Speech on the motion of thanks on Governor’s address in the State Assembly
Hon’ble Speaker Sir,
I welcome the speech of Hon’ble Governor to this august house.
The World has been going through an unprecedented crisis over the last one year. Never in the history of humankind such a global scale of devastating pandemic has taken place. This crisis has touched every nation, every town, every village and every human being. This was not only a public health crisis but also severe damage to livelihoods and economies across the societies.
2. Thanks to our Disaster preparedness and cooperation of the people of the State, Odisha has been able to overcome the challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic. Our Government, with great foresight, has taken several proactive steps right from the beginning to tackle the emerging scenario. This was a completely new type of war we were fighting against an invisible and unknown enemy. However, with courage and determination, we as a society have been able to effectively rise to the occasion.
3. We were among the first state to declare the situation as a disaster even before a single case was detected. We went for preventive and targeted Lockdown, much before the National Lockdown. We ensured strict enforcement of the Covid Health protocols across the State. To a large extent this helped us in slowing down the spread of the virus.
4. To ensure that the poor people do not suffer during the Lockdown, we provided support with rations, pensions, scholarships, Anganwadi Centres etc. Even Free kitchens were started across the State. Vulnerable sections like Street Vendors were provided with financial support.
5. We were the first State to set up large scale dedicated Covid Hospitals across the State. We had partnered with the leading Private hospitals to ensure that the Covid Hospitals were set up across the State. Many of these facilities were provided in record time period. These hospitals along with Covid Care Centres and Temporary Medical Camps provided health care to thousands of patients within a short period of time. These hospitals and ambulance services ensured that there was no panic in the State in spite of the rapidly rising numbers during August-September 2020 period.
6. We managed in an efficient and sensitive manner the return of lakhs of migrant Odias, who wanted to come back to their homes in these times of crisis. Probably we were the only State with such a huge number of quarantine centers till the village level. The Sarpanchs, PRI members, Mission Shakti groups, field level workers like ASHA workers have played a very crucial role in the successful management of this Covid crisis across the State.
7. We also had to face the threat of a Super Cyclone Amphan during this period. However, with the cooperation and support of people we were able to overcome every challenge.
8. The hall mark of our Covid management has been that from testing to treatment, it was free for all. This helped in early detection, isolation and treatment of the Covid positive cases. This is the primary reason for the low mortality rate in the State compared to other States. The Community involvement from the beginning has also contributed significantly in the awareness campaigns and local level Covid management. Odisha has been praised as a model even by WHO and other reputed institutions for effectively tackling the pandemic.
9. From a situation of uncertainty and social stigma, we have reached a stage of vaccination and return to normal daily life. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the PRI members, Mission Shakti groups administration, health staff, Police, etc. for their relentless work over a long period. We should always remember the sacrifice of many Covid warriors who have lost their lives in fighting this virus. Our Government will continue to support the families of these warriors. We still have a long way to go before declaring the end of this war. With spiking of covid cases in Maharastra and other parts of the country, I appeal to the people to strictly follow wearing of masks, social distancing and other covid guidelines.
10. Our Government has always been working with the motto that “Every life is precious”. We have been investing a lot in the health care development. Large Health sector projects are under progress like Medical College, District Hospitals etc. We are proposing to spend Rs 3500 crores on SCB Medical College and Hospital to enable it to emerge as a leading institution in the country. We hope that with this level of health infrastructure and the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, the people of the state will be accessing quality health care without any worry of financial costs.
11. Another immediate challenge was to ensure that State economy recovered from the impact of this pandemic. I am happy to share that we have been able to rebound and our revenues have increased by 7.3% compared to the corresponding period last year. We are in a much better fiscal position compared to many states in the country.
12. We have provided special financial support to the MSME sector to help them in tiding over this crisis period. There was a continuous engagement with the industry to ensure that their production and logistics are not affected by the Lockdown.
13. In spite of the pandemic, Odisha has emerged as leading investment destination with over Rs 1.2 lakh crores investment in the last one year. We are also recognized as a Top Performer in the Start up ranking. We will be building further on these achievements in the coming years.
14. Heritage conservation and development has been a top priority for the Government. We have taken up large scale development projects with the cooperation of the people in Puri, Ekamra Kshetra, Maa Samaleswari Temple, Harishankar Temple, Nrusinghanath Temple, Konark, Tara Tarini etc. Odisha is a land of great heritage and we all need to work together to develop and promote this culture across the World. With better facilities and amenities, there will be huge flow of pilgrims and visitors from across the globe. Therefore, we have even proposed for an International Airport at Puri. All these developments will help in spreading Odia culture and supporting our economy in future.
15. We have been able to attract tourists to our eco retreat projects in various parts of the State and this has helped in restarting the tourism sector. The Blue Flag beach in Puri has proved that our beaches and tourism infrastructure can match international standards.
16. Piped Water supply in both urban and rural areas has been a major focus of our Government. We have taken up 27 Mega Piped Water supply projects at a cost of more than Rs 7,200 crores. Bhubaneswar has become the first major city in the country to achieve 100% water supply to houses.
17. Deep Bore well scheme and Parvati Giri Mega Lift Irrigation programme brought a major transformation in irrigation scenario in the State. We are also investing Rs 11,700 crores over next 4-5 years for water conservation and improvement of water efficiency.
18. Our farmer-centric schemes like KALIA, BALARAM have been pioneer in the country. Odisha Millet Mission has been recommended as a best model by NITI Ayog. In the fisheries sector, Odisha has been awarded as the “Best Marine State”. We will continue to focus on sustainable agriculture and support to the farmers.
19. We have been taking active steps towards transformation of the all government departments and services through the principles of 5T and Mo Sarkar. In spite of Covid related restrictions and constraints, our government has been able to launch various online services and transformative initiatives across the departments. People are able to feel the difference in the quality and efficiency of service delivery as reflected in the Mo Sarkar feedback.
20. We are firmly and determinedly on a path to New and Empowered Odisha which will satisfy the aspirations of the people and provide them opportunities to dream big and realise their potential.
Bande Utkala Janani.