Mumbai: If you thought stocks were the exclusive preserve of Mumbai, Delhi and urban Gujarat, you have clearly missed the bus on India’s journey into financial democracy — from the Malabar to Margherita, via Muzaffarpur. Bharat is betting big on stocks, and retail investors are increasingly partaking of the growth story from geographic pockets that barely had any exposure to the equity ownership culture even a decade ago. Manipur, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh have seen 100-200% jump in new retail investor accounts this year, while the other siblings among the Seven Sisters — Tripura, Assam and Nagaland — reported investor additions at 60-70%, BSE data showed.79769564Bihar has also seen an increase of 77%, or 5.3 lakh additions, to the retail investor base this year.Investors at these places are diversifying their investments to include equities, brokers said.“Rising per capita income, better internet connectivity and improving penetration of Aadhar are resulting in increased participation in the capital market from the hinterland,” said Prakarsh Gagdani, CEO, 5Paisa Capital. “Earlier, north-eastern states had very low Aadhar penetration; but now it’s improving — and demat accounts, too. In the Seven Sister states and Bihar, we have seen at least a 300% jump in demat additions.”Among the larger states, Telangana has seen 9.2 lakhs, or a 158% jump, in new investor registration in 2020.Uttar Pradesh has added nearly 13.73 lakh investors, more than the numbers for developed states such as Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. These two southern states have added 10.3 lakhs and 9.74 lakh new investors, respectively, in 2020.However, Maharashtra and Gujarat that run the two major financial cities of India saw 30% of the share of the new investor registrations.Undeniably, the availability of disruptive tech-driven investment tools has fuelled this growth. Earlier, stockbroking relied strongly on a physical presence. Smartphones and robust internet connections have bridged the distance gap. Account opening has now also become totally paperless, aided by the regulator's initiatives of enabling online account opening using Aadhaar e-sign, said brokers.“Over the last few years, we have seen a significant increase in retail participation from Tier-II and Tier-III cities, and over 70% of Upstox’s total customer base comes from these regions,” said Ravi Kumar, CEO of Upstox, a discount brokerage firm.