Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma
Minister of Health , Government of Assam State, India
Decentralization, Reconciling Economic Policy and Institution-Building Goals, Getting the News Out/Managing Expectations, Balancing the Central and Local
decentralization, value added tax, Assam, India
Sun Jul 26 2009
Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma talks about his role in the reform efforts in the state government of Assam over the previous decade. He talks about the financial reforms put in place to improve recruitment standards and salary payments, such as initiating a Value Added Tax program as a way of balancing the books to allow for further reform efforts, and overcoming the challenges associated with the these new reforms. He talks about dealing with different parts of society putting pressure on the government once the financial reforms were put in place and money became available to spend, and balancing competing interests. He also goes into detail about how the government of Assam dealt with the insurgency problem affecting the state through cease-fire negotiations, concessions and the establishment of tribal councils. He also offers his opinions on how decentralization and democracy can empower people and contribute to economic development. Finally, he discusses the need to stay up to date on all the relevant issues affecting the local community, to know the problems and stay in touch with the people to help build trust and advance the development process.
At the time of this interview, Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma was the minister of health for the government of Assam state in India, and he also ran the Guwahati Development Department. He held various positions and roles during more than a decade of service to the government of Assam. In 2002, he was appointed as the minister of state in charge of agriculture, planning and development before becoming the minister of finance in Assam in 2004.