Ladies and Gentlemen,
When I took over as Chief Minister in 2000, the state was going through a severe crisis after the 1999 Super Cyclone. The finances of the state were in a mess and there was no money to pay even salaries. The development activities had come to a complete halt. In those days, Odisha used to be in news for all the wrong reasons like hunger, poverty, disasters.
In the last two decades of our government in Odisha, the State has come out of the crisis situation and has been making rapid strides in development and emerged as a role model in many fields.
It was not an easy journey. We had to overcome many challenges including a strong legacy of political corruption and administrative lethargy in the state. Large parts of the state face geographical and social-economic hurdles.
But with a single-minded focus to fulfil the aspirations of the people of Odisha, we have been working with grit and determination. The people of Odisha appreciate our good governance and reposed their faith in our party for five successive terms.
Our model of governance is to provide transformational governance with the aim to build a new Odisha. The principles of our Governance are best explained in the 5Ts – Transparency, Technology, Team Work, Time and Transformation.
Transparency in Governance is the most important aspect of our government. We follow a zero-tolerance approach towards corruption and have been taking exemplary action against such government servants. We strive towards people-centric governance through transparency in the decision-making and optimal utilisation of the public resources towards the development of the state.
We leverage latest technology to improve the effectiveness of the governance systems and delivery of public services. For example, the secretariat is completely made online. Most of the public services are now delivered online. Smart classrooms are built under the high school transformation and the classes are taken online to improve the quality of education. A model scheme for farmer empowerment like Kalia could be launched and executed within a short time, thanks to technology.
Governance cannot take giant leaps unless there is team work. All parts of the government have to be aligned towards a common goal of transforming the state. Therefore, we follow the “Whole of Government” approach. Especially during the crisis situations, this is very effective. Whether it is cyclone management or the Covid management, the entire government machinery is involved in tackling the situation.
Similarly, all segments of the society also have to be made a part of this process. We strongly believe in an inclusive governance, which stands for the most disadvantaged people. Therefore, we have programs for women empowerment like Mission Shakti. More than 70% of our Zilla Parishad Presidents are women. We ensured that women get more than their fair share in the Governance structures and become important members of our team for new Odisha.
Another example is our partnerships in Sports. We have built partnerships with Sports federations, corporates and Sports persons. Together, we established high performance centers and organized national and international tournaments. Due to such partnerships, we could help restore the glory of Indian Hockey.
We want to increase the pace of development and therefore, time is very important for our government. We no longer believe in incremental development. The people of the state want transformation to happen and therefore all our efforts are directed towards achieving that goal.
A lot has already been achieved in the last two decades. From a situation of abject poverty and hunger, we are now a leading state in paddy production. We are on a fast track of industrial development. We are top in mining and mineral based industries like Steel, Aluminum etc. Odisha has been recognized in many fields such as skill development, health initiatives like Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, urban projects like Jaga Mission, Drink from Tap, high school transformation, fiscal management, food security, mega drinking water projects, road connectivity like Biju Expressway, etc.
In spite of the Covid pandemic in last two years, Odisha is among the fastest growing states in the country. We are making huge investment across all sectors including large irrigation projects, infrastructure development, industrial hubs, health institutions, educational initiatives, etc.
In the next two years, there will be visible transformational changes across Odisha. We are confident that this will be a giant leap forward in the development history of the state and a new Transformed Odisha will emerge as a leading state in the country.