Planning Commission is very positive about finding a solution to the tea crisis which the industry has long been suffering from. The Union Commerce Ministry proposed to unveil a 14-year programme for massive replantation and rejuvenation of the tea industry.

(3)The “Special Tea Fund” will greatly benefit the tea growing states of Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Uttaranchal. The revival package for tea industry had already been assured of fiscal and tax incentives and of cost effectiveness for both domestic and export markets. The Union Commerce Minister also assured    that it would provide concrete support with a special thrust on regeneration of old and replenishable tea bushes. The package which was proposed is also supposed to frame a marketing strategy for increase in sale of the tea in the global market.

While the package if implemented promptly and with all sincerity will go a long way to rescue the tea industry from its long drawn crisis, what fears the stakeholders is that the budgetary announcement of service tax on auctioneering could increase the tea prices if the tax liability is to be borne by the tea growers. If it is so, the market competition would be still tougher and it would affect the global demand for Indian tea. However, the other budgetary action of reducing customs duty on bulk plastics, used for packaging, from 10 per cent to 5 per cent would encourage value addition activity of tea industry because or the reduction of packaging cost.

What is necessary at the moment is that the tea industry get modernised with a change in technique of plantation, improvement of encouragement to the electronic tea auction and managerial excellence. With the “Special Purpose Tea Fund” s, revolving corpus of Rs 1000 crore with a target of replantation in 1.7 lakh hectares over a period of 14 years, the industry could be expected to get back its pride of place in international competitiveness and drive to road of prosperity.

For a better marketing of the tea produced in Assam and the entire North Eastern States, a Tea Auction Centre - Guwahati Tea Auction Centre - was established in 1970 at Guwahati. This is the world’s largest CTC tea auction centre and the world’s second largest in terms of total tea. It now auctions more than 140 million kg of tea valued at more than Rs 550.00 crores annually.

Oil Industry


Assam is the first state in the country where in 1889 oil was struck at Digboi Assam can boast of oldest oil refinery in the country (set up at Digboi) in 1901. The refinery, now belonging to the Assam Division of the Indian Oil Corporation, has a refining capacity of 3 lakh tonnes of petrol, kerosene, diesel and other petroleum products. Assam has the oldest and the longest cross country crude oil pipeline (about 1148 km). It is endowed with oil shale reserves, estimated at 137 billion tonnes with a recovery factor of 20.35%, which is capable of sustaining its crude oil production in the years to come. It also has a significant reserve of low ash high sulphur coal. Oil Exploration in Assam has the highest success ratio in the world. Assam also accounts for one of the biggest pool of professional and skilled manpower engaged in the oil and petroleum industry. Thus, with the State’s inherent strength built over a century and with the future potential, Assam offers opportunities for exploration in the oil and gas sector. It has opened up the oil sector to private participants. Also, the declaration of the Brahmaputra as a national waterway has facilitated transportation of raw materials and project equipment for growth of the oil sector. The second refinery in Assam was set up at Noonmati in Guwahati under the public sector. It started production in 1962. It produces liquified petroleum gas (LPG), petrol, kerosene, diesel, furnace oil, coke etc. The third refinery in the region was established at Dhaligoan near Bongaigaon in 1962. It is known as Bongaigaon Refinery and Petro-Chemicals Limited (BRPL). The fourth refinery in the state was established at Numaligarh of Golaghat district in 1999, with a refining capacity of 3 million tonnes of oil and other products.

Tourism Industry



The North Eastern part of India is almost another world. It is a place of magical beauty and bewildering diversity. It is a land, where exotic wildlife exist in the jungles, where flow rivers like the Bramhaputra, the Barak and the Imphal and where the hills are full of breathtaking landscapes.With more than a hundred and fifty tribes speaking as many languages, this region is a melting pot of variegated cultural mosaic of people and races, an ethnic tapestry of many hues and shades. The folk culture is still vital in this region. Well integrated with life and nature, the folk artworks have a common element of tune and tone. It is a tourists’ delight.

