Governor Address - 2003
ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, THE GOVERNOR OF MANIPUR, SHRI VED PRAKASH MARWAH, TO THE MANIPUR LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY ON 11-03-2003
Hon'ble Speaker and distinguished Members of the House
I have great pleasure in welcoming you to the 5th Session of the Manipur Legislative Assembly.
2.1. During the preceding five decades, Manipur has made considerable Socio-economic progress. The state has done particularly well in the spheres of Sports, Art & Culture and Education, which has been widely recognised. Pace of development of infrastructure has, however, been slow, which is one of the important factors responsible for slow economic growth. The economy continues to be predominantly agrarian even now due to lack of industrialisation and non-development of the tertiary sector. Inadequate employment opportunities in the organised sectors, both public and private, has contributed towards the acute problem of unemployment for the educated youth. This is the primary reason behind continuing insurgency and other social evils. The future belongs to the youth, and, it will be the endeavour of my government to tackle the problems presently confronting the youth on highest priority.
2.2. It is the responsibility of the government to create conditions congenial for the socio-economic development of the state. Unfortunately, the North Eastern Region as a whole, and Manipur in particular, continues to be affected by violence perpetrated by various insurgent organisations operating in the region. Many of these insurgent organisations have their bases in the neighbouring countries adjoining India . The efforts made by the law enforcement agencies to curb the activities of the cadres owing allegiance to such organisations have proved inadequate. One of the important reasons inhibiting the efforts of these agencies has been and continues to be the porosity of the International borders. The strength of the State Police is inadequate to effectively curb the activities of the insurgents necessitating deployment of the central security forces in the State. My Government has repeatedly requested the Government of India to augment the strength of the central forces to assist the state government in maintaining peace and tranquillity in the State. However, due to commitments in other parts of the country, the Government of India has not found it feasible to do so, till now. The results of coordinated counter insurgency operations launched by the State Police and the other security forces during 2002 have, however, been encouraging. As a result, 67 insurgents were killed, 869 were arrested and a large quantity of arms and ammunition were recovered from them.
2.3. Despite the constraint of limited availability of resources, my Government has taken various steps to augment the strength of the State Police as also to improve its capabilities. Hon'ble Members may, perhaps, be aware that the Government of India had approved raising of a new India Reserve Battalion in 2001. This battalion has been raised, trained and is now ready for deployment. In addition, a new India Reserve Battalion, namely 4th IRB has been approved by the Government of India in 2002. My Government has initiated the process for making recruitment to various posts for raising the battalion. The State Police is also being equipped with better arms, ammunition, vehicles, communication equipments and protective gear etc. with the financial assistance from the Government of India under its modernisation schemes. Side by side, measures have been initiated to encourage the insurgents to eschew the path of violence and to join the mainstream of life. Towards this end, my Government has adopted a surrender cum rehabilitation policy formulated by the Government of India. As a result, 149 insurgents have surrendered, out of which 20 have been rehabilitated and the remaining are to be rehabilitated in the near future.
2.4. With a view to bring about peace in the North Eastern Region, the Government of India initiated a dialogue with the leadership of the NSCN(IM). My Government has been watching the progress of these peace talks in the context of its likely implications on the territorial integrity of Manipur. My Government has made it clear that the territorial integrity of Manipur is inviolable and has urged the Union Government to suitably amend the constitution to protect it. I would like to assure this august house that my Government will take all possible measures within its means to protect the territorial integrity of Manipur. Hon'ble Members of this house would agree with me that in a democratic set up dialogue is the preferred method for redressal of real or perceived grievances and there is no place for violence. As such, my Government has also urged the Union Government to initiate dialogue with various insurgent groups operating in Manipur and neighbouring states to find a permanent solution to the perennial insurgency problem.
