One of the many reasons that is often cited against the Chakmas is the assumption that Chakma and Hajong population are growing exponentially vis-à-vis the indigenous population and that they will change the demographic profile of the state. The CRDO team did a thorough research to find out what is the truth based on government published reports, white papers, Census records.
Here is what we found:
As per official white paper published by the state government, a total of 2748 Chakma and Hajong families were finally rehabilitated in erstwhile NEFA, now Arunachal Pradesh by the Government of India under a definite plan of rehabilitation from the period 1964 to 1969 in Tirap (now, Changlang), Lohit (Namsai) and Subansiri (Papumpare) districts. Unlike the Tibetans who continue to remain as “honored guests” and get Refugee benefits under the Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy (TRP) 2014, the Chakmas and Hajongs are living on their own in 46 proper villages across these 3 districts after their rehabilitation. They do not get any refugee benefits.
Based on the census survey data and the Chakma and Hajong population figures as recorded in the state government’s published white paper, for the period from 1964 to 2011, the population has grown from 14,888 to 49,784 which is a net addition of 34,896 people during the said period. This translates to a growth of 234% in 47 years or 4.98% per year. Similarly, the first census done for NEFA was in 1961 and the population figures are available. For the 50-year period from 1961 to 2011 for Arunachal Pradesh, the population increased from 3.37 lakh to 13.84 lakh respectively. This translates to 311% growth for 50 years or 6.22% per year which is higher than that of Arunachal Chakma-Hajong rate of growth.
Population growth is non-linear and therefore using the same (1961-2011) data, the Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for overall state population is 2.87% while for Chakma Hajong population from 1964 to 2011 during the 47-year period, it is 2.60% which is lower than the overall state population growth rate.
Now, in terms of the decadal growth rate for the most recent decade 2001 to 2011, for the overall state of Arunachal Pradesh, it is 26% while increase for Chakma and Hajong population, during the same decade stands at 17% which is significantly lower.
Finally, the Chakma Hajong population as a percentage of the overall Arunachal Pradesh population has declined from 4.3% in 1971 to 3.6% in 2011 which irrefutably allays the alleged fear of Chakmas-Hajong population explosion.