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