(Premium) Gist of Yojana: February 2013

Premium Gist of Yojana: February 2013



The country presently (201112) possesses 634 universities and 33,023 colleges with the student strength of 1,69,75,000 (girls 70,49,000). The number of graduates coming out of technical colleges was slightly over 7,00,000 in the last year. However, 75 percent of technical graduates and more than 85 percent of general graduates are unemployable by India’s high growth global industries, including information technology. In the North-East states 40 universities and such institutions are present with Nagaland having 3, Assam 10, Meghalaya 9, Sikkim 5, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura each having 3. The small number of institutions in these states can be due to the small size of the states.

In the country out of the GDP, 3.77 percent was spent on education in 2011, 32.3 percent of the total amount went to higher education.

Despite growing investment in education, 25 percent population still remains to be illiterate; 15 percent of Indian students reach high school and just 7 percent college and university. The quality of higher education is significantly poor. India’s post-secondary institutions offer only enough seats for 7 percent of India’s college-age population.


Infrastructure Development is a fundamental prerequisite for realizing the vision of progress towards peace and prosperity and for creating an investment climate and market development in the North East. In fact, this is a basic prerequisite for development and has strong complementarities with measures to improve health and education as well as industry and services are crucial for establishing a stable and peaceful society and hence for the progress and prosperity of the entire region.


Transport is a vital input for the proposed shift from subsistence agriculture to cash crop based farming, as well as the planned development of industry and the service sector. Most of the area in the region is hilly and undulating with low population densities, accompanied by low per area production of goods. In the hilly terrain, what it is in the NER (except in Assam and some parts of other states) development of inland waterways is the most expensive. Similarly, rail connectivity in such a terrain is not only time consuming but would need prohibitive investments, probably beyond the means of the nation. It is road connectivity which would play a dominant role in fulfilling the transportation needs of the public. Air connectivity would certainly play a role for a limited segment of people and goods.


The main grid of transportation of goods and passengers in the North East is the road network of 82,000 Kms. This network is most developed in the Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The five other main States in the region have networks ranging from 5000 to 9000 Kms. The vast majority of roads, around are unpaved roads, which are generally unsuitable for transport of heavy goods.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has been paying attention to the development of National Highways (NHs) in the North-Eastern region and 10 percent of the total allocation is earmarked for this region. The total length of NHs in the NE, including Sikkim, is 6880 Kms and these are being developed and maintained by three agencies-the State Public Works Department (PWD), Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for the North Eastern Region (SARDPNE) is a flagship programme implemented by the Mof Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) covering the improvement/ construction of 8737 kms road. Phase-A covering 2304 km had approved for implementation and Phase-B the length to be covered is 4570 Kms. The objectives of the programme are as under:

  • Connectivity of all State Capital towns with NH through at least 2 lane road
  • To provide 2-lane connectivity to the remaining 51 District Headquarter towns of NER (there are in all 85 District Headquarter towns of NER, 23 are already connected by 2-lane road and connectivity to l l District HQ is provided under Phase-A of SARDPNE).
  • To provide inter-connectivity of all the State Capital towns by at least 2-lane NH
  • To improve certain roads of strategic importance
  • To provide improved connectivity to remote and backward areas, and
  • To improve road connectivity to border areas, Land Custom Stations and neighbouring countries

The Asian Highways project covering a road network of about 65,000 km. and passing through 15 countries is lying dormant for more than 40 years. The objective of this project is to promote and coordinate development of international road transport for connecting all the capital and industrial cities, sea routes and places of tourist and commercial interests in the Asian region. The proposed roads in the Asian Highways project would connect the NER not only with Bangladesh but also with other East Asian countries. This will give a big boost to the development of this region. This project, therefore, needs to be pushed through for implementation.


The railroad network is limited to 2500 Kms and lies almost entirely within the State of Assam (2466 Kms), with short stretches in Nagaland (13 Kms) and Arunachal Pradesh (I Kms). Only 960 Kms of this network consists of standard gauge track suitable for haulage of bulk goods and the majority of the network is made up of narrow gauge track suitable for small trains and transportation of passenger and transportation of smaller cargo.

Similarly, there is an urgent need for a rail link to Meghalaya and Sikkim. The more important issue from the long-term point of view of the strategic planning is to develop a rail network with the aim of increasing inter-state connectivity. In addition, rail connectivity should be integrated with developments in the other avenues of transport being proposed for the NER as a whole.