Monday, February 6, 2023


Nagaland has basically an agricultural economy. A great ambition of the villager is to have a bumper harvest. One of the important  motivation behind  the practice of head-hunting in the past, was the belief that it would ensure a good harvest.

A remarkable feature of economy, is that there are no absentee landlords and there is no class of landless peasants. The village society is so organised that the basic requirement of food, clothing and shelter are guaranteed to all the members. The population as a whole, remain gainfully employed in productive activities and there is no surplus labour. During the Kheti season, it becomes difficult to get hired labour and if at all they are available, very high wages have to be paid. There is, however, a system of providing communal labour by forming what are called 'field companies' of men and women of the same age group. Every member of the company gets the benefits of company's labour by turn. 

The major source of revenue for the government until recently has been the house-tax. Now it is supplemented by the sale proceeds of forest products and tax of urban commodities. 

In tribal area like Nagaland, the obstacles to economic development generally arise out of the prevailing physical, social and economic conditions. The physical condition relate to the hilly terrain, dense forests and difficult communications. The social obstacles are the people's initial apathy to any kind of innovation, lack of education and primitive methods of production. The economic difficulties are the dearth of capital, absence of marketing centres, and similar other factors. To these we may also add the political condition  arising out of the subversive activities of the underground Nagas. A planned effort in nevertheless being made to circumvent these bottlenecks and develop the area. Preliminary investigation were carried out by the National Council of Applied Economic  Research, and this was followed by a detailed examination of the techno-economic data.

In education and road  building, the progress has been phenomenal. The urge for education has today replaced the old craving for heads. A girl may refuse to marry an uneducated man in the same manner as, in the earlier days, she refused to accept a partner who had not taken a single head. In the field of education Nagaland is not so developed. Even though there are educated people, they prefer white-collar employment. They hesitate to take agriculture as occupation. Hence, government has to take steps to find suitable employment opportunities for them. 

There were hardly any motorable roads in the Naga hills (except the highway from Dimapur to Morch in Manipur) till Independence. Now, the total road length is about 9,315 km. Dimapur is the only place where rail and air services are available. In road-building, the efforts of the state government have been adequately supplemented by the border roads task force. The roads cut by the border roads, between Kohima and Meluri, Mokokchung and Tuensang and Akhegwo and Tuensang are feats of engineering skill.

There has been a substantial expansion of medical and public health  facilities. To overcome the shortage of doctors, the State Government has been granting liberal stipends to students studying medicine.

Water supply schemes have also been undertaken so that the women folk do not have to walk long distances for this basic necessity of life. 

Forests being an important source of revenue, measures have been initiated to develop them. Forests area is divided into three categories : Reserved forests, Protected forests and Private forests. The percentage of forest area to the total land area is about 33%. The forest department has established wild life sanctuaries, zoological park, botanical garden, forest training schools and a seasoning and treatment plant. 

Electricity has now reached the interior villages from where darkness has been displaced. Nagaland was the first state in the North-east to achieve 100% rural electrification by 1988. 

A department of geology and mining was set up. Extensive and intensive mineral survey and investigation show an encouraging picture of the mineral potential of the state. The important minerals include high-grade limestone, coal, copper, chromium, slate, oil and natural gas etc.

Social welfare has not been neglected. Schemes for the care of the mentally and physically handicapped are being implemented. A few vocational training centres have been started.