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Mizoram lies in the north east end of India, much of its southern part sandwiched between Bangladesh and Myanmar. It is situated between 21.56 to 24.31 degrees north latitude and 92.16 to 93.26 degrees east longitude, extending over a land area of 21,087 square kilometers. The Tropic of Cancer passes by the capital city, Aizawl. The length of the state from north to south is 277 km. At the broadest from east to west, it is 121 km.
Its major length in the west borders the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, spanning 318 km. In the east and the south, its border with the Chin Hills and Northern Arakans of Myanmar extends to about 404 km. On the Indian side, Mizoram is bounded by the states of Assam, Manipur and Tripura. The length of its borders with these states extends over 123 km, 95 km. and 66 km, respectively.
Districts�8; Sub-Divisions�15; Development Blocks�22; Villages�817; Towns�22; City�1. There are no City or Town Councils. These are administered by Local administration Department (LAD) of the State Government. Autonomous District Councils � 3, namely, the Chakma, Lai and Mara District Councils in the southern region.
Mizoram is a mountainous region which became the 23rd State of the Indian Union in February, 1987. It was one of the districts of Assam till 1973 when it became a Union Territory. Sandwiched between Myanmar in the east and south and Bangladesh in the west, Mizoram occupies an area of great strategic importance in the north-eastern corner of India. It has a total of 722 Km. boundary with Myanmar and Bangladesh. Mizoram has the most variegated hilly terrain in the eastern part of India. The hills are steep and are separated by rivers which flow whether to the north or south creating deep gorges between the hill ranges. The average height of the hill is about 1000 meters. The highest peak in Mizoram is the Blue Mountain (Phawngpui) with a height of 2210 meters.
Mizoram is a mountainous region, which became the 23rd State of the Union in February 1987. It was one of the districts of Assam till 1972 when it became Union Territory. Mizoram is a state with one of the highest literacy rates in India. Situated on the extreme south of the north-eastern India, it is a land of unending natural beauty with an array of flora and fauna. It has 40 seats of legislative assembly. One member each represents the state in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Socio Economic Profile
Mizoram is one of the north eastern states of India, and like its sister states its rich in every aspect of nature and culture. Dense forests, lush green hills and lots of bamboo everywhere, pristine waterfalls and transparent lakes present great tourism opportunities. Spreading of a small population of about 10 lakhs over an area of 20000 kilometer square, has led to a low population density of about 50 per kilometer square, which makes Mizoram the third state in India with the lowest population density, as shown by the Mizoram state census done in 2011. The density has increased in last 10 years. Population growth rate, however, has decreased by approximately 10%, and currently stands at about 20%. The percentage of literate population is in the 90's, and has also been subjected to positive increment. Increase in female literacy is more than double of that in males.
Mizoram is a highly literate agrarian economy, but suffers from slash-and-burn jhum or shifting cultivation, and poor crop yields. In recent years, the jhum farming practices are steadily being replaced with a significant horticulture and bamboo products industry. The state's gross state domestic product for 2012 was estimated at ₹6991 crore (US$1.1 billion). About 20% of Mizoram's population lives below poverty line, with 35% rural poverty.The state has about 871 kilometers of national highways, with NH-54 and NH-150 connecting it to Assam and Manipur respectively. It is also a growing transit point for trade with Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Mizoram gross state domestic product (GSDP)
in 2011-2012 was about ₹6991 crore (US$1.1 billion). The state's
gross state domestic product (GSDP) growth rate was nearly 10%
annually over 2001-2013 period. With international borders with
Bangladesh and Myanmar, it is an important port state for southeast
Asian imports to India, as well as exports from India.
The biggest contributors to state's GSDP growth are Agriculture, Public Administration and Construction work. Tertiary sector of service sector continued to have the contribution to the GSDP with its share hovering between 58 per cent and 60 per cent during the past decade.
As of 2013, according to the Reserve Bank of India, 20.4% of total state population is below poverty line, about same as the 21.9% average for India. Rural poverty is significantly higher in Mizoram, with 35.4% below the poverty line compared to India's rural poverty average of 25.7; while in urban areas of Mizoram, 6.4% are below the poverty line.
