Though its social expenditure has increased by 15.1 per cent in the past 27 years.
Guwahati: In what has raised many eyebrows, Assam’s social expenditure has grown by 15.1 per cent in the past 27 years (1990 to 2017), which is among the highest in the country, but the benefits have not been percolating down to the people because of presence of institutional bottlenecks, lack of awareness and implementation issues. This is what has been revealed by the Economic Research Department of the State Bank of India.
Assam’s human development index (HDI), which is an average of the subnational values of three dimensions, mainly education, health and standard of living, has slipped in this period.
The SBI report stated, “To check the validity of whether increased social expenditure does push up the HDI ranking, we looked into the CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of social expenditure between 2017 and 1990.
Interestingly, the correlation between growth in social expenditure and improvement in HDI scores is low, which further reveals that presence of institutional bottlenecks, lack of awareness and implementation issues are still present and hence the benefits of increased social expenditure is uneven across Indian states with some states like Haryana clearly benefiting, but some like Assam not so.”
Referring the region-wise trend of HDI scores, the report suggested that mostly southern states and northern states have performed better while eastern states have fared poorly. “NE states, which have rapidly cached up in HDI value and were well performed among other regions, have slowed down in the recent period and even the HDI value is declining,” the report stated.
The gap between Eastern region and rest of the regions, which was widening till 2014, has either declined or remain same since 2015. This could be attributed to higher economic growth in Eastern states, more particularly Odisha and Bihar. However, it is not clear why Northeastern states, which rapidly caught up in HDI value and were till now well performing, have slowed down in recent period.
The report however claimed that the Ayushman scheme, which is the world’s largest government funded health care scheme, once properly rolled out and adopted across states could improve the HDI value both at national and sub-national level in the coming years.