On this august and momentous occasion of the sixty-seventh anniversary of our country’s Independence, I am honoured and privileged to have the opportunity to address all those gathered here today and extend my heartfelt greetings to the people of Mizoram on this auspicious day.
On this glorious day, sixty eight years ago as our beloved tricolor was unfurled, our great Nation emerged from the shadows of oppression and injustice and triumphed through sacrifice and struggle into a sovereign nation. The non-violent approach which the founding fathers of the Nation adopted to achieve Independence was unique. It was for the first time, perhaps in the history of the world, that a nation freed itself from tyranny, not through violence and bloodshed, but through non-violent means. This shows that our nation was built on foundations of peace and compassion and not hatred and malice. Ahimsa - the silent yet powerful tool inspired similar such struggles for independence across the world and ended their emancipation from foreign powers.
As we recall the supreme sacrifices made by the leaders of the Freedom Struggle such as Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and all the others and also the ordinary foot soldiers of the great struggle; let us all remember their selfless services and pay homage to each and every one of them. It is due to their untold hardships, their unrelenting toils and their visionary ideals that we, today, can all bask in the glory of our great nation and stand proudly as citizens of a vibrant and secular democracy that is a robust and resilient economic power which is respected globally.
15th August is a very important day for all of us. It commemorates the day when we stood out as a free and independent nation and marked our emancipation from a colonial power. It is not just a symbolic day but a solemn and proud day for each and everyone of us. We must reflect on the values and principles on which our great nation is based and must uphold them not through words but through actions everyday in our lives.
On this auspicious day, let me take the opportunity to highlight some of the achievements of our government within the past one year and its vision for the coming years.
1. The maintenance of law and order and the safety and security of the people of Mizoram remains a matter of paramount importance for the government. In this regard, I express my gratitude to the civil societies and voluntary organizations for their unstinting support to law enforcement agencies in our efforts to maintain our status as one of the most peaceful states in the country. Under the Modernization of Police Forces, the Mizoram Police has been strengthened by providing them with modern equipment and weaponry including 300 numbers of Glock 19 Pistol, 50 numbers of MP5 A-3 Small Machine Gun (SMG) and 200 numbers of Colt M-4 Carbine. The Assembly and Parliamentary elections (both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) have been conducted very peacefully; in this the role of civil society groups in ensuring free and fair elections is highly commendable. Implementation of Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS) Project is actively taken up by CID Crime under the supervision of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). Site preparation and installation of hardware for implementation of CCTNS Project have been successfully completed in all 94 sites (40 Police Stations and 54 Higher Offices) across Mizoram. Out of these, 64 sites have been connected and tested for operation. Digitization of 11,000 Case files of the last 10 years has been completed. Validation is in progress. Economic Offences Wing (EOW), Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) and Cyber Crime Cell set up under SP CID Crime have done commendably well in curbing new forms of crime and criminal activities.
2. The state government continues to give utmost priority to its flagship programme – the New Land Use Policy (NLUP) which aims to bring about socio-economic transformation. While implementation is on with full earnestness and renewed vigour, a number of changes and improvements are being incorporated in the system for deliverance of better results. During the last three years, the Government has covered the original project target of 1,20,000 beneficiaries in three successive phases. Another 15,000 deserving beneficiaries are being brought under its fold, for which selection of 10,000 families has already been made and with this NLUP will cover 1,35,000 households in the state. The NLUP Apex Board has decided to prepare additional project for extension of NLUP for five years from 2015-16 onwards. It has also decided to involve more central agencies like NABARD, APEDA and others.
Positive results are visible particularly in short gestation crops like broomsticks, in animal husbandry and in micro-enterprise activities substantially enhancing the income of beneficiaries. NLUP has significantly improved rural economy by providing alternative sustainable means of livelihood to thousands of farmers. Jhum area has declined and this can be attributed to successful implementation of NLUP throughout the state. Several villages have already stopped jhum cultivation in 2014. NABARD Consultancy Services (NABCONS) Ltd., the third party Monitoring Agency, in their Mid Term Assessment (MTA) has indicated considerable success in convergence, financial inclusion, fund management, and enhancement of income of beneficiaries in this short period. From 2014-15 onwards more emphasis is being given to marketing, wherein, strengthening of market and introduction of regulated market is proposed. Modalities for collaboration with specialized agencies of the United Nations such as Food & Agricultural Organization (FAO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), International Labour Organization and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have been finalized and a UN Mission Project has also been prepared for the purpose.
