MARCH 24, 2008

Mr. Speaker and Hon’ble Members,

  1. I congratulate each and every one of the Hon’ble Members of this House on their election to the Eight Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. I extend a warm welcome to each one of you to this August House. I am confident that the honour and prestige of this House will be uppermost in the mind of every member while discharging their duties and responsibilities as Members. The Meghalaya Legislative Assembly has, through the years, earned a name for itself through the high standard of debate and the sense of decorum and dignity that has characterized its deliberations. I trust that all of you will strive unitedly for an even higher level of performance, and that your deliberations in this House will focus on the upliftment, development and welfare of the State and its people. The Government will endeavour to provide clean and efficient governance keeping the interest of the people uppermost.

  2. We are aware that the goals of higher and an inclusive growth are the corner stones of the 11th Plan. The Planning Commission has projected a Plan size of Rs.9185.00 crore for Meghalaya during the 11th Plan. As against 9 percent overall projected growth rate for the country, the target for Meghalaya has been fixed at 7.3 percent during the Plan period. Meghalaya will however have to accelerate its developmental and economic efforts so that it can grow at a faster rate than envisaged, in order to catch up with the rest of the country. For this, a larger investment in physical, social and economic infrastructure is required, and more central assistance and private investment would have to be garnered. This calls for more focused and well directed investment and employment promotion policies coupled with a better framework of implementation, grass root level participation in plans and programmes and enhanced absorptive capacities across sectors. We have accorded Power, Agriculture, Roads, Tourism, Social Sectors, poverty alleviations and employment generation as our main priorities during the 11th Plan. The State Government will also stress for human development through extensive health care, provision of educational avenues including diversified training for skill development, generation of employment opportunities, adequate attention for women and child welfare, improvement of environment, provision of safe drinking water and sanitation and alleviation of poverty. A rain water harvesting mission has been launched in the State. The intra-and-inter-regional disparity in infrastructure and human development index across districts and communities within the States would be closely analysed and resolved. Funds from Planning Commission, Ministry of DONER, NEC and various Ministries, besides existing Centrally Sponsored, Central Sector Schemes, will have to be leveraged to a greater degree to address our resources limitations, for augmenting the efforts of public services like education, health care, water supply, sanitation, etc. The State has made provision in the Power Policy for additional resource commitments for such sectors, and has also set up an Expert Committee to suggest means for mobilization of additional resources. The State has enunciated its Power Policy during 2007. The Education Policy, Sports Policy, Mining Policy and revised Industrial Policy are at draft stage and are likely to be finalized shortly. Further, various sectoral Master Plans such as in Roads, Tourism, Power, besides, perspective District Integrated Plans under the National Agriculture Development Programme (NADP) and District Block Plans under the Border Areas Development Programme are also envisaged. Government would lay greater stress upon improving inter-sectoral coordination and convergence for effective and speedy delivery of services and ensuring access for rural poor. Monitoring and Evaluation of Plans & Programmes will continue.

  3. Computer hardware and software and other peripherals have been installed in all Treasuries and Sub- Treasuries. Online computerization of all Treasuries and Sub-Treasuries will be made functional within this year, to facilitate monitoring of receipts and expenditure, and the expeditious transmission of Civil Accounts to the Accountant General. The Meghalaya Fourth Pay Commission, constituted to examine the service conditions and structure of emoluments of Government servants, is expected to provide its recommendations within this year.

  4. The Government has been making concerted efforts to increase its own resources through tax and non-tax revenues. Revenue collection of Taxation Department exceeded the Rs.100 crores mark for the first time in the year 2003-04. The revenue collection has since registered an increase of more than 100% over the last three years, with the collection in 2006-07 being Rs.211.65 crores. With the introduction of VAT in 2005-06, the revenue increased to Rs.74.93 crores from Rs.55.04 crores in 2004-05. Liquor was brought under the VAT net in 2005 and the additional resources mobilized was Rs.24 crores. More efforts are needed to augment the State’s own resources in order to support the Plans.

