Northeast India comprises eight states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim. The region shares an international border with – the Tibet Autonomous Region, China, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. It comprises an area of 262,230 square kilometres. The states of North Eastern Region are officially recognized under the North Eastern Council (NEC), constituted in 1971 as the acting agency for the development of the north eastern states. Later, Sikkim joined the North Eastern Region as the eighth state in 2002. India's Look-East connectivity projects connect Northeast India to East Asia and ASEAN. Guwahati city in Assam is called the Gateway to the North East and is the largest metropolis in North East India. After Indian Independence from British Rule in 1947, the Northeastern region of British India consisted of Assam and the princely states of Manipur and Tripura. Subsequently, Nagaland in 1963, Meghalaya in 1972, Arunachal Pradesh in 1975 (capital changed to Itanagar) (formed on 20 February 1987) and Mizoram in 1987 were formed out of the large territory of Assam.] Manipur and Tripura remained Union Territories of India from 1956 until 1972, when they attained fully-fledged statehood. Sikkim was integrated as the eighth North Eastern Council state in 2002.The city of Shillong served as the capital of the Assam province created during British Rule. It remained the capital of undivided Assam until the formation of the state of Meghalaya in 1972. The capital of Assam was shifted to Dispur, a part of Guwahati, and Shillong was designated as the capital of Meghalaya. The Northeast region can be geographically categorized into the Eastern Himalaya, the Patkai and the Brahmaputra and the Barak valley plains. Northeast India (at the confluence of Indo-Malayan, Indo-Chinese, and Indian biogeographical realms) has a predominantly humid sub-tropical climate with hot, humid summers, severe monsoons, and mild winters. Along with the west coast of India, this region has some of the Indian subcontinent's last remaining rainforests, which support diverse flora and fauna and several crop species. Reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the region are estimated to constitute a fifth of India's total potential. The region is covered by the mighty Brahmaputra-Barak river systems and their tributaries. Geographically, apart from the Brahmaputra, Barak and Imphal valleys and some flatlands in between the hills of Meghalaya and Tripura, the remaining two-thirds of the area is hilly terrain interspersed with valleys and plains; the altitude varies from almost sea-level to over 7,000 metres (23,000 ft) above MSL. The region's high rainfall, averaging around 10,000 millimetres (390 in) and above creates problems of the ecosystem, high seismic activity, and floods. The states of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim have a montane climate with cold, snowy winters and mild summers. In the current century, there has been recognition among policymakers and economists of the region that the main stumbling block for economic development of the Northeastern region is the disadvantageous geographical location. With 98 percent of its borders with China, Myanmar, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal, Northeast India appears to have a better scope for development. As a result, a new thought developed among intellectuals and politicians that one direction the Northeastern region should be looking to for development lies with political integration with the rest of India and economic integration with the rest of Asia and Oceania, with North, East and Southeast Asia. With the development of this new policy, the Government of India directed its Look East policy towards developing the Northeastern region. This policy is reflected in the Year End Review 2004 of the Ministry of External Affairs, which stated that: "India’s Look East Policy has now been given a new dimension by the UPA Government. India is now looking towards a partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ASEAN countries, both within BIMSTEC and the India-ASEAN Summit dialogue as integrally linked to economic and security interests, particularly for India’s East and North East region." Northeast India comprises the former British province of Assam and part or all of the former princely states of Manipur, Tripura and Sikkim. There are areas of plains in the modern State of Assam, but otherwise the region is mostly hilly or mountainous. The hills have long been populated with Tibeto-Burman and Sino-Tibetan hill people, some of whom originate in other parts of the Himalayas or of Southeast Asia. There are many distinct groups with unique languages, dress, cuisine and culture. The British made little effort to integrate the hill people into British India, but governed through a system of village chiefs and headmen. They gave these leaders greater authority than they had traditionally enjoyed. In some areas Protestant missionaries converted the people to Christianity and educated an elite. This elite pushed for greater autonomy for the hill people within the state of Assam, and obtained some autonomy at a district level after Indian independence in 1947. In response to attempts by the Assamese majority in the plains to impose their language, the hill people began to struggle for yet more autonomy as separate states within the Indian Union. Today, the hill people have political control in most of the new hill states surrounding Assam, although plains people control parts of the economy. The Northeast region has the largest proportion of scheduled tribes in the country. Northeast India has over 220 ethnic groups and an equal number of dialects in which Bodo form the largest indigenous ethnic group. The hills states in the region like Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Nagaland are predominantly inhabited by tribal people with a degree of diversity even within the tribal groups. The region's population results from ancient and continuous flows of migrations from Tibet, Indo-Gangetic India, the Himalayas, present Bangladesh, and Myanmar. As per the provisions of the 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution, several autonomous councils have been set up, such as the Bodoland Territorial Area, Dima Hasao, Karbi Anglong, Mising, Rabha Hasong, Churachandpur,Senapati, Sadar Hills, Khasi Hills, Mizoram Chakma, Tripura Tribal Areas Council and others. Adivasi is the collective term, meaning original inhabitant, for tribes of the Indian subcontinent, who are considered indigenous to places within India wherein they live, either as foragers or as sedentary communities. They comprise a substantial minority population of India, making up 8.6% of India's population, or 104.2 million people, according to the 2011 census. Adivasi societies are particularly prominent in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, and Northeast India, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Tribal languages can be categorized into six linguistic groupings, namely Andamanese; Austro-Asiatic; Dravidian; Indo-Aryan; Sino-Tibetan; and Kra-Dai. The constitution of India grouped these ethnic groups together "as targets for social and economic development. Since that time the Adivasi of India have been known officially as Scheduled Tribes." Article 366 defined scheduled tribes as "such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this constitution". Many smaller tribal groups are quite sensitive to ecological degradation caused by modernization. Adivasis in many parts of Chhatisgarh, AP and Jharkhand, have been under the influence of the Naxalites who have been fighting a war with the government claiming to represent tribals and their demand for better governance and protection of tribal rights. One strong allegation by tribal activists is that Government policies on forest reserves have affected tribal peoples profoundly. They claim that it is Government efforts to reserve forests have precipitated Naxalite violence. Intensive exploitation of forests has often meant allowing outsiders to cut large areas of trees (while the original tribal inhabitants were restricted from cutting), and ultimately replacing mixed forests capable of sustaining tribal life with single-product plantations. This led the Government to enact the Forest Rights Act. The Scheduled Tribe groups who were identified as more isolated from the wider community and who maintain a distinctive cultural identity have been categorized as "Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups" (PVTGs) previously known as Primitive Tribal Groups by the Government. So far 75 tribal communities have been identified as 'particularly vulnerable tribal groups' in 18 States and UT of Andaman & Nicobar Islands of India. These hunting, food-gathering, and some agricultural communities have been identified as less acculturated tribes among the tribal population groups and in need of special programs for their sustainable development. Sources- Various, Britannica, Wikipedia..


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