3. Connectivity is one of the important parameters of development and we are aware that improving it can bring about significant changes in growth and progress. Under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), formation cutting of about 44 kms and blacktopping of about 31.47 kms have been completed during 2013 -14. During this period 24 villages have been connected. 29 new sanctioned pavement works to cover a length of 415 kms amounting to Rs. 284.57 crores are in progress. Under NABARD, strengthening and rehabilitating of W. Phaileng-Marpara road covering 80 kms amounting to Rs. 43.14 crores is in progress. Besides this, pavement of Muallungthu - Khumtung road(111.60-33.50kmp) amounting to Rs. 19.71 crores has been recently sanctioned. Administrative Approval amounting to Rs. 672.82 crores for Mizoram State Roads – II Regional Connectivity Project has been recently accorded. Under this project work on Champhai-Zokhawthar road (27.28 kms); Tlabung-Kawrpuichhuah road (12 kms) and Chhumkhum-Chawngte road (41.53 kms) is expected to be started soon. Upgradation of Serchhip-Buarpui road is ready for execution with Administrative Approval of Rs. 259.20 crores under Asian Development Bank. Under JNNURM, Improvement of Aizawl City Roads covering 46 kms at a cost of Rs. 38.73 crores has been undertaken, the physical progress is 83 % and it is expected to be completed shortly. During 2013-14 upgradation of Saitual-Phullen road (60 kms); Upgradation of Mamit - Bairabi Road (37 kms); Upgradation of Keitum-Artahkawn road (34 kms) and construction of Tlabung-Kawrpuichhuah road (16.42 kms) has been completed with funds received from North Eastern Council (NEC). Work on two new projects sanctioned by the Ministry of Roads, Transport and Highway i.e. Strengthening & Improvement of Tuipui-Biate road (Rs. 880 lakhs) and Strengthening & Improvement of Aizawl-Reiek-W.Lungdar road (Rs. 1,156 lakhs) will be started as soon as the funds are released by the Ministry. Under the Kaladan Multi Modal Project, out of the total road length of 99.83 kms which falls within Mizoram, formation cutting of 35 km was completed and the total length completed so far since the beginning of the project is about 81.50 kms. During 2013-14 there are 67 ongoing building Projects and 6 new building Projects out of which 24 buildings have been completed.
4. We are aware that electricity is an essential ingredient of economic development and are exploring all possible options to increase our power generation, especially through hydel projects. Construction of 5 MW Tlawva Small Hydel Project near Khuangthing village, construction of 100 kW each Hydel projects at Tuiriza and Tuiching and construction of 3.50 MW Kawlbem SHP are under progress and will be commissioned shortly. Meanwhile work on the 60 MW Tuirial Hydel Project undertaken by NEEPCO is progressing smoothly and is expected to be commissioned by next year. Once completed, Tuirial Hydel Project will help the state immensely both in generation of power and in earning revenue for the state government. Strengthening of transmission networks and augumentation of transmission capacity are being undertaken through various projects such as construction of 132 kV line between Kolasib to Aizawl and Luangmual Sub-Station to Melriat Sub Station and construction of 110 kV line from Melriat Sub-Station to Lunglei. Works such as Construction of 2x12.5MVA sub-Station at Melriat, construction of 2x12.5MVA new Sub-Station at Zuangtui, construction of 1x12.5MVA Sub-Station at Sihhmui and installation of additional 1x12.5MVA transformer at existing Luangmual Sub-Station once completed will further enhance the transformation capacity when completed.
Rural Electrification Corporation has accorded Rural Electricity Distribution Backbone (REDB) project for all 8 districts under XII Plan of RGGVY at an approved cost of Rs. 77.03 crores. The Department is taking up the scheme of Re-structured Accelerated Power Development & Reform Programme (R-APDRP) under the Ministry of Power for 9 towns viz. Aizawl, Champhai, Khawzawl, Kolasib, Lawngtlai, Lunglei, Saitual, Saiha and Serchhip which aims to reduce Aggregate Technical & Commercial loss to 15 %.
