1.    On this occasion of the fifty-ninth anniversary of the Republic Day, I extend my warm greetings, felicitations and best wishes to all who have gathered here today, and to the people of Mizoram.  On this auspicious day, let us remember our founding fathers who, with burning patriotism reinforced by extreme courage and selfless dedication, had brought forth freedom to this Nation, and gave us the Constitution which declared to the world the birth of a new Republic on this day, in January, 1950.  Our democracy has now attained maturity and it will not be at stake in spite of casteism, parochialism, communalism and other disruptive forces operating from within, and across the borders.
2.    We are now experiencing ascending economic trajectory, rising foreign exchange reserves, increasing domestic investment, global successes of Indian managerial and entrepreneural talents, global recognition of our technological competence.  The number of people living below poverty line has come down heavily and our literacy rate will soon touch 75 per cent.  We have also made significant progress in healthcare, agriculture, industries, education, space technology and defence system. Our country, today, is in the process of transformation to a Knowledge Society.  Our commitment towards becoming a Developed India by 2020 has been clearly demonstrated by a slew of flagship programmes undertaken by the Central as well as the State Governments. Every Indian can take pride in the country’s remarkable achievements during the past several decades since Independence. As proud citizens of this great country, it is our sacred duty to nurture, safeguard and strengthen the democratic systems and values   enshrined in our Constitution.

3.    At home I must start off by saying that it is a matter of pride and satisfaction for all of us that the General Election, 2008 has been absolutely peaceful, free and fair, standing as a model for the rest of the country.  This has been possible because of the sincere efforts put in by our bureaucracy, law enforcing agencies, the NGOs in general, and the Mizoram People’s Forum in particular.  We may also agree that the people of Mizoram have, during the last General Election, exercised their franchise in a free and fair manner for change, and not just a change of Ministry in the State, but also a change for their welfare, development and good governance.

4.    On this happy occasion, I seek to highlight the vision and priorities of my Government briefly, for the benefit of the people.

5.    As ‘peace’ is a pre-requisite of all forms of development, my Government will spare no efforts for maintenance of law and order in the State.  In this regard, I would like to make it very clear that my Government will not allow any part of Mizoram to be used by the underground elements as a safe haven or even for a temporary shelter.  There will be no leniency against anti-social elements, such as armed militants, unlicensed arms holders and gun-runners who pose threat to the people.  Steps will be taken for establishment of Police Welfare Commission.

6.    My Government will leave no stone unturned for ushering in clean, efficient and purposive administration, which is otherwise known as  ‘Good Governance’.  Transparency would be the trademark of my Government.  Corruption at any level of governance will not be tolerated.  In this regard, steps will be taken to establish Vigilance Commission.  I would, therefore, appeal to all Government servants to try to live within their legitimate means.  My Government is committed to provide fair and just administration based on merits at all levels of governance. Decentralisation for more efficient administration would be given priority.

7.    My Government’s top priority will be the alleviation of the lot of the poor in the villages and the urban areas.  In this regard, an improved and enlarged New Land Use Policy (NLUP) will soon be launched.  This NLUP has in its package, more rural harvests and varied urban self-employments, marketing of products and Rural and Urban Housing for the poor.  For the success of NLUP various Departments will have to participate in the programme planning, implementation and monitoring. I would fervently appeal to all the people to ensure that the financial assistance under NLUP is spent judiciously and for the right purpose.  A High Powered Authority will be constituted to coordinate and ensure the success of the programme.  Steps will also be taken for establishment of Farmers’ Commission to take care of the welfare  of the farmers.  Improvement of Land Customs Stations at Zokhawthar and Tlabung would be accorded adequate importance.  It will be the endeavour of my Government to establish a separate Consumer Affairs Department in order to address the grievances and problems of the consumers.

8.    My Government will give adequate importance to the welfare of the youth.  Efforts will be made to ensure that opportunities are provided to the youth in various ways.  The Youth Commission will be greatly strengthened and its terms of reference reviewed in order to meet the needs and aspirations of the youth.  Education will be given priority and steps will be taken to make it affordable to the common people. Steps will also be taken for constitution of Education Reforms Commission. Besides, Students’ Exchange Programme will be introduced in order that our students have exposure to educational institutions in different parts of the country and abroad.  Promotion of Games & Sports and Music and Fine Arts will also be accorded priority. Efforts will be made for restructuring Land Revenue Administration in the best interest of the people. Co-operation movement will be launched with renewed vigour and earnestness.  Good rural connectivity and healthcare shall be given high priority.

9.    It is a matter of gratitude that the Central Government has given us the assurance to revive the abandoned 60 MW Tuirial Hydel Project. Referral Hospital at Falkawn will also be taken up afresh so that it comes up early to be upgraded to Medical Hospital in due course, as was originally planned.  Moreover, Hydel Projects at Bairabi and Tuivai will also be pursued vigorously.  I am happy to mention today that the agreement has been signed recently between the Government of Mizoram and the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTCP) for execution of 460 MW Kolodyne Hydel Project.  The Project is intended to be completed within six to seven years.  A High Powered Committee to look into various Projects will be formed shortly.  In fact, all the Projects started by the previous Ministry will be continued, if they are found technically viable and financially sound.  My Government will also seek to get benefits of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal from the Central Government.

10.    Provision of adequate safe drinking water to all villages and urban areas in Mizoram will be given due importance.  It will be the endeavour of my Government to ensure a good road communication network throughout the length and breadth of Mizoram. Construction of Mizoram House at Chanakyapuri, New Delhi will be started shortly.  Progress of Road Projects undertaken with World Bank loans and PMGSY (Road Projects) will be reviewed early to ensure timely completion of the projects.  Mizoram has a bright prospect for becoming a tourist hotspot because of its geo-physical feature, greenery, flora and fauna.  In this regard, my Government will take various measures in right earnest. The welfare of women, children and the aged would be accorded high priority.

11.    My Government will give priority to protection of environment and maintenance of ecological balance.  Therefore, in all our undertakings to achieve development, my Government wishes to ensure that flora and fauna are spared. Despite constraints, such as lack of infrastructure, inadequate availability of power and lack of adequate credit facilities, my Government is committed to bring about industrialization through development of small and medium industries. Active steps are being taken for improvement of Lengpui Airport.  My Government is also committed to ensure that the process of separation of judiciary from the executive is completed sooner than later.  A high priority will be given to land development for agricultural and horticultural purposes in order to provide permanent, sustainable and more profitable occupation to the farmers as an alternative of jhuming system.

12.    In conclusion, I am confident that with the whole- hearted cooperation of our proactive  bureaucracy, the Churches, the NGOs and the general public and also the unwavering support of the Central Government, my Government  will be able to achieve the  vision and goals it stands committed.  I believe the people of Mizoram deserve change for development and progress for which they have given mandate to my Government. While keeping our own identity intact, and safeguarding our economic, social and cultural interests, we must look forward to integrating ourselves with the mainstream of national life.  Let us, on this momentous day, resolve to preserve and strengthen the unity and integrity of this great country, and to work for the missions that will make Mizoram a place where  all can live with dignity, peace, prosperity and happiness.

    Once again I convey my best wishes to the people of Mizoram.