Brig. (Dr.) B.D. Mishra (Retd.)
THE HON’BLE GOVERNOR
THE FIFTEENTH SESSION
THE SIXTH LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
9th MARCH 2018
Honourable leader of the House
Honourable leader of Opposition and
Honourable Members of Legislative Assembly.
1. It gives me immense pleasure to share space with this august house on the occasion of the Budget Session 2018. It is indeed a solemn occasion, on which the government of the day gives an account to the people through the House on achievements of the year gone by and charts out agenda of action for the future.
2. This Budget Session is being held in this new Assembly building, which is one of the best Assembly Complex in the Country and has the distinction of having been dedicated to the people of Arunachal Pradesh by our Rashtrapati ji. We all can be proud of it. It embodies the modern aspirations of a young State, as also the rich traditions of our society. The spirit of Arunachal Pradesh is imbued with rainbow colours of multiple tribes, each with its distinct cultural identity, tradition and ethos. It has always served as an example for the rest of the nation of perfect harmony in such diversity.
3. Hon’ble Prime Minister during his recent visit to Itanagar gave out an unequivocal message for ensuring transparency in governance. As this august House will discuss the Budget, this surely should form the central theme as we are accountable to the people for each Rupee which is spent from the Tax Payers money. Our Honourable Prime Minister has publicly acknowledged the decisive measures being taken for bringing in transparency in governance by Honourable Chief Minister Shri Pema Khandu ji and the Team Arunachal. He has also assured unstinted support of the Union Government towards the development of Arunachal Pradesh. This is for the first time, in the history of independent India, that the North Eastern region has been given so much attention at the highest level of the Central government. We all are aware that the deeply emotional people of the North Eastern region have expressed political gratitude for our efforts with absolute clarity.
4. In the 21st Century, technology is the biggest enabler for empowerment. It helps nations, states and people to be catapulted into a high growth orbit. My government has shown a determined resolve to use technology for ushering in utmost efficiency and also creating a framework for transparency and accountability. Resource transfers upto the last beneficiary are mapped on a technology platform which leaves no room for opaqueness. My government has also used technology for providing a large number of government services electronically, without the encumbrance of human interface. Public procurement has commenced in a modest way through the Government E market (GEM) portal. In the field of education, the novel experiment of smart class rooms, introduced by my government, has become functional in over 700 classrooms and our students are getting benefitted through high quality digital content. We plan to further deepen the use of technology and resort to a greater digital literacy.
5. Transparency in recruitment to all government vacancies inspires confidence in the people. In this direction, my government has taken several measures including the entrustment of recruitment to the APPSC of all group B posts.
6. My Government’s path of policy formulation is democratic, participatory and inclusive. A blue print of development was recently prepared through a wide consultation process in a well attended Policy Conclave – “Dream Change 2027”. This has flagged the fundamental CHALLENGES faced by the State, especially in Agriculture, Education, Health, Skill and the need for catalyzing economic activity. We have opened the doors of policy formulation beyond the confines of the Civil Secretariat to ensure that creative minds can meaningfully contribute towards the development of the state. It is the highest water mark for a people’s government to discuss and deliberate the measures of governance with the common citizen before drawing up an agenda for development. This is truly in keeping with the democratic traditions of our Country. The Budget website which invited ideas from people of the State had a clear message for Jan Bhagidari. I am very confident that our Government will present a People’s Budget with path breaking and progressive initiatives. It is the resolve of my Government to ensure that the benefits of all the schemes reach to the last man in the queue, i.e, the poorest of the poor.
7. Arunachal Pradesh is the largest State in the North Eastern Region. Strategically situated, we share a large international border with Bhutan, China and Myanmar. People living in the remote border settlements braving harsh climatic conditions stand shoulder to shoulder with our brave soldiers, making their valuable contribution for the defence of the nation. While we prepare a plan for development, our thought goes to our jawans who are our 24 by 7 sentinel and for the forlorn villagers who are struggling for the basic necessities of life. For them robust connectivity is the biggest amenity. Through the Border Area Development program a massive push is being given to create social and economic infrastructure which would enable the villagers live a life of dignity and comfort. Rural electrification in these remote parts is also being done under the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gramjyoti Yojana and by April end we aim to achieve the gigantic task of 100 percent rural electrification. Going many steps beyond, we have accepted the challenge of ensuring 100% household electrification under the Saubhagya Yojana.