5. Provision of potable drinking water to the population is among the key priorities of the government. The Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) has covered 57 numbers of rural habitations for providing safe drinking water supply under NRDWP during 2013-2014 with 52 more rural habitations to be covered during next year. The PHED has earmarked a sum of Rs 1,192 lakhs for covering 7(seven) schemes/projects under SPA at various places of Mizoram. The Department has taken up 10 schemes under Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR). Out of these, 7 schemes have 80% physical achievements and are expected to be commissioned soon, subject to availability of funds from the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER). Under the Ministry of Urban Development, 3 schemes are being executed by PHED and the works are in good progress. The Department has taken up 6 projects with North Eastern Council (NEC) funding and among these, 3 schemes have achieved 80% physical progress.
6. Education remains a thrust area for the government and we aim to bring about qualitative changes to improve it. Mizoram has shown remarkable achievement in two subjects – Language (Mizo) and Mathematics in the National Achievement Survey (Cycle 3) for Class III Level 2012 -13, results of which have been recently announced. The Teacher Education Advisory Board (TEAB) has approved the upgradation of the 6 District Resource Centres (DRCs) into fully fledged District Institute of Education (DIETs) which are to take on their full functionary role from 2014 -14. Establishment of 3 Block Institute of Teacher Education (BITE) in the minority areas viz. Chawngte, Tlabung and West Phaileng have been approved. The government has approved the restructuring of State Council for Educational Research & Training (SCERT) to capacitate it in taking on its multifarious roles in education, as per the Guidelines on Restructuring & Reorganization of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme on Teacher Education. A new EDUSAT hub has been installed at SCERT, Aizawl and 50 Satellite Interactive Terminals (SITs) have been commissioned in different schools, Block Resource Centres (BRCs) and DIETs across Mizoram to start the Mizoram EDUSAT Network.
Under SSA, this year 1,71,075 students have been provided free textbooks, 1,63,393 students were given two sets of school uniforms and 7,650 differently-abled children received aids and appliances free of cost. Under the massive infrastructural development taken by RMSA, 88 new secondary schools have been established till date. The construction of Sainik School at Chhingchhip is in full swing and once it starts functioning it will facilitate entry of Mizos into the Armed Forces as officers in the near future. 211 boys have joined the Armed Forces during the year. Special Literacy Drive is being undertaken in Lawngtlai and Lunglei Districts to improve adult education.
7. With funding from the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), various schemes for infrastructure development of colleges are being undertaken. Construction of Post Matric Students’ Hostel at Aizawl has been completed at a cost of Rs. 141.39 lakhs. Under State’s Priority Projects for 2013-14, construction of auditorium at Lunglei Govt. College at a cost of Rs.222.22 lakhs; construction of academic building for Commerce Department at Govt. Aizawl College at the New Campus at Mualpui at cost of Rs.300 lakhs and construction of library building at Govt. Zirtiri Residential Science College Campus, Durtlang at a cost of Rs. 144.44 lakhs are underway. Under Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS), construction of new Polytechnics at Champhai and Kolasib has been completed. Two Deficit Grant-in-aid colleges viz. Mizoram Law College, Aizawl and Kamlanagar College, Chawngte have been provincialised w.e.f. 19th September 2013. Mizoram State Education Council has been created for implementation of a new scheme viz. Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyaan(RUSA).
8. Improving upon the existing healthcare facilities across the state is one of our primary goals and we are committed to it. The long standing aspiration of the state to have a Medical College will be fulfilled very soon. Various committees have been constituted to open the proposed Mizoram Institute of Medical Education & Research at an early date. This proposed college which will be housed at the State Referral Hospital Complex, Falkawn and will start with an initial intake of 50 students. Steps for establishment of 4 General Nursing & Midwifery (GNM) Schools at Serchhip, Kolasib, Champhai and Saiha and one ANM School at Lawngtlai have been initiated. Solar power plants have been installed at State Referral Hospital, Falkawn, and the District Hospitals at Champhai, Serchhip, Mamit and Lawngtlai. The 40 bedded Mizoram Cancer Hospital is proposed to be upgraded to a Tertiary Cancer Centre with a capacity for 100 beds. Various vital equipments such as Blood component separator, Tissue processor, Big Bore CT Scan with simulator and Fully Motorised Microtome has been commissioned and installed in order to provide specific care to cancer patients.
Development & Implementation of Computerised Hospital Management Information System (HMIS) at Civil Hospital, Aizawl has been completed at a cost of Rs. 466.51 lakhs. The Cardiology Department at Civil Hospital, Aizawl has been strengthened at a cost of Rs. 499 lakhs. Sterilization systems for 5 Hospitals have been procured and installed at a cost of Rs. 300 lakhs. Under 13th Finance Commission Grant, Rs. 7.5 crores was allocated during 2013-14 for construction of 4 Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and 25 Sub-Centres. AYUSH facilities are being strengthened in all the Disricts and 50 bedded AYUSH Hospital is under construction at Thenzawl.
