The administrative zone Mechi is located in Eastern Nepal. It borders China and India. Mechi is composed of four districts: Jahpa, Ilam, Panchtar, and Taplejung. The capital is Ilam. Mechi is part of the Eastern development region. The zone spreads over Terai, Hill and Mountain territories. Since the new constitution implemented in 2015, Nepal is a federal state divided into seven provinces. Mechi is part of Province No. 1.


1,422,182 people live in Mechi. The most populated district is Jahpa with 812,650 (385,096 men and 427,554 women) inhabitants. 290,254 (141,126 men and 149,128 women) people live in Ilam, 191,817 (90,186 men and 101,631 women) people live in Panchtar, and 127,461 (60,552 men and 66,909 women) people live in Taplejung.  

Figures for the Mechi administrative zone are not available, but the Central Bureau of Statistics of Nepal provides data for the widest Eastern development region of which Mechi is part of.

In 2015, in the Eastern development region, out of 5,811,555 people, 4,144,556 were Hindus, 778,029 were Kirats, 458,296 were Buddhists, 267,159 were Muslims (mainly living in Jhapa disctrict) and 78,664 were Christians (mainly living in Jahpa district).

In 2010, the main ethnicities represented in the Eastern population were Chetree, Brahman, and Rai, with above 500,000 people from these descents respectively and Yadav and Limbu, with over 300,000 people from these descents respectively.  

The main languages spoken in 2010 were Nepali and Maithili.

The literacy rate was 57.2 percent in 2008.  


The Eastern development region, of which Mechi is part, has a good economic activity compared to other Nepalese regions. It accounts for 38.4 percent of Nepal’s exports and 14.73 percent of its imports.

In 2010, the mean income per household was 182,326 Nepalese Rupees and the mean income per capita was NRs 37,818.

The unemployment rate in 2010 was 1.6 percent.  

The poverty rate in 2008 was 21.44 percent.  

The Eastern development region is mainly agricultural. Out of 2,284,280 workers, 1,493,778 are employed in the agriculture sector, 119,043 in manufacturing, and 138,169 in wholesale and retail trade. 79.9 percent of households of the region were involved in agricultural activities in 2010. 72.4 percent of them cultivated paddy, 49.3 percent maize, 40.6 percent wheat and 39.5 percent millet. Jhapa, Ilam and Panchtar districts are important tea producers.

In 2008, 14.4 percent of the population had migrated out of the region. This migration induced a large scope of remittances. In 2010, 56.4 percent of households received remittances. The share of remittances on their income was 29.3 percent.


In the latest local elections, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML) won a majority of seats in Province no. 1, with 69 seats compared to 51 for the Nepali Congress. In the Mechi zone, the CPN-UML won in Taplejung, Ilam and Jhapa districts, while the Nepali Congress won in Panchtar.

Unrests have been carried out by the Communist Party of Nepal in the four districts composing Mechi, to disrupt the elections process, with no success.  

Further readings:

Mahendra Lawoti, Susan Hangen (2013) Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict in Nepal: Identities and Mobilization After 1990, Routledge

V. R. Raghavan (2013) Nepal as a Federal State: Lessons from Indian Experience, Vij Books India Pvt Ltd

John Whelpton (2005) A History of Nepal, Cambridge University Press