Socio-economically it is most backward District of the state. In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Dhalai one of the country’s 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640).

The Strengths of the District are its huge natural resources, fertile land, conducive climate, adequate and well spread rainfall, high literacy rate & strategic location of the District being well connected by the National Highway (NH 44). If all these resources are utilised properly, rapid development can be achieved but for lack of required infrastructure and inaccessibility of many tribal areas the District is still very backward. The main factors for the backwardness of the District can be summarised as follows:

  • Poor Infrastructure
  • Poor Connectivity & communication facilities
  • Lack of stable economic activities
  • Poor Irrigation facilities
  • Poor Marketing facilities
  • Poor Health and Sanitation facilities

An overwhelming 76% of the workers are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. Practice of Jhum cultivation (shifting cultivation) still continues in many parts of the District by the tribals residing in the deeply forested hills. However, in recent times, due to the effects of the efforts of State Government and District Administration, like granting pattas to hardcore jhumias under RoFR Act, 2006, undertaking plantation works like horticulture, sericulture, etc., the jhum cultivation has decreased to a large extent in the District. The fertile Valleys are mostly occupied by the non-tribals, mostly Bengalis and are the primary centers of
economic activity in the District. 25% of the households in the District are classified as
Below Poverty Line (BPL)