Development strategy for the hill districts of Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand, in spite of being a small state, has certain key features that make it distinct from other states of the country and highlights its potential for development. However, development has predominantly been in the plains, and the hill districts have been left behind. All the hill districts have subsistence farming as their main economic activity. Due to subsistence livelihood, migration and a remittance economy operate in the hill districts. They are land-locked with huge distances between the markets and resources. Because of these constraints, traditional agriculture cannot be the lead sector for development. Thus the state faces the challenge of promoting livelihoods to minimize migration through local employment and income generation, and to enhance the quality of life of people living in villages. This study recommends measures for addressing the critical constraints on achieving rapid and inclusive growth, identifies sectors where hill districts have a comparative advantage, and suggests policies to exploit this comparative advantage. The study also recommends that the development strategy for Uttarakhand hills could be based on developing an ecological brand equity under the slogan of building Uttarakhand as an Organic Green State.

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