Mizoram has a highly literate work force, with literacy rate of nearly 90% and widespread use of English. The state has a total of 4,300 kilometers of roads of which 927 kilometers are high quality national highways and 700 kilometers of state highways. The state is developing its Kolodyne river for navigation and international trade. Mizoram's airport is at the capital city of Aizawl. The state is a power deficit state, with plans to develop its hydroelectric potential. After agriculture, the major employer of its people include handloom and horticulture industries. Tourism is a growth industry. In 2008, the state had nearly 7,000 registered companies. The state government has been implementing Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to encourage economic growth
Geography Natural Resources:
The mountain ranges in Mizoram run from north to south and largely taper from the middle of the state towards the north, the west and the south. The ranges in the west are steep and precipitous while e those in the east are somewhat gentler. The average height of the hills in the west is 1000 meters, gradually rising to 1,300 meters in the east. There are several mountain peaks of medium height. The highest peak in Mizoram is Phawngpui (Blue Maountain), which is 2,157 m. high and is located in the southeastern part of the State.
Mizoram is interspersed with numerous rivers, streams and brooks. The important rivers in the northern part of the state, flowing northwards, are the Barak (Tuiruang) and its tributaries, the Tlawng (Dhaleshwari), the Tuirial (Sonai) and the Tuivai. The Tuivawl, a tributary of the Tuivai, is another important river in the area. The Barak, the Daleshwari, the Tuivai and the Sonai are navigable for considerable stretches. The Daleshwari in particular had been the main entry and exit routes for Mizoram through the ages. Forest produce like timber and bamboo are floated down the river from the interior of the hills to the plains of Cachar in Assam while food, consumer goods and merchandise are brought by boats from the Assam plains to the hills of Mizoram. Before fair weather road from Silchar in Cachar district of Assam to Aizawl was constructed during World War II, the administration depended entirely on this river for transportation of men and material. The Barak and the Tuivai constitute the borderline between Manipur and Mizoram and the two territories have through the centuries shared the facilities provided by these rivers.
The most important river in the southern region of the state is the Chhimtuipui (Kolodyne) with its four main tributaries � the Mat, the Tuichang, the Tiau and the Tuipui. The Kolodyne flows into Mizoram from Myanmar and turns west first and then southward within Mizoram and reenters Myanmar. Though interrupted by rapids, some stretches of the river in Mizoram are navigable. The Khawthlangtuipui (Karnaphuli) and its tributaries � the Tuichawng, the Phaireng, the Kau, the Deh and the Tuilianpui � form the western drainage system. The Karnaphuli enters Bangladesh at Demagiri; at its mouth sits the port city of Chittagong.
The common rocks found in Mizoram are sandstone, shale; silt stone, clay stone and slates. The rock system is weak and unstable, prone to seismic influence. Soils vary from sandy loam and clayey loam to clay, generally mature but leached owing to steep gradient and heavy rainfall. The �soils are porous with poor water holding capacity, deficient in potash, phosphorous, nitrogen and even humus.
Mizoram has abundant natural bamboo resources. Around 57 per cent of the area of the state is covered by bamboo forests, located in the areas ranging in height from 400 m to 1500 m above the mean sea level. These forests are situated mainly in the river banks and abandoned jhum lands, forming a dominant secondary vegetation. Both the clump forming and non-clump forming bamboos are found in most parts of Mizoram. The exception is the high land parts of the eastern region. There are 20 species of bamboo in the state, of which Melocanna baccifera, locally called �Mautak�, is the dominant. Forming no clumps, it is a fast spreading bamboo. The culms grow up to 8-10 m tall and are extensively used for construction of houses in the rural areas, especially for walling and flooring, and temporary dwelling of various sorts. They are also used for furniture, fencing, weaving and pulping, but are not yet processed for industrial use. During rainy season, the shoots form an important item of food for the population. At present, the State Government claims to have received annually Rs. 8 million in revenue mainly from bulk sales of unprocessed bamboos. This is done through the Mahal system, a practice of contracting out the rights of harvesting bamboos to individuals or firms on payment of nominal royalties.
Mizoram as a whole receives an average rainfall of about 3000 mm a year, with Aizawl getting 2380 mm and 3,178 mm for Lunglei in the south. Rainfall is usually evenly distributed throughout the state. During rains the climate in the lower hills and river gorges is highly humid and exhausting for people, whereas it is cool and pleasant in the higher hills even during the hot season. A rather peculiar characteristic of the climate is the incidence of violent storms during March-early May. Strong storms arise from the north-west and sweep over the entire hills, often causing extensive damages to �kacha� (temporary) dwellings and flowering perennials.
Temperature varies from about 12 degrees C in winter to 30 degrees C plus in summer. Winter is from November to February, with little or no rain during this period. Spring lasts from end February to mid-April. Heavy rains start in June and continue up to August. September and October are the autumn months when the rain is intermittent.
