During the last 14 years we kept our promises. We are proud of our accomplishments. We have preserved and carried forward the socio-economic and cultural development of the State. Most of the key projects, be it industrial, agricultural, health, education, infrastructures, climate change and information technology, have been put up on the fast track.
Our Government is committed to the cause of the poor, the women and the scheduled tribes and the scheduled castes. The outlay on various State initiated welfare schemes have increased manifold. Our Government’s vision for the State is based on the principles of transparency, equity, inclusiveness and good governance. We work unflinchingly towards realising this vision.
I am happy to inform to this August House that in keeping with the development ambitions of our State, our plan size has increased from Rs.2484 crores in 1999-2000 to Rs.27000 crore for 2014-15. Our State has recorded an average annual growth rate of 8.23 percent during the eleventh plan. During the first two years of the twelfth plan, the faulty policies of the last UPA Government, the general economic slowdown have affected growth but we will certainly do better in the coming years. The real per capita income in Odisha, at 2004-2005 prices, has increased from Rs.14,862 in 1999-2000 to Rs.26,900 in 2011-12 an increase of 77% during the period. Our State achieved the highest reduction in poverty among all Indian States and the ratio dropped by 24.6 percentage points in the six year period starting from 2004 to 2010.
Our Government gives thrust on balanced growth of all regions. We have made development in Odisha a people’s movement. In order to send a clear message of our determination, immediately after the swearing in ceremony, our Government called the first meeting of the Council of Ministers and resolved to implement the promises we made in our manifesto in a time bound manner following the due processes and procedures of Government. We shall fulfil in a time bound manner the primary infrastructure needs in areas of road communication, drinking water, electrification, irrigation, agriculture and education in both rural and urban areas of the State. Lack of access to infrastructure shall not become a barrier to growth and development of Odisha.
Ours being an agricultural economy, our Government has taken the initiative of bringing out an exclusive budget for the agriculture sector. The allocation for agriculture and allied sectors in the budget was Rs.5627.87 crores in 2012-13 and Rs.7161.84 crores in 2013-14. The total cultivable area of the State is 61 lakh hectares. Out of this 28 lakh hectares have been irrigated so far from all sources which represents about 45 percent of the total cultivable area. We envision to create an additional irrigation potential for 10 lakh hectares in the next five years. We will make available high quality seeds, fertilizers, pesticides insecticides and required agricultural technical extensive services to our farmers. On a mission mode, all defunct lift irrigation (LI) points which are feasible shall be restored and operationalized. Seed replacement ratio will be increased substantially and our endeavour will be to transfer all subsidies and financial assistance directly to the bank account of individual farmers in coming days.
To streamline the post-harvest management, we shall ensure mandies (markets), concrete drying platforms and threshing floors for every 5000 population, in all procurement districts. A Comprehensive Warehousing Act will be legislated to create storage infrastructure at the Panchayat level and cold storage facilities shall be established on a PPP mode at the Block level. A second Agriculture University will be established in KBK region to augment manpower needs for the agriculture sector. We will exempt tax on trolleys attached to tractors.
Besides meeting these infrastructural needs, our State has introduced free health insurance scheme called Biju Krushak Kalyan Yojana (BKKY) for farmers, landless farm labourers that covers five persons of the family for insured amount of Rupees one lakh. This has benefited 60 lakh families numbering three crore population. Our Government is extending short term farm credit at the lowest ever interest rate of 2% to farmers through the State Cooperative Bank and Commercial Banks.
Ours is a young society. You may recall that we have introduced the youth policy for over all development of our youth. Our Government will implement in a time bound manner, all the components of the youth policy. Special focus shall be given to all round development of our girls and other vulnerable groups. With a view to easing the unemployment situation, the State Government will set up Chief Minister’s Employment Generation Scheme. Recruitment in the Government in all fields would be scaled up and local talent will be encouraged. An ‘Innovation Fund’ shall be created to incubate new business ideas coming from young entrepreneurs.
Women empowerment is an instrument of good governance. To further scale up the interventions in that direction, we will formulate a ‘Holistic Women Policy’ shortly. The Mission Shakti has satisfactorily worked towards economic-emancipation, familial cohesion and social harmony since 2001 till date. To encourage further, our Government shall endeavour to bring down the interest against loans to women SHGs.
Our Government does not believe in doing politics over inhuman incidents like rape and crime against women and children. We should sit together to find solutions collectively. We have resolved to introduce ‘Biju Bal Vikas Yojana’ to rehabilitate all the orphan and destitute children in the State and a programme called ‘Niramaya’, a health insurance scheme for autistic children and those require special attention. The Government will work for the welfare of daily labourer, protection of women and slum dweller. We will enhance assistance for medical treatment both under the Odisha State Treatment Fund and Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.
We shall take all possible steps to convert ‘Katcha’ houses into ‘Pucca’ houses in a phased manner by providing suitable financial assistance.
Ensuring quality education is the top priority of our Government and we have programmed to establish model public schools in every Block.
We have been adopting a multipronged approach for the development of ST&SC population since 2000. This has yielded excellent results. ST&SC students getting admission into National Institutes will be provided with financial assistance. More numbers of girls’ hostels will be constructed in urban areas. We shall develop and maintain Tribal Sacred Grooves and other places of worship, expand the coverage of OTELP, provide multi-lingual education facilities by including tribal languages and substantially increase the coverage of tribal families under health insurance, housing scheme and pension schemes.
Our Government shall take required steps for the overall development of the minority communities by extending financial and infrastructural support to minority education institutions, financial assistance to meritorious students of these communities. A Haj House will be created in Bhubaneswar.
Our Government believes in peaceful industrialization and shall strive to attract more FDI to create employment opportunity for our youth and augment revenue base. Our Government will revive sick industries and will make mandatory for industries involving acquisition of private land to provide shares to GPs and persons from whom land is acquired.
Development of Western Odisha and the KBK region is one of our top priorities. We shall endeavour to include Koshali (Sambalpuri) and Ho languages in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution. Our Government will upgrade all the major two lane roads in the region into four lane roads. An express way will be constructed to connect Northern and Southern parts of Odisha which will run through the backward regions of Western and KBK districts.
A new rural connectivity scheme called ‘Chief Minister Sadak Yojana’ will be launched by our Government to provide road connectivity to villages not covered under PMGSY and the scope of Biju Setu Yojana shall be expanded. Access to power and pipe water supply to rural areas will be ensured.
We do not believe in confrontation. We believe in cooperation. Our approach will be positive and constructive towards the Central Government and we hope the Union Government will address the just needs of the people of our State. Our demand for Special Category Status is based on the historic neglect Odisha has been inflicted upon continuously in the past. Our State has faced the maximum natural calamities and disasters than any other State in the country and every time a natural disaster hits the State, it consumes lot of resources to bring back normalcy. This is one of the main reasons why Odisha should be given Special Category Status. You may recall, very recently on 30th May a storm hit the National Capital Region of Delhi. 15 days have passed and they still have a serious power emergency and it is understood that it may take another 15 days before normalcy is restored. Now think of the management of Phailin and restoration of normalcy. The international accolades Odisha and in turn India received in disaster management is a testimony to the efforts of our people and Government. We will carry forward our Governance in the same spirit and work towards a peaceful, prosperous and progressive Odisha.
We do not believe in numbers. We believe in collective wisdom. This August House is the repository of that collective wisdom. Our victory is the victory of the four crore people of Odisha. Let us pledge to stand up to their expectation and rededicate ourselves to work for them. For their prosperity, for their progress.