8. My Government has the distinction of having achieved 100 percent Open Defecation Free (ODF) status in rural areas under the Swachh Bharat Gramin Program in December 2017. It is indeed a great progressive feat of being the 7th State in the Country and 2nd in the Northeast region to achieve 100% Open Defecation Free status in rural areas. This unique achievement has been made possible only through a determined leadership and push by hundreds of officials who toiled for months on end.
9. Our Government has been able to bring Itanagar and Pasighat into the ambit of Smart City Program. This will see massive flow of funds into creating world class urban infrastructure. We consequently stand obligated to keep our cities clean. Mahatma Gandhi ji said and I quote “I congratulate you on your spacious roads, your splendid lighting and your beautiful parks. But a municipality does not deserve to exist which does not possess model water-closets and where streets and lanes are not kept clean all the hours of the day and night”. Unquote. Having made the rural areas open defecation free our target now is to achieve the same status in our urban areas over the next few months. Famously, let all legislators of this august House be the flag bearers of cleanliness back in their constituencies and spearhead the movement of elimination of dirt and filth from our surroundings, to achieve the objective of a “Clean and Green Arunachal”.
10. The fundamental responsibility of a welfare state is to ensure that there is a plan and concerted effort for elimination of poverty, that the youth find adequate avenues of employment, that the government schools and colleges are able to provide high quality education, that the institutions of health care provide adequate relief to those in need. These are the areas which are receiving the highest attention of my government.
11. Last year, my government launched the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Swalamban Yojana to provide affordable access to institutional credit to young entrepreneurs. The Chief Minister’s Krishi Rinn Yojana has provided access to zero interest crop loans to farmers. The Deen Dayal Upadhyay Bunkar Yojana has provided access to subsidized working capital loan for weavers. The Chief Minister’s Adhunik Shiksha Yojana has squarely addressed the challenge of quality of education. All these schemes have livened up the prospects of our youth in many ways. They now have a ray of hope for a better future. My Government is all set to widen the scope and ambit of these schemes, to further engage the youth and encourage them to partake in the state building efforts of the government.
12. As per mandate of the recommendations on rationalisation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes, we have successfully rolled out the Public Financial Management System (PFMS) with an objective to track the fund disbursement under various schemes and monitor the flow of funds from Govt. of India to various levels down to the last level of utilization.
13. My Government has taken several landmark decisions in a very short span of time, I shall refer to a few here today:
a) Implementation of the 7th Central Pay Commission and other structural reforms for the employees. Implement the revised 7th CPC pay scales under UGC regulations for college principals, teachers and librarians.
b) Arunachal Pradesh Advertisement Policy 2018 to enable a centralized funding policy.
c) Release of one time gratuitous relief of Rs 2000 for all contingency and casual workers serving under the Arunachal Pradesh government.
d) Creation of 25 posts of Assistant Professors for government colleges of the state in the department of Education and about 1300 posts (1130 teachers which includes the 349 crucial subject teachers) who will be recruited through a free and fair mechanism.
e) Enhancement of salary of the teachers working under SSA and RMSA by 22 per cent with firm directions to ensure that salaries are disbursed by the first week of the subsequent month through Aadhar based DBT by PFMS method.
f) Now let me enumerate the important legislations being taken up in this session:
I. Central Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, (No.7 of 2014), Arunachal Pradesh Bill, 2018
II. Arunachal Pradesh Land and Ecological Sites (Protection and Management) Bill 2016
III. Amendment to the Arunachal Pradesh Panchayati Raj Act, 1997 (Act No. 5 of 2001)
IV. The Arunachal Pradesh Money Lending (Regulation) Bill, 2018
V. The issue of grant of Land Ownership to the tribal people of the state
VI. The Criminal Laws(Arunachal Pradesh Amendment) Bill,2018
14. To comprehend the people’s development needs my Government has initiated several pre-budget consultative meetings with stakeholders including the District Deputy Commissioners, farmers, office bearers of various educational institutions, students and Community Based Organisations of the State. They have all been invited to put forward ideas to the state government so that the aspirations of our people can be integrated in the budget proposals for 2018-19. An interactive website has also been launched to facilitate participation of the common citizens in preparation of a wholesome budget for the coming financial year.
15. My Government is resolved on zero tolerance for indiscipline and corruption from any government functionary irrespective of rank and appointment. We are all set to take strict action against any person found indulging in corrupt practices. My government shall invoke the provisions of the conduct rules to dismiss the erring officials in the larger interest of the state.
