Agricultural Sustainability in the North Eastern Region of India

A Sustainable Livelihood Security Index (SLSI) Approach




Agriculture Sustainability, North-Eastern Region, Ecological Security, Economic Efficiency, Livelihood


This paper offers an economic analysis of agricultural sustainability in the North Eastern Region (NER) of India by calculating the sustainable livelihood security index (SLSI) of each state. The SLSI serves as an important indicator for educating farmers and other stakeholders about sustainable agriculture production. This paper focuses on the NER as this region has received meagre attention in policy perspectives and is deprived in terms of various socio-economic and ecological indicators as compared to the rest of India. The findings show that various components of the SLSI, such as the ecological security index, economic efficiency index, and social equity index, have wide interstate variations. The agricultural sector in the NER has largely been neglected, with the state failing to adopt inclusive policies to uplift small and marginal farmers. The region suffers from severe poverty and malnutrition, improper management, over-exploitation of natural resources, and population explosion. These issues are a threat to agricultural sustainability. The study aims to identify the key factors that influence agricultural sustainability for inclusive and sustainable agricultural development. The findings show that the value of the SLSI ranged from 0.37 to 0.56 among the North Eastern states, which shows low agricultural sustainability.


Metrics Loading ...


Alam, K (Ed). 1993. Agricultural Development in Northeast India Constraints and Prospects. New Delhi: Deep and Deep Publications.

Barah, B C. 2007. “Strategies for Agricultural Development in Northeast India: Challenges and Emerging Opportunities.” Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics 62 (1): 1–19.

Bezbaruah, M P. 2006. “Agricultural Development in the North-East: Status, Assessment and Prospects.” Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics 61 (3): 561–570.

Birthal, Pratap Singh. 2010. “Unlocking the Potential of Agriculture in North-eastern Hill Region of India.” Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics 65 (3): 1–15.

Birthal, Pratap Singh, Awadhesh K Jha, Pramod Kumar Joshi, and D K Singh. 2006. “Agricultural Diversification in North Eastern Region of India: Implications for Growth and Equity.” Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics 61 (3); 328–340.

Census of India. 2011. Population Census of India, 2011. Office of Registrar General, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

Convoy, Gordon R. 1985. “Agroecosystem Analysis.” Agricultural Administration 20(1): 31–35.

Deshmukh, M S and Digvijay R Patil. 2020. “Economic Analysis of Agricultural Sustainability in Satara District of Maharashtra.” Agricultural Situation in India 77 (3): 11–21.

Dev, S Mahendra. 2018. “Transformation of Indian Agriculture? Growth Inclusiveness and Sustainability.” Working Paper 2018-026. Mumbai: Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research.

FAO. 1984. “Potential Population Supporting Capacities of Land in the Developing Countries.” Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization.

FAO. 1991. “Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development in Asia and Pacific.” Regional Document No. 2, FAO/Netherlands Conference on Agriculture and the Environment, Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, 15–19 April. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization.

Ghosh, Sujan. 2019. “Is the Indian Government Impeding Infrastructure Development in North East India?” Economic & Political Weekly 54 (17).

Government of India. 2013. Basic Road Statistics of India, 2012–13. New Delhi: Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India.

Government of India. 2018. Agricultural Statistics at a Glance, 2018. New Delhi: Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India.

Government of India. 2020. Economic Survey, 2019–20. New Delhi: Economic Division, Ministry of Finance.

Government of India. 2015. “Basic Statistics of the North Eastern Region.” Shillong: North Eastern Council Secretariate and Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region.

Hatai, L D and Chandra Sen. 2008. “An Economic Analysis of Agricultural Sustainability in Orissa.” Agricultural Economics Research Review 21 (2): 273–282.

International Food Policy Research Institute. 2015. “2014–2015 Global Food Policy Report.” Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute.

Jain, Ankur. 2018. “Analysis of Growth and Instability in Area, Production, Yield and Price of Rice in India.” Social Change and Development 15 (2): 46–66.

