The Annual Plan for Assam for 2013-14 was on Tuesday finalised at Rs. 12,500 crore at a meeting here between Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and State Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
Initiating the discussions, Mr. Ahluwalia lauded the State’s economic performance in the last four to five years with both expenditure realisation and growth showing positive trends and satisfactory progress in human development. Performance in the social sectors, including health and education, was also appreciable.
While complimenting the State for pushing ambitious farm sector targets during the 12th Plan period, the Commission advised the government to emphasise on mechanisation of agricultural operations for improving productivity which would be the key factor for achieving adequate supply responses to meet the emerging demand.
However, the State’s attention was drawn to the to the high gender gap in literacy at 11.54 per cent while the overall literacy rate at 73.18 per cent was also less than the national average of 74.04 per cent. The Commission also informed the State government that ‘Restructured ICDS [Integrated Child Development Scheme]’ is being introduced in Assam with all its districts being covered in the second phase of implementation starting April 1, this year. While rolling out the strengthened and restructured ICDS, the State should promote the joyful learning approach for children in the age group of three-six years.
Mr. Gogoi appreciated the Commission’s unstinted support to Assam during the first year of the 12th Plan and hoped it would continue during the current fiscal as well. The State’s projected growth rate in 2012-13, he said, is pegged at 6.88 per cent which is better than the national average.
Assam, he said, 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. Prudent financial management has created the required fiscal space to propel growth to even higher levels, he said.