Macro-economic data of Assam
These are some facts about Assam as per the Assam Human Development Report:
- Assam shares its borders with six Indian States and two countries, and has, about 2.4 percent of the country's geographical area.
- The population of the Assam is 26.64 million people (2001 Census) and account for 2.59 percent of the country's total population.
- The percentage of poor in Assam is the highest among the seven sister States of the North East. Around 36.09 percent of the State's population continues to live below the poverty line, a figure considerably above the national average of 26.10 percent (1999-2000). There is a rural-urban divide; four out of ten people in rural Assam are likely to be below the poverty line, while in urban Assam, the incidence is less than one in ten.
- Assam has levels and rates of growth of income below the average for the country. In 1950-51, Assam's per-capita income was 4.1 percent higher than the average for the country. By 1980-81, Assam's per-capita income was 27 per cent lower than the national average, and by 1998-99, the gap had widened to 45.5 percent. Of concern is the fact that the gap is widening.
- There is also inter district inequity; the per capita income of the district with the highest income, is more than three times that of the district with the lowest per capita income. According to the 1994-95 estimates, district of N.C. Hills recorded the highest per capita income of Rs.3464 and Darrang recorded the lowest per capita income at Rs.1100.
- Primary sector is the largest contributing sector. However, the contribution of primary sector to the Net State Domestic Product (NSDP) has declined from about 47.5 percent in 1980-81 to around 40 percent in recent years. The tertiary sector has shown relatively high rates of growth during this period, while the secondary sector has exhibited moderate growth. There is a continued and high dependence on the primary sector, in which the growth has averaged just about 2 percent in recent decades, the lowest amongst the three component sectors.
- Though, agriculture accounts for only about a third of the State Domestic Product, it plays an important role in the economy, providing employment to 69 percent of the total work force.
- About half the male population is engaged in the work as per 2001 Census. In the case of women, the rate is much lower, about a fifth are engaged in work. The workforce participation rates for both men and women are lower than those for India.
- The incidence of unemployment, measured as a percentage of the labour force is increasing in Assam. Unemployment rates in Assam in 1983 were 2.2 percent, as compared to 2.0 percent for the country. By 1999-2000, the country's unemployment rate had risen marginally to 2.3 percent, while Assam's unemployment rate had risen substantially, to 4.6 percent.
- Literacy rate increased from 52.89 per cent in 1991 to 64.28 percent in 2001- an increase of 21 percent. It is marginally below the national literacy rate of 65.20 per cent.
If one studies the facts, we get a clear picture that poverty rate is fast increasing in the region and the per capita income is in a decline especially in the rural areas. The unemployment rates are increasing and there is too much dependence on the primary sector. Though there is growth in the tertiary sector yet it is limited to the cities. With not much private investment happening in the secondary sector and not much growth in government jobs the employment scenario is worsening day by day. Agriculture and allied activities are also not too dependable with frequent floods and with increasing literacy the rural youth is also not to keen to continue in the traditional activities. The problem of unemployment amongst the rural youth in the region is leading them towards anti-social behavior. Unemployment is the root cause of increasing insurgency and terrorism in North East India including Assam & Meghalaya. Thus it is very important to divert the attention of the youth of this region towards gainful and productive activity.