With a population of 10.09 million in 2011, Uttarakhand is at 20 position among Indian states. According to 2011 Population Census, nearly 70 per cent of Uttarakhand population lives in its rural areas.
The ten hill districts (generally referred as Hill Region) of the State account for 48.1 per cent of its population. The State has witnessed significant changes in its demographic structure, particularly during the decade of 2001- 2011—a period of high economic growth in the State.
It has registered a moderate growth in its population (1.74 per cent per annum) during the decade 2001-11, which is comparatively higher than the national average. Moreover, the Hill Region of the state witnessed much lower growth in population (0.70 per cent) as compared to plain districts (2.82 per cent). More so, the rural areas of hill districts registered a lowest growth of 0.38 per cent in population during 2001-2011. Population in urban areas of hill districts substantially increased during the period. Thus, much of this growth in population in plain districts of Uttarakhand is contributed by migration from hill districts.
Major Disadvantage of Out-migration of hill population to plains are:-
Loss of young and most able
Loss of young men creates an unbalanced population structure
Loss of working age people
Loss of those most likely to have education and skills
Division of families
Elderly population remains, so there’s a higher death rate
The policy framework for the all-round development of Hill Region of Uttarakhand is the need of the hour. However, the New Industrial Policy of the State, which has almost remained ineffective in attracting investment to hill areas of the State, needs to be re-looked and made more effective to ensure balanced industrial growth by attracting more capital to backward districts, particularly in the hill areas. Thus, the real challenge is to create environment friendly micro and small enterprises in the Hill region.