Assam Economics

The GSDP of Assam for 2019-2020 was Rs. 3.39 trillion( US$ 47.56 billion ). At current prices, Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of Assam is estimated to reach Rs. 4.09 trillion (US$ 55.14 billion) in 2020-21.The GSDP of the state grew at a CAGR (in Rs.) of 12.38% between 2015-16 and 2020-21.
b. Assam is India’s gateway to northeast and acts as a vital link for trade with Southeast Asian countries. The state is known for its tea, petroleum resources, muga silk and biodiversity. It is also becoming an increasingly popular destination for wildlife tourism. The state is rich in water resources and has vast tracts of fertile land. Assam is also the third-largest producer of petroleum and natural gas in the country and has ample reserves of limestone. With its five national parks and 18 wildlife sanctuaries, the state is a biodiversity hotspot. Other potential areas of investment include power and energy, mineral-based industries, tourism, and crude oil refining.
c. Assam has adopted numerous investor-friendly policies to attract investments and accelerate industrial development. Key areas of focus include the IT, tourism, and power sector along with several other initiatives such as the North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP) 2007 and the Industrial and Investment Policy 2014. Assam stood 22nd among Indian states in rankings based on ease of doing business and reforms implementation, according to a study by the World Bank and KPMG. The Government has set a target to generate 6,500-megawatt (MW) power in the state by 2030.
d. According to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), the cumulative FDI inflows in Assam were valued at US$ 10.49 million between October 2019 and December 2020.
e. Exports from the state stood at US$ 341.59 million in FY21 (until January 2021). Assam exported key items such as tea, petroleum products, coal, coke and briquettes and other products. In FY21 (until January 2021), the total tea exports from Assam accounted for US$ 217.89 million, which was 64% of the total export.
f. Recent Developments:-
(1) As per the press meeting held at the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) office in May 2021, 48 kms of new railway line between Abhayapuri and Gauripur in Dhubri district is expected to be inaugurated next month after getting green signal from the CRS.
(2) In February 2021, India and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) signed a US$ 304 million loan agreement for the Assam Intra-State Transmission System Enhancement Project to improve reliability, capacity and security of the power transmission network in the northeastern state. The project aims to strengthen Assam’s electricity transmission system by constructing 10 transmission substations and laying transmission lines with the associated infrastructure.
(3) In February 2021, the Chief Minister of Assam, Mr Sarbananda Sonowal, laid the foundation stone of Assam Skill University at Mangaldoi, Darrang. The university will provide skill education to the youth of India with a specific focus on Assam, and North Eastern region. This project is scheduled to be completed by September 2026. The Government of Assam is exploring partnership arrangements with countries such as Singapore, Germany, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, Israel, Japan and the UK for providing sector-specific expertise to this university.
(4) In February 2021, Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi launched the ‘Asom Mala’ programme in Dhekiajuli of Sonitpur district with the intention to enhance the state’s road infrastructure, boost economic progress and improve connectivity.
(5) In January 2021, BCPL Railway Infrastructure received a new order worth Rs. 516.04 million (US$ 6.96 million) for supply, erection, testing and commissioning of 25KV, 50HZ single phase traction overhead equipment (OHE).
(6) In March 2021, BCPL Railway Infrastructure received a LOA (Letter of Authority) from Railway Vikas Nigam for deployment of 25KV OHE Gang to complete residual overhead (OHE) adjustment works and provision of bonding/earthing work and safety-related work in section of Sreerampur Assam – Fakiragram of NF (Northeast Frontier) Railway.
(7) The project, which is expected to be completed over 45 days, has added Rs. 165 crore to the company’s orderbook.
(8) In October 2020, Mr Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and MSMEs, laid foundation stones for the country’s first multimodal logistic park in Assam. The park worth Rs. 693.97 crore (US$ 93.87 million) would provide direct air, road, rail and waterway connectivity to citizens. It will be established under the government’s ‘Bharatmala Pariyojana’ initiative.
(9) Government introduced Jyotisman Asom scheme under Budget 2020-21 to provide free electricity to all households whose monthly electricity consumption is up to 30 units.
(10) Under State Budget 2020-21, Government announced setting up of five polytechnics, seven new Government colleges, two medical colleges, one ayurvedic college, one new law college and new university Sati Sadhoni Rayjik Vishwavidyalaya.
(11) Government of Assam has started the project preparatory activities for the World Bank funded Inland Water Project under the Inland Water Transport Department at Rs. 975 crore (US$ 150.60) which will help realise the huge untapped potential in this sector.
(12) Budget 2019-20 states that over 22,000 beneficiaries have been provided relief under the Atal-Amrit Abhiyan health insurance scheme which has been allocated Rs. 200 crore (US$ 28.62 million) for financial year 2019-20.
