Numbers to note before you vote: Assam

Numbers to note before you vote: Assam's socio-economic future looks bleak

Of all the forthcoming assembly elections, the results in Assam are likely to have the biggest impact on national politics, since it's a direct fight between the Congress and the BJP. The local AIUDF is also capable of causing both parties some damage.

This is the only state where the BJP can realistically make a breakthrough, since its prospects don't look very bright in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala or Puducherry.

Assam has lately been in the news for rising communal tensions, but there has been hardly any discussion regarding the socio-economic health of the state.

WATCH - The Modi wave has spread to Assam too: Majuli's Uttam Saikia

Here are a few numbers that the electorate must keep in mind before casting their vote on 4 and 11 April.

4.1%

  • The annual average growth rate of agriculture and allied services in Assam between 2005-06 and 2011-12.

  • Even low-irrigation states had an average annual agricultural growth of 4.5% during this period.
  • About 98.4% of the state's landmass is rural, where agriculture is a major occupation, generating employment for 75% of the state, either directly or indirectly.

  • However, this low growth is ascribed to five factors: lack of seed availability, soil acidity, flood, bad marketing infrastructure and the fact that 82% of farmers belong to the small and marginal categories.

958

  • The number of girls per 1,000 boys in Assam, as per the Assam economic survey 2013-14.
  • In terms of sex ratio, Assam is doing much better than another election-going state, West Bengal (950), and even the national average (940).
  • Though Assam's literacy rate (72.19%) is close to the national average (73%), the state performs badly in Infant Mortality Rate and Maternal Mortality Rate.
  • In Assam, 55 children die per 1,000 live births, and 390 mothers die per 1,00,000 from pregnancy-related causes; as against the national average of 39 children and 181 mothers respectively.

54.80%

  • Share of households in Assam that have drinking water within the premises.
  • The condition is dire especially in lower Assam: in districts like Cachar, Karimganj, Hailakandi and Dima Hasao, only 21.8%, 17.90%, 10.70% and 17.80% of households respectively have drinking water.
  • However, Assam is doing better than the rest of India. As of census 2011, less than half of all households (47%) have water within their premises.

33.89

%

  • One-third of the rural population in the state is poor, as of 2011-12.
  • The total share of poor people in the state (rural and urban) is 31.98%.
  • Across India, one-fourth of the rural population is poor, while in overall terms (urban + rural), only 21.9% can be termed as 'poor'.
  • Additionally, the per capita income of Assam is also among the lowest in the country. According to analysis by economists, much of these poverty challenges can be ascribed to the fact that Assam is located far from India's main economic regions, and its climatic upheaval.

413

  • The number of people who got killed in the state in 2013 and 2014.
  • This includes innocent civilians, security forces and terrorists.
  • Assam is India's most terror-affected state, surpassing Chhattisgarh and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Presently, there are 13 terror groups in Assam that are in talks with the government, seven that are active but not participating in talks, and three banned groups. These create most of the problems.
  • Additionally, ethnic violence is another major problem. Between July 2012 and November 2012, violence based on socio-economic issues between Bengali-speaking Hindus and Muslims claimed 109 lives.

17,449

  • Number of crimes registered against women in the state in 2013.
  • Assam has a higher rate of crime against women than even Bihar.
  • Assam even had 25 registered cases of witch-hunting in 2013.

It is clear from the above facts that Assam has to improve its agriculture, children's healthcare, law and order, and its economy.

However, the state's socio-economic future seems to have taken a back seat; instead, the main issues are anti-incumbency against Tarun Gogoi, Bangladeshi immigrants, and ethnicity.

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Watch: what's the relevance of Bengali-dominated Barak Valley in Assam politics?

Sourjya  Bhowmick

Sourjya Bhowmick @sourjyabhowmick