Assam’s growth lowest in NITI Aayog’s SDG index: Congress

Assams progress from 2019 to 2020 was barely two points (55 to 57), with the state seeing the slowest overall progress among all states in India in the recent NITI Aayog Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) index 2020-21, Congress’ Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha, Gaurav Gogoi claimed on Wednesday.

In contrast, the highest growth of a state was 12 points, far from Assam’s growth rate, Gogoi said, adding that Assam’s overall rank also dropped from 23rd to 26th.

“In the field of health, Assam has the lowest score of 59 among all states. It also dropped by 3 ranks from 25th to 28th place. Percentage of adolescents aged 10–19 years who are anaemic is 36.9, higher than India’s score.

“States like Punjab, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Himachal have much better scores. Assam also has the highest maternal mortality rate among all states with a score of 215, almost double of India’s score,” the Congress leader said.

Claiming that Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has misled the people of the state in the field of education, Gogoi said that Assam ranked 24 out of 28 states and its score has actually dropped this year from 44 to 43 in the NITI Aayog’s SDG index.

Assam’s dropout rates for classes 9 and 10 are the second highest among all states. It also has one of the lowest pupil teacher ratios of 11 among all states and almost half of India’s score of 21.

He said that economically, Assam has a score lowest in the northeast region. Assam’s rank dropped from 17 in 2019 to 22 in 2020. In fact, states like Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, who were lower than Assam in 2019, have surpassed Assam in 2020.

Gogoi, son of three-time late Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, said that Chief Minister Sarma also tried to justify Assam’s poor performance because the data was based on NFHS 4 and not the recent NFHS survey 5.

Quoting the SDG index, the Congress’ Lok Sabha member said that Assam ranked lowest, 28th for women empowerment i.e. in the category of gender parity and equality. “Firstly, the indicator of gender parity is based on “access to healthcare, education, nutrition, employment and asset ownership.”

He said that the Chief Minister, however, stated that the high rate of crimes against women in Assam was due to the fact that more cases are registered by women for crimes against them.

“But, according to the NFHS survey of 2018, states such as Rajasthan, Kerala, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh also show women approaching the police station and having access to filing a case. However, their crime rates against women were much lesser than that of Assam in the SDG report,” Gogoi claimed.

He said that overall, Assam is in the bottom rankings of all the essential categories of economy, healthcare, education and gender equality and there hasn’t been any significant growth since 2018.

The BJP government should be honest about its shortcomings instead of misleading the people, the Congress MP said.