8. Key Sectors:
⦁ Tea: Between January 2021 and April 2021, production of tea in the state stood at 51.77 million kgs, contributing 29.82% to the total tea production in India. Assam’s Labour and Tea Tribes Welfare Minister, Mr. Sanjay Kishan, informed that COVID-19 care centres have been set up in >270 tea gardens. As of May 2021, 27,000 tea garden workers have been given the first dose of vaccination and 2,400 have been given the second dose. The government is speeding up the process with offline, on-the-spot registration facility.
⦁ Agriculture and Allies: In 2019-20, the total production of horticulture crops in the state was expected to be 6876.40 thousand metric tonnes and area under production was 704.82 thousand hectares. In 2019-20, the total production of vegetables and fruits in the state was estimated at 3673.88 thousand metric tonnes and 2562.30 thousand metric tonnes, respectively.
⦁ Assam Tractor Distribution. To revive the agricultural sector and double farmer incomes by 2022, the state government launched the ‘Assam Tractor Distribution’ scheme, under the Chief Minister’s Village Development Scheme (CMSGUY) for farmers.
⦁ Sericulture: Assam enjoys global monopoly in terms of Muga silk (also known as golden silk) production. The state accounts for around 95% of global Muga production. Moreover, Assam is the country’s major Eri silk producer (accounts for 65% of the country’s Eri silk production). Under State Budget 2020-21, Government allocated Rs. 289 crore (US$ 41.35 million) for the Handloom Textiles and Sericulture Department.
⦁ Health: In May 2021, Deputy Commissioner Ms Keerthi Jalli inaugurated the Arogya Cachar Scheme, a centralized public grievance redressal system for all COVID-19 needs even during late nights. In February 2021, Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi laid the foundation stones for medical colleges and hospitals in Biswanath and Charaideo. This will boost Assam’s health infrastructure, which will not only benefit the state but also the entire Northeast.
⦁ Tourism: In 2019 (as of December 2019), 4.7 million tourists arrived in Assam
⦁ Minerals Exploitation. Minerals exploited commercially in the state include petroleum, coal, natural gas, and limestone. Since the late 19th century, extensive oil reserves have been discovered in northeastern Assam. A refinery, built in the region in 1901 at Digboi, was the first in South Asia. Later, another refinery was established in Guwahati in the west-central part of the state. Coal—used locally by the railways, tea estates, and steamships—also is found in northeastern and south-central Assam. Liquefied natural gas is produced in the northeast, and limestone is quarried in the Mikir Hills.
⦁ Energy. Assam’s energy is provided by thermal and hydroelectric plants. Less than half of the state’s energy is generated locally, however. A significant portion of Assam’s power is purchased from the national government, private sources, and, to a much lesser extent, other state governments.
⦁ Transportation. Historically, geography has inhibited the growth of efficient transport systems, and underdeveloped transport and communication systems have in turn hindered economic development in Assam. The Brahmaputra, for example, long has been a major barrier to integrating the transportation networks lying north and south of the river. The situation improved, however, with the opening of several rail and road bridges since the late 20th century. With Assam’s abundance of waterways, inland water transport is important. The Brahmaputra and Barak (Surma) rivers are the state’s primary water channels. Numerous passenger ferries operate between various points on the Brahmaputra, and freight service is offered between Guwahati and Kolkata, West Bengal. There is considerable air traffic between Assam and Kolkata. Among the towns with air service are Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Tezpur, and Silchar. The Guwahati airport offers international service. Now Assamhas a modernized, structured and well-designed transport infrastructure, including both public and private transportation services. The state is easily accessible to the rest of India through its well-connected Air, Rail and Road network that connects it within the state and the rest of the country.
⦁ Assam Railways. Assam has a well-connected rail network. Trains run to Assam from all the states of the country. And also all the major towns in Assam are interconnected with railways. So the other towns of Assam are also accessible to the travelers who can with ease travel to Assam using the railways. Guwahati falls under the Northeast Frontier Railway Zone of the Indian Railways. Guwahati Junction is the headquarters of the zone. Guwahati Junction is the major station of Assam. There are trains from Guwahati to the major cities of the country and vice versa. Rajdhani Express, PoorvottarSamparkKranti Express, Northeast Express, and Saraighat Express run at regular intervals to and from Guwahati.
(1) Northeast Frontier Railway. The Northeast Frontier Railway or N F Railway is one of the 17 railway zones in India. N F Railway is headquartered in Maligaon, Guwahati. N F Railways is responsible for rail operations in the entire Northeast and parts of West Bengal and Bihar. It is divided into 5 divisions.
