GUWAHATI, Feb 16: The Socio-Economic Planning and Development Advisory Council of the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) headed by noted economist and former diplomat Dr Jaimini Bhagwati today stressed that unemployment and underemployment were the major growth-retarding factors for the economy of Assam.

In its first sitting held in Guwahati today, the Council also targeted the political parties’ inclination towards creating hordes of beneficiaries through government schemes that tend to affect both the work culture and employment opportunities for the workforce in Assam, having a negative long- term impact on the overall fiscal health of the State.

It needs mention here that the AJP president Lurinjyoti Gogoi had earlier announced the formation of the council under the patronage of some prominent economists to prepare a financial and economic roadmap for the State, and to lift the standard of living of the ‘legitimate citizens’ through social and economic development.

Dr Bhagwati, a former ambassador to four countries including the UK and a former World Bank official laid utmost emphasis on solving the unemployment problem of Assam and creating financial resources to boost the economic growth of Assam. He also said that unless the income of the State is more than its expenses, the economic development of the State would continue to stagger.

Several subject experts living in Assam, the rest of India and abroad participated in the meet through video conferencing.

Former bureaucrat DN Saikia, former manager of NABARD Harendra Nath Bhuyan, agricultural scientist Dr Sarat Saikia, former Commissioner of Taxes Jogesh Chandra Pegu, Oil sector expert Bhupati Kumar Das, entrepreneur Tridip Sarma and AJP advisers Basanta Deka and Dr KG Bhattacharyya participated in the meet among others.

Several other experts from the US, Australia and other parts of India and abroad extended their suggestions to strengthen the State’s economy and augment the income of its workforce.