Intra- and Interstate Inequality in the Northeast Region with Special Reference to Assam

  • Meenakshi Rajeev
  • Azharuddin Akhtar
Part of the India Studies in Business and Economics book series (ISBE)


The sixth chapter again, is an exploration of the acute disparity that India’s borderland suffers from. The authors have analysed India’s Northeast, which is a cluster of eight states, having strong geographical contiguity, but with a very diverse ethno-cultural landscape. The region suffers from both inter- and intra-regional disparity. Scholars dealing with state-level analyses on regional disparity most often exclude the northeastern states, possibly because they are smaller in size, different in topography and low in population density. But on the other hand Northeast has undeniable geopolitical importance as it shares the international boundary with five sensitive nations. Such a situation demands a deeper understanding of development gaps in the region, which resonate in resentment and conflict, like the ‘Red Corridor’ region. The region is also a poor victim of geo-political and historical discourses since colonial period. An analysis of several contemporary economic indicators including income, infrastructure facilities, and poverty levels shows that there are wide variations across Northeastern states where almost always Assam fares the worst. Though income inequality amongst the Northeastern states is far lower than the overall inequality among all Indian states, the worsening of inequality at a higher rate is a matter of concern. The chapter then goes beyond the analysis of Pan-Northeast and looks deeply at district level analyses for the nodal state of Assam, which shows a much higher level of inequality. Assam per se has performed worst in terms of poverty, and most of its indicators are below all-India average. Therefore any policy process on regional development can no longer ignore the voice of this region and needs to find ways for its local economic development for future viability.


Income Inequality Capita Income Human Development Index Gini Coefficient Regional Disparity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I am grateful to the Reserve Bank of India for its support to the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC). I also extend my heartfelt thanks to Rakhee Bhattacharya for her support and encouragement which made this work possible. I sincerely thank Sabyasachi Tripathi and B. P. Vani for many useful computations and discussions. We are grateful to two anonymous referees for their valuable comments. The usual disclaimer applies.


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Copyright information

© Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Economic Studies and PolicyInstitute for Social and Economic ChangeBangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Chegg India Pvt. Ltd., DelhiDelhiIndia

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