9. We are committed to work for the development of sports so that the state’s sporting talent get opportunities at par with the rest of the country and bring laurels for the state. I take this opportunity to congratulate the football teams that won both the Santosh Trophy and the Dr. T.Ao Memorial Football Tournament this year. We hope to ensure the representation of Mizos in the Indian Olympic contingent for the 2016 Olympics and for this Olympic Vision 2016 has been launched and results so far have been encouraging. Construction of Regional Sports Training Centre at Saidan has been completed with the fund received from NEC. Construction of Cricket Stadium at Sihhmui at a cost of Rs 1,128.16 lakh has also been completed from the fund received under NLCPR. North East Council (NEC) has approved Rs 359.17 lakhs for Construction of Multi-purpose Sports Centre for Northern Region of Mizoram at Darlawn and Sports Infrastructure Development of Hachhek Area in Western Mizoram at an estimated cost of Rs 489.86 lakh. Work on these projects is expected to be started soon. Full fledged Stadiums at Champhai Zotlang & Lunglei Serkawn are now functioning, catering to the needs of the youths. The first ever Hockey Astro-turf in the state at Hockey Boy’s Academy, Kawnpui, Kolasib district has been completed under Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme. Players of Mizoram had won a total of 257 Medals at International, National and Regional Level Competitions including 88 Gold Medals. The success of these youngsters has already established the state on the national sports map.
10. The Mizoram Building & Other Construction Workers Welfare Board has been functioning efficiently. Since its inception, it has collected Rs. 19,84,65,935 for implementation of various welfare schemes. Under the Board, 21,525 Mizo labourers have registered out of which 16,383 have been provided various kinds of financial assistance. The Labour Employment & Industrial Training Department in collaboration with Mizoram Youth Commission organised the first ever Skill Fest during 4th – 5th June 2014 where more than 10,000 job seekers attended out of which 2,855 youths expressed willingness to enhance their skills for employment both within and outside the state. Sanctions have been accorded for establishment of new Industrial Training Institute at Serchhip and Champhai.
11. Rural and urban development has to go hand in hand and gaps in development of both these spaces need to be addressed for development to be inclusive. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme(MGNREGS) is being implemented in all 8(eight) districts in Mizoram by providing at least 100 days of wage employment in a year at the rate of Rs 173/- per day to unskilled manual worker in every household. The central government released Rs 24,505.081 lakhs and the State Government released Rs 1,194.694 lakhs during 2013-14. 139.67687 lakh persondays was generated during this year. Under Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) 3,624 houses have been constructed so far. Under Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) during 2013 -14, 10,781 hectares have been covered for soil moisturizing works, 9,240 hectares for water harvesting and 12,321 hectares for afforestation, pastures and horticulture.
The Mizoram State Rural Livelihood Mission(MzSRLM) which is being implemented in Serchhip and Kolasib Districts has covered 27 villages in the 4(four) Intensive Blocks of Serchhip, E.Lungdar, Thingdawl & Bilkhawthlir R.D. Blocks. More than 500 Self Help Groups (SHGs) have been brought under the NRLM and 260 new SHGs have been formed. 315 SHGs have availed Revolving Fund @ Rs 10,000/- per SHGs (Self Help Groups). Similarly, North East Rural Livelihood Project (NERLP) which is being implemented in Aizawl and Lunglei Districts has covered 40 and 60 villages respectively. 502 numbers of developmental works under the Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) have been undertaken in Lawngtlai and Saiha Districts. Under Border Area Development Programme (BADP) Rs. 4,016.63 lakhs has been sanctioned for undertaking 419 numbers of developmental works in border areas.
