Mizoram Governor Vakkom Purushothaman attended the two days ‘Conference of Governors’ held on 29th and 30th October 2011 at Rashtrapati Bhawan New Delhi. In his speech the Governor talked about internal security, New Land Use Policy (NLUP), crop productivity augmentation, improvement in rainfed farming, District Councils and Education.
Opening his speech, the Governor said that state of Mizoram which recently celebrated Remna Ni (Peace Day) to commemorate twenty five years of the signing of the Peace Accord is the most peaceful state in the North East and the ensuing peace has led to development and progress.
Regarding internal security, the Governor said Mizoram though peaceful is in the transit zone for smuggling of drugs, counterfeit currencies and limited arms into and out of the state for insurgent groups in Assam, Manipur and Nagaland. He commented that the construction of border fencing along the international boundary of India and Bangladesh is progressing well and with the rapid deployment of BSF personnel, border crimes have diminished. He said the Assam Rifles which guards the Indo-Myanmar border alongwith other law enforcing agencies on the Indian side have been seizing weapons and drugs and that most offenders are found to be of Myanmar origin. He added that to combat the menace of drugs and arms trafficking, more effective steps need to be taken by the Government on both sides.
Turning to the issues of agriculture, the Governor said that the Government of Mizoram has launched a Comprehensive Project for inclusive growth and development called the New Land Use Policy (NLUP) on 14th January 2011. He said that this flagship programme focuses on a major overhaul of the state economy through structural changes by weaning away farmers from the system of destructive jhum cultivation to sustainable livelihood opportunities based on local resources.
For crop productivity augmentation, the Governor pointed that expansion of area under rice cultivation, adoption of improved package of practices, increase of coverage under irrigation for water harvesting and construction of check dams and various other strategies have been initiated.
The Governor said that the challenge before the Government is to transform rainfed farming into small sustainable and productive systems with a view to increasing food production, diversifying the existing farming system and for enhancement of self-employment opportunities and improvement in the overall income of the rural household.
With regards to the Autonomous District Councils, the Governor mentioned that the overall performance of the three District Councils was found to be satisfactory. He further said that their aspirations to enjoy direct funding from the Government of India and augmentation of these funds are a regular feature of their discourse.
The Governor pointed out that even though the state has one of the highest literacy rates in the country, there is an acute paucity of technical and professional courses and colleges and therefore there is an urgent need to strengthen the higher education sector in the state.
Concluding his speech, the Governor said that the peace dividend in Mizoram has enabled the Government to freely embark on an ambitious development programme. He however mentioned that efforts at infrastructure and socio-economic development are limited because of the prevailing constraints due to absence of private investments other than grants from the Central Government. He said that the limited resources, the geographical location, the insular hilly terrain, the lack of a well developed communication system and the incessant and fierce spells of rainfall all need to be considered for understanding the special needs of Mizoram for enhanced/special funds for development in the state.