1. On this momentous occasion of the Seventieth Republic Day, I extend my warm greetings, felicitations and best wishes to all who have gathered here today, and to the people of Mizoram and wish everyone a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.
2. It was on this day 70 years ago that we became a Democratic Republic guided by the principles of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity as enshrined in the Constitution. As we look back with pride and sense of achievements at the growth and progress of this country, let us offer our sincere gratitude, profound respect and humble homage to the founding fathers of the Nation and to all those who toiled hard to give us the Constitution which guarantees to each and every one of us equal freedom and equal rights.
3. During the past seven decades, India has emerged as one of the major democratic powers of the world and the people have successfully demonstrated peaceful co-existence and impeccable unity in spite of myriad diversities. With the advent of the knowledge age, India finds itself in a very advantageous position to bring societal transformation in education, healthcare, agriculture and governance. This transformation will lead to generation of employment, high productivity and national growth, empowerment of the weaker sections, networked and transparent society and rural prosperity. Our commitment towards becoming a Developed Nation is not a dream, but a mission which we are set to accomplish.
4. I would like to take this opportunity to commend and appreciate the people’s active participation in the recent electoral process. The people’s mandate for change is a reaffirmation of the democratic processes and ideals of our great country. The peaceful and exemplary manner in which elections were held is something unique, that we all should take pride in. Here, I must congratulate the sincere efforts put in by our bureaucracy and law enforcing agencies which were competently matched by the co-operation and efforts of the civil society, NGOs and Churches in general, and the Mizoram People’s Forum(MPF) in particular, ensuring free and fair election throughout the state under the most peaceful atmosphere.
5. My Government is committed to take up schemes, programmes and initiatives on various fronts and lay a strong edifice on which it can help build a prosperous, self- reliant and self-sufficient Mizoram. Towards this end, serious efforts will be given to ensure transparency and accountability in governance, and to bring in a more responsible and responsive administration. Measures will be taken for decentralisation of power and to expedite establishment of Lok Ayukta to function in full strength. My government will work towards fulfilling its promise to implement a special welfare scheme for families of martyrs who had laid down their lives for the cause of Mizoram.
6. My government will introduce Socio-Economic Development Policy(SEDP), a holistic inclusive development programme which aims to bring in socio-economic transformation. SEDP will accelerate progress and growth in all key sectors where the state has tremendous potentials. Comprehensive plans and projects will be implemented as soon as possible. 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. During the 12th Plan, Mizoram has achieved GSDP growth rate of 11% with the main contributors being the service sector. Sincere efforts will be made to sustain and increase the growth rate. Concerted efforts will be made to retain our per capita income above the national average. To achieve this, my Government will ensure that various development projects and undertakings of the previous government shall be continued depending on their technical viability and financial soundness.
7. Maintenance of law and order, and protection of the peaceful atmosphere of the state will continue to be a top priority of my Government in order to sustain momentum of our growth and development. During 2018, we have been fortunate that no major incidences of law and order outbreak were reported. This has been due to the dedication and tireless efforts of Mizoram Police. In this regard, I would like to commend the sincerity and professional sagacity of our law enforcing agencies and the commitment of the people of Mizoram for making it possible for the state to remain one of the most peaceful states in the country. Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and System (CCTNS) which has been operational since 2012 has helped in monitoring crime and is being implemented very successfully. Citizen Portal as a Pilot Project for three Police Stations i.e. Aizawl Police Station, Kulikawn Police Station and Bawngkawn Police Station for utilization of select police services and police verifications went live in August last year. With this, citizens can avail a number of facilities on-line without physically visiting the police stations. Cyber Crime is an emerging challenge and to help tackle it, the existing Cyber Crime Cell has been upgraded to a Cyber Crime Police Station in August 2018. Aizawl District has been selected along with three other districts of Mizoram for implementing Pilot Project for Emergency Response and Support System. 423 and 54 Police Personnel respectively have undergone training within Mizoram and outside Mizoram respectively. It is the resolve of my government that Mizoram Police will continue to be strengthened with 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 execution of Mizoram Village Level Citizen Registration.