3. Hon'ble Members would, perhaps, be aware that Manipur has been facing a very serious problem of fiscal imbalance for the last 2/3 years. This has resulted in frequent disruption of financial transactions with its attendant adverse effect on development. The total income of the state from all sources, including devolution of funds from the Central Government, is inadequate to meet the expenditure, creating a gap between the income and the expenditure. To correct this imbalance, my Government has initiated several measures in the recent past. These, inter-alia, include closure of nine loss-making Public Sector Undertakings, reducing the strength of government employees by approximately 14,000 in a phased manner, freezing of DA to the government employees, ban on recruitment against direct recruitment vacancies etc. On the other hand, my Government has also initiated measures to mobilise additional resources. These, interalia, include raising, the rates of power and water tariff, etc. Concerted efforts to improve collection of taxes and duties have also been made. Despite these important measures initiated by my Government, I would hasten to add that the fiscal situation of the state is not likely to improve in the short run, and it will take considerable time before the financial health of the state gets restored. The state had an opening deficit of Rs.557.68 crores in April, 2002. My Government was successful in persuading the Ministry of Finance, Government of India to release financial assistance of Rs. 371 crores in the current year to, partially, offset the opening deficit. The continuing fiscal imbalance, however, underlines the need for austerity and prudence in government's spending, to which my Government is sensitive and sincere.
4.1. It will be the endeavour of my Government to provide clean, transparent and efficient administration to the people of Manipur. Good governance is vital for achieving the goal of rapid socio-economic development and implementation of welfare schemes. My Government is collaborating with the World Bank for initiating a project for capacity building of the state administrative machinery.
4.2. My Government has also taken the initiative for preparation of a Human Development Report for Manipur. The government has signed an MOU with the UNDP and the Planning Commission in the month of February, 2003 for the purpose. This report will be an important document to guide and channelise the efforts of the state government in imparting requisite skills to the youth for gainful employment.
4.3. I would also like to inform this august House that my Government is collaborating with the Planning Commission in the preparation of a State Development Report to channelise public investment in the desired direction for achieving rapid socio-economic development of the state. This again will be an important document to guide the process of development for achieving optimum results with the given level of investments.
5. Now, I would like to highlight some of the important measures being taken
by my Government in various sectors of development for the information of this august House.
6.1. The agriculture sector occupies the most important place in the economy of the state. Due to unfavourable monsoon, this sector suffered a setback as only limited area could be brought under paddy cultivation in the pre-kharif season of 2002. The incessant rains leading to heavy floods in August, 2002 caused substantial damage to the crop. However, the production of various vegetables under Technology Mission, during the year, has been sizeable. Similarly, the oil seed production is estimated to be over 40% as compared to the yield of the previous year. My Government is planning to tap growth potential of horticulture to accelerate the growth rate of agro-business which can greatly help in creating additional employment in the rural areas as also to improve the living standard of the farmers and their families.
6.2 It will be the endeavour of my Government to increase production of meat, egg, milk, etc. by introducing improved variety of livestock and birds by imparting training to the farmers. The cattle cross breeding programme is being expanded in the hill districts by inducting artificial insemination works at the existing hospitals, dispensaries and Aid centres with a view to boosting the production of milk. With the completion of this expansion programme by the end of the next year, the entire cattle population of the state will be covered under the cattle cross breeding programme. To increase egg production, the Central Poultry Farm at Mantripukhri and Broiler Production Farm at Porompat would be strengthened during the coming year.
7. Manipur is among the few states in the country which have a rich forest cover. The Loktak Lake is a precious gift of nature to the people of Manipur. It will be the endeavour of my Government to protect, preserve and enrich this precious heritage. With a view to protect the forests, my Government has set up nine Forest Development Agencies (FDAs) in the state to implement various afforestation schemes. For the preservation, protection and development of the Loktak Lake , a comprehensive Project Report is being prepared by an expert consultant. My Government was successful in persuading the North Eastern Council to earmark a provision of Rs. 36 crores in the 10th Plan of the Council for execution of works for preservation and protection of the Loktak Lake . My Government will also explore the possibility of seeking funds from the International Funding Agencies to implement the project for preservation and protection of the Loktak Lake , if required.
