Hon'ble Speaker and Hon'ble Members,
1. It gives me great pleasure to address you at the commencement of the 2nd session of the 8th Legislative Assembly of Mizoram. I would like to take this opportunity to convey my sincere greetings and warm wishes to this August House and the people of Mizoram.
2. I am sure that under able leaders like you, Mizoram will continue on its path of lasting peace, economic prosperity and all round development despite challenges that face us from time to time. I am convinced that with your tireless efforts and your vision for the state and its people, Mizoram will one day take its place as one of the most developed and progressive states in the country.
3. Before this august Assembly, I would like to reiterate my Government’s commitment towards providing efficient, responsive, responsible, accountable and transparent administration at all levels of governance. My Government's vision is to be economically self-sufficient and self reliant; to usher agricultural and infrastructural growth, and to bring about industrial development, especially through the use of our abundant bamboo resources, as well as to empower our youth through skill development and entrepreneurship programmes and sports.
4. I would also like to take this opportunity, to once again commend and appreciate the people’s active participation in the electoral process last year. The people’s mandate for change is a reaffirmation of our strong democratic aspirations and processes.
5. My Government will very soon embark on a fresh development path as per the new Flagship Programme - Socio-Economic Development Policy (SEDP). SEDP will accelerate progress and growth in all key sectors where the state has tremendous potentials. The objective of the Policy is to transform Mizoram into a truly Welfare State which is self-reliant, and its development both inclusive and sustainable and where governance is transparent and participatory. In this respect, SEDP puts forward a holistic approach for Political & Administrative Policy, Economic Development Policy and Social Development Policy. An apex body will soon be constituted for coordination of all developmental works in the State. 14 Committees have been notified encompassing various socio-economic sectors which are tasked with prioritizing and formulating action plans for developmental works in their respective sectors in collaboration with the concerned Departments. SEDP, unlike earlier programmes of previous governments, will not be given as doles but as a hand-holding support on the viability of projects and feasibility of livelihood income generation.
6. My Government accords top priority to the maintenance of law and order, and protection of the peaceful atmosphere of the state. Towards this end, all steps will be taken to ensure that we continue to remain one of the most peaceful states in the country. During 2018, we have been fortunate that no major incidences of law and order problems were reported. This has been largely due to the dedication and tireless efforts of Mizoram Police. It is the resolve of my government that Mizoram Police will continue to be strengthened with better infrastructure and modern equipments, manpower and trainings. Stringent measures will be taken to protect our state borders, and welfare schemes for the development of people residing in border areas will be given due importance. Measures will be taken for maintenance of Mizoram Household Register to safeguard the interest of citizens living in border areas and other parts of the state.
The long cherished dream of the people of Mizoram to see the shifting of Assam Rifles Battalion Headquarters from the heart of Aizawl will soon be a reality. Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India has directed Assam Rifles to shift their Battalion Headquarters from Aizawl to their new location at Zokhawsang by 31 May 2019. Our dream of developing these areas for public purposes will see the light of day. Following a decision of the Council of Ministers the name of Mizoram New Capital Complex (MINECO) has been restored from New Secretariat Complex.
7. My Government understands that Agriculture has been the single most important source of livelihood of the rural masses, contributing to about 30 percent of Gross State Domestic Product. It is an important sector for food security, employment generation and economic growth. Since a large work force of our state are engaged in agricultural and allied activities, targeted development of agriculture and allied sectors will be a core priority of my Government. Improving the marketing aspect of agricultural produce by increasing physical market infrastructure and protecting the general interest of farmers will be accorded importance as well. Horticulture, fisheries, veterinary and animal husbandry and sericulture activities which are key means of livelihood will be given renewed attention. Link roads are an important aspect of agriculture in a hilly terrain like ours. The total length of Potential Area Connectivity (PAC) constructed so far is 786 kilometres. This connectivity will help boost the production of rice and other crops. Thirty (30) Custom Hiring Centres (CHC) which have been established have helped increase mechanization of agriculture activities.
Focus will be given on scientific and modern systems of agriculture and farming suited to our land use and environment and on technology transfer to farmers. Emphasis will also be laid on organic farming. Capacity building, trainings and demonstrations for farmers will also be enhanced.
8. My Government recognizes the need for development, construction and maintenance of infrastructure in the State, among which road infrastructure is the most important. In a hill state like ours, improving road connectivity has been a major challenge. My government is committed to leave no stone unturned to improve the quality of all roads and to ensure better road networks and connectivity with neighbouring states. Improvements of all projects under the Road sector are being prioritised. Innovations and new practices in road technology will be incorporated wherever possible.
During 2018-19, 10 numbers of formation cutting of roads with a length of 86.00 kilometres with an estimated cost of Rs.78.07 crores and 20 numbers of blacktopped roads with a total length of 139.00 kilometres with an estimated cost of Rs.213.37 crores and 4 bridges with an estimated cost of Rs. 36.22 crores have been completed. There are 102 numbers of on-going road projects with a total length of 1770.00 kilometres amounting to Rs. 1266.86 crores. 27 numbers of permanent bridges amounting to Rs.163.05 crores for replacement of temporary bridges are also being taken up with funds from different agencies. During the current financial year 83 numbers of buildings were taken up with an estimated cost of Rs. 465.38 crores, out of which 21 have been completed and 62 buildings are in progress. Widening of two major traffic junctions of Aizawl City i.e. Vaivakawn Junction and Bawngkawn Junction has resulted in smooth flow of vehicular traffic for both vehicles and commuters.
