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Issues and problems in human resource development in the NER (India)

Mishra, SK (2003): Issues and problems in human resource development in the NER (India).

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The demographic canvas of the North Eastern Region of India (NER) is perhaps the most colourful and enchanting in the whole nation. We do not find in any other part of the country such a variety – anthropologically, socially, linguistically, culturally, economically, politically and historically diversified stock of mankind. If the biologists are correct to correlate diversity with survival, sustenance, development and growth, the NER possesses the most potent prospects for the same.

The human resources in any region have three aspects increasingly more important in the sequel: (1) physical fitness – relating to physical effort, easily captured by the number of workers, their general health (corporal), number of man-hours devoted to work, etc, (2) dexterity – agility, skill, expertise, ability, proficiency – inculcated by training, and (3) attitude, outlook and mindset – imbibed modernization ideals (in the sense of Gunnar Myrdal) and their practice at a mass level. This third aspect makes ‘soft resources’ or the ‘social capital.’ The first two aspects of human resources are generally considered in planning for development. A need to devise suitable and practical programs for preserving and generating social capital may not be overemphasized. It is a difficult area often bypassed by the economic planners under the umbrella of non-economic factors. But this neglect is anti-productive.

In this paper we have touched upon several aspects of human resource development issues and problems. First, the growth of population, very fast in the region demands immediate attention. It is not because growth of population by itself is undesirable. But when economic growth of a region does not lend support to growth of population, resources are spent on maintaining the life than enriching it. Secondly, we have noted the features of occupational distribution. Proportion of workers in the primary and the tertiary sectors are overwhelmingly large, while the secondary sector, most important for material prosperity, employs very small proportion of workers. If human resources are to be better utilized, industrialization of the NER economy is the first prerogative of planning for development. In the same tune, the region produces ‘educated’ manpower that suits the swelling tertiary sector at most and is possibly ‘unemployable‘ in the secondary sector. Once industrialization takes place, the demand for skilled manpower will increase. The existing educational institutions will have to start technical and professional education programs. Several new educational institutions will have to be started especially for technical and professional courses suiting to the need of the growing economy.

Urbanization in the region is on an increase. But it appears that it is largely due to urban accretion, peopled by the migrant rural inhabitants in search for some remunerative occupation. It is partly because there are no significant openings and opportunities in the rural areas and partly because the urban pull forces attract them from the rural areas. The educated youth from the rural areas seldom go back to their places of origin and stick on to the urban centers in search of some opportunities. Such urbanization overloads the urban infrastructure.

It is estimated that about 35% of the total population is below poverty line in the NER. Poverty is related to efficiency of the human resources and expenditure on removal of poverty is an investment. Industrialization of the regional economy would go far to remove poverty of the people in the region.

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