Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to be in this beautiful city of Aizawl with its green verdant hills. This is my first visit to Mizoram and I can say that the beauty of this place and the warm reception accorded to me has made a deep impression on me. I convey my greetings and best wishes to all the people of Mizoram.

The Peace Accord signed in 1986 between the Government of India and the Mizo National Front brought peace and tranquility here. It was a historic moment when the new State was inaugurated on February 20,1987 and Prime Minister, Shri Rajiv Gandhi participated in it at Aizawl. I must congratulate the Chief Minister, Shri Lal Thanhawla for making a sacrifice which has enabled the Peace Accord to become a reality. I must also congratulate the people of Mizoram for their total involvement which gave an extra-ordinary momentum to the political process, as a result of which the State witnessed the restoration of peace and order. Regular elections have been held in the State at local levels under a peaceful and harmonious environment since then. This is a tribute to the character of the people determined to march ahead in the fields of socio-economic development along with the rest of the country.
Our nation is progressing. Today, our country is counted among the major economies of the world. Due to our technically competent and talented human resource, it is a global IT leader. Our objective is to sustain a high economic growth rate and to have an inclusive growth process, so that every region is a part of the growth process. All of us have to work collectively and to the best of our abilities to build a new, strong and resurgent India. In this context, I would like to mention that Mizoram has gradually grown into a vibrant State with positive indicators of progress and development.

The truest measure of a progressive State is the welfare of its people and their development. It should be the effort of Government to reach the benefits of growth to all sections of society. It is only when the most disadvantaged are brought into the mainstream that true progress will be achieved. I am happy to learn about the State Government's flagship programme, the New Land Use Policy seeks to uplift the poorer sections of society by giving them a permanent source of income. Successful implementation of such schemes is the outcome of collective efforts of the Government and the people. The Mizo social code of ethics called "Tlawmngaihna" which is service to others above self, can provide the energy for running many development projects in the State.

To begin with, I would like to emphasize on the development of physical infrastructure, particularly transport infrastructure, which is a key prerequisite for economic development. A good road network is essential for cost effective movement of people and materials. I am aware that the Government is focusing on this and I would encourage them to continue with their efforts.

However, progress will be elusive without development of our human resources. Education has become a fundamental right for all children between the ages of 6 to 14 years. Our endeavour is to make our youth educated and employable. I am happy to note that Mizoram attained a literacy rate of 89 percent, second only to Kerala. I am confident that the State is capable of attaining 100 percent literacy.

In Mizoram, like in many parts of the country, agriculture is the main occupation. So much so that some of the major festivals in Mizoram like Mim Kut Chapchar Kut and Pawl Kut are in some way or the other connected with agricultural activities. Development of agriculture is essential for bring about overall prosperity and for attaining food security. Here in Mizoram two problems are detrimental to the sustainable development of agriculture -jhum cultivation and the bamboo flowering called Mautam, a cyclic ecological phenomenon. I am informed that the State Government has a project which aims to do away with the 'slash and burn' method of jhum cultivation and move towards improved sustainable land-based means of livelihood. Research should also be undertaken to deal with Mautam, so that its next flowering cycle can be dealt with effectively. This would also help in bamboo cultivation and industry being developed on a sound basis. Mizoram also has great potential for horticulture and floriculture. Orchids and Anthuriums of various hues and shapes add a charming touch of colour to the landscape of Mizoram. With its vibrant culture, scenic beauty and pleasant climate, Mizoram has much potential to become a favourite tourist destination. The Anthurium Festival can also enhance your appeal as a beautiful tourist destination for visitors.

Mizoram has great scope for small scale industries based on bamboo and timber products, agro-industry, handloom and handicrafts, as well as medicinal and aromatic plants. The beautiful shawls and Puan of different designs reflect the weaving skill of the Mizo women. For progress to be balanced and enduring, the welfare of children and women is essential. I would like to see more women participate in the development process of our country.

Mizoram is blessed with rich forest resources which need to be preserved and protected. Our forefathers left a beautiful planet for us to enjoy, and it is our moral duty that we should leave enough resources for future generations. Therefore, today, one of the challenges before us is climate change. This requires an attitude of caring for nature, avoiding wasteful consumption and increasing the use of renewable sources of energy namely hydro electricity, solar, wind and biomass.

With ample natural resources and a conducive atmosphere, the close-knit Mizo society can aspire to become one of the most prosperous states in the country. I am touched by the warm welcome and colourful reception you have accorded me today. The songs and dances of Mizoram will ever remain in my heart, as also your warm smiles and affectionate disposition. I would like to thank the Governor, the Chief Minister and the Government of Mizoram. With these words, I once again convey my greetings and good wishes to all the people of Mizoram.

Thank you.
Jai Hind  !