9. My Government will endeavour to make the state self-reliant in power and energy, with special emphasis on additional power generation through renewable sources of energy like solar and other renewable energy. Efforts will be made for improving efficiency in generation, transmission and distribution of power.
Mizoram has become the first among the states of North East India to successfully complete implementation of SAUBHAGYA (Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana) with a target of 25755 household electrification. Two major works - Construction of 33kV S/S line on D/C tower from Kau Tlabung Small Hydel Project to Thenhlum S/S at an estimated cost of Rs. 782.00 lakhs and Construction of 2x6.3MVA, 132/33kV sub-station at Mamit with associated tower line upto Zawlnuam via Zamuang at an estimated cost of Rs. 4033.84 lakhs will be undertaken during the next financial year. During 2017-18, the revenue collection by the Power and Electricity Department amounted to Rs. 213.10 crores which was 7 per cent higher than the previous year. During the current financial year, revenue collection is expected to increase by 10 per cent due to introduction of new tariff and efficiency improvements.
10. My Government will continue to work in all earnestness to provide safe and adequate drinking water supply to each household and also in making Mizoram the‘Cleanest State in India’ In this regard, the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) has provided 4,235 house water connections and has targeted 54 habitations to be covered during the year 2018-2019 out of which 37 habitations have been covered. Mizoram has been declared as the 13th Open Defecation Free (ODF) State in the country after successful construction of 30,067 toilets as targeted. 1st State Level ODF verification has been completed in all districts and 2nd Level ODF Verification is in progress. Concerted efforts have to be taken to make ODF sustainable through various participatory programmes. During the financial year 2018-19, up to January 2019, an amount of Rs. 3,667.146 lakhs has been collected as revenue from House Water Connections.
11. My Government realizes that education is one of the pillars on which the foundations of a progressive and democratic society is laid. A well thought out policy and an efficient system that provides good education to students will go a long way in preparing young minds for their journey into the ever increasingly competitive world we live in today. The School Education Department and Department of Higher & Technical Education play an important role towards the achievement of this goal.
My government is committed to bringing about education reforms to improve quality of education at all levels of learning. School timings have been notified to suit our social life and culture which will be in effect from the new academic session. Emphasis will be given towards improvement of infrastructures, rationalisation of teachers and efforts will be taken to introduce various welfare schemes for students and teachers working under Central Sponsored Schemes (CSS), Government-aided schools, Church and privately run schools.
Construction of Mizoram Engineering College, Pukpui has been completed and was inaugurated by the Hon'ble Prime Minister last month via video conferencing. Classes are expected to start in selected branches this year. Upgradation of existing 4 colleges to model degree colleges amounting to Rs. 16 crores and Infrastructure Grants for 13 colleges amounting to Rs. 26 crores will be undertaken during the next financial year.
12. My Government is committed to improving, expanding and strengthening of healthcare facilities and key infrastructures. I am glad to inform the Hon’ble Members that our ratio of health institutions per population is one of the best in the country. In order to achieve universal health coverage, providing affordable and accessible health care to all, will continue to be a priority. Centrally sponsored healthcare programmes and schemes will continue to be implemented with renewed vigour with contribution of state matching share on time.
13. My Government will increase focus on improving all facets of urban life. Given the fact that more than half of our population lives in urban areas, until and unless our urban development is enhanced, our growth story will not be complete. Feasibility Study for improvement and enhancing of the existing roads of Aizawl City is being undertaken for which the Chief Minister himself undertook a preliminary survey. The recently launched Parking House Support Scheme (PAHOSS) envisions decongestion of road and traffic through provision of assistance scheme for construction of parking space. To develop Aizawl into a Smart City under the Smart Cities Mission, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) called Aizawl Smart City Limited is now functional for implementation of varied features of the Mission. In the coming years, through a grant of Rs. 500 crores, of which Rs. 53 crores has been released, Aizawl will get a complete facelift in various aspects. Measures will be taken to strengthen Aizawl Municipal Corporation. My Government will put in serious efforts to make the best use of the various Schemes of the Central Government and also augment them through available resources of the state to address urban challenges, we face today.
At the same time, rural development and poverty alleviation will be a key priority area since development will not be inclusive, if the pace of development is not the same in rural areas. Towards this end, various rural development and poverty alleviation schemes and programmes under the Central government will continue to be implemented in all earnestness to remove poverty and improve quality of life in rural areas through employment generation, provision of training to rural unemployed youth and creation of basic social and economic infrastructures.