8.1. The Plan size of the State for the current year has been enhanced to Rs. 550 crores from Rs. 520 crores during the last year. Of the approved Outlay of Rs. 550 crores, Economic Services account for 68% and the Social Services account for 30%. The highest emphasis is being given on development of infrastructure, particularly Economic Infrastructure.
8.2. With a view to assist the unemployed youth, my Government has initiated a new Employment Scheme under the State Plan, in addition to various other Central Schemes for employment generation. This Scheme is proposed to be implemented in collaboration with the Commercial and other Banks, who will provide 50% of the scheme cost as loan. The beneficiary will be required to provide only 15% of the cost and the balance 35% will be provided by the government as subsidy. Under the Scheme, 3,000 unemployed youth would be benefited, who would be selected at the district level by Committees.
8.3. During the year, work on restoration of Manipur Legislative Assembly building, restoration of CM Secretariat Building Complex and restoration of Speaker's Bungalow & Annexe have been completed.
8.4. With a view to meet the special needs of the people living in remote and inaccessible areas situated near the border and to achieve balanced development of the region, BADPs are being implemented. An amount of Rs. 4.16 crores has been approved as Special Central Assistance for execution of approved schemes on a 100% grant basis. The schemes are designed to take care of special problems faced by the people living in the border areas falling within the development blocks of Churachandpur, Chandel and Ukhrul districts. Construction of marketing sheds at Sajik Tampak and Behiang, bus sheds at Tolloi, approach road to New Meitei village, Moreh, play-ground at Khonkhang village in the Chandel District, inter-village road to Kongkan Thana village in the Ukhrul District, are some of the schemes completed during the year. From the NEC Plan fund of Rs. 54.71 crores for the year 2002-03, works on several projects/schemes are in progress, namely, Regional Jiri Irrigation Project, institute building and residential complex of Institute of Co-operative Management at Imphal, Tamei-Tenning road, maintenance of completed NEC roads, etc.
9. The Revenue Department collected a sum of Rs. 64.08 lakhs (Rupees sixty four lakhs and eight thousand) as Land Revenue during the period from January 2002 to December 2002 as ,against the target of Rs. 56.00 lakhs (Rupees fifty six lakhs). A sum of Rs. 162.54 lakhs (Rupees one hundred sixty two lakhs and fifty four thousand) was collected as the Stamp and Registration Fees during the said period. A new office of the SDO at Lilong was inaugurated in February, 2003 to bring the administration closer to public.
10.1 My Government has also initiated measures to attract private investment to Manipur. A team led by the Chief Minister participated in the North East Business Submit held on 19th and 20th July, 2002 at Mumbai. A film and a power point presentation highlighting investment potential of the State were shown. A web site "investinmanipur.nic" was launched to facilitate availability of data and information for promotion of investment in the State. Consequent to the Summit M/S Cybermate Infotek Ltd., Hyderabad has proposed to set up a 200 seat call centre in the State. NEDFI, Guwahati has also proposed to set up an IT Park at Imphal. Some renowned export houses have also shown interest in procuring various agro and food products from Manipur. These initiatives will be followed up by my Government to attract private investment to the State and to facilitate industrialization.
10.2. Under the Prime Minister's Rozgar Yojana, the target of 1300 beneficiaries for the year 2002-2003 is being achieved. During May-June 2002, 289 PMRY beneficiaries of 2001-02 were trained to enable them to set up their units. A 10-day training on plastic moulding was organized at CIPET, Imphal in December 2002. Three participants were sponsored to attend a programme on cane and bamboo at lIE, Guwahati. The Department of Commerce & Industries, in association with NSIC, conducted a 8 weeks general Executive Development Programme commencing from 17 December 2002 .
10.3. Under the Handloom Development Programme, 64 projects were implemented covering 2,647 weavers under the Deen Dayal Hathkaraga Protsahan Yojana and 3,268 weavers benefited under the Work shed subsidy.
