The Economy of Assam

Assam is the largest of the north-eastern states in India. It has a bustling agrarian economy. Tea is the major crop that drives Assam's economic growth. It accounts for nearly 15% of the world's production of tea and around 50% of India's production of tea. More than 40% of the state's income comes from agriculture. Nearly 70% of the state's population depends on agriculture for employment.

Besides rice (the primary food crop), cash crops like tea, cotton, jute, oilseeds, sugarcane and potato are grown in the state. Also grown on a small scale are crops such as coconut, orange, guava, banana, pineapple, areca nut, mango and jackfruit. Though primarily dependent on agriculture, the literacy rate of the Assamese population is 70%, close to the national average of literacy rates.

Aside from its share in world tea production, Assam (Digboi) also holds the distinction of being the oil hub of India. (Digboi). Petroleum oil was discovered in Digboi during the British rule in the late 19th century. It is today a major headquarters of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) today.

Business Landscape of Assam

Though Assam hasn't seen great industrial growth when compared to other Indian states, it surely presents numerous opportunities to businesses across various sectors. Tourism, sericulture and mining have seen steady growths over the last decade and have supplemented the state,s major income from tea production. Some highlights of Assam's economy include:

Spice Production and Horticulture: Owing to its geographical presence and environmental factors, Assam has large tracts of cultivable land devoted to horticultural crops, spices, flowers and medical plants. It also has around 200 varieties of orchids specific to the state. Orchids are in great demand in Europe and North American destinations.

Oil and Gas: About 15% of India's crude oil output comes from Assam. It has close to 1.5 billion tones of crude oil and about 160 billion cubic meters of natural gas reserves. Along with the main refinery at Digboi, three other refineries have helped spur energy production in Assam.

Silk Weaving and Sericulture: Assam's salubrious climate has contributed to developing fine varieties of silk in this region. Traditional silks include Muga silk, Mulberry silk and Eri silk.

Bamboo Production: Covered with rainfall across the year, Assam, like other regions in North east India, has a lush forest cover. More than 50% of the forests have been reserved and are protected. More than 60% of bamboo production in India is credited to the North eastern region of which Assam plays a major role. The Assam government is making strides to grow, harvest and promote bamboo to consumers across the globe.

Tourism: Assam has attracted nature and wildlife enthusiasts from India and around the world to its diverse population of wildlife and forest cover. From the famous Kaziranga wildlife sanctuary, which is home to the ‘great one-horned rhinoceros' to pilgrimage spots such as Guwahati, Hajo and Majuli and the great Brahmaputra river, Assam is a place less explored. The Assam government has built hotels and resorts across popular tourist destinations in the state to cater to the discerning traveler.

Unlike other industry-dependant regions in India, Assam's natural resources have lent the state growth and a unique character to the north east region in India. While there are fewer opportunities for large businesses to thrive, small and medium enterprises can utilize the wide array of natural resources to flourish.

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