Tourism has emerged as one of the prospective sectors of industry in the North- East. The north-east boasts of several National parks, animal and bird sanctuaries, heritage sites, historical sites and diverse cultures amidst unexplored territory. Experts foresee a more explosive growth in this sector in the coming decades. In order to further accelerate the development of the sector, the thrust areas pursued are (a) development of infrastructure; (b) product development; (c) development of trekking, winter sports, wildlife and river beach resorts, (d) exploring new sources of markets in regions and countries having cultural affinity; (e) environmental protection and cultural preservation of natural heritage projects; (f) launching of national image building and marketing plan in key markets; (g) providing inexpensive accommodation in different tourist centers; (h) improving service efficiency in public sector corporations; (i) streamlining of facilitation procedures at airports; (j) human resource development; (k) monitoring and evaluation; (l) strengthening of organization; (m) creating awareness and public participation and ; (n) facilitating private sector participation in development of infrastructure etc.

Though the North Eastern Region possesses a rich history, culture and scenic beauty comparable to any other developed tourist spot of the country, the inflow of foreign tourists is very small. Available data shows that the inflow of foreign tourists from different countries of the world to the north-east of India is very low. Nevertheless efforts are on to project this region as an attractive tourist destination so as to earn revenue for he region and provide employment opportunities for the local people.

Silk Industry


Silk occupies a unique position among the various textile fibres produced in the world. While cotton, woolen and synthetic fibre fibrics are manufactured by many countries only a few are prominent in the production of silk fibrics. Sericulture is also a very important agro-based industry and in developing countries like India, a high priority is being accorded to this sector because of its employment potential, particularly in the rural and semi-urban parts of the country.

Sericulture has an important role in the economic profile of many of the North Eastern states. Some of the states, which have accorded a fairly high priority to sericulture and silk weaving, include Assam, Manipur and Mizoram. Assam is the most important silk producing state in the North Eastern Region. .Assam has got a suitable climate and environment for practising sericulture. There are three varieties of Silk Worms found in Assam, namely - 1. Muga Silk Worms 2. Eri Silk Worms and 3. Paat or Mulberry Silk Worms. Assam is the largest producer of Muga and Eri silk in the country

ACTIVITY


Prepare a plan to develop North- East Region as a tourist spot.


CHECK YOUR PROGRESS


A) Mention two problems of tea industry of Assam.
i) ………………………….
ii) ………………………….

B) Mention two measures for the development of tourism industry of Assam.
i) …………………..
ii) …………………..

LET US SUM UP


  • NER as a whole is placed amongst the poorest regions in the country.

  • All the states in NER has much higher levels of population below poverty line [35.13%] as compared to the national average (26.1%) [2000-01].

  • The NER continues to be a net importer of food grains.

  • The states in the region hardly have any industrial base, except Assam.

  • Tea and petroleum sector dominates the industrial scenario of Assam.

  • The unemployment rate of the NER is close to 12%, against the national average of 7.7% [1999-00].

  • The transport system of the North-Eastern Region is very backward.

  • The characteristic feature of transportation in the region is in its being costlier in terms of money, time and continuity.

  • Assam has the largest capacity of 537 MW, mainly based on the thermal technology.

  • In the NER, the average length of rail route per 100 sq. km. area is about 0.77 km.

  • In respect of transportation system, the North-East region is very backward.



FURTHER READINGS


1. Elementary Indian Economics by K.K. Dewett, J.D. Verme, M.L. Sharma.
2. Assam Economy by P.K. Dhar

ANSWERS TO CHECK YOUR PROGRESS



CHECK YOUR PROGRESS : 1

Q 1: i) Poor infrastructure
ii) Lack of entrepreneurial skill.
Q.2: i) Tea industry
ii) Sugar industry

CHECK YOUR PROGRESS : 2


Q 1: i) Slow industrialisation: One of the major causes of the unemployment problem in North- East Region is slow industrialisation. The small, medium and large- scale industries in North- East Region are facing various problems and unable to provide employment opportunities to the youths of this region.
ii) Primitive agriculture: North- East Region is agriculture based. But due to primitive methods of agriculture, this sector is unable to provide employment opportunities to the local people.

CHECK YOUR PROGRESS : 3

Q 1: i) Lack of infrastructure
ii) Inefficient management
Q 2: i) Development of infrastructure
ii) Preservation of nature and cultural heritage.


POSSIBLE QUESTIONS


1. Discuss the role of small- scale industries in north- east region.

2. Discuss the problems of large- scale industries in north- east region

3. Discuss the causes of unemployment problem in north- east. Suggest measures to solve unemployment problem.

4. Discuss the various concessions available for industries in north- east region.