| Tarun Gogoi |
Guwahati, March 15: Chief minister Tarun Gogoi today said bringing down infant mortality rate (IMR) and maternal mortality rate (MMR) in the state are among the top priorities of his government.
Expressing concern over high IMR and MMR in the state, he said the state government would take some pro-active measures to bring these rates on a par with the national average by 2016.
At present, Assam’s IMR is 58 per 1,000 live births and MMR is 390 per one lakh live deliveries, which are among the highest in the country.
He said in order to achieve this, the government had decided to achieve 100 per cent institutional delivery, ensure providing adequate medical attention to the newborn, provide better children care by setting up sick newborn care units and newborn stabilisation units in the hospitals.
Summing up the general discussion on the budget in the Assembly today, Gogoi projected a rosy picture of the state’s finances.
Describing gross state domestic product (GSDP) as the yardstick of development, Gogoi said growth rate of GSDP in the state during the 9th Plan period was 1.51 per cent, which increased to 5.33 per cent during the 10th Plan period.
“Between 2001 and 2011, the per capita income has increased three times. It is remarkable achievement considering the fact that we do not have any big industry compared to states like Gujarat and Maharashtra,” he said.
“Our government has done a good job because when we came to power in 2001, the state’s economy was in a shambles.”
“During the tenure of the last AGP government, the plan size was Rs 1,520 crore, which has gone up to Rs 9,000 crore in 2011-2012,” he said.
According to the chief minister, the financial position of the state is healthy today as the state could achieve both revenue and fiscal surpluses since 2005-2006.
As a result of this, the state could avail debt waiver benefit of Rs 422 crore during the period under the 12th Finance Commission Award. This is in addition to debt relief of Rs 661 crore for enacting the Assam Fiscal Responsibility and Budgetary Management Act, 2005.
“We will be happy to know that the 13th Finance Commission rewarded the state with an amount of Rs 300 crore in recognition of our prudent and efficient financial management. We have also got a debt waiver of Rs 500 crore and interest payment relief of Rs 150 crore,” he said.
Gogoi said rapid economic development of the state was one of the reasons why the support base of militants was fading.