Economy of Meghalaya

The growth and development of any country are judged by its economy. Agriculture is considered being one of the key industries in the Country of India. It amounts to approximately 18% of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) which has resulted in the employment of close to 50% of the country’s workforce.

Since Meghalaya is predominantly known to be an agrarian economy, nearly one-third of the total workforce is part of agricultural activities and 80% of the population depends on the livelihood of the agriculture of the state, which is not a small number. Despite this, the vast population of Meghalaya remains to be poor not only in terms of livelihood but also in terms of their contribution to India's GDP.

It is a known fact that regions of Meghalaya are considered to be the wettest place in the world, and due to its average annual rainfall of about 1,150cm, the state can succeed highly in the diverse cultivation of traditional and non-traditional crops.

Because of various ranges of soil types in the state (which includes red loamy and laterite), Meghalaya can conceive crops like maize, pulses, oilseeds, cotton, jute, Mesta amongst others. It is also able to support and market other crops like tea, cashew nuts, oilseeds, tomato, mushrooms, wheat, potato, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, areca nut, bay leaf, etc. Research says that rice is considered to be the dominant food grain in the state. This is the reason why one can notice that majority of the food cuisines of Meghalaya have rice followed by maize.

As per the latest report of the year 2019-2020, Meghalaya has seen the growth of around 393.51 thousand tons of fruits and 75.38 thousand tons of spices. You must also know that Meghalaya is the root for horticulture crops like orange, litchi, lemon, banana, jack fruits, plum, pear, peach, etc.
When we precisely look into the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the state of Meghalaya, one of the seven sisters has reached Rs. 0.37 trillion in 2019-2020. The state’s GDP has seen a huge spike during the period 2015-2016 to 2019-2020 at a CAGR of 9.85%.

Even though the Meghalayan people are considered to be one of the progressive creatures in the country, they hesitate and avoid using modern technology which has resulted and tampered with the productivity, yields, and efficiency of cultivation in the state.

Since Meghalaya is the hotspot for agriculture cultivation, one cannot be surprised by the fact that nearly 60% of the state’s land has been dedicated to it.

Even though Meghalaya is considered to playing a role in the agrarian economy, it has also been contributing largely in terms of mines including coal, limestone, sillimanite, kaolin, and granite amongst others. The mining industry was possible due to the existence of natural resources which has embraced the whole state. Coal is the star of the Meghalayan mining industry, thus contributing largely to the thermal power industry.

Several ongoing thermal projects are being conducted in this state free of clouds. The Garo Hill thermal project is expected to generate 751MW of bonus power. The state government is putting tremendous efforts into generating the thermal power of 700-980MW and hydroelectricity of 2000-2500 MW.

Along with contributing to the mining industry, Meghalaya has got a huge unused potential for hydroelectricity. The sturdy mountains, deep gorges, and never-ending rains have given birth to hydroelectricity. The current capacity of the state is 185MW, but the states use around 610MW. When assessed, the capacity has exceeded 3000MW.

It is compelling that the state which has the power to export the hydroelectric generated electricity; imports electricity instead and with development at its peak; the state has witnessed enormous demand for the inevitable electricity. To make the whole procedure cost-effected, they have proposed and approve the public-private model scheme to push the private sector into the power sector.

Despite Meghalaya being rich in its natural resources, this has resulted in poor infrastructure and unsatisfactory industrialization. This is a perfect example of each coin having two sides.

Literacy of the state also plays a huge role in contributing towards the economic growth of not only the state but also the country. As per the records, this state of India is considered to be the 27th most literate state which is very low. However, steps are being taken by the respective state to increase the literacy rate by monitoring and scrutinizing the quality of teachers, infrastructure, and books and creating awareness amongst the people of the state.

Introduction of new courses like cloud computing, and the inauguration of big universities Indian Institute of Management better known as IIM, and the University of Technology and Management (USTM) have encouraged students around the world which have played a big role in the GDP of the state. One must know that IIM shilling is considered to be one of the top-ranked management institutes in the country.

People swear by the saying of ‘Health is wealth’. Meghalaya has over 10 government dispensaries, around 20 community health centers, 90 primary health centers, and around 400 sub-centers. Various programs were launched in this state to aid the people with tuberculosis, leprosy, cancer, and mental diseases in the state. This has affected and resulted in a low fatality rate and higher life expectancy in the state, however, the state is still struggling with other areas in the health department.

One must also note that according to the reports given by the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal trade (DPIIT), cumulative Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow in the state was $122 million against the exports of $44.26 million in the financial year 2019-2020.

Since people of Meghalaya people are fond of handicrafts, this has led to promote go local for vocal which has made a great impact on the economy of the state.

With time, the state has also seen development in roads, railways, and aviation. Earlier there was seen restriction in the entry of foreign tourists in the country, but during 1955 this barrier was removed, opened a huge opportunity for tourism in the state. The beauty rewarded by this is no less than any other place in the entire universe. It has its spell, charm, and significance.