12. Under Urban Infrastructure and Governance of JNNURM, renovation of Aizawl Greater Water Supply Scheme, Phase-I is going on and is expected to be completed within the current year. Housing projects for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) that are currently going on will provide housing for 3,046 families, once they are completed. Two major water supply projects, namely, Augmentation of Greater Lunglei Water Supply Scheme (Rs. 867.44 lakhs) and Augmentation of Greater Serchhip Water Supply Scheme (Rs 687.60 lakhs) have been approved and sanctioned under Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT) by the Government of India; these will provide sufficient quantity of water to the people of Lunglei and Serchhip. Under the 10 percent Lumpsum Grant provisions for North East India both under the Ministry of Urban Development and the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, 17 projects with the total cost of Rs 220.90 crores have so far been completed. 14 projects with the combined total project cost of Rs 186.53 crores are currently in progress. Efforts are on to expand the coverage to all the 23 notified towns. Under the North East Region Capital Cities Development Investment Programme (NERCCDIP), which envisages development and services improvement for Aizawl’s water supply, sewerage & sanitation and solid waste management, a number of projects have been completed with several more in progress.
13. The government is committed to enhance agricultural crop production and productivity to make agriculture a sustainable livelihood support. Various interventions like area expansion under Rice cultivation, promotion of improved technologies like System of Rice Intensification (SRI), Line Planting and improved cultivation of Rice on Hill slope to enhance rice cultivation from wet rice cultivation and Jhum areas are being promoted. To ensure timelines in various farm operations, priority is being given to promote farm machineries like power tillers, water pumps and establishment of Farm Machinery Banks.
Rice productivity under Wet Rice Cultivation (WRC) has reportedly increased from 2.09 MT per hectare to 2.20 MT per hectare and this is attributed to adoption of new seed varieties, improved production technologies such as System of Rice Intensification, etc. Under Oil Palm cultivation, an additional area of 4,532 hectares has been covered during 2013-14 taking the total area under oil palm cultivation to 17,588 hectares. Construction of Oil Palm Mill at Bukvannei in Kolasib District with a capacity of 5 MT per hour has been completed and will be commissioned shortly. Establishment of another two Oil Palm mills at Lunglei and Serchhip is also in progress. Under RKVY seven Farm Machinery Banks for custom hiring center have been established at Champhai, Aizawl, Lunglei and Serhhip Districts. These will facilitate land preparation, sowing, harvesting and threshing and will ensure timely farm operation for crop production.
14. Under NLUP, Rs. 146.02 crores have been disbursed since its inception to 23,828 beneficiaries who are gainfully engaged in the cultivation of various horticultural crops. To increase productivity and efficiently manage water usage, Irrigation facilities, plastic mulching, Integrated Nutrient Management, Integrated Pest Management are being undertaken in a comprehensive manner. Another Centre of Excellence at Thingdawl in Kolasib District to serve the needs of the farmers in the District is being established.
15. To multiply and upgrade pig population in the state, a 200 Sow unit Piglet Multiplication farm is under construction at Thingsulthliah and Regional Boar Semen Station is being set up at Selesih, Aizawl. To cope up with the increased milk production and to open way for marketing raw milk produced by dairy farmers, an Indigenous Milk Product Manufacturing Plant with a capacity of 5,000 litres per day is currently under construction at MULCO. To meet the increased demand of fodder grass the department has taken up fodder development projects in 136 villages covering 680 hectares of land.
Under NLUP, 1380 families have taken up sericulture during this year. Under North East Textile Promotion Scheme, Bivoltine Cluster Project covering 300 farmers in Aizawl District and 100 farmers in Lunglei District is being taken up to produce quality Silk of 3A Grade. Muga Cluster Project covering 150 farmers at Kolasib District has been started this year and another 100 farmers will be taking up Muga Sericulture under RKVY Scheme.
About 412 lakh of fish fingerlings have been distributed to fish farmers out of which 37 lakhs have been produced by government fish seed farms. During 2013-14, the augmented fish production has reached 5,940 MT.
During 2013 -14, broom production by the beneficiaries of NLUP has crossed 2,852 metric tons generating revenue of almost Rs. 1,426.00 lakhs for those engaged in it. Rubber plantation is being given special emphasis. 10 new nurseries have been set up during the year. A long term rubber based settlement scheme to cover 46,000 hectares within 15 years is envisioned.
16. More than 150 units had been allotted Industrial Plots in Zuangtui Industrial Area and 24 Units in the Export Promotion Industrial Park at Lengte. Special emphasis is being given for the development of the bamboo and food processing sectors. A number of trainings and exposure tours have been conducted to familiarise entrepreneurs and artisans in this regard. The development of handloom and handicrafts is being given emphasis. State Level Committee for implementation of Technology Upgradation has been constituted to give 1,130 nos of improved looms to the loin loom weavers in the state. The Revised Revival, Reforms & Restructuring Package for the handloom sector is being implemented. Weavers’ Photo Identity Card are being issued to 770 out of a total target of 1000 weavers to enable them to avail the benefits under Weavers’ Credit Card scheme.