11.1. Development of infrastructure, more importantly, strengthening the communication network by way of providing inter-district, intra-district and inter-State road network besides construction of bridges is the key to socio-economic development. Hon'ble Members are aware that NH-39 and NH-53 are the two lifelines of Manipur. Every effort, therefore, is being made by my Government to maintain these highways. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, has already accepted the proposal for four-Ianing the Imphal- Koirengei sector of NH-39 and double-Ianing of NH-53 during the 10th Plan period.
11.1.1. Under the Prime Minister's Gramin Sadak Yojna (PMGSY), 241 villages were interconnected by March, 2002 and another 42 inter-village roads which were started during the IXth Plan period are nearing completion. The remaining villages are proposed to be connected in a phased manner. Under the new PMGSY, 33 packages have been prepared for developing other District roads and inter-village roads, out of which tenders have been finalised for 27 packages. Under the Central Road Fund of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, several roads, namely Mayang Imphal-Sugnu-Chakpikarong road; Churachandpur-Singhat road; Imphal-Yairipok road; Sagolmang-Saikul road, besides bridges at Irilbung, Yairipok, Thumbuthong and Heirangoithong have been sanctioned and works are in progress.
11.1.2. My Government has already handed over some inter-district roads, namely, Bishnupur-Nungba road, Tamenglong-Khongsang road, Tamenglong- Tadubi road to the Border Roads Organisations for execution of works under the NEC funding. Under the Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR), the construction of Senapati-Phaibung road, and Mahadev-Tolloi-Phutzero road has also been entrusted to the Border Roads Organisation. Pallel-Chandel, Tadubi-Tungjoi-Laii, Churachandpur-Sugnu roads, etc. are being taken up for completion by PWD.
11.2. Adequate power generation and effective distribution is the driving force behind any economy. Realising this importance, my Government is giving greater emphasis on generation and distribution of power within the State to meet its total requirements. Hon'ble Members are aware that in October, 2002, the Heavy Fuel Based Power Project of 36 Megawatt capacity at Leimakhong was commissioned and dedicated to the people of Manipur by His Excellency, the President of India. My Government is making all possible efforts to expedite implementation of the Loktak Down Stream Hydro-Electric Project of 90 Megawatt capacity and Tipaimukh Hydro Electric Project of 1,500 Megawatt capacity, besides harnessing the available hydroelectric potential by taking up various small and medium size projects. The Department of North East Region Development, Government of India, has also approved the new schemes of setting up of 132/133 KV, Power Sub-Station at Rengpang and 33/ 11 KV Sub-Stations at Noney, Tousem, Tamei, Maram and Singhat to be financed from the Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources(NLCPR) recently. These works are being started now.
11:3. My Government has completed the irrigation and water supply component of Singda Project and the barrage component of Thoubal Project at Keithelmanbi, with which irrigation potential of 28,500 hectares has been created, besides supply of 4 million gallons of raw water per day for drinking purposes. 4(four) major and medium irrigation projects, namely, Thoubal Project, Khuga Project, Dolaithabi Project and Singda Project are likely to be completed during the 10th plan period. When these major and medium irrigation Projects get completed, it would create additional irrigation potential of 51,690 hectares, provide 15.00 million gallon per day of drinking water and 10 Megawatt of power.
12.1. My Government is committed to providing total health care to the people in Manipur. Special measures are being taken up for revitalising the primary health care centres in the rural areas. Significant results have been achieved in the control of leprosy and malaria in the state. The District Mental Health Programme which was launched in the year 2000 has entered the second phase. The existing health care infrastructure is being augmented and new infrastructure is being created. Some of the significant achievements' In this regard are as follows:
a) A new GPO Block, at District Hospital, Churachandpur was commissioned in May, 2002.
b) New buildings for PHCs at Oinam hills and Chingai were constructed and inaugurated in November, 2002. Construction of new buildings of CHC, Kamjong and PHSC, Jessami were also completed and inaugurated on 12th February, 2003.
c) Construction of OPO Block of P.H.C., Samurou, Institutional building of PHC, Lamlai lnstitutional building and-quarters of PHC Motbung was completed during the year.
d) A gas liquid chromatography machine has been installed at the Food Testing Laboratory at CHC, Moreh.
e) Establishment of two Regional Diagnostic Centres, one at District Hospital, Churachandpur and another at District Hospital, Thoubal has been approved.
f) A 50 bedded Mental Hospital is proposed to be established at Imphal.
g) Construction of Maternity and Children's Hospital at Khwairamband Bazar is likely to be taken up with the financial assistance from Japan.