16. Arunachal Pradesh bears a disproportionate burden of cancer incidence and poor patients end up paying lakhs of rupees for their treatment. To ameliorate the situation, last year, my government introduced the free Chemotherapy scheme at Tomo Riba Hospital which has provided significant relief to hundreds of patients. My government has also taken the challenge of Universal immunization of children in a mission mode and made significant progress in the last few months. The Central government has launched a laudable health insurance scheme called, ‘Ayushman Bharat’. My Government will be implementing this scheme in all its earnestness in the coming financial year. This Central Government scheme will provide health insurance cover of up to Rs. 5 lakh for the poor people.
17. Our State is blessed with a great biodiversity. It is endowed with rich natural resource which makes agriculture and horticulture a unique value proposition. Several progressive farmers have ventured into new exotic crop varieties and have been successful in this regard. However, the sheer diversity in our landscape and agro climatic zones, coupled with challenge of inaccessibility are holding back the true realization of this potential. My government has prepared a comprehensive strategy to develop agriculture and its allied sectors to ensure that we achieve the target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022. An Agricultural conclave is planned to be organized by my government inviting agricultural scientists, progressive farmers, policy makers from across the country to help us examine, plan and implement the entire value chain of agriculture: from providing inputs, to agricultural extension, research, infrastructure creation, aggregation and marketing linkages. The Arunachal Pradesh Agricultural Produce and livestock Management Act 2017 has already been passed by this august House. This legislation has laid the ground for our farmers to be able to join the E National Agricultural Market (E-NAM). This would help their easy interface with potential buyers outside the state and lead to better market price discovery. This would also enable creation of wholesale market yards which would link farmers to this electronic platform.
18. We are set to overcome the disadvantages of geography by the power of aggregation. Time has come to organize our farmers into ‘Producing Farmers’ Organizations’ or ‘Producing Farmers’ Companies’ which will empower them to collectively draw upon resources for common uses of packaging, storage and transportation. My government will be drawing up a comprehensive plan for aggregation of farm produce through encouragement to such home grown institutional structures.
19. The organic farming mission was launched by my government last year. This program would be carried out more vigorously this year to ensure that the farmers who opt for organic farming are able to secure easy certification for their produce.
20. Arunachal Pradesh has a large variety of Bamboo species. The decision of the union Government to declare Bamboo as ‘grass’ presents an unique opportunity for our state to commercially use Bamboo resource to enhance rural farm income and provide greater value addition.
21. In the last one year, we have seen a massive transformation in the infrastructure sector, especially in the area of connectivity. The Bhupen Hazarika Setu, inaugurated by Honourable Prime Minister has already seen a quantum jump in tourist arrivals in Lower Dibang Valley. The Bogibeel bridge will be commissioned this year. The Sela Tunnel has been given a ‘go-ahead’ by the Central Government. This will considerably shorten the travel time and distance to Tawang. The Trans Arunachal Highway Project has since made rapid progress. Rail connectivity has improved significantly. A few days ago the second train from Naharlagun to New Delhi was flagged off. In the coming months under the UDAN scheme, airports at Tezu and Pasighat will become operational. My government will be pursuing the project for a civilian airport at Hollongi with the Central government.
22. Over the next two months we shall witness the commissioning of the Kameng and Pare hydro electric projects which will add another 710 MW generation capacity in the state. My government has been in an active dialogue with the Government of Assam which will see the resumption of work on the stalled Subansiri Hydro electric power project soon. The Aalo-Pasighat-Roing-Tezu 132 KV transmission line has since been commissioned. This has significantly altered the power situation in the eastern districts of the state.
23. The face of Itanagar has changed enormously in a short span of time. Today we are proud owner of many iconic structures in the city such as the State Civil Secretariat, the Legislative Assembly Complex and a Convention Centre. Such infrastructure has created the possibility of hosting regional and national conferences and conventions, which will potentially usher in enhanced economic activities in the city. The work of four laning of the National Highway is also proceeding at a good pace. My government will make concerted effort to provide greater green space and opportunities for the recreation of our people as also for the tourists.
24. Ensuring peace, amity and enforcing the rule of law are the fundamental responsibilities of any government. My government is committed to this Dharma. We have taken a firm and decisive action against illegal call of bandhs in the State and now a sense of security clearly prevails in the State. However, I have been deeply anguished by some recent cases of assault on the modesty of small girls. As a dignified society we must develop an inviolable respect for our women who bring us forth and bring us up. My government would be taking concrete steps for creating a more conducive environment for safety, protection and progress of the girl child. Equally, my government would create effective system to address cases of women in distress and to provide support and counselling to families in their difficult times.