  5. The maintenance of law and order and a peaceful environment is pivotal to the development of the State and its people. It is an accepted fact that there is a direct relationship between peace and development, and it is expected that the stable law and order prevailing within the State will result in enhanced economic activities both in the private and public sector, leading to betterment of all. The Government will take all necessary steps to ensure that peace and stability are maintained in the State, and all sections of the people are enabled to carry out their legitimate economic activities. In the preceding year, successful police operations were conducted against the militant outfits which will be continued. These have been achieved at a high price for the State Police, and the Government and, indeed, society as a whole is indebted to the officers and men who have laid down their lives for the sake of peace and security in the State. The Government will strive to modernize and equip the police force appropriately to enable the force to carry out the tasks entrusted to them. The construction of fencing along the Indo-Bangladesh Border is expected to help in restricting illegal influx of Bangladeshis into the State. The Government is committed to completing the fencing expeditiously, while keeping in mind the genuine concern faced by the people residing in the Border Areas. The Government of India has sanctioned a Border Management Institute, to be located at Baghmara, which will provide training, to police personnel engaged in the task of prevention of infiltration. The Government is also committed to finding a solution to the interstate boundary problem with Assam and will make efforts in this regard.

  6. For a landlocked state like Meghalaya, the key to unlocking its manifold potential lies critically in good road communications. My government will, therefore, attach the highest priority to improving and upgrading the state’s road network. Four laning of Jorabat-Umiam portion under NHAI on Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) cum annuity basis has been approved and will be posed for a competitive bid soon. Similarly, the much awaited Shillong Bye-Pass is also likely to be approved shortly. Major improvement works on NH62 and 51 are also underway and will gain momentum in the coming year. The Government is committed to bringing about all round improvement in the road network. During 2008-09, works in several major road schemes under different funding arrangements, including Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) loans from NABARD , will be implemented in right earnest. Under Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR), over 79 km of road construction will progress in the coming year. Greater thrust would also be given to connecting habitations under PMGSY by taking up more schemes under Phase 5 and 6, and by strengthening the institutional capacity for more effective implementation. In addition, survey, investigation and preparation of Detailed Project Reports in respect of five (5) major roads of inter-state significance, under NEC, would be carried in 2008-09.

  7. The Government is committed to the upgradation and strengthening of the transportation infrastructure in the State, to provide the impetus for economic development. Efforts will be made, in conjunction with the Government of India, to initiate and begin the upgradation of Umroi airport to the capacity to receive Boeing 737 type aircraft for both passenger and cargo traffic, through runway extension, construction of a new terminal building and related facilities. The additional land would be provided by the State Government. The process of upgradation of Baljek airport to handle ATR 50 type aircraft will be expedited. Measures will be taken to bring Meghalaya on the railway map of the country, through initiation of construction activities for the Azara-Byrnihat and Dudhnoi-Depa-Sarangma railway lines.

  8. The power scenario in the State has been engaging the attention of the Government for the last few years, and steps have been initiated to meet the shortfall of power in Meghalaya. The State has an installed capacity of 185 Mega Watts (Mws) which is only around 6% of the hydro potential. Two more generation Schemes are being taken up to augment the power supply in the State, one at New Umtru, Ri Bhoi District and another at Ganol in West Garo Hills District. With the Leshka Project to be commissioned in 2008-09, and the two new .projects in the following year, there will be capacity addition of another 146.5 Mws. Steps have also been initiated to exploit the power potential in the State in both the hydro and thermal sectors to achieve the desired hydro thermal mix of 40:60. This will enable the MeSEB to provide stable and quality power to the people of the State. In order to augment the transmission capacity in the State, implementation of two inter-state transmission lines are in the pipeline. These are the Misa-Byrnihat and the Agia-Nangalbibra Transmission Lines. On completion of these lines, the State can draw additional power to the extent of 300 MW, from the grid. The Government of India’s objective of achieving 100% electrification of villages and households has been pursued by the Meghalaya State Electricity Board under the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana. 61 villages will be electrified during 2007-2008. The detailed project report (DPR) of the Rural Electrification Schemes for Jaintia Hills, Ri Bhoi and East Khasi Hills Districts have earlier been sanctioned by Government of India. Schemes for the remaining Districts of West Khasi Hills, West Garo Hills, East Garo Hills and South Garo Hills have recently been sanctioned and funds are expected to be released soon.