14. My Government realizes the importance of preserving our environment not only for the present generation, but also for future ones and the dangers that Climate Change and Global Warming pose towards the environment. Economic growth at the expense of the environment is not what this State and this country need but rather a synergy between the two. As a result, several programmes/schemes have been executed by the Government to preserve and expand the existing forest cover. Revision of State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) is expected to be completed this month. Special impetus will be laid on bamboo plantations through the National Bamboo Mission so that maximum benefits can accrue to the state.
15. Mizoram has been ranked the most improved state among small states in the field of entrepreneurship in India. My Government will give priority to ensure that opportunities are open for the youth to excel in various professional and vocational fields with necessary incentives and capacity building programmes. Entrepreneurship and self-employment will be encouraged for which necessary training and awareness programmes on skill development will be given priority.
16. My Government will take various measures for the promotion of industries and industrial activity in the State. In keeping with Act East Policy, Border Trade with Myanmar and Bangladesh will be vigorously pursued so that Mizoram can benefit economically.
17. My Government understands that for an agricultural and non-industrial based economy like ours, tourism has a tremendous potential in generating revenue and in employment generation. Efforts to place Mizoram as a preferred tourist destination in the domestic and international circuit will be undertaken in a focussed manner. Rural tourism can help rural economy and special emphasis will be laid to encourage community participation in tourism activities.Steps will be taken for opening the State Institute of Hotel Management.
18. The Government is committed to preserve and promote Mizo identity, tradition and values. This Government will endeavour to work for the unity and brotherhood of all Mizo people living within India and across the globe within our constitutional framework.
19. My Government will continue to accord priority to the Sports sector. Steps will be taken for framing Mizoram Sports Policy on a priority basis. The Department of Sports & Youth Services will take steps to organize the Mizoram State Games in line with the National Games and the Khelo Youth Games. In the 2nd Edition of Khelo India Games held in Pune during January 2019, Mizoram secured the 16th position which is a significant improvement when it was ranked 24th last year.
20. My Government envisions maximization of citizen centric services using Information Communication Technology as a medium of better governance. Stress will be laid on further improving the Government’s administrative processes, service delivery mechanisms and adding more public services online through adoption of ICT services. Mizoram Telecom Infrastructure Policy 2019 is being framed in line with the policy guidelines of the Government of India to address the problems of rural connectivity. The Department intends to transform all of the Government’s manual transactions into digital form for which all public services will be made available online.
21. My Government will give priority to providing welfare programmes and services to the weaker and vulnerable sections of the society. The menace of drug abuse and drug trafficking which has assumed alarming proportion in our State is one the Government recognizes with all seriousness. Measures will be taken to eradicate these social evils. In this regard, the bill to repeal The Mizoram Liquor (Control & Prohibition) Act, 2014 which has been implemented since 15th January, 2015 will be tabled during this session. All-out efforts will be taken for combating trafficking of women and children, juvenile delinquency and rehabilitations as well as restoration programmes through network of residential homes and non-institutional services in partnership with civil society.
22. Efforts to facilitate equitable distribution of foodstuffs to the public thereby ensuring food security for the people of Mizoram will continue to be made despite financial constraints and limited allocation of subsidized foodstuff by the Central Government. Towards strengthening of Legal Metrology, construction of Working Standard Laboratories at Kolasib, Chawngte, Tlabung Hnahthial and Aizawl are in progress while Calibration Centre for Tank Lorry at Kolasib will be completed soon.
23. Since the economy of Mizoram is chiefly agriculture-driven and non-industrial, it has a smaller tax revenue base than many other states. In this regard, I would like to highlight some of our revenue collections. For the financial year 2018-2019, upto January 2019, the Taxation Department has accrued revenue collection of Rs. 45,396.17 lakhs while in comparision the figures for 2017-18 stood at Rs.40,513.67 lakhs. The Transport Department has collected revenue to the tune of Rs. 3175.25 lakhs till the end of December 2018 for the financial year 2018-19. The revenue earned during the same period by the Tourism Department stands at Rs. 219.69 lakhs. The total collection of revenue from lottery business up to February 2019 is Rs. 552.98 lakhs during the current financial year. In the same manner Geology and Mineral Resources Department has a revenue collection of Rs. 484.42 lakhs from April 2018 to January 2019.
Steps need to be taken to widen our revenue sources and increase revenue collection since such measures will contribute to the strengthening of the State’s economic condition.
24. While we are witnessing positive signs indicative of growth and progress it is imperative to sustain this development with strong determination and tireless efforts. I urge all the elected people’s representatives to discharge their solemn responsibilities in a spirit of mutual cooperation so that our growth and development is inclusive of all sections of people. I would like to remind this august gathering about our responsibility and commitment to the electorate and make all efforts to observe financial propriety, transparency and accountability to the public.
25. Hon'ble Members, I have presented summary of my Government's achievements, policies, programmes and its vision. These are in no way exhaustive, as they are only brief highlights. I believe more details will be spelt out in the course of your deliberations in the present Session, and I hope that all of you will be actively participating in the deliberations dispassionately to build a better future for Mizoram and its people.
26. I convey my best wishes to all of you once again, and I wish your deliberations every success.
KA LAWM E