The government is putting all its efforts to expedite oil and natural gas exploration in the state. Oil India Limited has recently begun drilling operations at Maubuang in Aizawl District. Drilling is expected to be started soon at two more sites – Keifang and Thenzawl. The government is closely monitoring the pace of their work.
17. Information Technology is an important tool that can improve the delivery of government services which in turn can bring marked changes in the way the public perceives the working of the government. 436 public service delivery centres are being established across the state through which the citizens will be able to avail various services such as residential certificate, tribal certificate, income certificate etc. Out of 436 centers, 136 public service delivery centers are being established under Common Service Centre(CSC) Scheme and 300 under Rural Information Kiosk (RIK) Scheme. CSCs within Aizawl District are operational. The Department currently provides 31 e-Governance services to the citizens in electronic form and 57 more e-Governance services will be made available by the end of 2014. The Department has established state-of-the art IT infrastructure State Wide Area Network (SWAN) and State Data Centre (SDC) was recently inaugurated.
18. Border Trade Centres at Farkawn and Vaphai in Champhai District and Sangau in Lawngtlai District along the Indo-Myanmar Border are under construction. The Department of Commerce, Govt. of India approved the project proposal for construction of a Trade Facilitation Centre at Lawngtlai at an estimated cost of Rs 4.32 crores of which Rs 2.16 crores was released in June, 2014. Execution of civil work shall be commenced soon. A sum of Rs 2.5.crores was released as the 1st installment for setting up a Research & Development-cum-Training-cum-Food Processing Centre (R&D Centre) at Seling and the contruction is under progress. Construction of Food Testing Laboratory at Thenzawl has been completed and necessary action is being taken for procurement of the testing equipment.
19. Inspite of the acute financial constraint faced by the state government and limited allocation of food-grains to the state, the Department has managed equitable distribution of food-grains to the general public thereby, ensuring food security within the state. This has been possible mainly due to enormous efforts rendered and systematic monitoring of the movement and distribution of food-grains at all levels by the Department. End-to-End computerization of Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) is being undertaken with 66.90 % of existing ration cards already digitized. The completion of the Computerisation of TPDS will help eliminate the phenomenon of bogus/ghost Ration Cards as well as prevent the leakage of food-grains from the entire Supply Chain till Fair Price Shop level.
The Department is aware of the problem of LPG scarcity in the state. It has been making utmost effort to solve the scarcity by tackling black-marketing, adulteration and hoarding of LPG in the state. In this regard, the Department has proposed the amendment of Essentials Commodities Act, 1995, so as to enable the state government to have some control on distribution of LPG in the state. The Department is currently in talks with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. for setting up a 5 Mega Tonne capacity Bottling Plant for LPG and Fuel Depot for petroleum and oil products in the state.
20. The expansion of the Cooperative Movement plays an important role in the economic development of the people of the state particularly the members. Vigorous efforts are underway for implementation of Integrated Cooperative Development Project (ICDP) in 5 Districts of Mizoram with National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) funding at a total outlay project cost of Rs 45.33 crores for which an amount of Rs 560 lakhs has been earmarked by the State Government for the year 2014-2015. Under Revival Package for Handloom of the Government of India 70 Primary Handloom Weavers’ Cooperative Societies were selected and payment to the tune of Rs. 2,17,29,609/- was released for waving off their accumulated loss and loan liabilities.
21. Under the National Afforestation Programme (NAP) plantations covering more than 50,000 hectares have been raised and these are being protected through the joint efforts of Village Forest Development Committees and Government agencies. The Green Mizoram Programme which seeks to enhance the green cover of the state by planting of trees since its inception in 1999 has planted more than 20 lakh saplings. This year about 5,38,246 seedlings were planted/distributed for planting. Under National Bamboo Mission (NBM), Bamboo Plantations have been carried out in over 50,000 hectares within both forest and non-forest areas.