⦁ Alipurdaur Railway Division
⦁ Katihar Railway Division
⦁ Lumding Railway Division
⦁ Rangia Railway Division
⦁ Tinsukia Railway Division
(2) Major Sections of N F Railway. The major sections under Northeast Frontier Railway zone are:
⦁ New Bongaigaon–Guwahati section
⦁ Rangia-Murkongselek section
⦁ Guwahati–Lumding section
⦁ Lumding–Dibrugarh section
⦁ Lumding-Silchar section
⦁ Silchar–Sabroom section
(3) Notable trains Northeast Frontier Railway
⦁ Purvottar SamparkKranti Express
⦁ Dibrugarh Town-New Delhi Rajdhani Express-Daily
⦁ Howrah – New JalpaiguriShatabdi Express
⦁ Kamakhya – Mumbai LTT AC Express
⦁ North East Express
⦁ Kaziranga Express
⦁ Kamrup Express
⦁ Kolkata – Guwahati GaribRath Express
⦁ Dibrugarh – Chennai Egmore Express
⦁ Dibrugarh-Chandigarh Express
⦁ Dibrugarh-Bangalore Express
⦁ DBRG KOAA SF Express
⦁ Kavi Guru Express
⦁ Dibrugarh-KanyakumariVivek Express
⦁ Kanchanjunga Express
⦁ Saraighat Express
⦁ Brahmaputra Mail
⦁ Capital Express
⦁ Darjeeling Mail
⦁ Uttar Banga Express
⦁ KanchanKanya Express
⦁ Mahananda Express
k. Assam Airways. The Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport at Borjhar in Guwahati is the main airport of Assam. All major domestic flights fly in and out of Guwahati from the important cities of India. There are also direct flights from Guwahati to Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Jaipur, Bengaluru and other major cities of the country. There are regular flights of Indian Airlines, Sahara and Jet Airways to Guwahati. Other domestic airports are located at Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tezpur, North Lakhimpur and Silchar in Assam. Helicopter services are also available from Guwahati to Tura, Shillong and Tawang. Druk air connects Guwahati internationally to Bangkok and Paro twice a week. The major airports located in Assam are:
l. Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport. also known as Guwahati International Airport and formerly as Borjhar Airport, is the primary international airport of the North-Eastern States of India, situated at Borjhar in Guwahati, Assam. Named after GopinathBordoloi, freedom fighter and also the first Chief Minister of Assam, the airport is managed by Airports Authority of India and also serves as Indian Air Force base.
(1) Jorhat Airport also known as Rowriah Airport is located 7 Kilometres South-West of Jorhat city, in Assam. The civil enclave, run by the Airports Authority of India is the 2nd busiest airport in Assam after Guwahati.
(2) Dibrugarh Airport also known as Mohanbari Airport, is located at Mohanbari, distance about 15 KM North East from Dibrugarh town, in Assam.
(3) Silchar Airport is located in Silchar in Assam. Built by the British in 1944 it is also a civil enclave airport as it is under the control of Indian Air Force. The airport is situated on the foothills of the Barail range and is the fourth busiest airport of the north-eastern India next to Guwahati, Agartala and Imphal.
(4) Tezpur Airport is located in Tezpur in Assam. It is also known as Salonibari Airport based on the village/township of Salonibari where it is located.
(5) Lilabari Airport is located in the Lakhimpur district in Assam. It also serves the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
(6) Rupsi Airport is located about 23 km from Dhubri town, in Assam. The airport has single domestic terminal with a very small peak hour passenger handling capacity. There are no domestic airlines operating from this airport at present.
(7) Chabua Air Force Station is an Indian Air Force base located at Chabua of Dibrugarh district in the state of Assam, India.
m. Assam’s Roadways. The network of national highways and other roads make travel to Assam convenient. The major towns in Assam and also the rest of India are interconnected by the roadways. Guwahati connects the national highways within Assam and the other states of the Northeast which serves for the transportation activities.The national highways connect Guwahati to the entire Northeast, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. People from international areas of Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh can also travel by road to Guwahati. The highways also connect Guwahati to all the major cities.
n. National Highways in Assam.
(1) National Highway 151 (NH 151) starts from Karimganj and ends at the Indian border with Bangladesh.
(2) The highway is 14 km (8.7 mi) long and runs only in the state of Assam.
(3) National Highway 153 (NH 153) starts from Ledo and ends at the Indian border (Arunachal Pradesh) with Myanmar. The highway is 60 km long.
(4) National Highway 154 (NH 154) starts from Dhaleswar and ends at Kanpui in Mizoram. The highway is 180 km long, of which 110 km is in Assam and 70 is in Mizoram.
(5) National Highway 306 (NH 306) is a 90 km (56 mi) National Highway in Assam and Mizoram. NH 306 begins in Silchar, Assam at the intersection of NH 37 and generally runs southward passing through Lumding, Silchar and Kolasib in Mizoram
(6) National Highway 31 is an important National Highway in India. The highway provides a gateway to the states of North-East India. It is 1,125 km (699 mi) long. The highway starts in Barhi, Jharkhand at the NH 2 and generally trends to the northeast, passing through JhumriTilaiya, Koderma, Nawada, Bihar Sharif,
(7) Bakhtiarpur, Mokameh, Begusarai, Purnea, Dalkhola, Kishanganj, Bagdogra, Siliguri, Malbazar, Mainaguri, Dhupguri, Cooch Behar, Tufanganj, Kokrajhar, and Nalbari before ending at Jalukbari, Guwahati.
