To restore "Special Category Status" for the state of Assam
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In July 1969, the Central Govt accorded “Special Category Status” to the state of Assam with a view to pay special attention and provide Govt grant liberally to develop the state from the backwardness and to fulfill the aspirations of the people. Even after 20 years of independence till then the state remained economically very backward compared to other states in spite of the having so much of natural resources. During that time the state had been producing more than 50% of total petroleum production of the country and tea produced from the state had been contributing about 20% of export earnings. Unfortunately, even contributing so significantly to the nation’s economy the state had never been given the legitimate share of earnings for the development of the other sectors of the economy of the state.
It is on record that whatever progress has been made by the state is only after declaration of the “Special Category Status”. The state of Assam has been plagued by serious shortage of capital accumulation and being the victim of regional imbalance in obtaining its due share, the progress and development has been retarded and could never become at par with other parts of the country. Even after granting the special status, industrialization did not pick up satisfactorily, the state remained far backward in comparison to other developed states. In back drop of such a dismal situation, the Central Govt in 2007 implemented a special Industrial and Investment policy ( North East Industrial and Investment policy) to attract investment for setting up of industries in the state. After these initiatives the development has picked up slowly. The state remained so under developed that even after getting liberal central grants under the provisions, the state could not implement all the required development programs to bring it to a satisfactory level. The average Credit-Deposit ratio of all the banks operating the state was 20 to 25 % before the accord of the status which has gone up to about 32 to 35% indicating a slight growth of progress.
The state of Assam has great Geo-political importance because of it’s strategic location which is connected with the mainland India through a narrow strip of land (Chicken neck). So it needs special attention to protect the territory and to allay sense of alienations from the minds of the people of the state.
The Govt of India has recently abolished the “Special Status Category” on the recommendation of the 14th Finance Commission. This has been confirmed by the Minister of State for Finance, Govt of India on 9th March, 2018 in the Parliament.
In this regard, it is to mention that the “North East Industrial & Investment Policy, 2007” which had provisions for incentives and subsidies to industrial units set up here was also revoked in 2016.
The people of Assam reasonably feel deprived and discriminated once again by the Central Govt. We are very sure that the economic progress of the state will be badly hit because of this act.
We appeal to your good office to do the needful to revoke this decision of the Govt and continue with Special Category Status. This act of kindness will not only help the economic development to fulfill the aspirations of the people but will also instill sense of pride and belongingness in the minds of the people of the state.
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