8. My Government understands that Agriculture has been the single most important source of livelihood of the rural masses. 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. Modern agriculture is knowledge-based, in which technology has an ever increasing role to play. New technologies are needed to break yield barriers, utilize inputs more efficiently and diversify to more sustainable and higher value cropping patterns. 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.
Centrally Sponsored Schemes such as Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), National Food Security Mission – Tree borne Oilseeds (NFSM-TBOs), Mission Organic Value Chain Development (MOVCD) and Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVKs) will continue to be given impetus. To achieve the vision of Doubling Farmers income by 2022, all the KVKs have conducted Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) in their adopted villages under their respective Districts. Strategies and action plans have also been developed for their respective Districts. District Level Coordination Committee for Doubling Farmers Income and Village Level Coordination Committee for Doubling Farmers Income were also constituted in all the Districts. Horticulture, fisheries, veterinary and animal husbandry and sericulture activities continue to be key economic activities. Measures will be taken to exploit and capitalise the potential these sectors have.
There are 36 on-going Minor irrigation Projects under “Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana-Har Khed ko Pani” aiming to reach 1055 farmers with a coverage of 1723 Hectare Command area. There are 5 projects under RIDF-XXII to create 360 Hectare of irrigation potential land. A Task Force for the formulation of Mizoram State Water Policy is being formed under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary, so that the policy is in line with the National Water Policy. Mizoram has been tentatively allocated a budget of Rs. 3100 lakhs to establish Hydrological Information System, which is a part of National Hydrology Project, for a period of 8 years.
9. Infrastructural development is a key parameter of development. 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 internal roads and to ensure better road networks and connectivity with neighbouring states. Improvements of all projects under the Road sector are being prioritised. PWD is maintaining 11 National Highways with a total length of 1465.938 Kms. There are 105 Nos. of on-going road projects under PMGSY, NEC, NABARD, NEDP etc. with a total length of 1702.00 Kms amounting to Rs. 1080.93 Crores. During 2018-2019, 10 Nos. of Formation cutting of roads with the total length of 86.00 Kms with an estimated cost of Rs. 78.07 crores and 24 Nos. of Blacktopping roads of length 142.00 Kms with an estimated cost of Rs.213.60 Crores have been completed. During 2018-2019, ninety-one(91) buildings were taken up with an estimated cost of Rs.507.00 crores out of which 39 have been completed and 52 buildings are in progress. Under PMGSY, 169 Villages have been connected, 1948 Kms of Formation Cutting and 892 Kms of Blacktopping have been completed. During 2018-19, two interstate road projects viz., Daido-Vawmkawt-Bungpuikawn(9kms) and Kawrthah-Damdiai-Vanghmun (57 kms) have been approved under North East Road Sector Development Schemes (NERSDS). Efforts will be given for improvement of Lengpui airport, and construction of more airports and waterways for better connectivity within and with the rest of the country.
10. 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. 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. Under DDUGJY (Deen Dayal Upadhaya Gram Jyoti Yojana) power supply has been provided to 45 villages. Second phase of Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) covering Bairabi, Biate, Darlawn, N. Vanlaiphai, Tlabung and Zawlnuam will be completed by March 2020 while the first phase covering 6 towns is expected to be completed within this financial year. 75 percent of the civil works for 20 MW Vankal Solar Park has been completed and the drawings for the electrical work are awaiting approval; while 2 MW Solar Power Plant at Tlungvel is expected to be completed in June 2019. Efforts will be made for improving efficiency in generation, transmission and distribution of power.
11. My Government will continue to work for making Mizoram the‘Cleanest State in India’ and our cities, towns and villages as the cleanest habitation by 2019. Mizoram has been successful in its effort to make all district as Open Defecation Free (ODF). Implementation of Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) is one of the most important programmes undertaken by Public Health Engineering Department.
Under NRDWP, during 2018-19, 54 habitations are targetted for coverage out of which 37 habitations have been covered so far. Sialsuk & Samlukhai Water Supply Scheme, Leite &Rotlang Water Supply Scheme and N.Thingdawl Water Supply Scheme are expected to be completed during the current financial year while Solar Pumping Scheme for a number of other villages are currently being executed with funding from NABARD.