  9. The provisions of safe drinking water in the rural and urban areas of the State is a priority for the Government. The Government is committed to providing potable water to the remaining uncovered rural habitations in the State, including Schools and ICDS centres by the end of 2008-09. In this task, the optimum utilization of resources from the State Plan and Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme (ARWSP) under the Bharat Nirman Programme is of paramount importance. An integral element of the programme will be an emphasis on water quality monitoring, to be carried out throughout the State, with the involvement of local communities, and technical and testing inputs provided by the Government. Under the Urban Water Supply programme, the replacement of pumping machineries of Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme has been completed, thus enhancing the capability to supply 11.3 MGD of water to Shillong city. The Tura Phase-III Water Supply Scheme taken up under NLCPR is nearing completion and is expected to be commissioned by December 2008. NCLPR projects for Jowai, Nongpoh and Mairang are in progress. Especially in the context of water distribution for Shillong and Tura, the concerned department would coordinate their efforts in order to improve the delivery of water supply. Sanitation will also receive the continued attention of the Government, with projects being taken up six districts of the State, focused on households, schools and anganwadi centres.

  10. The Government recognises the importance of the agriculture sector in our State. To bridge the shortfall in foodgrain production, a cluster based approach is being adopted for the provisions of irrigations, improved seeds and technical advisories with support from the Government and also will seek to establish a Seed Certification Agency, and develop Seed Villages to cater to the need of farmers for good quality planting material. A dialogue will be initiated with farmers to establish a demand-based approach to the development of the sector, instead of a top-down methodology. Steps will be taken to address the State’s current shortcomings in the mechanisation of agriculture, and special emphasis will be provided on the induction of power reapers and threshers. The State Government will seek to build on the customary practices of organic cultivation, to cater to the growing awareness and demand for organically produced crops. Organic Certification of key crops will be taken up and training imparted to farmers in nutrient management and practices. Horticulture holds great potential for our farmers. In the current year, one “Horti-Hub” will be established in each district of the State, to provide advisory services, especially in the areas of non-traditional and high-end floriculture and horticulture, plant material, grading and packing facilities, and marketing support. Major area expansion will be carried out for arecanut, rose, strawberry, anthurium, orange, cashew and coloured capsicum. For traditional horticultural and tuber crops especially potato, ginger and turmeric, processing facilities will be provided. The Government recognizes the need, especially in the context of the large-scale area expansion, to ensure that the accompanying infrastructure is put in place. Towards this necessity, a linked network of post-harvest management and processing infrastructure, at an appropriate scale, will be established in the State.

  11. The State Government will take steps to expand the animal husbandry sector in the State, to improve livestock and poultry farms, breeding management and veterinary cover facilities. Priority in effort and allocation will be given to schematic interventions that generate employment amongst farmers and the educated unemployed. New veterinary dispensaries and veterinary aid centres will be established. The existing veterinary hospitals, dispensaries and aid centres will be strengthened. The existing livestock and poultry farms will be strengthened and tasked to provide good quality breeding stock, and farm products such as milk, eggs and meat. New Pig Breeding Base Farms (PBBF) are proposed to be established at two locations, in the West Garo and West Khasi Hills districts respectively. Important centrally supported programme such as the Assistance to States for Control of Animal Diseases (ASCAD) and the Integrated Dairy Development (IDD) programme will continue. The State Government is conscious of the hazards that avian flu poses to the health of society, and will maintain a vigil against the ingress of this disease.

  12. The considerable potential of the State for the development of fisheries is yet to be fully realized, mainly because of inadequacy of fish seed and fish feed. The Government will strive to enlarge the availability of fish seed from the stocking, rearing and nursery facilities at the departmental farms. Fingerlings will be provided at a subsidized rate to fish farmers. Ongoing production oriented schemes for the development of reservoirs and lakes, the development of ponds and community fisheries will be expended. The dominant indigenous species of fish is ‘mahseer’, and efforts will be made to replenish stocks in selected rivers and lakes. It is also proposed to initiate a project for the culture and breeding of indigenous ornamental fish.

  13. The latest report of the Forest Survey of India has confirmed that the forest cover of the State has increased by 63 square kilometers between 2003 and 2005, to attain the level of 75.74% of the geographic area of the State. The Government will endeavour to further protect, conserve and improve the State’s forest and wildlife resources for the economic and ecological well-being of the people. Keeping in view the role that communities play in the maintenance of our forest wealth, as many as fourteen Forest Development Agencies (FDAs) have been established, to coordinate and support the efforts of Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs). A special emphasis would be given to development activities in forest villages to bring them at par with revenue villages. Eco- compatible development of forest fringe areas would be continued to tackle the problem of man animal conflict. In coordination with the concerned national agencies, survey of the bamboos resources of the State will be carried out, for the identification and subsequent utilization of our bamboo wealth. A large-scale bamboo plantation effort will be carried out to improve the productivity of existing bamboo area. The State Government will also support value added activity, such as stick and sliver making units and bamboo charcoal kilns. The State Government will establish a State Bamboo Development Agency with support from the Government of India, to coordinate and implement bamboo related activities in the State. Utilisation of medicinal and herbal resources of the State will be promoted through projects to be undertaken by the Meghalaya State Medicinal Plants Board.

