[Yojana Archive] Governance in North-East Region


  • Northeast India (officially North Eastern Region, NER) is the easternmost region of India representing both a geographic and political-administrative division of the country.
  • It comprises eight states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
  • The region has its own unique challenges and opportunities.

An overview:

Persistence of regional peace

  • The region is populated by a number of different communities, with diverse cultures, languages and customs.
  • It is also marked by difficult terrain, backward areas, and limited connectivity. This area was known for the active presence of a number of militant groups.
  • However, peace has been achieved to a large extent, with notable recent examples being the Nagaland Peace Accord and the Bodo Peace Accord.

Connectivity with mainland

  • The NER is connected to mainland India only through a narrow stretch of land (about 22 km wide) in West Bengal called the ‘Siliguri Corridor’, sometimes known as the “Chicken’s Neck”.
  • Except for this narrow Siliguri Corridor, the entire northeastern part of the country is bound by international borders.

Institutional Support

  • The Department of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) was established in the year 2001.
  • It became a full-fledged Ministry of the Government of India in 2004.
  • The Ministry of DoNER functions as the nodal Department of the Central Government to deal with matters related to the socio-economic development of the eight states of Northeast India.
  • It handles the Non-Lapsable Control Pool of Resources (NLCPR) Scheme, which has been followed by the North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS).
  • The North Eastern Council (NEC) is a statutory regional planning body for North East India constituted under the North Eastern Council Act 1971.
  • All the Governors and the Chief Ministers of the eight states in the North East are members of the NEC.
  • The Union Home Minister is the Chairman, and the DoNER Minister acts as the Vice-Chairman.

A case study of Mizoram


  • Mizoram literally translates as “Land of the Mizo people”.
  • ‘Mizo’ is an umbrella term for a number of tribes and clans, such as Lusei (formerly Lushai), Lai Mara, Hmar, Paite, etc.
  • The area that was known to the British as the Lushai Hills formally became a part of British India in 1895.
  • After India attained independence, Lushai Hills (later changed to Mizo District) became a District under Assam. In 1972, it became a Union Territory as Mizoram.
  • And after two decades of insurgency, Mizoram became a full-fledged state within the Union of India in 1987.

International Borders

  • Mizoram shares a 318 km – long hard border with Bangladesh on its western side, which is guarded by the Border Security Force (BSF).
  • Fencing is done along the Indo-Bangladesh border.
  • Along the eastern side of the State, the 404 km border with Myanmar is being manned by the Assam Rifles, a paramilitary force.
  • Due to the cultural and ethnic affinity of residents at the border, under normal times, India agrees to a Free Movement Regime (FMR) with Myanmar, allowing residents within 16 km on either side of the border to travel freely without visa restrictions for 72 hours.
  • Being sandwiched on either side by Myanmar and Bangladesh, Mizoram has the strategic advantage of acting as a ‘land-bridge’ between the two countries.
  • It has a real potential to become India’s ‘Gateway to South East Asia’ under our Act East Policy.

Culture & Religion

  • Before the British, the tribes were primarily animistic. There was no written script.
  • There were a few tribal dances, such as Cheraw (bamboo dance), Sarlamkai Chheihlam, Khuallam, etc.
  • They observed three festivals called Pawl Kut, Chapchar Kut and Mim Kut.
  • The British annexation was followed by the arrival of Christian missionaries, who invented a script and an alphabet for the Mizo language.
  • All the ethnic Mizo population have converted to Christianity, making up around 87% of the total population of the State.
  • Around 8% of the population of Mizoram are Buddhists, primarily from the Chakma tribe along the Indo-Bangladesh border.

Mizo Insurgency (1966-1986)

  • In 1959, the Mizo Hills, which was then a District under the State of Assam, was hit by a famine called ‘Mautam’ locally.
  • This was a phenomenon of bamboo flowering after every 48 years or so, followed by plagues of insects and rats, leading to agricultural famine.
  • Mizo National Famine Front was formed, spearheaded by Laldenga.
  • In 1961, the Mizo National Famine Front became a political party called the Mizo National Front (MNF), with Laldenga as its President.
  • On 28 February 1966, the MNF launched an armed uprising against the Union of India, followed by a declaration of independence on 1 March 1966.
  • After being swiftly suppressed by the Indian armed forces, the MNF retreated and continued its operations from East Pakistan and Burma (Myanmar), with training and support from China.
  • Resolving the insurgency, Mizoram became the 23rd State of the Union of India on 20 February 1987.

Minorities and Backward Areas

  • Under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India, there are three Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) in Mizoram called the Lai ADC, Mara ADC and Chakma ADC.
  • Lai, Mara and Chakma are the names of the tribes found in the majority in each corresponding ADC.
  • The Governor of Mizoram is entrusted with special roles and responsibilities in these areas by the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India, which includes certain discretionary powers.


  • Mizoram is primarily an agrarian State with a large section of the population especially in the rural parts, engaged in agriculture and allied activities.
  • An overwhelming majority of the farmers still practice the ecologically unsustainable shifting cultivation, also called ‘Jhumming’ or ‘slash and burn’ farming.
  • Various programmes have been undertaken in pursuance of the aim of Doubling Farmer’s Income by 2022, including the introduction of high yielding varieties of crops, intervention by Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), integrated farming system, horti-based farming, etc.

Socio-Economic Development Policy (SEDP)

  • The Socio-Economic Development Policy (SEDP) is the flagship policy of the current Ministry in Mizoram.
  • The SEDP is envisaged to bring about sustainable development with both short-term and long-term implications.
  • The Policy has been divided into various components, including political, administrative, economic and social development.

Strengths: A vibrant community

  • Mizoram is the best State in India in terms of forest cover.
  • It has the third-highest literacy rate in the country at 91.58%, behind only Kerala and Lakshadweep (2011 Census).
  • A potential oil and natural gas reserve has been found in southern Mizoram, close to Arakan in Myanmar.
  • There is the presence of a classless society in Mizoram, with a strong sense of community. People are generally good at heart, and am law-abiding citizens.
  • To illustrate the discipline of the residents, the capital city of Aizawl has often been called a ‘honk-free city’, with drivers avoiding unnecessary honking of vehicles.

Major challenge: Connectivity

  • Being a landlocked State, connectivity in all its dimensions remains a challenge for Mizoram. The State of Mizoram has only one airport, named Lengpui Airport.
  • It has only one railhead at Bairabi, situated along the border with Assam.
  • Mizoram has two National Highways (NH) – one connecting to Assam, and one NH running into Tripura.
  • The NH connecting to Assam is the lifeline of the State.


  • For a long time, the North East was a neglected and forgotten part of the country.
  • However, upon the initiative of the present government has now been frequently visiting the region at regular intervals.
  • It has the potential to become the growth engine of our country.
  • In the midst of these expectations and optimism, all the stakeholders have to play their part.
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