Meghalaya is a state in north-east India. The name means “the abode of clouds” in Sanskrit. As of 2011, the state has a population of 2,964,007 and is the 23rd most populous in the country. The population of Meghalaya as of 2014 is estimated to be 3,211,474. Meghalaya covers an area of approximately 22,430 square kilometers, with a length to breadth ratio of about 3:1.
This state is bounded to the south and the west by the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the north and the east by India’s Assam state. The capital is Shillong, known as the “Scotland of the East”. Meghalaya was previously part of Assam, but on 21 January 1972, the districts of Khasi, Garo and Jaintia hills became the new state of Meghalaya. English is the official language of Meghalaya. The other principal languages spoken include Khasi, Pnar and Garo. Unlike many Indian states, Meghalaya has historically followed a matrilineal system where the lineage and inheritance are traced through women; the youngest daughter inherits all wealth and she also takes care of her parents.
The state is the wettest region of India, recording an average of 1200 cm of rains a year. About 70% of the state is forested. The Meghalaya subtropical forests ecoregion encompasses the state; its mountain forests are distinct from the lowland tropical forests to the north and south. The forests are notable for their biodiversity of mammals, birds, and plants.
Meghalaya has predominantly an agrarian economy with a significant commercial forestry industry. The important crops are potatoes, rice, maize, pineapples, bananas, papayas, spices, etc. The service sector is made up of real estate and insurance companies. Meghalaya’s gross state domestic product for 2012 was estimated at INR16173 crore (US$2.6 billion) in current prices. The state is geologically rich in minerals, but it has no significant industries. The state has about 1,170 kilometers of national highways. It is also a major logistical center for trade with Bangladesh.