Jeeva, Solomon Retna Dhas Nadar, Roytre Christopher, and Bhanu Prakash Mishra. 2006. “Traditional Agricultural Practices in Meghalaya, North East India.” Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge 5 (1): 7–18.

Konwar, Paranan. 2015. “Socio-economic Conditions, Inequality and Deprivations in North East India.” Munich Personal RePEc Archive.

NSSO. 2012. National Sample Survey 2011–2012 (68th Round). New Delhi: National Sample Survey Organization, Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation, Government of India.

Nayak, Purusottam. 2009. “Human Development in Northeastern Region of India: Issues and Challenges.” SSRN Electronic Journal.

Nayak, Purusottam. 2013. “Development and Deprivation in Meghalaya.” SSRN Electronic Journal.

NEDFi. n.d. North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Databank.

North Eastern Council and Government of India. 2017. “North Eastern Council Regional Plan (2017–18 to 2019–20).”

Padhi, Balakrushna, M K Khan, and Lalhriatchiani. 2020. “A Poverty Decomposition Analysis for the Northeastern Region of India.” Review of Development and Change 25 (2): 237-55.

Parikh, J K (Ed). 2013. Sustainable Development of Agriculture. Springer Science and Business Media.

Roy, A, D S Dkhar, A K Tripathi, N U Singh, D Kumar, S K Das, and A Debnath. 2014. “Growth Performance of Agriculture and Allied Sectors in North East India.” Economic Affairs 59: 783–95.

Roy, A, N U Singh, D S Dkhar, A K Mohanty, S B Singh, and A K Tripathi. 2015. “Food Security in North East Region of India: A State-wise Analysis.” Agricultural Economics Research Review 28: 259–266.

Sajjad, Haroon, Iffat Nasreen, and Shahzad Ali Ansari. 2014. “Assessing Spatiotemporal Variation in Agricultural Sustainability Using Sustainable Livelihood Security Index: Empirical Illustration from Vaishali District of Bihar, India.” Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems 38 (1): 46–68.

Saleth, R M. 1991. “Measuring Sustainability in a Regional and Resource-Specific Context: The Case of a Groundwater Aquifer System.” Discussion Paper No. 46, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Bombay.

Saleth, R M. 1993. “Developing Indicators of Sustainable Development at the Global Level: Approach, Framework and Empirical Illustrations.” Delhi: Institute of Economic Growth.

Saleth, R M and M S Swaminathan. 1993. “Sustainable Livelihood Security at the Household Level: Concept and Evaluation Methodology.” In Proceedings of an Interdisciplinary Dialogue on Ecotechnology and Rural Employment, Chennai, 12–15 April, 105–122.

Singh, P K and B N Hiremath. 2010. “Sustainable Livelihood Security Index in a Developing Country: A Tool for Development Planning.” Ecological Indicators 10 (2): 442–451.

Swaminathan, M S. 1991. “From Stockholm to Rio de Janeiro: The Road to Sustainable Agriculture (Monograph No. 4).” Madras: MS Swaminathan Research Foundation.

Syiem, Rebekka, and Saravanan Raj. 2015. “Access and Usage of ICTs for Agriculture and Rural Development by the Tribal Farmers in Meghalaya State of North-East India.” Journal of Agricultural Informatics 6 (3): 24–41.

Veluguri, Divya, G V Ramanjaneyulu, and Lindsay Jaacks. 2019. “Statewise Report Cards on Ecological Sustainability of Agriculture in India.” Economic & Political Weekly 54 (26–27): 19–27.

Vishwanathan, K U. 2015. “Is Growth in Agriculture Propelled by Its Allied Sectors in Northeast India?” Agricultural Economics Research Review 28: 69–80.

World Bank. 2008. “World Development Report 2008: Agriculture for Development.” Washington, DC: World Bank.

World Health Organization. n.d. “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

Additional Files





Research Paper