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Poor Per Capita Income

It is certainly amazing and disturbing to note that Assam has one of the lowest per capita incomes among the north-eastern States of the Indian Union. This is because there was a time when Assam had the highest per capita income among the States of the Northeast. That distinction has now gone to Sikkim which has a per capita income of Rs 233,954—well above the national average of Rs 94,731. There are two other States of the Northeast that are also ahead of the national average: Arunachal Pradesh with Rs 123,339 and Mizoram with Rs 114,524. All the other States of the Northeast have per capita incomes lower than the national average, with Assam having a per capita income that is the second lowest for the region. The per capita incomes of the other States of the Northeast are as follows: Nagaland (Rs 83,621), Tripura (Rs 80,027), Meghalaya (Rs 71,318), Assam (Rs 60,526) and Manipur (Rs 55,603). According to experts, Sikkim’s spectacular increase in per capita income has been due to the effectiveness of the State’s tourism industry. Tripura has had a stable government for about 25 years, but the Left Front’s unwillingness to accept modern technology in any aspect of its administration has been the main cause of its lower per capita income than Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. But what is most remarkable is Assam’s ignoble fall from grace—from being at the forefront of the north-eastern States in terms of per capita income to being the State with the second lowest per capita income in the region. This seems to have happened despite Assam having been more fortunate than the other north-eastern States in terms of infrastructure. And that leaves our bureaucracy with a lot of heart-searching to do.

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Ankur Kalita