Address by Shri. PRAKASH MEHROTRA Governor of Meghalaya
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly
12th January, 1983
MR. SPEAKER AND HON'BLE MEMBERS
I am glad to have this opportunity of meeting and addressing you again. At the outset, may I wish you all a very happy and prosperous NEW YEAR. I am sure I am voicing the sentiments of all of you when I express my hope that 1983 will see Meghalaya and the Country as a whole marching towards greater achievements in all spheres. The country today looks to the future with great confidence and what has been aptly described as the Asiad spirit permeates our national life.
Today I do not wish to make any policy statement or highlight the activities of the Government. I shall again have an opportunity of addressing the Assembly on its reconstitution after the elections and it would be appropriate to spell out the policies of the State Government on that occasion.
The present House was constituted in March, 1978 and this Session will be its last. During this period there were 17 sessions. May I congratulate the Hon'ble Members for their effective contribution in maintaining the prestige and dignity of the House and for setting up a very high standard of debate. The Meghalaya Assembly has been rightly hailed as a model Legislature in the whole country. I am certain that the best traditions of parliamentary practice will continue to be upheld by our Legislature.
The State is going to the polls soon and the people will once again exercise their democratic right of franchise to elect their representatives. Elections in Meghalaya have all along been free and fair and I am confident that the ensuing elections will be held in the same spirit.
Address by Shri. PRAKASH MEHROTRA Governor of Meghalaya
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly
11th March, 1983
MR. SPEAKER AND HON'BLE MEMBERS,
I have great pleasure in welcoming you to this first session of the Legislative Assembly after the recent general elections. I congratulate you all on your election to the Assembly and I am confident that your contribution to the development of the State and the welfare of the people will be fruitful and rewarding.
2. It it a happy augury that the general elections to the State Assembly have been conducted and completed in a free, fair and peaceful manner. For the first time the system of photographed identity card was introduced on an experimental manner in some selected constituencies.
3. As you are all aware, the State Parties have come together to form a United Parliamentary Party to take over the reins of the Government under the leadership of Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh and Shri. H.S. Lyngdoh. The assumption of office by the new Ministry has generated new hope among the general public of the State.
4. The main objective of the Government will be to provide a good administration in the State that will render effective service to the people and raise their standard of living. Special care and attention will be paid to the tribal people who form the weaker section of our country. With this objective in view the Government will take effective steps to improve their economic condition rapidly and to protect their lands, their identities, cultures, languages, trades and professions. While stressing the need to develop and raise the level of the tribal people the Government will also keep in mind that all other sections of the people in the State get just and fair treatment. Goodwill and co-operation of everyone is necessary if the desired goal is to be achieved.
5. The Government will take appropriate and effective steps to maintain the basic population structure in the State and to prevent exploitation of the tribal communities.
6. The Government are happy to observe that in keeping with the tradition of amity and goodwill among the various sections of the population of the State, the overall law and order has been maintained satisfactorily. The Government are determined to maintain harmonious relation among all sections of the people.
7. The situation on the border with Bangladesh will be kept under constant and strict watch to prevent infiltration of foreign nationals into the State.
8. The State Government will continue to make all efforts for expeditious settlement with the Government of Assam in respect of the areas of difference on the boundaries between the two sister States through friendly discussions and negotiations.
9. The Government are deeply concerned with the situation prevailing in our neighbouring State of Assam. The Government appeal to all sections of the people to restore peace and harmony which are necessary for arriving at an acceptable solution regarding their outstanding problems. Peace and normalcy in the State of Assam will be for the interest of the people of Assam and the people of the entire North-Eastern Region of India.
10. The Hon'ble Members are aware that the President of India has constituted the Eighth Finance Commission. The Government will place its requirement before the Commission and expect a sympathetic and fair deal from it considering the position of Meghalaya which is a backward State predominantly inhabited by tribals having special problems of their own.
11. The Planning Commission has fixed the State plan for the year 1983-84 at Rs.56.32 crores. The State Government will take all possible steps to ensure that the plan funds are properly utilised for the benefit of the people.
12. The Government are concerned with the problem of unemployment, particularly among the educated youth in the State. Effective steps will be taken to create opportunities of employment in various disciplines. Wherever necessary self help schemes in the form of vocational guidance, training in craftsmanship and various trades will be imparted so that young people are encouraged to take up different kinds of occupation on their own.
13. The State Government will formulate schemes and programmes relating to agricultural, industrial and rural development of the State so as to bring about an all-round development. Effective steps will also be taken to remove congestion in the urban areas of the State. Programmes will be taken up for rendering better civic amenities to the people.
