The Annual Plan for the year 2013-14 for the state of Assam was finalised here today at a meeting between Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Chief Minister of Assam, Sh. Tarun Gogoi. The plan size has been agreed at Rs.12,500 crore.
In his comments on the performance of the State, Mr Ahluwalia said the economic performance of the State during last 4-5 years has been good. Both expenditure realization and growth are showing positive trend. He said progress in human development is satisfactory. Performance in the social sectors including health and education was appreciable. The State Government was also complemented for pushing ambitious targets in the agriculture sector during 12th plan. The State was advised to give emphasis to mechanization of farming operations. The State needs improvement in productivity which will be the key factor for achieving adequate supply response to meet emerging demand.More flexible mechanisms in technology adoptions and infrastructural developments including marketing infrastructure are required to meet the demand patterns.
While appreciating achievements in education and health sector attention was drawn to the high gender gap in literacy. It was pointed that gap was 11.54% and the literacy rate of male and female is 78.81% and 67.27% as against 82.14% and 65.46%respectively at national level.The overall literacy of the state is less (73.18%) than the national average of 74.04%. The State was advised to build Health Information System by networking of all health service providers and establish state level disease surveillance systems. Attention was drawn to low per capita income and high T&D losses. The State was advised to use technology to reduce power losses. Innovative approach to create investment friendly environment in industry was recommended.
Planning Commission informed the State government that Assam is among the States where Restructured ICDS is being introduced. All the districts of the State are being covered in Phase- 2 of the implementation starting from 1st April, 2013. While rolling out the strengthened and re-structured ICDS, State should promote the joyful learning approach for children 3-6 years of age, including school readiness interventions for children 5 plus years of age, either in AWCs or in schools.The State Government was advised to step up the efforts to cover 100% habitations with water supply facility under the programme during Twelfth Five Year Plan.
Drawing attention to the tourism potential, Planning Commission pointed out that tourism in Assam is essentially nature based, therefore, natural parks and sanctuaries, rivers, lakes, warm water springs, forests, wild life, are the principal components of tourist attraction.Most of the places of tourist attraction are not by the side of the national highways, and approach roads are in bad condition.A policy of tourism for the state of Assam has to be evolved on the line of National Policy of Tourism, which incorporates broad policy guidelines to attract both domestic and foreign tourists.
The Chief Minister thanked Planning Commission for extending their unstinted support to Assam during the first year of 12th Five Year Plan and hoped this support would continue in this year as well.
He said the projected growth rate of Assam in 2012-13 is 6.88% which is better than the national average. Assam is in a comfortable position to add further momentum to developmental activities by providing additional resources from its own kitty contrary to the prevailing scenario of expenditure compression to reduce fiscal and revenue deficits.
He said the prudent financial management has created this required fiscal space to propel the growth to even higher levels. Per capita income of Assam on the basis of NSDP (current price) in 2012-13 is estimated to be Rs. 42,036/- up from Rs. 37,250/- in 2011-12.
Welcoming the introduction of flexible fund along with the restructuring of Centrally Sponsored Scheme and the schemes funded through Additional Central Assistance (ACA), Mr Gogoi said the flexible fund should be increased to 50% of total ACA.