According to current statistics and estimates, approximately 36 per cent of the people of North-East India are below the poverty level. In Meghalaya, for instance, 50 per cent of the households are below the poverty level. This, according to the editors of this volume, implies that those who live below poverty level are unable to buy enough food, in almost all the states of North-East India the availability of all the food items taken together are much below the standard as recommended for a healthy life. The immediate objective of policy makers and official agencies is, thus to make standard food available to the people. Unfortunately, this remains uncertain in North-East India, and the situation is alarming. A natural corollary of this situation is widespread nutrition deficiency and at least 250 million people in India suffer from varying degrees of malnutrition: out of 100 deaths in rural India, 58 are of children and seven million children are affected by blindness because of nutrition deficiency. The picture of North-East India is dismal in this context. In view of the above state of affairs the public distribution system has an important role which has, so far, failed to reach the target groups in the countryside. This volume contains 37 papers from eminent experts on aspects of public distribution system, the overall agricultural scenario, food security, nutritional security and the related population and health issues in different parts of North-East India. Some case studies of various constituents of the region throw adequate light on the existing conditions and are useful in finding solutions to the very acute problems in North-East India in the context of the issues covered by this comprehensive book.
Debashis Bashu (b. 1961) did his M.Sc (Physical Anthropology), M.A. (Addl.) (Social Anthropology) and Ph.D from Pt. Ravishankar Shukla University, Raipur, Chhattisgarh. He has carried out field works in connection with different projects on socio-economic condition, tribal medicine, physical growth and development, nutritional status, Population Genetics, DNA Polymorphism, etc. among the tribal and non-tribal populations in different districts of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. A book (edited with Prof. R.K. Das) on North-East India in Perspective: Biology, Social Formation and Contemporary Problems and about 26 research papers published both in national and international journals of repute, are to his credit. He is the life member of different scientific societies namely, North East India Council for Social Science Research (NEICSSR), Indian Confederation of Academy of Anthropologists (INCAA) and Indian Society of Human Genetics (ISHG). Presently he is posted in Anthropological Survey of India, NERC, Shillong, as Research Associate (Physical). B. Francis Kulirani (b. 1952) is Superintending Anthropologist and Head of Office of the North-East Regional Centre (Shillong), Anthropological Survey of India. He has carried out extensive anthropological research in Kerala while being posted at the Southern Regional Centre (Mysore) of An.S.I He has a couple of books to his credit and many articles in Indian and foreign journals. In the People of India Kerala Series, published by An.S.I, he is one of the editors. His areas of research Interest comprise village / agrarian studies, sustainable community (indigenous/tribal) development through heritage tourism, ethnography and cross cultural studies and museum anthropology. B. Datt Ray (b.1922), author of Administrative History of North-East India; Tribal Identity and Tension in North-East India, and the editor of more than twelve books on North-East India, is founder Secretary of North-East India Council for Social science Research since 1974. He along with different scholars, also edited several books on North-East India. He is a veteran freedom fighter and a Tamrapatra awardee.
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