14. The Government will give utmost importance to the improvement in agricultural production so as to ensure achievement of the objective of self sufficiency. The Government will take effective measures for development of horticulture and other cash crops through better incentives for the cultivators. Steps will also be taken to ensure that financial institutions play their expected role in extending credit in the State for agricultural and other purposes.
15. Livestock and poultry farming play an important role in the socio-economic life of the people more particularly in the rural areas. The Government will help people to take up livestock and poultry farming activities.
16. In this State development of forests is of utmost importance in maintaining the environment and preventing soil erosion apart from meeting the economic, industrial and social needs. Steps will be taken to develop forestry both in the reserved forests as also forests under the District Councils in a scientific manner to prevent rapid depletion of forests. The State Government are also committed to protect wildlife in line with the national policy. The programme for control of shifting cultivation or jhum will be reviewed with a view to removing its shortcomings and making it more effective.
17. Communication plays a vital role for the development of the State. Due emphasis will continue to be given for road development programmes. In view of the disturbed conditions in Assam the Government are taking up with the Government of India the imperative need for immediate introduction of daily direct air service between Shillong and Calcutta.
18. The State Government will take effective steps to quicken the pace of growth of small and cottage industries, particularly in the rural areas. Setting up of medium and large scale industries will be based on the consideration that they will be for the benefit of the people and in the best interests of the State. Government will encourage sericulture and handloom weaving which are two important cottage industries of the State that play a vital role in the socio-economic life of the people in the rural sector.
19. The national programme of 'Health for all by 2000 AD' is a challenging task and the Government with the assistance from the Central Government are committed to put every effort to achieve the goal. Primary Health Centres and Sub-Centres are being set up to cover every population group of 20,000 and 3,000 respectively in various places and more particularly in the rural areas.
We are happy that the Government of India have decided to set up a Regional Institute of Medical Science at Shillong.
20. The State Government will give due consideration for improvement of education at all levels and draw up schemes so as to make education more useful and purposeful. Schemes will also be formulated for the advancement of the youth in all spheres including sports, games, physical education and the like.
The State Government would like to play a more active role in the affairs of the North-Eastern Hill University and for this purpose the matter will be taken up with the appropriate authorities.
21. The State Government will ensure all possible measures which will lead to an integrated and healthy development of the economy of the border people so as to make them economically self-reliant by creating better avenues for gainful employment and removing the difficulties in marketing their produce.
22. The immense potential for development of tourism in the State is yet to be realised in a meaningful manner. The State Government will continue to develop the tourist spots in the State.
23. The Government will take up expanded programme for drinking water supply, specially in the rural areas. The work on the schemes already started will be expedited and new schemes to cover more areas will also be taken up.
24. The legal aid scheme which was introduced recently is still in its infancy and a lot more has to be done to achieve the purpose. Government have already taken up with the Centre for more funds to implement the scheme.
Government have realised the need to have a separate Bench of the High Court located at Shillong. The matter will be further pursued with the Central Government so that such a Bench is set up immediately to avoid hardship to the litigant public.
25. The State Government attach utmost importance to the functioning of the District Councils. The Government will try to work together with the District Councils for the good of the people. As the Hon'ble Members are aware a Commission under paragraph 14 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India to enquire into and report on the administration of the autonomous districts in the State has been set up with a view to improving the administration of the District Councils.
26. The Government would like to extend necessary benefits to their employees to the extent possible. So far, seven installments of dearness allowance have been sanctioned to the State Government employees and pensioners on the basis of the formula recommended by the last Pay Commission.
The Government will review the working of the Assam and Meghalaya Joint Cadre of the All India Services.
27. The rise in the price of essential commodities is a matter of concern to the Government. All efforts will be taken so that commodities are made available to the people at reasonable prices and towards that end the public distribution system will be strengthened.
28. The working of Public Sector Undertakings in the State will be reviewed. Unproductive expenditure will be curtailed and efficiency toned up.
Co-operative movement is vital for the economic development of the people, more particularly the weaker sections, and effective steps will be taken to intensify it.
29. The Government will pursue with the Government of India to expedite passing of the Bill amending the Constitution for reservation of seats in Parliament and the State Legislature for members of the Scheduled Tribes of Meghalaya as unanimously resolved by the earlier House.
30. I have briefly outlined some of the main items of the policies and programmes which the new Government are committed to adopt and implement for the development of the State. I am confident that you, as elected representatives of the State, will extend necessary help and co-operation to the Government to enable it to discharge its responsibilities.
I wish you all success in your deliberations.