12. My Government is committed to provide affordable and accessible health care to all. The recent decision to waive off blood processing charges, which was earlier paid by the users, is one of the endeavours in this regard. Emphasis will be given to improve and expand health care service, by improving and strengthening healthcare facilities and key infrastructures. The Mizoram State Health Care Scheme which was started earlier by the MNF ministry will be reviewed and continued with necessary improvement in the provision.
Mizoram achieved a 5 point reduction in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) which is the second highest reduction of IMR at the National Level and received an Award for the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. Another award from the Ministry was received for reaching the maximum number of pregnant women under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) among the Northeast states during 2017-18. Centrally sponsored healthcare programmes and schemes will continue to be implemented with renewed vigour with contribution of state matching share on time. Construction of 50 bedded Lawngtlai District Hospital is currently underway while Upgradation of Siaha District Hospital to a 100 bedded Hospital is being taken up. Establishment of Trauma Centres at 7 District Hospitals are also currently going on. Installation of CT Scan Machine (16 Slice) at Civil Hospital Lunglei is another significant step towards improving health care services which will hugely benefit people of Lunglei and southern part of Mizoram.
13. My government is committed to bringing about education reforms to improve quality of education at all levels of learning. Immediate steps will be taken to review school timing and school calendar to suit our social life and culture. 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 private run schools. During 2018-19, 66 High School Science Teachers and 48 High School Mathematics Teachers were recruited. During 2018, one Higher Secondary School was provincialised; 7 Middle Schools, 25 High Schools and 43 Higher Secondary Schools were upgraded from a purely private status to Adhoc Lumpsum - Grant-in Aid (GIA) status. The Innovation Hub and Space Science Education Centre at Berawtlang which was inaugurated in September 2018 will provide facilities to nurture new ideas and help develop inquisitive scientific temper and perspective among students.
14. My Government is aware that more than half of our population lives in urban areas and until and unless urban development is enhanced, our growth story will not be complete. Existing urban development projects will be paced up and fresh projects to improve various facets of urban sector such as Urban Transport and Mobility, Urban Sanitation and Urban Infrastructures will be conceptualised and undertaken. Feasibility Study of improvement and enhancing of the existing roads of Aizawl City will be undertaken for which the Chief Minister himself undertook a preliminary survey recently. Aizawl will be made a Smart City for which a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) has been registered under the Companies Act, 2013 for the implementation of Smart City Mission programme. The Government will strive to make our cities and towns liveable and make our urban habitations centres of growth and development. Towards this end, 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. Asian Development Bank (ADB) assisted North Eastern Region Capital Cities Development Investment Programme(NERCCDIP) for improvement of critical infrastructures of Aizawl City is being implemented vigorously. Under this, Project III with an approved cost of Rs.510.00 crores will be implemented shortly. Steps will be taken to strengthen Aizawl Municipal Corporation.
15. Meanwhile, rural development and poverty alleviation will be a key priority area since development will not be inclusive, if the pace of development does not include people living in the rural areas. Towards this end, Rural development and poverty alleviation schemes under the Central government such as MGNREGS, NRLM, PMKSY-WDC, BADP, PMAY-G and NLCPR 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, creation of urban amenities and basic social and economic infrastructures.
16. 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 to equip aspiring youth with competitive edge to face new challenges not only at home front, but at the global level of competition.
The Mizoram State Skill Entrepreneurship Development, 2018 was notified on 5th October, 2018 and Mizoram State Skill Development Mission has since been formed. Besides on-going construction works of two new Industrial Training Institutes(ITIs)at Champhai and Serchhip, construction of ITI at Kolasib has also been started. Project for training of 36,671 youth under PMKVY State Engagement Component during 2017-2020 has been approved with financial target of Rs.56.46 crores. 554 no of persons have been trained in Govt. Industrial Training Institutes - Aizawl, Lunglei and Siaha under Craftsmen Training Schemes(CTS).