The economic life of the Mizos has always been centered around jhum or shifting cultivation. During the rule of the Chiefs, the chiefs distributed jhum land every year from the land under their control to their subjects. The Village Councils now do the allocation of jhum land by letting the villagers draw lots. The sizes of the plots used to be usually between 1.5 and 3 hectares per family, depending on the number of able-bodied persons in a family.
However, as land available for jhuming is becoming less due to allotment of lands to individuals, plot sizes in recent years have become smaller. Besides, the earning per man day in this practice of farming is so low that many young people now prefer to work as wage earners in services and other sectors. Jhum sites selection is done in November/December and by mid February, felling of the vegetation is usually finished. The dried vegetation must be set on fire preferably before the early rains in mid March. After the unburned debris of trees and bamboos are cleared, the plot is ready for cultivation.
The crops grown in the plots are mixed. Paddy remains the principal crop and others that are inevitably grown are common vegetables and pulses for household consumption. Nowadays, cash crops such as ginger, tumeric, bird�s eye chilly, oil seeds, maize, sugar cane, etc are grown. A variety of spices, herbs, flowers, fruits and oil seeds like sesame, soybeans and mustard and cotton can grow well in Mizoram. The basic problem is the method of farming the land, that is, the practice of shifting cultivation, which causes depletion of forests and biodiversity, soil erosion as also a complex of environmental damages.
Crop yields from unleveled lands cannot be very high either and new scientific thinking says that it is better to improve them through scientific methods than through replacement with plantations which represent an alien interaction into a scientific pro-environmental as well as silk zone. It is important to better jhum restrict its spread and involve micro-credit agencies and give better alternative markets. The jhumias is poor and marginalized. His work and that of his fellow to be and improved. That lives and income grow, instead of condemning them with the prejudice of government and insensitive �encouragements�. Alternative arrangements such as settled farming have not worked. This remains the basic task facing the governments that has yet to be structurally dealt with. Attempts to change the practice of jhuming through the programmes initiated by the Congress under the New Land Use Policy and by the present MNF government under the Mizoram Intodelh (Self Sufficiency) Project (MIP) have so far made no substantial difference.
Mizoram has no known mineral resources, which are commercially exploitable. The few surveys that the Geological Survey of India and the Oil and Natural Gas Commission have conducted so far did not find any. In addition to human resources, the only natural resources of Mizoram are its fertile but fragile soil, forests, sub-tropical climatic condition in slopes of varied elevation and highly conducive to growth of various fruits, flowers and crops, and its numerous rivers. About these natural resources have already been detailed.
As the network of post offices depends for the dispatch of mails on the physical transport system, its services are relatively slow. Non-courier mails from Delhi take a week or more to reach Aizawl while Speed Post takes about 3 to 4 working days. The population per Post Office in 1993-94 was 1920. As of June 2003, there were nine telephone exchanges in Mizoram with working connections in the Secondary Switching Area, numbering 54255 subscribers. The telephone equipment currently has the capacity for 73120 connections. Mizoram is now linked by an underground optic fibre wires. The telecom system still does not have the capacity for information highway. During the year preceding June 2003, 1027 new Internet connections were provided.
Water supply during the dry season has always been a special problem of Mizoram. The villages were traditionally situated on hilltops, as a part of the strategy for defence against on coming enemies. The practice has still continued. Thus, the only viable way to provide water supply to these settlements is to pump river water to a reservoir located on a high point above the settlements and distribute the water by gravity. This is being done for the urban areas and some selected villages. With the chronic shortage of electric power supply, it will be a long way before adequate supply of water, if at all, can be arranged for the people of Mizoram
The department of School Education and that of the Higher and Technical Education are in charge of human resource development. Like in the rest of India, a scheme for quality education for all (Sarva Shiksha Abhyian) was introduced in 2003 in Mizoram. Under this scheme, all children in the age group of 6 to 14 years are expected to attend school. In 2003, there were 8,985 out of school children from this age group as compared to 17,993 in 2002, representing a signal progress. For the age group of 15 to 35 years, a new project called �Eradication of Residual Illiteracy� (ERIP) has been introduced. With the implementation of these two projects, the State expects to achieve full literacy by 2007.
The main weakness of the education system has been the continuing lack of technical equipment and quality staff for science and technical education at the school level. This has cumulatively resulted in a very low proportion of scientists and technologists among the educated Mizos. There is also a distinct lack of what might be termed �scientific temper� among the intellectuals. At present, except for veterinary sciences, there is no degree level school for engineering or medical subjects. The Mizoram University, which opened in 2001, has not been able to introduce courses in physical sciences.