(8) National Highway 31B (NH 31B) starts from North Salmara in Assam and ends at Jogighopa in Assam. The highway is 19 km (12 mi) long.
(9) National Highway 31C connects Galgalia in West Bengal and Bijni in Assam. The total length of the highway is 235 km (146 mi), of which 142 km (88 mi) is in West Bengal and 93 km (58 mi) in Assam.
(10) National Highway 36 connects Nagaon in Assam and Dimapur in Nagaland.The total distance covered is 170 km (110 mi), of which 167 km (104 mi) is in Assam and 3 km (1.9 mi) is in Nagaland. It starts from the junction of NH 37 in Nagaon and ends in the junction of NH 54 in Dimapur.
(11) National Highway 37 runs from Panchratna near Goalpara across Assam state to Roing in Arunachal Pradesh. The total length of NH 37 is 740 km (460 mi).
(12) National Highway 37A (NH 37A) starts from Kuwarital in Assam and ends at the junction of NH 52 near Tezpur in Assam. The highway is 23 km (14 mi) long.
(13) National Highway 38 (NH 38) is a short National Highway of India entirely within the state of Assam that connects Makum and Lekhapani. It covers a distance of 54 km (34 mi).
(14) National Highway 415 (NH 415) starts from Banderdewa, Arunachal Pradesh and ends at Gohpur, Assam. The highway is 59 km (37 mi) long, of which 15 km (9.3 mi) is in Assam and 42 km (26 mi) in Arunachal Pradesh.
(15) National Highway 44 (NH 44) is a National Highway in Northeast India that connects Shillong, in Meghalaya with Sabroom, near India-Bangladesh in Tripura.
(16) National Highway 51 (NH 51) is in the states of Assam and Meghalaya. NH-51 starts from Paikan in Assam (at junction with NH 37) and ends at Dalu, in Meghalaya. The highway is 149 km (93 mi) long, of which 22 km (14 mi) is in Assam and 127 km (79 mi) is in Meghalaya.
(17) National Highway 515 (NH 515) is a National Highway in the Northeastern Indian states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. NH 515 starts at the intersection of NH 15 north of Dhemaji and generally traverses east and northeast. It runs for a distance of 111 km (69 mi), initially through Assam and the rest in Arunachal Pradesh.
(18) National Highway 52 (NH 52) is a National Highway in the Northeastern Indian states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. NH 52 starts at the intersection of NH 31 north of Guwahati and generally traverses east and northeast. It runs for a distance of 850 km (530 mi), of which 540 km (340 mi) is in Assam and the rest in Arunachal Pradesh.
(19) National Highway 52A (NH 52A) starts from Banderdewa, Arunachal Pradesh and ends at Gohpur, Assam. The highway is 57 km (35 mi) long, of which 15 km (9.3 mi) is in Assam and 42 km (26 mi) in Arunachal Pradesh.
(20) National Highway 52B (NH 52B) starts from Kulajan and ends at Dibrugarh, both places in the state of Assam. The highway which was a 31 km (19 mi) stretch got extended to cover a portion of 1,850-km long Trans-Arunachal Highway.
(21) National Highway 53 (NH 53) is a National Highway in Northeast India that connects Badarpur, Assam with Imphal, Manipur. NH 53 starts from the junction of NH 44 at Badarpur and covers a distance of 320 km (200 mi), of which 100 km (62 mi) is in Assam and 220 km (140 mi) is in Manipur.
(23) National Highway 54 (NH 54) is a 850 km (530 mi) long National Highway in the Northeastern Indian states of Assam and Mizoram. NH 54 begins in Dabaka, Assam at the intersection of NH 36 and generally runs southward passing through Lumding, Silchar and Mizoram state capital Aizwal before terminating at Tuipang in Mizoram.
(24) National Highway 61 (NH 61) runs from Kohima, and ends at Jhanji in the state of Assam. The highway is 240 km (150 mi) long, of which 220 km (140 mi) is in Nagaland and 20 km (12 mi) is in Assam.
(25) National Highway 62 (NH 62) starts from Damra in Assam and ends at Dalu, in Meghalaya. The highway is 195 km (121 mi) long, of which 5 km (3.1 mi) is in Assam and 190 is in Meghalaya.
(26) National Highway 152(old) is now known as 127A(New) starts from Pathsala in Assam and ends at the Republic of India border with Bhutan. The highway is 38 km (24 mi) long and runs only in the state of Assam.