Northeast India, like the rest of the country, needs workers with employable skills and knowledge to contribute to its economic growth. With the anticipated economic growth in the region over the next decade, the state governments have launched several initiatives to skill the unemployed youth. These initiatives, with the help of Corporate Social Responsibilty funds, will help equip young people with the skills they need to get jobs and participate in the region's economic development.
CSR in North-East gets less than 2% of the total budget of India Inc. There are several reasons and challenges behind this low investment:
Tough Terrain and connectivity: The infrastructure in the northeast region is not well-developed, which severely limits the connectivity and transportation options available. This lack of resources makes it very difficult to mobilize teams and execute projects in a timely manner. If there were more economic activities in the region, this would help to develop the infrastructure. The roads are not well-built and there is no supply chain network for food or other items.
Distance from the Economic Centres: The CSR act recommends focusing on operational geography. It helps the corporates in monitoring the project and movement of the assets. As a result, the majority of the fund goes to the already developed states. On the other hand, there are huge areas like North-East states, which require immediate attention but get none because of their connectivity issues.
Third-party implementing partners: The tough terrain and fewer facilities presents a challenge to the implementing agencies as well. There are very few genuine partners who have experience or are available for collaboration at a remote location. As a result, the region gets a lesser number of projects.
The areas of intervention
Let’s talk about some of the most relevant areas which need development in the Northeast.
Healthcare: In a recently conducted poll on LinkedIn, more than 21% of voters believe to increase total workforce participation in NE, we need to invest in the Healthcare sector. Rural India depends upon Primary healthcare centers for medical assistance, but the health of the healthcare centers themselves isn’t very good. We need more health centers, technicians, doctors, and nurses in remote locations. Hence, skill development in the healthcare sector should be considered a priority in NE.
Tourism: More than 46% of voters gave their confidence in Tourism as the greatest potential for generating income and employment opportunities in North-East Indian states. NE India is not only characterized by the blending of flora and fauna it is also exceptionally rich in biodiversity. Moreover, the wildlife sanctuaries at various places in North-East India can attract tourists from all over the world.
IT/ Digital Education: The corporate world can help change the current situation of a lack of digital infrastructure in underdeveloped regions by taking the necessary steps to bring technology to students of the northeast. Knowledge about the latest technologies, tools and digital courses can help students be up-to-date and enable them to compete in the job market after graduation. This will not only help improve the lives of students, but it will also give companies access to a larger talent pool.
Skill development programs and out-of-the-box thinking are the need of the hour in NE.
The northeastern states of India have a rich potential and offer a lot of potential to the outside world. The area is blessed with natural resources to capitalize on and a good population of youth to put to work. The northeast is a hilly region which offers a lot of potential for tourism. The northeast is also famous for its spices and handicrafts, which have immense potential for business and marketing. The government has already created some infrastructure and started some initiatives in the region to generate more awareness. The top leadership of the region is aggressive and proactive in development. A slight push from the corporate through CSR programs can take the region to the global level.