12.1.1. My Government is also implementing various family welfare schemes to improve the health of mothers, infants and young children to stabilize the population of the state in tune with the National Population Control Policy. Community based services and integrated services for the mothers and children under Reproductive and Child Health programme including immunization, are being taken up.
12.1.2. As I have mentioned earlier, the prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the State is a cause of serious concern. As many as 14,837 HIV positive cases have already been detected in Manipur. Under the AIDS Control Programme, which is being implemented by the Manipur State AIDS Control Society, cent percent screening has been introduced in the three Blood Banks namely RIMS Hospital, JN Hospital and District Hospital, Churachandpur. The Society has also set up 28 Targeted Intervention Projects in the state. Aids education curriculum has been introduced in the schools from classes IV to X. A project to carry out the feasibility study of transmission of HIV from mother to child has been started in all the districts of Manipur. It is hoped that with these measures and with the cooperation of the people, it will be possible to control the menace of AIDS in the State.
12.2. My Government is acutely conscious of the need for providing adequate facilities for imparting quality education to the students. With this objective in view, my Government has taken several steps in this direction. Some of the important measures taken by my Government are as follows:
a) The infrastructure facilities in the Manipur University and its affiliated colleges will be improved with the financial assistance from the state government, Ministry of Human Resources Development and the Department of Development of North Eastern Region.
b) A Government College of Technology will be set up at Takyelpat to meet the growing requirement of trained manpower. The available existing infrastructure will be upgraded for the purpose.
c) The Central Scheme of Sarva Sikshya Abhiyan (SSA) which aims at universalisation of elementary education in a mission mode is being implemented with utmost sincerity. For the purpose, a state level Implementation Committee headed by the Chief Minister has already been set up and registered as a Society under the Manipur Societies Registration Act, 1988. The involvement of education experts and the parents in the implementation of the scheme will be ensured.
d) The Adult Education Programme will be implemented in the six districts namely, Imphal West, Imphal East, Thoubal, Bishnupur, Ukhrul and Churachandpur under CEP with the financial assistance from the Government of India. Further, total literacy campaign in three districts namely, Tamenglong, Senapati and Chandel will also be implemented.
e) Such schemes like population education control, vocational guidance, special orientation programme for teachers and District Institute for Education & Training (DIET) are being implemented through the State Council for Education & Training. In addition to the existing five DIETs, three more DIETs at Chandel, Tamenglong and Ukhrul have already been opened.
12.3. My Government is conscious of the need for improvement of the urban infrastructure in the state. Towards this end, a number of projects are being contemplated for implementation. These, inter-alia, include the following:
a) Construction of a Fly-over bridge to decongest the traffic on the BT Road and Maharani bridge, Imphal.
b) Construction of storm water drain.
c) Construction of pay & use toilets in Municipal and Nagar Panchayat areas in the state.
d) A project for disposal of solid waste.
12.3.1. The construction of multi-storied market complex at New Market, Luxmi Bazar and Ima Keithel is being envisaged at an approximate cost of Rs. 45 crores so as to accommodate the existing women vendors as also to provide accommodation for the additional vendors. These complexes will have proper parking facilities and other amenities for the vendors as also the customers.
12.4. My Government is keen to provide fresh and potable drinking water to the people. With a view to bring additional water to Imphal town and to improve the network for distribution of water equitably, my Government has successfully, completed the Kangchup Water Treatment Plant with French assistance. During the year, my Government has completed the work at Zonal Reservoir at Keishampat, the benefits of which have already been extended to the people residing in the Keishampat and Keishamthong areas, who had been facing acute shortage of water supply. The schemes for augmentation of water supply to the five hill district Headquarters viz., Churachandpur, Ukhrul, Senapati, Chandel and Tamenglong, at the total cost of Rs. 43.54 crores, are proposed to be implemented in the incoming year with the financial assistance from Government of India.
