Uttarakhand known as Uttaranchal from 2000 to 2006, became the 27th state of the Republic of India on November 9, 2000. Uttarakhand borders Tibet to the north, Nepal to the east, and the states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh (of which it formed a part before 2000) in the west and south respectively. The region is traditionally referred to as Uttarakhand in Hindu scriptures and old literature, a term which derives from the Sanskrit for Northern Country or Section. In January 2007, the name of the state was officially changed from Uttaranchal, its interim name, to Uttarakhand, according to the wishes of a large section of its people. The provisional capital of Uttarakhand is Dehradun which is also a rail-head and the largest city in the region. The small hamlet of Gairsen has been mooted as the future capital owing to its geographic centrality but controversies and lack of resources have led Dehradun to remain provisional capital. The High Court of the state is in Nainital.
Recent developments in the region include initiatives by
the state government to capitalise on handloom and handicrafts,
the burgeoning tourist trade as well as tax incentives to
lure high-tech industry to the state. The state also has
big-dam projects, controversial and often criticised in
India, such as the very large Tehri dam on the Bhagirathi-Bhilangana
rivers, conceived in 1953 and about to reach completion.Uttarakhand
is also well known as the birthplace of the Chipko environmental
movement, and a myriad other social movements including
the mass agitation in the 1990s that led to its formation.
The city has witnessed tremendous growth in the last 20 years. Because of its educational background and high international remittances, Dehradun enjoys a high per capita income, which in dollar terms hovers close to $1800 (national average $800). The city's transition into a large urban cetre has been nothing less than phenomenal. Dehradun is in a middle of a commercial boom, which is amplified by the establishment of various SEZ (special economic zones)through out the city. Right from IT parks to specifically built industrial belts have proved to be a haven for industrialists of national and international repute. Combined with excise benefits companies are finding prospective establishment in the city (like other parts of Uttranchal) very attractive. With the construction of Delhi-Dehradun four lane highway now on full swing, the primary bottle neck endangering the city's growth (the Delhi-Dehradun two lane highway) has been solved. More economic development is expected at a much wider scale.