The State Innovation and Transformation Commission (SITA), a think tank of the state government, has prepared a report on floods in Assam and its effects. The report titled ‘Impact of floods on rural Assam and the livelihood of its people’ was released by Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday. This report describes the impact of floods and the measures being taken by the government to address the problems arising out of it. Along with this, it has also been told that due to the floods, the number of people migrating to find other employment opportunities has increased.
Releasing the report in Guwahati, Chief Minister Sarma said that the Assam government is trying to make SITA at the state level on par with NITI Aayog. To make the think tank more decentralized for policy making, research is going to involve universities in Assam as well as more people.
This report states that the situation created due to the floods is coming to the fore in the form of negativity of development and increasing poverty in Assam. It also states that Assam, the Human Development Index (HDI), and the State Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), would have been better off if adequate measures were taken by the governments to avert the situation arising out of the floods that occur every year in Assam. Could have been on top of achieving figures. It said that there is a need for inclusive and holistic intervention for development in the flood-affected areas.
Significantly, floods are a perennial issue for Assam. It particularly affects a large community of people living in the plains. The two major rivers in Assam are the Brahmaputra and the Barak. In addition, both have dozens of tributaries.
The report said that migration of people for work has emerged as a major issue in the flood-affected villages of the state. According to the report, agriculture is the main occupation for most of the households in the flood-affected areas. Most of the families are engaged in agricultural work. But, facing floods every year, the members of these households are now looking for opportunities for any job beyond agriculture mostly outside the state to earn a livelihood. The report said that the survey shows that 29 percent of the households have people who now work outside their villages.
According to the report, a huge compensation package is needed to solve the problems of the flood-affected villages and people. But there is a need to first ensure the availability of food, water, sanitation facilities and health care, and repair damaged homes, to normalize the situation.
Based on the survey, this report was prepared by the State Innovation and Transformation Commission (SITA), a think tank of the state government, in association with Cotton University. The surveyors visited eight districts of the state to know the flood situation and its impact in rural Assam. During this they reached 83 villages. These surveyors went to about 1100 houses and interacted with the people.