12.5. The Information Technology sector has expanded rapidly in the recent past and is also growing in importance. This has opened a new opportunity for employment. To generate employment in the Information Technology sector, in collaboration with the Central Government, my Government is providing matching share for setting up of one Unit of Software Technology Park of India (STPI) at Imphal. To augment the existing infrastructure, my Government is setting up Manipur Science Centre at an estimated cost of Rs. 2 crores at Takyelpat, on which work is in progress. For Bio-Resources cataloging, preservation, etc., my Government has taken, on a long term lease, the office building of the Department of Science and Technology for establishment of the Institute of Bio-Resources & Sustainable Development (IBSD) through the Department of Bio-Technology, Government of India. Internet connectivity to 31 Community Information Centres (ClCs) for information and communication to the remote locations in every Block of the State have been set up in August, 2002. In addition, a project on Natural Resources Information System (NRIS) has been recently set up at Imphal East and Imphal West Districts with the sponsorship of NE-SAC, Department of Space, Government of India, for preparing Digitized Maps and Data network.
12.6. My Government successfully conducted General Elections to the Panchayati Raj Institutions in the State during August-September, 2002 under the Manipur Panchayati Raj Act, 1994. Altogether 4(four) Zilla Parishads and 164 Gram Panchayats have been constituted at the District and Village levels in the 4(four) valley Districts of the State. With a view to accelerate the democratic decentralization in the State, my Government has already devolved the powers and functions pertaining to the developmental activities, social justice, Public Distributions System, etc. on the Panchayati Raj Institutions in conformity with the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 and Xlth Schedule of the Constitution of India.
12.6.1. The second Manipur State Finance Commission has been constituted in the month of January, 2003 to recommend devolution of funds to these bodies.
12.7. The Department of Rural Development is implementing schemes to improve the living condition of the rural poor, particularly those families who are living below poverty line (BPL). Of the schemes for upliftment of the rural poor, Swaranjayanti Gram SwarojgarYojana (SGSY) is an important one. As such, a special project under this scheme for Mushroom Cultivation in Thoubal District is being taken up. Another project under the same scheme, namely, Livelihood Opportunities and Socio-economic Development of Bamboo and Cane has been started in the Tamenglong District. This project is a joint venture of the Government of India, Government of Manipur, International Network for Bamboo and Rattan and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
12.8. My Government has devised and implemented various schemes for accelerated development of tribals, especially those living below the poverty line. These schemes are supplemental to the schemes implemented by the other line Departments. I am very glad to inform the Hon'ble Members that during the current year, 1070 ST and 255 SC families below the poverty line were given financial assistance under various family welfare oriented schemes. To ameliorate the economic status of SCs/STs, various welfare programmes in the form of financial assistance to patients, Civil Service examination aspirants, publication of text books in tribal dialects, encouragement in sports and cultural activities, etc. are being taken up by my Government. In addition, 16,350 ST students and 184 SC students were awarded Post-Matric scholarship for study within and outside the State, under the 100% Centrally Sponsored Schemes during the year.
12.9. My Government congratulates the young sport persons who have brought glory to the state, both in the 17th Commonwealth Games held at Manchester and the 7th National Games hosted by Andhra Pradesh. Games & Sports is one of the few sectors where our boys and girls have excelled not only at the national level but also at the international level. The prowess of the Manipuri girls was amply demonstrated in the 17th Commonwealth Games held at Manchester by Km. Th. Sanamacha Chanu and Km. N.Kunjarani Devi who secured gold medals in weightlifting events and also by the women hockey players namely Ksh. Tingongleima Devi, Ng. Pakpi Devi and Sangai Chanu who contributed immensely in winning the gold Medal by the Indian team. Yet another girl of the State, namely, M.C. Mary Kom secured gold Medal in the 2nd World Women Boxing championship held at Turkey. At the home turf also, our boys showed that they are second to none by winning the Championship in the 58th L.G. Santosh Trophy at Imphal.
