During British rule, the Government of East Bengal and Assam laid stress on a comprehensive scheme of industrial development of the province. Though both the parts possessed vast potentialities, these remained unexploited nor the people has shown necessary aptitude or enterprise for their utilization. Consequently, indigenous industries continued to be conducted in their wasteful and archaic method and the people were content with old order of things. With the growth of population and particularly the emergence of the middle class in the wake of spread of education, earlier means proved less and less adequate resulting in misery and discontent of the rising generation. Unless they were turned to useful occupation and their aspirations fulfilled, it was feared, their energies might be directed to activities prejudicial to the interest of the Government. In consideration of these facts the Lieutenant Governor convened a representative conference at Dacca, 25th February to 3rd March, 1909, to suggest measures for industrial development of the newly-created province. The conference made number of suggestions that the government should embark upon a scheme of large scale industry demanding huge capital nor of advanced technology instruction as existed in other parts of the country. It directed its attention to the development of industries on a small scale with local capital and to the training of recruits from the rank of middle class elite. The conference was of course unanimous in its recommendation for the establishment of a Department of Industries with a whole time officer at its head; that all forms of technical and industrial education should be transferred from the Department of Education to that of Industries , though the two Directors should be in close touch with one another. Financial constraints again prevented the appointment of the proposed directorate. ( Source : The Comprehensive History of Assam , Vol-V).
After the Province of Assam was separated from East Bengal in 1912, the Assam Secretariat was once again re-organized. The number of departments then shrunk into six, namely (1) Appointment and Political, (2) Judicial and General, (3) Revenue, (4) Finance , (5) Local-self Government and Industries and (6) Education. In the whole of Secretariat there were 4 head of assistants, 16 assistants and 35 lower division assistance. The number of departments in the Secretariat increases up to 13 numbers before independence. The Cottage industries department also looked after the activities of Sericulture and weaving.
The number of departments in the Secretariat grew sluggishly after independence. In 1948-49, the Department of Cottage industries re-organized and separated from the Sericulture and Weaving. The Directorate of Cottage Industries was established in 1956. Initially, the Secretary of the Department of Cottage Industries was also acting as Director of the Directorate. At that time number of officers and staff were very less. One Special Officer, one Superintendent, one Upper Division Assistants, two Lower Division Assistants, one Printing Operator and two Fourth Grade employees were assisting the Director in executing various works.
In 1958, the Government created a separate Directorate in the name of Directorate of Industries to look after various works setting up large industrial units. Shri. K V Srinivasan, Joined as 1st Director of Industries, Assam w.e.f 1st April, 1958.
In 1960, for proper implementation of works relating to industrialization of each district, the Government established 12 (twelve) offices under Assistant Director of Cottage Industries in the district head quarters and another 12 (twelve) offices of Superintendent of Industries in the Sub-Divisional head quarters.
In 1978, the State Government had set up 5 (five) District Industries Centres in the district head quarters of undivided districts viz. Kamrup, Nowgong, Sivasagar, Cachar and Dibrugarh with the fund made available by Government of India. Later on, similar District Industries Centres were established in all the other districts head quarters.
The Department was renamed as Industries & Commerce Department w.e.f January, 2010 and the post of Director of Industries is also re-designated as Commissioner of Industries and Commerce, Assam.