Survey presents gloomy picture of Assam

NEW DELHI, Nov 22 – In what might come as a shocker for Tarun Gogoi Government ahead of the Assembly election, a report in a national magazine has put Assam at the bottom of the heap, projecting all-round slippages.

“How Good is Your Chief Minister’, a report by noted economist Bibek Debroy and Laveesh Bhandari in India Today’s current edition offers no reasons for Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi to feel relaxed.

In the overall composite marking, Assam has been ranked 18, ahead of only Jharkhand and Bihar. The State has been given 1.7 point, a sharp drop from its best-ever performance of 16 points, given in 2005. Assam is among of handful of States, whose rank has gone down, the report said.

The report puts Himachal Pradesh in number one position among the 20 bigger States and Delhi has been ranked number one among the smaller States.

According to the report, Assam continued to fare well, between 2004-2009 scoring anywhere between 13-16 points. However, in the current year, it touched its lowest.

The figures are for overall performance based on agriculture, primary health, education, law and order, infrastructure, investment, consumer market and macro economics. Assam was placed at the bottom in almost all the eight heads, the study covered.

The magazine’s State of the States Study has been conducted annually since 2003 and the report monitors the performance of the State across a range of categories. Put together, one obtains the overall living conditions in every State. All the data used in the study are publicly available and are sources from government and related organisations, said the two authors

Tarun Gogoi’s biggest setback could be in governance, if the report is to be believed. The State has been placed at the bottom of the list of 20 big States and ranked the last with 0.4 points, a steep drop from its highest of 18th rank given in 2004 and 2005.

A State that scores on governance has an adequate number of policemen per lakh of population and a fast disposal of litigations under the Indian Penal Code. The study took three aspects of violence as a measure of governance.

In the investment environment, Assam has been ranked 19, ahead of Bihar with 1.1. Uttrakhand is the fastest mover attracting an investment worth Rs 18, 492 crore.

In macro economics, the report places Assam in 18th rank with 1.6 points but ahead of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. An equitable and sustainable progress is a reflection on the State’s management of finances. The State’s per capita GDP is one measure of prosperity.

In the agriculture sector, Assam’s performance is worst among all of the 20 bigger States and has been placed at 20th rank with 0.3 points.

Assam, however, fares well in consumer market study and is ranked 13th with 2 points. Consumer markets are indicators of affluence.

In both primary education, Assam has done relatively better. In primary education, Assam’s position is 8th with 3.6 points. While in primary health, it has been ranked 13th with 1.4 points, a drop from its best ever ranking of 15th in 2005.

In infrastructure, Assam ranks 17th, with 3.2 points. The study has taken into account, percentages of homes with electricity connections, villages connected with pacca roads, overall road lengths and spread of bank branches.