Assam has witnessed a “steady and continuous improvement” in human development with its latest Human Development Index (HDI) estimated at 0.557 against the national average of 0.586, said a report.
The document, ‘Assam Human Development Report 2014: Managing Diversities, Achieving Human Development’, was released by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal here.
The report said, “It has been observed that the overall level of human development in the state has shown a steady and continuous improvement over the last 15 years.”
It maybe noted that for the period taken into consideration by the report, there was a Congress government, headed by Tarun Gogoi, in the state.
The study has found that 56.4 per cent of the people in the state were “satisfied”, either moderately or intensely, under the most critical parameter of “well-being”.
The report put the HDI in Assam at 0.557 in 2014, compared to 0.407 in 2003, when the first such report was published.
It pointed out that the HDI for India stood at 0.586, according to global HDR in 2014.
The detailed report on Assam said, “It may, further, be observed that achievements in all key dimensions of human development, that is, education, health and income are about halfway with education being at about two-thirds, followed by health and income, which are just at the half-mark of the desired level.”
Expressing concern over the job scenario, the Assam HDR 2014 said, total unemployment rate stood at 13.4 per cent, comprising people in the 15-59 age group.
“The female unemployment rate is found to be 33.9 per cent, compared to eight per cent in the case of males. The youth (15-24 years) unemployment rate is again found to be as high as 37.7 per cent. Geographical diversity-wise, unemployment is the highest in the tea gardens (15.3 per cent) and flood-affected areas (15.2 per cent),” it said.
The report also brought to light some starking inequalities like the top 20 per cent of the people holding about 70 per cent of the total cultivable land, while the remaining 80 per cent share the rest of the 30 per cent land.
“Consequently, the top 20 per cent shares 45 per cent of the total consumption expenditure, while the bottom 20 per cent shares only eight per cent,” it said.
Helped by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the report was prepared by OKD Institute of Social Change and Development and Institute for Human Development on behalf of the Assam government.
The sample size of the survey was 39,998 households and 1.89 lakh individuals, covering all the districts of Assam.
The report claimed that the sample size was about 10 times bigger than that of the normal National Sample Survey Organisation rounds and about eight times more than the National Family Health Survey samples in Assam.