‘In 1951, India has urbanisation rate of 17% whereas in 2016 Assam has urbanisation rate of 14% showing that Assam is not even where India was in 1951.’said Arvind Panagariya, Deputy Chairman of NITI Aayog
As per National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) figures, 56% workforce in Assam in 2011-12 were in agriculture and only 6.5% in industry and the remaining 37.5% in services. ‘The transition that’s happening is very slow. In Assam in 2011-12, the share of agriculture to state GDP was 32% while the same in 1980-81 was around 44%. Though the output of agriculture has halved in three decades times, the share of employment hasn’t,’ said Panagariya.
Panagariya strongly attributes this low rate of industrialisation to the very tendency of Indians to look down upon industry. ‘Industry is not a part of our thinking process. But if we want the transformation, we have to make conditions conducive for the growth of industry of all sizes, large, small land medium,’ said the Indian-American economist.
He felt agriculture in Assam too required reorientation in line with what Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. The farm sector in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat focuses on increasing the growth of high value commodities like fruits and vegetables. Assam can also eye for exports and carving out a share for itself in the world market. He cited the example of Assam tea and how the commodity has made its mark in the international market.