How is Assam faring as a State in terms of various developmental parameters? For the last 14 years, the Tarun Gogoi government has been trotting out figures to bolster its claims of a ‘developed’ Assam, particularly during the run-up to the annual State budgets. Dispur’s figures need to be compared periodically with figures furnished by other independent agencies to get an idea of the real situation about the State’s economy. The latest study by Assocham shows Assam in less than flattering light, with the State languishing in most parameters. Most worrying is the parameter relating to reduction of economic inequality, in which Assam is at the bottom of the list. Combined with lack of employment opportunities and unfavourable business environment — the growing economic inequality bodes ill for a State still grappling with militancy. In terms of road connectivity too, Assam stands last among States. Health and Power are other sectors where Assam is a poor performer. Despite attracting the largest investment among States in real estate, Assam could not follow it up due to backwardness in other sectors. All this reveals a dismal picture of a State with huge and critical gaps in infrastructure, declining public welfare and a growing rich-poor divide. While wealth is increasingly getting concentrated in the hands of a few in the State, lakhs of people are getting shut out from the developmental process altogether. With less than a year to go for Assembly elections, this is the larger issue that voters ought to address to political parties.
Inequality growing in Assam