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. Integrated Development of New Eco Tourism under Swadesh Darshan – North East Circuit at Thenzawl, S. Zote and Reiek with a sanctioned amount of Rs. 94.90 crores and Development of Eco-Adventure Circuit under Eco Circuit Theme of Swadesh Darshan with a sanctioned amount of Rs. 99.07 crores have immense potential in marketing Mizoram among domestic and international travellers. Steps will be undertaken in these projects in a manner in which our communities will be stakeholders and benefit financially as well. Necessary measures will be taken for opening the State Institute of Hotel Management.
18. This 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. Construction work of Aizawl District Court Building at New Secretariat Complex with an outlay of Rs. 23.60 crores and Construction of High Court Building at New Secretariat Complex with an outlay of Rs. 46.24 crores are progressing smoothly. Construction of Judical Quarters at Champhai, Serchhip, Siaha and Mamit are also currently underway.
20. My Government will continue to accord priority to the Sports sector. Steps will be taken for framing a new Sports Policy in the line of Olympic Charter under which more number of sports infrastructures will be built in all the districts and more cash incentives will be given to deserving sports-persons. India’s first gold medal in the Youth Olympic Games was bagged by Jeremy Lalrinnunga in the Boy’s 62 kg category weightlifting at Buenos Aires Summer Youth Olympic 2018, lifting a total of 274 kg. I am also pleased to announce that Lalremsiami, a professional hockey player was part of the 18 member squad representing India at the 2018 World Cup. She also become the first sportsperson from Mizoram to win an Asiad medal after she won the Silver at the Asian Games and 2018 Summer Youth Olympic.
21. My Government understands the urgent need to protect, safeguard and nurture our environment and biodiversity. Efforts being made through various National programmes and Green Mizoram Programme to increase forest cover and to protect forest reserved areas, wildlife and biodiversity will be intensified. A study on Assessment of Vulnerability of Forest and Biodiversity Sectors due to Climate Change in Mizoram has also been commissioned. A massive awareness education programme on Climate Change was launched in the State during 2018-2019 involving NGOs and the District Administrations. Under Green Mizoram Programme, a total seedlings of 85562 nos. have been planted and distributed during 2018. This government will give tremendous efforts to mitigate and combat the rising impact of climate change.
22. The Mizoram Pavilion set up by Commerce & Industries Department in the 38th India International Trade Fair held in November 2018 bagged the Bronze Award. This award will definitely, go a long way in encouraging the Department and stakeholders. Compared to previous years, the achievement of Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) has improved and efforts will be taken to increase its reach given its potential at generating livelihoods among the educated unemployed. Border Trade with Myanmar and Bangladesh, in tune with Act East Policy will be vigorously pursued so that Mizoram can benefit economically
23. My Government will give priority to provide welfare programmes and services to the weaker and vulnerable sections of the society. All-out efforts will be taken for combating menace of drugs, alcoholism, 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. In keeping with our election manifesto, necessary measures will be taken to repeal The Mizoram Liquor (Control & Prohibition) Act, 2014 which has been implemented since 15th January, 2015.
24. My government will ensure timely procurement, safe storage and equitable distribution of foodgrains and other essential commodities including POL (Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants) and cooking gas to meet growing demands of the people particularly those residing in the interior places throughout the year.
25. My Government is keen to bring about rapid transformation of governance and empowerment of the society through e-Development of Mizoram. More efforts will be geared towards encouraging e-office to achieve the vision Digital India. At the same time emphasis will be given to introduce reforms to improve the existing systems of tax and revenue collection.
26. Lastly, good governance and effective implementation of schemes and programmes will be possible only if the government officials are well motivated and allowed to function independently. I ask the Government officials to rise to the occasion and take forward all the good initiatives of the newly formed Government. I ask all the people of Mizoram to extend their whole-hearted support to my Government. I am confident that each and every one of us can make Mizoram state one of the most developed states in India.
27. In conclusion, as worthy citizens of this country, lets us rededicate ourselves towards nurturing, safeguarding and strengthening the ideals, values and systems enshrined in our Constitution.
28. On this occasion, I would like to express my gratitude to all the NGOs, the Churches and the general public for having faith and confidence in my Government.
I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the Media and all Central Government units in Mizoram for your unwavering support and contribution towards the growth and progress of Mizoram. 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 auspicious 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.
Ka lawm e