Aizawl (Mizoram ):My visit to your beautiful State today, brings back fond memories, of good times spent with the friendly people of Mizoram.Let me begin by wishing you, and indeed, all the people of Mizoram, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
May the New Year bring happiness and prosperity to all.
As I arrived in Aizawl a short while ago, I was thrilled to witness once again, the enchanting beauty of Mizoram: the "Land of the Hill People."
A land of peace and calm.
A people so warm and hospitable.
A State with one of the highest literacy rates in India.
As a result of the efforts of the Union Government, schemes for the benefit of the North-Eastern region have been gained momentum. Projects stuck for years, are now progressing.
I just had a glimpse of the impressive exhibition set up here by Self Help Groups, comprising produce from all the eight North-Eastern States.I congratulate the members of these Self Help Groups, for their immense talent and potential. It is a potential that the Union Government is committed to hone, and develop.This is one of the key objectives of the Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana.
Self Help Groups are also benefiting through credit linkages provided by the North Eastern Development Finance Corporation, with interest subsidy being provided by the Union Government.
I am told, the Ministry for Development of the North-East Region is also supporting the activities of the North Eastern Handicrafts and Handloom Development Corporation; and the North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation.
These Public Sector Under-takings are engaged in training and hand holding artisans, weavers and farmers, for marketing and food processing.
Technologies and products developed by Institutions such as CSIR, ICAR and the IITs should be studied for possible adoption in the North-East, to enable value addition of local produce.
Friends! Today we gather here to celebrate a significant mile-stone in the history of Mizoram:
The completion and dedication of the 60 Mega-Watt Tuirial Hydro-power Project. This comes13 years after the last major central sector hydro-power project in the North-Eastern Region--the Kopili Stage-II.
Tuirial Hydro-power project is the first major Central Sector Project to be successfully commissioned in Mizoram. It is the first large hydro-power project in the State. It will produce 251 Million Units of electrical energy every year, and boost the socio-economic development of the State.
With the commissioning of this project, Mizoram becomes the third power-surplus State in the North-East, after Sikkim and Tripura.
The project was first declared and cleared by the Union Government of Prime Minister Vajpayee ji, way back in 1998, but got delayed.
The completion of this project is a reflection of our commitment to complete on-going projects and usher in a new era of development in the North Eastern region.
Besides generating electricity, the reservoir water will also open new avenues for navigation. This will provide connectivity to remote villages. The huge reservoir, spread over an area of 45 square kilometers, can also be used for development of fisheries.
This project will boost eco-tourism, and provide a source of assured drinking water supply. I am informed that the State has a hydro-power potential of 2100 Mega-Watts, of which we have so far tapped only a fraction.
I see no reason why Mizoram cannot become a net-power exporter. Our aim is not just to make the North Eastern States power surplus. We also aim to develop a state-of-art transmission system which ensures that surplus power is transferred to other power deficient parts of the country.
My Government is investing close to Rupees10,000 crores for a comprehensive improvement in the power transmission system in the North Eastern States.
We are betting on the skills and strengths of India's youth. We believe in 'empower through enterprise' - which is creating the right eco-system for innovation and enterprise to flourish so that our land is home to the next big ideas that can transform humanity.
In 2022, India will complete 75 years of independence, the next five years provide an opportunity to plan and build on our achievements, to make a quantum leap in all spheres of development.
Building a New India by 2022 requires us to work towards the twin goals of increasing economic growth as well as ensuring that the fruits of growth are shared by all. In the spirit of सबका साथ, सबका विकास, every Indian, irrespective of caste, gender, religion, class must have equal opportunities to partake in the new prosperity.
My Government believes in competitive and cooperative federalism, where there is healthy competition between States. I am convinced that States are the main drivers of change.
We have taken a number of initiatives to infuse healthy competition among States. A Committee of Chief Ministers made recommendations to rationalize Centrally Sponsored Schemes. We duly accepted the recommendations.
Despite fiscal constraints, the sharing pattern of core centrally sponsored schemes for North Eastern States has been continued at 90-10. For other schemes, it stands at 80-20.
Friends, The vision of New India can be realized only if the fruits of development reach all.
The Union Government has plans to focus on around 115 districts which are relatively backward when evaluated on various social indicators. This will also benefit the backward districts of North Eastern States including Mizoram.
Just yesterday, we approved a new Central Sector Scheme. The North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme will fill the gaps in creation of infrastructure in two sectors.
One sector is physical infrastructure relating to water supply, power, connectivity and especially projects promoting tourism.
The other is social sector projects of education and health. The new scheme has been designed after due consultations with State Governments.However, to ensure continuity, all ongoing projects under NLCPR will be provided funds for completion by March 2022.
The new Scheme will be 100 percent centrally funded as against the NLCPR, where 10 percent contribution had to come from the State Governments.
The Central Government will be providing Rupees 5300 Crore to North Eastern States under the Scheme over the next three years.
Lack of connectivity is one of the biggest hurdles in the path of development of the North Eastern Region. We aim for a Transformation by Transportation through investment in infrastructure in the region.
The Union Government has sanctioned over 3800 kilometers of National Highway with an investment of Rupees 32000 crore during last three years, out of which nearly 1200 kilometers of road has already been constructed.
The Union Government will be investing another Rupees 60,000 crore under Special Accelerated Road Development Programme in the North-East and Rs. 30,000 crore under Bharatmala in the next two to three years to build a network of high-ways and roads in the North East Region. We are committed to bring all the State Capitals of North East Region on the Rail map.
The Government of India is executing 15 New Rail Line projects of 1385 kilometers length, at a cost of over Rs.47,000 crore.
The railways reached Mizoram last year, with the inauguration of the rail line connecting Bhairabi in Mizoram with Silchar in Assam.
I had laid the foundation for a new line to take rail connectivity to Aizawl in 2014.
With the support of the State Government, we shall connect the State Capital Aizawl with broad gauge rail line.
The Union Government has been proactively following the ‘Act East Policy’. As a gate-way to South East Asia, Mizoram stands to gain immensely from this. It can emerge as a key transit point for trade with Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Various bilateral projects are at various stages of completion. Some of the major initiatives include the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project, the Rih-Tedim Road Project and Border Haats.
All these will increase the scope for economic linkages, and contribute to the overall economic growth and development of the North-Eastern Region.
Friends, The high literacy rate, scenic beauty and availability of large English speaking population in Mizoram make for a perfect blend to develop the State as a model tourist destination.
The State offers significant scope for adventure tourism, cultural tourism, eco-tourism, wild-life tourism, and community-based rural tourism. If developed well, tourism can emerge as the biggest employer in the state.The Union Government has sanctioned two tourism projects worth 194 crore rupees for Mizoram in the last 2 years, to promote eco-tourism and adventure tourism.The Central Government has already released 115 crore rupees for implementation of these projects.
The Government is also committed to provide assistance for maintenance and up-keep of various wild-life sanctuaries and national parks in Mizoram with a view to attract tourists. Let us work together to make Mizoram one of the top tourism destinations in India.
The Bamboo which is a source of livelihood for lakhs of people of North East, has been under a very restrictive regulatory regime. You could not transport or sell the Bamboo produced in your own field without a permit. Our Government with an aim to reduce this pain, has changed the regulatory regime. Now there will be no requirement of any permit or permission for producing, transporting and selling Bamboo and its products produced by farmers in their own fields. This will benefit lakhs of farmers and will add to the efforts to double farmers’ income by 2022.
I see Aizawl wearing a colorful and festive look, and fully geared up for celebrating Christmas. I once again wish you all and the people of Mizoram a Merry Christmas.