The economy of Assam today represents a unique juxtaposition of backwardness amidst plenty. Despite its rich natural resources, and supplying of up to 25% of India’s petroleum needs, Assam’s growth rate is has not kept pace with that of India; the difference has increased rapidly since the 1970s. The Indian economy grew at 6% per annum over the period of 1981 to 2000, the growth rate of Assam was only 3.3%. In the Sixth Plan period, Assam experienced a negative growth rate of 3.78% when India’s was positive at 6%.
According to recent analysis, Assam’s economy is showing signs of improvement. In 2001–02, the economy grew (at 1993–94 constant prices) at 4.5%, to fall to 3.4% in the next financial year. During 2003–04 and 2004–05, the economy grew (at 1993–94 constant prices) more satisfactorily at 5.5% and 5.3% respectively. The advanced estimates placed the growth rate for 2005–06 at above 6%. Assam’s GDP in 2004 is estimated at $13 billion in current prices. Sectoral analysis again exhibits a dismal picture. The average annual growth rate of agriculture, which was only 2.6% per annum over 1980s has unfortunately fallen to 1.6% in the 1990’s. Manufacturing sector has shown some improvement in the 1990s with a growth rate of 3.4% per annum than 2.4% in the 1980’s. Since past five decades, the tertiary sector has registered the highest growth rates than the other sectors, which even has slowed down in the 1990’s than in 1980’s.