25. The Eastern districts of the State are afflicted with serious linked challenges of insurgency and opium cultivation. Both are hampering the peace and the economic development in the area. They are also enervating the vigour of a whole generation of youth and making them incompetent for productive activity and rendering them vulnerable to lures of easy money. Efforts in tackling the opium problem have not yielded much success so far. My government will be addressing the problem in a comprehensive manner by using effective counter measures to check poppy cultivation and insurgents’ unlawful activities. We would also create more employment opportunities and alternative cash crop cultivation and de-addict the youth who have gone awry. I have personally spoken to the Union Defence Minister, seeking support for greater recruitment of youth, especially from these areas into the armed forces. The army authorities have been very receptive and positive. I am sure over the next few months we shall see an additional Arunachal Scout Battalion being raised and a large number of youth joining the Indian Army.
26. The tribal communities share a special relationship with the forest. In most communities the forest groves are given a sacred status. Tribal communities have built up their rituals and folklore around the forests. It is also for this reason that Arunachal Pradesh has one of the highest forest covers in the country. When the winds of development sweep the state, we must not lose sight of the need to preserve our precious natural resource and the endeared culture. I recall the words of Nari Rustomjee, who was Advisor to the Governor of Assam and I quote, “ Much of the beauty of living still survives in these remote and distant hills, where dance and song are a vital part of everyday living, where people speak and think freely, without fear or restraint. Our workers must ensure, therefore that the good that is inherent in the institutions of the hill people is not tainted or substituted by practices that may be “modern” and “advanced” but are totally unsuited to their economy and way of thinking”. Unquote. Celebration of life is the beauty of tribal tradition. From Si Donyi to Reh, Losar to Nyokum, Mopin to Dree, Solung to Chalo Loku, our festivals are the exalted ways of our life. Let us ensure that these treasures are not lost in the rough and tumble of the coming time. My government will do all that is needed to preserve and promote our rich and varied tribal culture and heritage.
27. Arunachal Pradesh is bestowed with panorama of wildlife, scenic landscapes, religious sites, rich culture and arts and has a great potential for national and international tourism. We recorded a quantum leap in tourist arrivals in the State and it is increasing year by year. In order to promote Arunachal Pradesh as the most preferred Global Tourist Destination, it is important to showcase the plethora of tourism schemes to cater for wide demography of tourists. This is where my Government is focussing to take a quantum jump.
28. In order to take the Government to the door step of the people and decentralise powers and functions for the ease of the Government and people interface, my Government has already operationalised Eastern and Western divisions with headquaters at Namsai and Yachuli respectively. Last year we created a New District – Kamle with its district headquarter at Raga. My Government has resolved the long pending Lower Siang District issue and made it functional.
29. It has been a long and tenuous journey for us since our State was conferred the status of a full-fledged State on February 20, 1987. There have been many low and high tides along the way but we have held ourselves together as an entity all the way. You, ladies and gentlemen, the esteemed members of this august Legislative Assembly, being the highest political forum have, during the previous sessions played a pivotal role by democratic discussion, debate and decision making, to plan, preserve and promote the interest of the people of Arunachal Pradesh.
30. The contribution of this august house, in shaping the legislative framework of the State has been a special one. The Opposition and Treasury benches have always risen above the party lines in the interest of our people and our State. This truly deserves to be acknowledged, appreciated and complimented.
31. This is a day for assessment as to – what we all have achieved so far, what is the distance left for us to walk to reach our goal.
32. Esteemed members, to conclude, I would like to urge that it is you who are here to inspire, to show the right path, to lead by example and be the beacon light for thousands of our compatriots who are looking up to you to give them sustained development and a bright future. Our State has high hope from this government led by a young and enthusiastic Chief Minister. The youth of the state have great expectations from the members of this House as well. Politics must be fought on the electoral field, but it must never be allowed to come in the path of development and progress of the people.
33. Let us recall and promote the avowed concept of our dynamic Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji’s ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’
Let each one of us rise to the occasion, shun partisan politics and propel the State to greater heights following the mantra of “Arunachal Rising” and “TEAM ARUNACHAL” which are the purveyors of hope and bonding.
Jai Arunachal, Jai Hind.