Arunachal Pradesh acquired an identify of its own for the first time in 1914 when some tribal areas were separated from the then Darrang and Lakhimpur district of Assam to form North-East frontier Tract (NEFT). The NEFT was further sub- divided into Balipara frontier Tract, the Sadiya Frontier tract and Tirap Frontier Tract between 1914-43. At the time of India’s independence in 1947, the present territory of Arunachal Pradesh was under part-B of the Sixth schedule of the constitution as the tribal areas of Assam. Part-B includes NEFT including Balipara Frontier Tract, the Tirap Frontier Tract, the Abor Hills district, the the Mishmi Hills district and the Naga tribal areas. All these districts together were renamed as North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) in 1951.
The NEFA was reconstituted under North-East Frontier Areas (Administration) Regulation of 1954 into Kameng Frontier Division, Subansiri Frontier Division, Siang Frontier Division, Lohit Frontier Division, Tirap frontier Division, and Tuensang Frontier Division. The Tuensang Frontier Division was later separated from the NEFA in 1957 and merged with newly constituted Naga Hills which constituted a new State of Nagaland.
The NEFA was scheduled as part of Assam during 1950-65 and its administration was carried out by the Governor of Assam as an agent of the President of India under the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. Subsequently, the responsibility of the NEFA Administration was transferred to the Ministry of Home Affairs in 1965 as per the recommendations of the Dying Ering Commission (1965). Consequently, five divisions of the territory (Kameng, Subansiri, Siang, Lohit, and Tirap) became five districts. With the passage of time, these five districts have been further sub-divided into 13 districts and new district is coming up shortly.
Considering the recommendation of the Daying Ering Commission (1965), the North-East Frontier Agency Panchayat Raj Regulation Act was passed by the Parliament and put on implementation by the Government of India in 1967. As per provision in this Act, the Agency Council was formed at apex level followed by Zilla Parishads at District level, Anchal Samitis at Block level and Gram Panchayat at village level. The traditional village councils which were already recognized under the North-East Frontier Administration of Justice Regulation, 1945, were accorded the status of Gram Panchayats. The NEFA was upgraded as Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh on 21st January, 1972 in pursuance of the North-East Frontier Areas (Reorganization) Act of 1971. Consequently, the Agency Council was replaced by Pradesh Council which in turn was held on 1978. Finally, the Union Territory was replaced by Pradesh Council which in turn was converted to Legislative Assembly in 1975. The first election to 30 members Assembly was held on 1978. Finally, the Union Territory was replaced by a full fledged State of Arunachal Pradesh on 20th February, 1978. The present strength of members of the State Legislative Assembly is 60.
Arunachal Pradesh, the land of rising sun, is situated in the North-East extremity of India. The state is the largest among all the North- East States considering its vast area comprising of 83743 Sq. K.Ms. The State is having a long international border with Bhutan in the West covering 160 K.Ms, China in the north and north-east covering 1030 K.Ms and Myanmmar in the east covering 440 K.Ms. the neighbouring states of Assam in the south and Nagaland in the east and south east are in the border. Arunachal Pradesh falls in the outer Himalayas and Patkoi Ranges. It is endowed with wide topographical variations, vegetation and wild life. The state is vivisected by innumerable rivers and streams which originate in higher Himalayas and Arakan Ranges. They flow down to form tributaries of Bhrahmaputra. The major rivers are Kameng, Subansiri, Siang, Dibang, lohit, diyum and Dihing.
The is no written record relating to tribal history of Arunachal Pradesh except some oral literature and historical ruins lying along foothills. But some references are available from ‘Buranjis’ which tell about the relations between the Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and influence exercised by Ahom kings over the tribal areas. The British came to Assam during Anglo-Burmese War in 1824-26 and occupied it as conquered territory. Between 1826-61, it was kept as a non- regulated area. The post of Chief Commissioner for Assam was constituted in 1874 and scheduled district regulation was passed during the same year and till that time it was a part of Bengal. During British period, Arunachal Pradesh was economically backward and politically fragmented.
Racial affiliation of Arunachal Pradesh has been described as mongoloid, indo-mongoloid, kiratas, protomongoloid and so on. There are 25 major tribes and 100 sub-tribal speaking over 50 main dialects. Principle tribes of the State are Monpa, Miji, Aka, Adi, Nishing, Apatani, Tagin, Sherdukpen, Hill Miri, Digaru Mishmi, Idu Mishmi, Khamti, Nocte, Tangsa and Wancho. Most of these tribes are ethnically similar, having derived from an original common stock. But due to geographical isolation certain distinctive characteristics in each tribe in language, dress and customs can be noticed. The Monpas and Sherdukpens follow Buddhism. The second group of people are Adis, Akas, Nishing, Apatanis, Mishmis, Tangsas worship sun and moon as their God, Donyi-Polo. The Noctes practice elementary form of Vaishnavism.
The people of Arunachal Pradesh are rapidly changing socially, culturally, politically and economically and they are no longer what they were 50 years ago. The physiological integration is the greatest achievement to the credit of the Government’s policy cultivated in tis region. The amount of development that could take place during the planned era should be considered as joint efforts of the Governments, people, elected representatives and dedicated officials. A holistic approach, with the active participation of the people, will further go in along way in making this state a paradise.