"Assam is achieving a lot in human development outcome... I compliment Assam on its significant outcomes (in human development).
"Unfortunately, Assam gets into headlines for wrong reasons. The media does not project Assam's achievement in human development," Ramesh said here.
He made the comments after making an impromptu appearance at a workshop organised by the state government to discuss preparation of the Assam State Human Development Report.
"Assam has the lowest inequality rate in the country. It is among the top 3-4 states in growth of literacy, where its performance is even better than that of Gujarat", Ramesh said.
In economic growth, Assam is among the top 4-5 states and is one of the success stories of NRHM, he said.
Terming the state's performance in human development during the past two decades as "very very good", Ramesh called upon the media to also focus on such news.
"There are currently two lakh women self-help groups in Assam. In next five years, the target is to increase the numbers to five lakh", he said.
"In terms of gender indices, Assam's performance is much better than states in North India or Gujarat," Ramesh said.
He added, "However, the national media only talks of Assam when there is violence."
Ramesh said Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is called as "No Problem Gogoi" by leaders at the Centre as he has a habit of "always smiling and laughing".
PMGSY norms relaxed for Assam to boost rural road network
The Centre has decided to relax norms for Assam so that it can get benefits at par with tribal areas and hill states for constructing rural roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh said today.
"So far under PMGSY programme, the criteria is that habitations with a population of more than 500 will be taken up for connectivity, except in the hill states and in tribal areas of the country where the population norm is 250," the Rural Development Minister told reporters here.
"Assam is not classified as a tribal area or as a hill state. In Assam, the population criteria is 500. The Cabinet in its meeting last week has directed me to come back to it within one month's time to change the criteria for Assam so that all habitation with 250 plus population gets connected under the PMGSY programme," he added.
This will benefit over 3,000 habitations and entail construction of an additional 2,500 kms of roads in Assam. Ramesh said there is also another proposal to reduce the population criteria to 100 in tribal areas under Fifth Schedule.
Lauding the performance of the PMGSY programme in Assam, Ramesh said 13,000 kms of rural roads have been constructed in the state during past 11 years at an expenditure of Rs 7,100 crore. The project is fully funded by the Centre.
"Today I discussed with Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi the balance of the programme. There are around 4,500 kms of roads left to be built to connect all habitations with 500 plus population," he said.
"By end of February, proposal for the rest would be submitted by the state government and we hope that within this fiscal, the sanction from the Central government would be in place," Ramesh said.