  14. The topography, terrain and climate of our State makes it imperative to have an effective soil conservation programme, with the overall objective of conservation and management of our natural resources. Working with the communities, the Government will strive to improve the quality and productivity of the land. Ongoing schemes, which seek to address these issues, through mechanical, engineering or biological measures, will be strengthened. In particular, efforts will be made to attend to the issue of jhum cultivation. The watershed-based approach has shown extremely good results, and it is proposed to expand such activities. A significant proportion of the State is covered by waste land. Government will continue to support the conversion of such land to productive use, through the plantation of cash crops such as rubber, coffee, jatropha, arecanut and cashew.

  15. There have been notable changes in the field of sericulture. For the first time, the production of handloom fabric is expected to cross 100 lakh square metres. The State Government will promote and develop sericulture, through expansion of eri and muga plantation, with the objective of increasing the production of eri and mulberry cocoons. It will support product and development and diversification to provide for value addition and additional income generation for handloom weavers. The Government will continue to implement key programmes such as the Catalytic Development Programme (CDP), the Integrated Handloom Development Scheme (IHDS), and the Mahatma Gandhi Bunkar Yojana.

  16. The Government will continue to work for alleviation of poverty and promotion of general employment in rural areas. Besides, emphasis on creation of durable community based socio-economic assets, providing impetus to the general development towards upliftment the economic condition of the people living in rural areas would be emphasized. Different rural developmental schemes of the Government of India like Swarnajayanti Gram Sawarojgar Yojana (SGSY), National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) and Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) would be leveraged and implemented with more vigour and accountability. The NREGS, currently under implementation in five districts, will be expanded to cover all the remaining districts in the State. The Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) scheme would be implemented in three district viz. West Garo Hills, South Garo Hills and Ribhoi Districts. Schematic interventions to bridge the regional imbalances, and infrastructural shortcomings will be implemented in a meaningful, participative and well-directed manner. In addition to the above, the Government will continue to implement Social Security Schemes such as the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme and the National Family Benefit Scheme. State Sector Schemes for small and marginal farmers, and other schemes like Special Rural Works Programme (SRWP), Construction of Rural Roads Programme (CRRP), Chief Minister’s Special Rural Development Fund will be implemented in a targeted and focused manner.

  17. The Government will support the District Councils in the discharge of their assigned responsibilities, to meet the needs and aspirations of the indigenous tribal population. Financial support to the Councils will be provided to meet their basic infrastructural requirements.

  18. The development of the relatively disadvantage border region is a priority area for the attention of the Government. The infrastructural needs of the region, including roads, will be given priority. The Government will also take up with the Government of India to expand the coverage of the mobile network, so as to enable the people of the border belts to avail of this facility. To cater to the growing needs of the export sector, and to facilitate and catalyse growth, the infrastructure around the existing Land Customs Stations along the Bangladesh border will be strengthened. Initiative will be taken to open new trade routes in the borders. The Government will continue in its efforts for the revival of traditional border haats, in the interest of trade and economic opportunity for the people living in the border areas. The Government will also make efforts to expand and diversify the trade basket with Bangladesh, especially horticultural and floricultural products. The State Government will ensure optimal utilization of the Special Central Assistance marked for this purpose from the Government of India.

  19. The State Government will function as a promotional and regulatory agency to ensure emergence of strong and healthy cooperative movement in the State. Some of the cooperative organizations in the state have recently shown signs for resurgence and revival. The State Government will implement the Vaidyanathan Committee recommendations in respect of the North East Region towards revival of cooperative credit structures, with an emphasis on building capacities, bringing in reforms, liberal framework in functioning of cooperatives and use of technology in outreach, delivery and accountability.

