Meghalaya (abode of the clouds), also known as the 'Scotland of
the East' for its scenic magnificence, was inaugurated as an autonomous
state on April 2, 1970 and was declared a state of the Indian Union
on Jan 21, 1972. Situated between 89.460 to 94.360 East Longitude
and 25.050 to 26.410 North latitude, Meghalaya is surrounded by
Assam on the north and the east and by Bangladesh on the south and
the west. Spread over a geographical area of 22,429 sq km, Meghalaya
comprises 0.68 per cent of the country's total landmass and 8.55
per cent of that of the North East.
Meghalaya is home to two main tribal formations: Hynniewtreps and
the Achiks. The Khasi, Jaintia, Bhoi, War tribes belonging to the
Proto Austroloid Monkhmer race are collectively known as the Hynniewtrep
people who predominantly inhabit the districts of East Meghalaya,
The Garo Hills is predominantly inhabited by the Garos, belonging
to the Bodo family of the Tibeto-Burman race who are said to have
migrated from Tibet. The Garos prefer to call themselves as Achiks.
The state of Meghalaya is sparsely populated due to its rugged terrains
and inhospitable environment. According to the census report of
2001, Meghalaya has a total population of 2,306,069 constituting
0.22 percent population of India and 5.91 per cent of North East.
It has a density of 103 persons per sq km and ranks 24th in India
in terms of population density. According to the Census of 1991,
nearly 65 per cent of the population practised Christianity.
Agriculture is one of the basic means of subsistence in this tribal
state. About 65.89 percent of the total working population are cultivators
and agricultural labourers. The gross state domestic product or
the per capita income at current prices has been calculated at Rs.
14, 726 for the year 2000-2001. Meghalaya ranks 24th in the human
resource development index and 28th in the poverty index in India.
The literacy rate of Meghalaya is 63.61 per cent, which is lower
than the national literacy rate of 65.20 per cent.
Meghalaya is rich in natural resources. However, the growth of industries
in the State is still in the rudimentary stage.