22. The Mizoram State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has been constituted for ensuring better protection of rights of children. State Resource Centre for Women has been set up for economic empowerment, social empowerment of women with emphasis on health and education, gender mainstreaming of programmes and policies. Eklavya Model Residential School, with a capacity of 180 students from BPL families is functioning at Lunglei and construction of another such school is going on at Serchhip. Construction of 5 Tribal Girls Hostel at Saitual, Lunglei, Thenzawl, KM High School, Dawrpui Vengthar, Aizawl and KVM High School, Chhinga Veng, Aizawl are being undertaken. Multi-Sectoral Development Programme (MSDP) is being implemented in Mamit and Lawngtlai Districts to reduce imbalances in line with priority attached to inclusive growth.
23. High Security Registration Plates has been implemented in all 8 Districts and till date 56,387 vehicles have got High Security Plates fixed. Smart Card registration of vehicles has also been implemented in all 8 Districts and Smart Card registration so far issued till date is 65,031. In addition to 17 numbers of Urban Bus already purchased under JNNURM, steps are being taken to purchase another 70 Urban Buses. The state government is putting best efforts on its part so that construction of railway line from Bairabi to Sairang can be commenced soon.
24. The number of armed personnel trained on disaster reponse and who are a part of the State Disaster Response Force number 424. Search and rescue equipments have been procured and placed in all Emergency Operation Centres in the Districts. Under the National School Safety Plan (NSSP), Rapid Visual Survey, School Disaster Management Plan and Mock Drills have been carried out in all the selected 400 schools. Layout Plan for rehabilitation and resettlement of landslide victims below Ramhlun Sports Complex has been made and construction of trace path and lane road is underway.
25. In the course of implementing the Mizoram Value Added Tax Act since 2005, a sizeable increase in revenue collection has been noted and efforts to strengthen the revenue collection are going on. The revenue collection during 2013-2014 was Rs 200.44 crores against the target of 190 crores. The electronic tax portal that has been put in place has been functioning smoothly and has helped ensure hassle free tax payment and brought in transparency. During the year, Rs. 930.23 lakhs have been collected as revenue from the lottery business.
26. Draft list of the Social & Economic Caste Census 2011, which is a Government of India’s Census to ascertain the social, caste and economic status and which will be the baseline for all Socio economic welfare measures funded by Government of India, has been published in all eight Districts and the entire process will be completed shortly. Recruitment for rehabilitation of 70 Peace Accord MNF Returnees under Special Scheme has also been concluded.
Besides dissemination of information, the Information & Public Relations Department has been working earnestly for the promotion of films and art and a number of programmes have be conducted to further the cause of these fraternity.
Mizoram is in the process of having its very own institute of Hotel Management at the erstwhile Bung Picnic Spot. Construction of buildings for the institute has been completed and it is expected to function shortly.
Construction of Mizoram State Museum extension building at New Secretariat Complex will be completed very soon. Suakphunga Cultural Heritage Site at Hliappui village at a cost of Rs. 120 lakhs and a Cultural Heritage Centre at Lunglei Venglai at a cost of Rs. 300 lakhs are being constructed with funds provided by the 13th Finance Commission. During 2013-14, 22 different cultural programmes have been conducted within the state and 16 Cultural Troupes have performed outside the state.
Rs 1,550.12 lakhs received as performance grant under 13th Finance Commission Grant has been released to the Village Councils for development and creation of Village assets. Amendment of The Village Councils Act, 1953 is under process to effect devolution of more power to the Village Councils.
For easier settlement of pension cases from the three southern districts of Lunglei, Lawngtlai and Saiha, a new office of the Joint Director, Accounts & Treasuries, Lunglei has been opened and inaugurated in September 2013.
Under the new government at the centre, the people of Mizoram have high hopes and aspirations for the future in all spheres of progress and development. People of the North Eastern region are confident that with the continued flow of culture and ideas, both to and from the region, the very idea of unity in diversity will be strengthened and taken to newer heights of mutual respect and understanding.Let us all put our differences – religious, social, linguistic and others aside and reiterate to preserve the unity and integrity of our nation and work for peace and harmony.
Let us all rededicate ourselves to fulfill the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers of our mighty nation and work together reinforcing the ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity to ensure the continued development and growth of our nation which is on the steady path of progress and prosperity. Let us resolve to leave a rich legacy based on the foundations of our Constitution to the future generation.
Let me also take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to the NGOs, the Churches, the media and the people of Mizoram for the immense support and for reposing their faith in my Government. I hope that I will continue to have their good-will and their unflinching support in making a better and progressive Mizoram, one that is inclusive, just and equitable.
Let us all join hands and work for the glory of the state and the country and build a new India.