EVENT Jul 15
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India International Center, New Delhi
Organization: Council for Social Development, New Delhi
Categories: Interdisciplinary, Popular Culture, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, History, Philosophy, Miscellaneous
Event Date: 2019-07-15 to 2019-07-16 Abstract Due: 2019-04-30

Concept Note



Studies on North-East India have given disproportionate attention to issues, like ethnic and cultural diversities, rich flora and fauna, and intermittent ethnic conflicts. On the other hand, social sector development of North-East India, which is characterized by (a) relatively high level of social development with low per capita income, and (b) pronounced inter-state and intra-state variations, has not been examined properly and adequately.

Notwithstanding difficult geographical terrain, frequent natural calamities, social conflicts and law and order problem, the Social Development Index (SDI, 2016) prepared by Council for Social Development, of the states of North-East India, except that of Assam, is better than the national average, whereas the per capita income of all the North-east states, except that of Sikkim and Mizoram, is lower than the national average. An examination of the SDI of all the eight states of North-East India shows that Sikkim (SDI rank-3) and Mizoram (SDI rank-4) stand among the top five states of India.

The high level of SDI in Mizoram and other North-East states is, of course, driven by high level of literacy that has played an important role in the overall social sector development of North-East India. There is not only a very high level of literacy rate in Mizoram (93.91 %), Tripura (87.75%), and Nagaland (79.55%), but the literacy rates of the North-Eastern states, except those of Assam (73.18%) and Arunachal Pradesh (66.95%), are higher than the national average. The female literacy rate of all the North-Eastern states of India, except that of Arunachal Pradesh (59.57%), is higher than the national average.

The health development index of Sikkim and Mizoram is among the top ten states of India, In contrast, under five Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) of Assam (44), Meghalaya (39) and Arunachal Pradesh (36) is higher than the national average of 34 ( as in 2016).  Similarly, life expectancy in Assam (63.9) is one of the lowest in the country.

In 2015-16, the per capita income of Sikkim (Rs. 245987) was much higher than the national average of Rs. 94731, and higher than the per capita income of all other North-Eastern states. On the front of unemployment rate, the North-East states fare poorly. In 2015-16, the unemployment rate in Tripura was 19.7% and in Sikkim 18.1 %.

The region is also characterized by high degree of intra-state variations, especially in Assam, the largest state of North-East India, with 68.37 per cent of the total population and 29.92 per cent of the total geographical area of the North-East. As per the Assam Human Development Report, 2015, the poverty rate was the highest in hills (44.7%) followed by char area (42.6%) (riverine alluvial areas). Surprisingly, it was the lowest in flood affected areas (37.6%). Similarly, health deprivation is less in hills and char areas, than in other regions. Educational inequality is the highest in the region with ‘multiple diversities’ followed by char area. Inequality in terms of living standard is high in the hills (0.530), followed by flood affected area (0.474) and tea gardens (0.479).

The relatively high level of social sector development in North-East India has historical and social contexts. North-east states are dominated by tribal population, which constitutes largely an egalitarian society. Women, who constitute about 50 % of the total population in the region, have traditionally enjoyed greater freedom and access to resources than their counterparts in other regions of the country. In states, like Mizoram, Nagaland and Meghalaya, Christian Missionaries have played an important role in promoting education. In Nagaland, community centric governance system has been helpful in better service delivery at the grassroots levels.

While social sector development of North-East India needs attention, discussions on these states have been dominated by themes like ethnic diversity, rich natural resources, and conflicts. Also various incorrect notions prevail about North-East India. For example, North-East India is generally considered as a homogenous society, although it has huge diversities in many respects, besides ethnic and linguistic. For example, the share of ST population varies across the states. The Scheduled Tribe (ST) constitutes 94.4% of the total population of Mizoram and 86.5% of Nagaland while it is only 12.4% in Assam. Interestingly, the North-East India accounts for just 3.7% of the country’s population, but it is home to more than 220 languages belonging to the three language families, viz. Indo-Aryan,Tibeto-Burman and Austro-Asiatic.

It is in this background that the Council for Social Development, New Delhi,  is organizing a Two Days Seminar on “Social Sector Development in North-East India: Problems, Issues and Challenges”, with a focus on aspects,like demography, education, health, poverty and nutrition, governance and service delivery, unemployment and out-migration among the other themes.

This seminar aims at focused deliberations/discussion on the analysis of social development at aggregate and disaggregated levels among the North-Eastern states. It also aims at understanding variations in social sector development among the North-Eastern states, and the factors contributing to them.

Themes and Sub-Themes

1. Demography

·         Demographic Profile, Ethnic Diversity, Demographic Dividend, Illegal Migration, Gender


2. Education

·         Literacy, School Education, Out-of School Children , Secondary Education , Higher Education, Infrastructure of Educational Institution, Expenditure on Education, Curriculum & Pedagogy, Role of Civil Society in Education


3. Health

·         Primary Health Care System, Reproductive and Child Health, Health Indicators, Out of Pocket Expenditure, Traditional Health Practices, Tertiary Health Care, Sanitation and Drinking Water


4. Poverty and Nutrition

·         Poverty and Deprivation, Malnutrition & Hunger, Food Security, Common/Community Resources


5. Unemployment and Out-Migration

·         Employment and Informal Sector, Unemployment among educated youth, Out-Migration for employment


6. Governance and Service Delivery

·         Natural and Common Property Resources , Autonomous District Councils, Village Councils, Panchayati Raj Institutions, Conflict and Violence


Important Dates:

200-300 words Abstract by 30th April, 2019

Abstract Selection Notification by 5th May, 2019

Full Paper Submission by 30th June, 2019

Please send your Abstract at antora@csdindia.org

Seminar Co-ordinators: Prof. Atul Sarma, Prof. Ashok Pankaj and Ms. Antora Borah


Note: For further details visit our website www.csdindia.org

The selected papers will be published in a book by a reputed publisher.

Durgabhai Deshmukh Memorial Lecture by Prof Hiren Gohain on 15 July 2019 at India International Centre




Antora Borah