12.9.1 In the recent 7th National Games held at Hyderabad, Manipur sports persons again showed their excellence in games and sports by winning 38 Gold Medals, 24 Silver Medals and 31 Bronze Medals, which is not a mean achievement for a small State like Manipur. A sum of Rs. 43.60 lakhs was distributed to the above Medallists as incentive cash awards at a function on “Shannoroishingi Numit”, on the 25th February, 2003 at the Khuman Lampak Main Stadium. My Government is committed to encourage excellence in games and sports.
12.10 With a view to ensure availability of essential commodities in the remote and far flung areas of the State, which also has maximum concentration of the poor, my Government has re-oriented the PDS Scheme. My Government is committed to ensure adequate availability of the essential commodities to the people, apart from stabilizing prices. Special focus is being given on providing food-grains at subsidized rates under the TPDS Scheme for the below Poverty Line (BPL) families, approximately 1.66 lakhs, in the State. As a social welfare measure, my Government will provide food-grains to the pregnant and lactating women and the adolescent girls, at 6 kgs. per person per month, free of cost, in the Senapati District.
12.10.1 To strengthen the consumer movement and protect the basic rights of the consumer, my Government has already set up State Consumers' Commission and 3 (three) District Fora to cater to the requirements of the 9 (nine) Districts. The buildings have already been constructed from the fund of Rs.1.3 crores provided by Government of India. In addition, my Government is encouraging Consumer Information Centres in each District which will hold consumer awareness camps to disseminate consumer information for enhanced consumer awareness.
12.10.2. To strengthen mobile sale of S.K. oil in the valley districts and also to give jobs to the unemployed youths, Government have appointed 586 Rickshaw Hawkers.
12.10.3. To arrest rising prices in the rural areas, the Government has opened 27 FC.S. Department Retail Outlets outside Imphal Municipality areas.
12.11. My Government is actively encouraging the Co-operative movement in the State. The Societies which will be made economically viable Units will be helped and encouraging. With the financial assistance from the Central Government (under CSS), NCDDC, NABARD, LIC, HUDCO, etc., my Government has already implemented various Schemes through the Co-operative Sector. Further, during 2002-03, under the NCDC Scheme, 3 (three) ICDPs of Imphal West, Imphal East and Ukhrul District have been inaugurated.
12.11.1. I have great pleasure in announcing that in recognition of the excellent services provided to the Co-operative movement by conducting need based training programmes at the Institute of Co-operative Management, Imphal, NEC has sanctioned Rs. 6.8 crores for construction of a full fledged residential and institutional complex, construction of which is in good progress.
12.12. As the Hon'ble members are well aware, Manipur is well known for its rich cultural heritage. To preserve, nurture and, promote the rich cultural heritage, my Government is implementing a number of schemes in fine-arts education, promotion of arts & culture, archaeology services, archives, library services, improvement of museums, etc. Besides, various interaction and exchange cultural programmes are being organised in collaboration with other States of India. I have great pleasure in announcing that my Government is shortly bringing out a comprehensive "Manipur Culture Policy",
12.12.1. My Government recognises that propagation of various cultural activities and rich cultura1 heritage of Manipur in the fields of dance, drama, music, crafts, films, hand loom fabrics, etc. would go a long way in achieving our goal of propagation of "Culture for Peace". I am glad to state that the Department of Arts & Culture had organised a 4-Day programme on the Culture for Peace” at Imphal in April, 20O2. To propagate the goal of “Culture for Peace", my Government has organised the “1st Festival of Manipur at kolkala In January, 2003 in collaboration with Swabhumi and Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre, Kolkata. The festival was a grand success and thousands of people participated in it.
12.12.2. On the infrastructure front, the construction of an Auditorium with 1000 seats capacity along with Artist's Workshop-cum-Dormitory and an Art Gallery is likely to be completed during this year. Further the construction works for improvement of I.N.A. Memorial Complex, Moirang is also likely to be completed soon.