Banking and Finance:
The common people in Mizoram seldom use banking instruments for their financial transactions. They mostly use cash money. Those who use banks do it mainly for saving or term deposits. Taking loans from banks against collaterals is also popular. The number of �bad loans� is said to be high, particularly those loans extended by the first financial institution set up by the State, Zoram Industrial Development Corporation (ZIDCO)
There are two central government spionsored financial institutions, North Eastern Development Finance Corporation (NEDFI) and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), which have recently opened branch offices in Mizoram with junior official representatives. These two have yet to make substantial contribution to the development of Mizoram. Full fledged banks that are operating in Mizoram are: State Bank of India (SBI); Vijayya Bank; United Commercial Bank; Mizoram Cooperative Apex Bank; Mizoram Rural Bank and Mizoram Urban Cooperative Bank.
The state is the southern most in India's far northeast, placing Mizoram in a disadvantageous position in terms of logistical ease, response time during emergencies, and its transport infrastructure. Prior to 1947, the distance to Kolkata from Mizoram was shorter; but ever since, travel through Bangladesh has been avoided, and traffic loops through Assam an extra 1,400 kilometers to access the economic market of West Bengal. This remoteness from access to economic markets of India is balanced by the state's closeness to southeast Asian market and its over 700 kilometers of international boundary.
Road Network: In 2012, Mizoram had a road network of around 8,500 kilometres (5,300 mi) including unsurfaced village roads to surfaced national highways; and there were 106,000 registered motor vehicles. The village roads are primarily single lane or unmetalled tracks that are typically lightly trafficked. Mizoram had 871 kilometers of national highways, 1,663 kilometers of state highways and 2,320 kilometers of surfaced district roads. All of Mizoram�s 23 urban centers and 59% of its 764 villages are connected by all weather roads. However, landslide and weather damage to these roads is significant in parts. The State is connected to the Indian network through Silchar in Assam through the National Highway 54. Another highway, NH-150 connects the state's Seling Mizoram to Imphal Manipur and NH-40A links the State with Tripura. A road between Champhai and Tiddim in Burma has been proposed and is awaiting cooperation from the Burmese authorities.
Airport: Mizoram has an airport, Lengpui Airport (IATA: AJL), near Aizawl and its runway is 3,130 feet long at an elevation of 1,000 feet. Aizawl airport is linked from Kolkata � a 40-minute flight. Inclement weather conditions mean that at certain times the flights are unreliable. Mizoram can also be reached via Assam's Silchar Airport, which is about 200 kilometres (120 mi), around 6 hours) by road to Aizawl.
Railway: There is a rail link at Bairabi rail station but it is primarily for goods traffic. The nearest practical station to Mizoram is at Silchar in Assam. Bairabi is about 110 kilometres (68 mi) and Silchar is about 180 kilometres (110 mi) from the state capital. The Government is now planning to start a broad gauge Bairabi Sairang Railway connection for better connectivity in the state.
Helicopter: A Helicopter service by Pawan Hans has been started which connects the Aizawl with Lunglei, Lawngtlai, Saiha, Chawngte, Serchhip, Champhai, Kolasib, Khawzawl and Hnahthial.
Water Ways: Mizoram is in the process of developing water ways with the port of Akyab Sittwe in Burma along its biggest river, Chhimtuipui. It drains into Burma's Rakhine state, and finally enters the Bay of Bengal at Akyab, which is a popular port in Sittwe, Burma. The Indian government considers it a priority to set up inland water ways along this river to trade with Burma. The project is known as the Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport Project. India is investing $103 million to develop the Sittwe port on Burma's northern coast, about 160 kilometres (99 mi) from Mizoram. State Peace and Development Council of Burma has committed $10 million for the venture. The project is expected to be complete in 2015, and consists of two parts. First, river Kaladan (or Kolodyne, Chhimtuipui) is being dredged and widened from the port at Sittwe to Paletwa, in Chin province, adjacent to Mizoram. This 160 km inland waterway will enable cargo ships to enter, upload and offload freight in Paletwa, Myanmar; this is expected to be complete in 2014. As second part of the project, being constructed in parallel, includes a 62 km two-lane highway from Paletwa (also known as Kaletwa or Setpyitpyin) to Lomasu, Mizoram. Additionally, an all weather multilane 100 km road from Lomasu to Lawngtlai in Mizoram is being built to connect it with the Indian National Highway 54. This part of the project is slated to be complete by 2015. Once complete, this project is expected to economically benefit trade and horticulture exports of Mizoram, as well as improve economic access to 60 million people of landlocked northeast India and Myanmar.