The North Eastern region of India, a scene of multifarious political, ethnic and social conflicts, has suddenly become the hotbed of development activities, has been swamped by the inextricably linked projects of globalization of capital and development through mega projects. Financial institutions, politicians and development planners have chalked out their ‘development’ priorities for the region and are queuing up for the region. Their insidious agenda includes over 160 large dams for power export, and several other ‘development’ projects of various ilks.

Neo-liberalism inspired globalization is bringing about a massive influx of international lending agencies with their secretive terms and conditions into the region. Their interventions have serious policy ramifications with changes in public food distribution services, social expenditure by the state into health and education, privatization of utilities, legal reforms, etc. Similarly, there are direct and immediate socio-environmental effects of the large number of projects like dams, highways, pipelines that are mushrooming all over the North East.  

At an ideological level, this also has serious ramifications on the political movements that are raging in the region. Movements and struggles are confronted with a neo-liberal that has given up all pretence of welfare and has become more aggressively exploitative and militarist. The policies of the neo-liberal state flow from the foremost ideological need of resource appropriation. The self-determination and autonomy movements of the region need to adapt to the changed nature of the State as well.

International Financial Institutions (IFIs) such as the Asian Development Bank, World Bank and Japanese Bank for International Cooperation and Indian financiers including Public Finance Corporation, ICICI Bank, LIC are funding projects that and have made inroads into almost every sector including water, energy, forestry, agriculture, infrastructure, transport, trade etc.

Their investments are funding these projects, planned from outside the region thus undermining the states and peoples’ of its own decision making power and more importantly, posing questions about their sustainability as well.

Furthermore, loans from IFIs like the ADB and the World Bank are tied with stringent conditionalities which have grave repercussions on the policies of the State Governments. They are aggressively pursuing an agenda of privatization and its imprints can be already seen in the attempts to privatize the Assam State Electricity Board. These institutions privilege a corporate driven pattern of economic development over highly sophisticated systems of traditional governance and resource management

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