General Overview

runachal Pradesh, spread over a total area of 83743 square kilometres is the largest state in the northeastern region. The State is located roughly between 91.30 degree to 97.30 degree East longitude and 26.28 degree to 29.30 degree North latitude. Arunachal Pradesh is bounded by China in the north and north-east, Bhutan in the west, Myanmar in the east and plains of Assam in the south. Arunachal Pradesh shares a 1030 kilometre long international boundary with China, 160 kilometre long border with Bhutan and a 440 kilometre long border with Myammar

Till 1972, Arunachal Pradesh was known as the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA). It gained the Union Territory status on January 20, 1972 and renamed as Arunachal Pradesh. On February 20, 1987, it became a full-fledged state. Its capital is located in Itanagar in the Papumpare district. Itanagar is named after Ita fort meaning fort of bricks, built in the 14th century AD.

Arunachal Pradesh constitutes 2.55 per cent of India’s total geographical area and 31.94 per cent of that of the Northeast. The State is divided into five river valleys: the Kameng, the Subansiri, the Siang, the Lohit and the Tirap. Part of the Eastern Himalayan ranges, Arunachal Pradesh is one of the most picturesque tourist destinations in India.

Arunachal Pradesh is a thinly populated State. According to the Census 2001, it has a total population of 10,91,117 scattered over 17 towns and 3649 villages with a density of 13 persons (population per square kilometre). It constitutes 0.11 per cent population of India and 2.80 per cent of the population of the Northeast. The State is also home to about 30,000 Chakma refugees from Bangladesh. Arunachal Pradesh is divided into 16 districts and 36 sub-divisions.

There are about 20 major tribes in the State along with many sub-tribes. Broadly, the people are divided into three cultural groups on the basis of their socio-religious affinities. The Monpas and Sherdukpens of Tawang and West Kameng districts follow the lamaistic tradition of Mahayana Buddhism. The second group of the people are Adis, Akas, Apatanis, Bangnis, Nishis, Mishmis, Mijis, Thongsas etc., who worship Sun and Moon God namely, Donyi-Polo and Abo-Tani, the original ancestors for most of these tribes. The third group comprises Noctes and Wanchos, adjoining Nagaland in the Tirap District. These tribes speak their own native languages even though Hindi is the lingua franca in the State. 54.74 per cent of the State’s population is literate.

Arunachal Pradesh has 61.55 per cent of its geographical area under forest cover, the largest in the whole of India after Madhya Pradesh. Agriculture is the chief means of livelihood for the people in this State. 62.30 per cent people of the total workers in the State are cultivators and agricultural labourers. The per capita Gross Domestic Product (GSDP) in 2004-05 for the State stands at Rupees 21,919 and the Net State Domestic Product (NSDP) in 1999-2000 is Rupees 14338. Arunachal Pradesh ranks 29 th in the human resource development index and 30th in the poverty index in India, as per the Human Development Report 2001.

The State of Arunachal Pradesh is significantly rich in mineral resources, oil and natural gas. The State is also rich in forest products such as bamboo, cane and timber.

he State has witnessed peripheral insurgency movements occasionally. Further, the State’s territory has been used by insurgent cadres of the Assam based United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) in transit. Districts of Tirap and Changlang have witnessed activities of the both factions of the Nagaland-based National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) as well as the Khaplang faction of the NSCN (NSCN-K).