New Delhi– The low per capita income of Assam is a concern and structural reforms are needed to improve the state’s health, education and economic indicators, the Union Finance Ministry said on Tuesday.

“It is a matter of concern that per capita income of Assam is significantly lower than all India average which itself is lower than other emerging markets,” the ministry said a day before the three-day visit of 15th Finance Commission to the state begins.

The per capita income of Assam is Rs 67,620, much lower than the all India average of Rs 1,03,870, said the Ministry statement, adding that the Commission recognizes the special characteristics of Assam, which, “notwithstanding acceleration in growth momentum”, will have to make enormous development strides to catch up with national averages particularly with respect to per capita income.

Despite its recent strides in growth and socio-economic development, the state has a lot to catch up on health, educational and economic outcomes, it said, adding that half of the population depends on agriculture with limited urbanisation and industrialisation, both infant and maternal mortality rate (IMR and MMR) are much higher than the national average and life expectancy and literacy rate are lower than the national average.

“Demographic diversities give rise to myriad socio-cultural conditions and contingencies offering developmental challenges of various forms. Notwithstanding recent growth spurt, endemic structural issues need to be addressed in a time bound manner,” the statement said.

The Finance Commission led by Chairman N.K. Singh will assess the state of the finances of Assam, its socio-economic challenges and understand the efforts of the state government to tackle these, the ministry said.

The Commission will meet leaders of various political parties, representatives of autonomous councils, trade and industry, urban local bodies and panchayati raj institutions.

“Commission, therefore, would seek to explore opportunity of what structural, administrative and other changes are necessary by way of augmenting resources of state and also its proper utilization,” it said.