In this article, You will read Hill Area Development and Hill Area Development Program – for UPSC IAS.

Hill Area Development

  • Hill area constitutes 18% of the total area of the country where 70 million of the total population dwells.
  • Hilly areas are characterized by poor accessibility and difficult terrain. Soils on the slopes are thin less productive and prone to soil erosion.
  • The overall milieu comprising of topography, climate, culture and economy is different from plains, thus a different planning approach is required for hilly areas.
  • Most of the hill areas are tribal areas. They are also getting the benefit of Tribal Area Sub-Plan.
  • Apart from the above, all the rural development schemes are also being implemented in these areas.
  • The development of mountainous regions depends upon the development of transport, network, land development, afforestation, and energy. These four things need high expenditure.
  • Planning should be directed towards building physical infrastructure. The planning efforts should also emphasize on environmental consideration and ensure that the externalities of development do not take a toll on the natural and cultural setting of the hill areas. E.g. ideally, 60% of the geographical area of mountainous states should be forested.

Hill Area Development Program

  • Hill Area Development Program was launched during the Fifth Five Year Plan (area based planning). DDP, CADP, TADP were also launched during the plan. The basis was modified Gadgil formula for central assistance to states.
  • Hill Area Development Program focuses on people’s participation especially women with following objectives:
    • Eco-restoration
    • Eco-development
    • Eco-preservation
  • Hill Area Development Program also focused on socio-economic development of tribal communities along with conservation of soil and water resources. Development of land use plan for forest as well as cultivated areas was also focused upon.
  • As per Gadgil formula, special central assistance needs to be given to certain areas which need more financial support due to their backward situation.
  • The financial assistance will constitute 90% assistance by Central government and 10% by State Government.
  • On the basis of requirements under Gadgil formula following areas have been identified:
    • Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura, Jammu and Kashmir, Himanchal Pradesh, Uttarakhand.
    • Certain hill areas of Assam and Tamil Nadu.
    • Some talukas of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Goa.
  • The above areas account for 22% of total geographical area of India where only 10% of Indian population dwells.
  • North Eastern India is more focused under Hill Area Development Program, since 7th plan special allocation is made in the name of North Eastern Council.
  • On the field, the Hill Area Development Program objectives are being pursued in the form of several sub-plans and the allocations have drastically increased from 5th plan i.e. 540 crores to 5400 crores in 9th plan.
  • In order to strengthen physical infrastructure Ministry of Surface Transport, Railways have undertaken various projects to expand and improve roadways, railways, and waterways in the hilly regions. E.g. SARDP- North East, construction of 44000 km road and development of high altitude all-weather roads of the length of 9000 in North East by Border Road Organisation, railways of Kathgodam is to be extended till Nainital, an extension of Kumarghat Terminus to Agartala and Jijibam Terminus to Imphal, railway projects in Kashmir.
  • There is a comprehensive road map for the development of infrastructure in Northeast under the plan document of Vision 2020 North East.
  • Hill Area Development Program falls into two categories:
    • Those which are coexisting with boundaries of state or UTs. E.g. North Eastern region, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Special Category State whose outlay is met substantially out of central assistance.
    • Those areas which form the part of the state such as Assam, Uttarakhand, West Bengal. Although the responsibility for the development of these areas lies on the part of the State Government but the Central assistance is also required
Components of Hill Area Development Progarm
Areas under Hill Area Development Program

Problems In Hill Area Development Plan

  • Social structure of the region:
    • The tribal dwellers of hilly and forested areas do not cooperate with the administration in development activities due to their isolation from mainstream society.
    • The militant outfits in Jammu and Kashmir and tribal areas have taken the advantage of the simplicity of the tribes and incite their feeling against the establishment, which results in violence, making foreign investors reluctant to invest in these areas. E.g. Dulhasti project in Jammu and Kashmir has been abandoned due to militant threats. The same problems are being faced by Kashmir railways.
  • Improper utilization of allocated funds:
    • Per head allocation of the Central assistance to North East, India is Rs 5200, but due to lack of proper management, there has been lopsided utilization of and even non-utilization of funds. E.g. Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh have utilized only 60% of their allocated fund under HADP.
  • Internal rivalry among tribal groups especially in Northeastern India like Nagas Bodos etc are hampering the growth and development of the area.
  • There is increasing hostility between tribes and non-tribes have been a major bone of contention in development activities in these areas.
  • Special allocation of funds is required for the handling of the extreme events of natural hazards which cannot be handled by regular funds.
  • The people from tribal and hilly areas are not very enthusiastic about developmental activities due to unawareness, poverty, and scattered settlements. Thus, the development process is slow and skewed. Urban areas are usually more benefitted.


  • Politico-admin commitment is the need of hour. There should be focus on people’s participation and comprehensive development scheme must be chalked out for the development of hilly areas.
  • Apart from the above upgradation of the skills of women at Krishi and Van-Vigyan Kendras, social fencing like voluntary and self imposed discipline in managing society’s resources at local level is required.
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Divyank Pal

Nice content !! Really helps in geography optional .


Thanku so much ma’am/sir
I was unable to understand the concept now it is crystal clear.