ripura, literally meaning land adjoining water, is located in the extreme southwest corner of the Northeast. This hilly landlocked State spreads over a total area of 10,492 square kilometres, covering approximately 0.29 per cent of the Indian landmass and 3.9 percent of the entire Northeast. This land of hilly slopes, flat lands, rivers, lakes, hillocks and forests stretches between 91.09 degree to 92.20 degree East longitude and 22.56 degree to 24.32 degree North latitude. Tripura shares 856 kilometre long international boundary (84 per cent of its total border) with Bangladesh and is surrounded by that country from the north, south and west sides. Tripura is connected with the rest of India by only one road connecting the State with Assam’s Cachar District.
Following India’s independence, Tripura acceded to the Indian Union as a ‘C’ category State. It became a Union Territory in November 1956. Tripura attained full Statehood on 21 January 1972. Administratively it is divided into four Districts, 15 sub-divisions, 38 Rural Development Blocks, 31 Revenue Circles, 183 Teshils, 874 Revenue Moujas, 962 Gram Panchayats, 3 Jilla Parishads, 18 Notified Areas, 1 Municipal Council.
Despite being geographically the smallest state in the region, Tripura is the 2 nd most populous state in the Northeast, after Assam. According to Census 2001, Tripura has a total population of 3,191,168, with a density of 304 persons per square kilometre. It constitutes 0.31 per cent population of India and 8.18 per cent of the Northeast. Even though Tripura was initially a tribal majority State, it has lost its tribal nature largely due to large-scale migration from neighbouring Bangladesh. Tribals have been reduced to a minority status leading a social upheaval in the State.
Agriculture is the mainstay of Tripura's economy. The sector provides employment to nearly 51 per cent of the total workers in the State and contributes to about 48 per cent of the State Domestic Product (SDP). A variety of horticultural/plantation crops including pineapple, orange, cashew nut, jackfruit, coconut, tea and rubber are produced in Tripura. The industrial sector has remained undeveloped. The secondary sector contributes only about five per cent of total employment and about seven per cent of the total SDP of the State.
The per capita Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) in 2004-05 is Rupees 24894 and the per capita Net State Domestic Product in 1999-2000 is Rupees 10213. Tripura ranks 22nd in the human resource development index and 24th in the poverty index in India. Bengali and Kokborak are the two principal languages in the State. The literacy rate of Tripura is 73.66 per cent.
Insurgency has remained a major bottleneck for development in the State. Principally, two tribal insurgent outfits remain active and have seriously affected the growth of infrastructure in Tripura. Divide between the Bengali and the indigenous tribal population is another continuing issue of concern, despite steps taken by the State Government to address it.