  20. Industrial sector is an important avenue for economic upliftment and generating employment in the state. Various schemes, for promotion of employment, development of labour and skilled have been taken up through the District Industries Centre. The small scale sector has generated potential for employment of over 32,000 individuals through the 6070 registered industrial units. Meghalaya Khadi and Village Board through the rural employment generation programmes has extended fiscal benefits as margin in money amounting to Rs.1941.58 lakhs and has generated employment opportunity for over 4500 individuals. Benefits under Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana (PMRY) for the educated unemployed youth will continue. In the Large and Medium sector, there has been marked degree of success with 195 industrial units having been set up in industrial areas, whereby job opportunities for around 8000 workers have been generated, based on local resources. The Single Window Agency which was constituted to facilitate granting of approval for setting up industries in the state has cleared 307 numbers of projects till date. In the light of the enhanced incentives provided by the North Eastern Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy, 2007 by the Government of India, the process for revision of the States Industrial Policy 1997 has already begun. In is expected that the revised Industrial Policy will come into force within a few months. Special focus would be given to promote small and tiny enterprises and thus encourage local entrepreneurship.

  21. The State is richly endowed with deposits of major minerals such as coal and limestone, etc. Exploitation of these mineral deposits for local use as well as for onward dispatch to other parts of the country and for exports, is a major economic activity, and thus a major source of tax and non-tax revenues to the state and to the concerned District Councils. In order to promote scientific mining, the Directorate of Mineral Resources conducts training cum awareness programmes for the local mines owners and proposes to intensify these efforts in the coming year. The DMR also undertakes geological exploration for identifying mineral deposits and took up six investigation programmes in 2007-08 for exploring deposits of coal, limestone and iron-ore. Government would also focus on the need for balancing environmental concerns and the desirability of mineral-based developmental activities in the State. The draft Mining Policy of the State has already been prepared and process is underway for its examination by all concerned departments before its finalization.

  22. Tourism in Meghalaya is one of the most promising prospects for income generation and employment. Meghalaya is fortunate to be blessed with great exquisite beauty, and a diversity of climate, terrain and topography. With its great natural and cultural heritage and traditions, this forms the basis for its considerate tourism potential. The State Government will work with various stakeholders to cater to the increasing inflow of tourists, and will take steps to encourage the upgradation and expansion of the infrastructure substantially in a public-private partnership mode. The ongoing efforts at rural and Eco tourism will be strengthened, and awareness campaigns mounted to involve the people and to provide information to potential tourists. New marketing initiatives will be launched, through well-designed and targeted publicity campaigns that use the print and electronic media, as well as the Internet. The Government will identify and establish rural tourism circuits, focused on areas of tourist potential and interest, with the provision of tourist facilities and amenities, and the involvement of the local communities.

  23. The Government is committed to making Information Technology a tool for attaining all round development in the State and to fully participate in the IT revolution, with the objective of wealth creation, employment generation and IT led economic growth. The Government has established with support from the Software Technology Park of India, the first Information Technology Park at Lumjingshai, Mawlai Mawroh, Shillong and an IT Estate at New Shillong has been mooted in a public private partnership mode. The establishment of the State Wide Area Network (SWAN) and the Common Services Centres will also receive the focused attention of Government. Another priority for the State Government will be the setting up of Wi-Fi hotspots over the capital city of Shillong, a first for the North East. The State already has a well equipped GIS laboratory in place and Government departments are already using the facilities. These facilities will be consolidated and expanded. Amongst the schematic interventions that will be continued are the recognition of meritorious students through award of laptops, and the conduct of DOEACCITES courses, NASSCOM competency assessments and CISSO certification. To increase the employability of the youth of our State, concerted efforts will be made to attract large IT companies to the State to provide training and advisory services, and HRD programmes.

  24. The Government will continue to address issues of urban development with urgency and seriousness, recognizing the vital role that cities, towns and urban conglomerate play in the complex process of growth and development. Much has been achieved, but much more remains to be done. During 2007-08, important achievements included a multi-storeyed parking lot opposite Anjalee cinema now being operated by the Shillong Municipal Board; an electric crematorium at Jhalupara, Shillong being managed by the Greater Shillong Crematorium & Mortuary Society; a Bio-Medical Waste Incinerator at the trenching ground in Marten and another parking lot at Mawblei. Projects under implementation are a multi-storeyed parking lot at Mawlong Hat and a parking yard cum shopping complex at Nongpoh. Under the JNNURM, the CDP and the vision document for the capital city of Shillong has been accepted by the Ministry of Urban Development. Under this, a project for construction of 300 housing units at Nongmynsong for the urban poor has recently been approved by the union Government, and two others viz. a drainage master plan for Shillong (Phase I) and a water supply, sewerage and drainage scheme for New Shillong Township (Phase I) are under submission to the Ministry of Urban Development. Further, while a major water supply augmentation project for Shillong will be posed to the Government of India for funding under JNNURM, other major towns viz. Tura, Williamnagar, Baghmara, Nongstoin, Resubelpara, Jowai and Nongpoh would also receive due attention under Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT) and Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme (IHSDP).

