Perception study about North East India

87% working professionals cant name all the states of North East India
93% of the respondents wish to know more about NE India

In a first of its kind survey about the perception of North East India amongst the people in rest of the country conducted by the North East India Image Managers (NEIim), a voluntary group of communication professionals, it was found that as high as 52% of the respondents have a negative perception about this region of India.

Their immediate recall of ‘North East India’ is that of “a region riddled with insurgency and most unsafe place in the country” or “most underdeveloped region with hardly any modern infrastructure and poor connectivity with the rest of the country” or “people with mongoloid features and weird food habit and an alien culture”.

Key Highlights
52% respondents have a highly negative perception about North East India

76% have no idea about any peace talks going on between govt. and any militant group of NE

91% have no knowledge about Northeast Industrial Policy

70% respondents won’t believe it if one states the fact that 3 of NE states have higher PCI than national average

30% of professionals will never go and work in NE even if that best suits their career interest

75% respondents don’t know that the current UPA govt. has ministers hailing from Northeast

42.7% advocates changes in the educational curriculum to provide more information about

Another shocking revelation of the study is that 87% of the respondents could not name all the states of North East India. As many as 76% of the respondents had no idea about any peace talks that may be going on between any insurgent groups of North East India and Union Government of India.

The findings of the survey indicate that due to the negative imagery that people have about the region even if they are given the best of the job offer and it suits their career interests best 30% of them will never go and work in Northeast while 52% are not sure if it’s a good idea to go and work there. Even if 71% of the respondents agree that the place is full of natural beauty, as many as 30% of them may not go on a vacation to Northeast. “This testifies the fact that the picture has not really changed over the years. The stories of progress and peace from Northeast have not reached the people in the rest of the country yet.” said NEIIM.

While 70% of the respondents can’t believe the fact that three North East Indian states have per capita income more than India’s national per capita income, as high as 91% did not know anything about Central Government’s Northeast Industrial Policy which gives special incentives for investments made in the region.

75% of the respondents don’t know whether the current UPA government has any minister representing any constituency of North East India. 56% of the respondents don’t know that there is an IIT, are Central Universities and a IIM in Northeast. NEIIM said, “This speaks about the failure of the governments – both at centre as well as in the states to actually create awareness in the country. There is definite need to create communication programmes which break the myths about the region create a positive mindset among common people.”

The study, interim findings of which were released by NEIiM today, goes on to probe as how such a hiatus of knowledge was created and how to bridge it, 56.3% respondents said that the government should run special awareness campaigns using various media tools at national level to educate people about North East India. A sizeable 42.7% also advocated for changes in the curriculum in schools and colleges so that the children may know more about north east India.

Releasing the interim findings of the survey, NEIiM said about the methodology of the survey, “We identified the target audience very selectively and we specifically targeted people who are from media, communication, advertising, public relations, human resources, finance and marketing and whose media consumption is considerably higher than any average person. We did an online survey using special online survey tools for most of our respondents and while for the rest traditional offline medium was used.

In total, data from over 400 working professionals based in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and not hailing from Northeastern part of the country were captured during the course of the survey. These people work in the communication and service industry and keep a close tab on daily updates in the country. Now, post the results, we were astonished by the fact that if the majority of our respondents did not know about North East region of India, how any common can man of India would know about them.”

When the study further probed as to why they failed to have much information on North East India, a startling 61% said that they do not see much of north east India on national media. The perceived notion that people from north east India don’t mingle with others stand challenged as 51.6% of the respondents said that they started knowing whatever little about the culture and people of north east from their interaction with colleagues or friends from North East India.

Almost 61% also believed that North East India provides a good platform for multi national and national corporations to invest. A whopping 89.7 % confirmed that the Union government should give special attention to North East India than what is being given now.

What is heart warming and interesting is that 93% of the respondents expressed that their desire to know more about Northeast India. 56% of the respondents feel that Government should run special awareness campaigns using various media vehicles at national level to educate people about Northeast while 43% suggest that school/college curriculum should include more information pertaining to history, geography, culture and economy of Northeast India.

The report throws up shocking revelations of lack of knowledge about a particular region and also a desire to learn and understand. The North East India Image Managers (NEIim) is working on the final draft of the report based on the findings which will also incorporate suggestions on facing the current situation which will be submitted to Ministry of Development of North Eastern region (DONER) as well as other important and concerned authorities for further action.

About NEIim: Northeast India Image Managers (NEIim) (FB link) is a group of PR/ Media / Brand Management/ Communications professionals hailing from Northeastern region of India and working in metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore etc. The group is aimed at discussing and finding out actionable issues pertaining to development and promotion of the image of Northeast India, which in the long run is expected to fill up the information and knowledge gap which has been existing leading to confusion about the people, society, economy and geography of Northeast amongst the rest of India.

For further details, please contact:
Abhijit Borah/ Tituraj Kashyap
neiim(dot)delhi(at)gmail(dot)com

* North East India Image Managers (NEIim) sent this report to e-pao.net.
They can be contacted at neiim(dot)delhi(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on May 03, 2012

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