12.13. My Government is conscious of the need for taking up measures for welfare of vulnerable sections of the society. Senior citizens of the State constitute an important segment. My Government has given pension to over 39,000 senior citizens during 2002 under various Schemes. Assistance under the National Benefit Scheme was also extended to 441 widows, whose bread-earners died leaving the families in indigent conditions. With a view to empower the women specially those belonging to economically weaker sections through formation of Self-Help Groups, Swayamsidha has been launched by my Government in 3 (three) Blocks of Imphal East, Churachandpur and Chandel Districts. Supplementary nutrition has been provided to over 93,000 children below 6 years and over 24,000 expectant and nursing mothers during the year.
12.13.1. In order to improve the delivery of services through Anganwadi Centres, job training for Anganwadi workers and orientation training for Anganwadi helpers have been conducted under Udisha Scheme. Construction of Anganwadi building for 660 Centres with financial assistance from Government of India during the current financial year will facilitate delivery of basic services to the beneficiaries. Continuing programme of supplementary nutrition for children below six years has not only contributed towards removal of malnutrition but it has also helped in bringing children to Anganwadi Centres for pre-school education.
12.13.2. Under guidance and in partnership with the State Government, several Non-Government Organizations in the State are rendering services for Social Defence, training and self-employment of women, rehabilitation of disabled persons, adoption and care of children, etc.
12.14. My Government has launched a Seven Point Programme to re-organise the Directorate of Information and Public Relations and District Information Offices by introducing new structural and administrative changes, besides introducing new information technology at all District Information Offices in order to disseminate information relating to developmental works taken up by the Government to all sections of people. Under this programme, District Information Offices have been opened in Imphal East and Imphal West District in November, 2002.
12.15. My Government is implementing various welfare schemes for the Minorities and Other Backward Classes. Two hostels, one at the D.M. College of Commerce, Imphal for boys and another at the ldeal Girls' College, Akampat for girls, are under construction. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India and the State Government are jointly funding this project. In addition, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has sanctioned financial assistance to 3 (three) NGOs working for Other Backward Classes and Minorities.
12.15.1. Under the State Plan, various agriculture, handloom and handicrafts based schemes are being implemented for economic upliftment of Minorities and Other Backward Classes of the State. My Government has earmarked Rs. 74 lakhs for this purpose in the current year for the upliftment of 609 identified beneficiaries. My Government has also decided to establish the State Minorities Commission during the current year. My Government has decided to conduct a detailed survey on the socio-economic status of Meitei Pangal /Muslims of the State for which Rs. 10.15 lakhs has been allocated during the year. To impart vocational training in embroidery, tailoring, T.V. repairing, weaving, dyeing, designing and wool-knitting to members of Other Backward Classes and Minorities, Rs. 10 lakhs has been earmarked in the current year.
12.16. My Government has established Two Fast Track Courts with 100% financial assistance under Eleventh Finance Commission awards for disposal of Sessions cases pending for more than 2 years and important civil cases. Further, Steps have been taken for construction of High Court Complex at the allotted site and also the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal East at Porompat.
12.17. The Transport Department is being modernized by way of introduction of Smart Cards for issue of driving licence, R/C book, permits, etc., purchase of pollution testing equipment and introduction of High Security Registration Plates. Besides, the Transport Department has acquired a 17-Ton Crane and one 1O-Ton Crane with a 2-bedded Matador Ambulance under the National Highway Accident Relief Service Scheme.
13. Hon'ble Speaker and distinguished Members of the House, while addressing the first Session of the new year, I have presented before you, in brief, the highlights of some of the activities undertaken by my Government during the last one year and outlined the policy, perspective and programmes that my Government proposes to implement during the coming year(s). While concluding, I would like to reiterate that my Government is committed not only to the maintenance of peace, social harmony and better fiscal discipline but also to protect the territorial integrity of Manipur. I am confident that my Government will receive unstinted cooperation of all the Hon'ble Members and people of Manipur in its efforts aimed at solving the problems confronting our State and in its rapid socio-economic development.
I now, with all my best wishes, leave you to your deliberations.