Globalization and North East India: Challenges and Opportunities N. Bhupendro Singh
Ever since the term ‘globalization’ appeared for the first time in the second half of twentieth century no other word has meant so many different things to different people and has evoked as much emotions. The forces of globalization affect virtually every country in the world. It has opened the door of many new opportunities as well as formidable challenges. All spheres of life–social, political, cultural and economic–have been subjected to both the positive and negative elements of globalization. With all its promises on the overall qualitative improvement of life and social harmony, some see it as the saviour of universal peace and prosperity. On the other hand, rising mercury of its negative elements some condemn it as a new kind of chaos. While everyone welcomes the new opportunities that has emerged one cannot simply leave those negative elements unattended. Therefore, the main task now is to analyze, understand and manage globalization doing our best to harness its benefits and keep those negative consequences at bay.1
India joined the club of globalized economy in 1991when its economy is under the spell of fiscal and balance of payment crisis which compel her to initiate several structural adjustment programme and economic liberalization. Since then, India’s share to the global economy is getting larger. Today, looking at overall health of the economy and growth performance2, India seems to have struck the right note of the globalization string. With its vast natural and human resources and ability to synchronize the speed of change taking place in the international market, many have considered the India’s economy as one of the most resilient economy in the world. Now, the most pertinent question arises in the recent years is; has the benefits of globalization disbursed to all the regions of the Indian union? Certainly the answer is NO.
India’s attempt to tackle the problems of income inequalities has been going on since independence under the centralized planning system. It, however, failed to provide the necessary growth impetus to the poorer states to reduce regional disparities in any meaningful manner in spite of four decades of economic planning. In the post globalization era, considering the size and diversity of the country, shrinking role of government would ultimately be a failure to achieve the set objective. With the opening of economy, states with better infrastructure facilities, better skill labour and work culture, investor friendly environment and more importantly states which can reform themselves in accordance to the need of the market oriented economy have attracted much of the private investment–both national as well as foreign. These states have grown much faster than states which are not, leading to widening disparities.3 This has posed a great challenge to academicians and policy makers, even though globalization is an uneven process with unequal distribution of benefits and losses, who must ensure the benefits of globalization be distributed to all the regions/states of Indian union. Secondly, to what extent the high growth rate achieved so far has been translated into development for the well-being of its people? It is all the more necessary to ascertain the magnitude of development because development shouldn’t be seen as mere enhancement of national or personal income as it alone cannot serve the objective of securing the socio-economic equality. High growth rate achieved so far is a big accomplishment as the resources so generated could be utilized for developmental purposes to meet the desired social ends.4 It would, however, be highly injustice and misleading to interpret economic growth and economic development synonymously, yet a popular cynicism among the political circle in particular, as development covers much wider range and value. In short, achievement...