  25. The Government will attach due importance to education. The constitutional mandate to provide Free and Compulsory Education to children upto the age of 14 years will be actively carried out though Sarva Shiksha Abiyan (SSA), with multi-pronged interventions for ensuring universalization of Elementary Education, universal retention and improvement of the quality of learning and the school environment. The funding pattern for SSA has been retained so that 90% of the requirement is contributed by the Central Government and the State contributes 10% so as to ensure that the momentum in the implementation is maintained inspite of our resource constraint In order to increase access to Elementary Education the Government will set up 497 Primary Schools and 298 Upper Primary Schools by upgrading the existing Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) Centres and Primary Schools. To enhance the competency of teachers, 7023 Primary School teachers will be given a 10 day in-service training and 4280 untrained teachers will be deputed for the Certificate Course in Primary Education (CPE) conducted by IGNOU in the distance-learning mode. Moreover, 372 teachers will undergo a two-year training course in the different Teachers’Training Institutes during 2008-09. An enrollment drive will be carried out during the year 2008 in an effort to bring the remaining 27028 out-of-school children into the school system. In order to promote Computer Education in Schools, 64 Upper Primary Schools will be provided computers and software as part of the programme of Computer Aided Learning (CAL). In order to boost the nutrition levels of elementary school children, encourage retention and minimize dropouts, mid-day meals are being provided to all Primary School children as well as Upper Primary Schools in 9(nine) educationally backward blocks of the State. The Scheme will be extended to all Upper Primary Schools in the State from the year 2008-09. The Education Satellite Project (EDUSAT) with interactive terminals located in 50 educational institutions in the State will be inaugurated shortly. Admission to the RGIIM Shillong is ongoing and classes will commence in June-July 2008 in the temporary campus at the Mayurbhanj Complex. The Government will also consider the feasibility of providing post-retirement social security to college teachers.

  26. Providing access to appropriate, adequate and affordable health care to the people, particularly in rural areas, continues to be the priority of the Government. Towards this, Government aims at rapid transition and transformation of existing system to a more decentralized, improved, integrated and self-sustainable health care system. The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), under implementation in the State, plans to supplement and integrate all nationals disease control programmes, and to bridge infrastructural, man power and other constraints through appropriate and innovative measures. Through various linkages in programmes and convergence, the health indicators such as Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR). Infant mortality Rate (IMR), nutritional status and various outreach programmes are intended to be improved upon. Standards of health services will be improved further. Specialists and specialized services would be brought in at the secondary and tertiary level though contractual arrangements and public private partnership. A differential and realistic fee structure would be necessary to make the services pro-poor, but, at the same time, sustainable. The State has improved its performances under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP). The State has also done well under the Leprosy Control and Blindness Control programme. National Mental Health Programme is under implementation in select districts. Under the malaria control programme, an intensive, multi-dimensional action plan to contain malaria deaths are on the anvil. The programmes for AIDS control through partnership mode is showing good results. These will also be intensified. Blood bank in district headquarters and blood storage facility at select places will be implemented. Accident trauma centres in Tura, Nongpoh and Jowai would be established. The Government will provide land to the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) to establish a premier institution at Shillong, to train, and sensitize personnel, and to promote the effective delivery of public health systems. A nursing college in PPP mode with the assistance of NEC is under consideration. Emphasis will also be given to Indian and tradition system of medicine.

  27. The Government will continue to implement targeted programmes for the disadvantaged and the differently abled, including women and children, the physically challenged, juvenile delinquents and the aged and infirm. In these programmes, voluntary, community based and non-governmental organisations will be associated. Amongst the important schemes that will be implemented during the year are the Integrated Women’s Empowerment Programme (IWEP), the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and the National Nutrition Mission (NNM) scheme. There will be special focus on enhancing the nutritional status of the population, especially the relatively under-privileged. The Kishori Shakti Yojana (KSY), a component of the ICDS will be implemented to improve the nutritional health of adolescent girls, and supplementary nutrition will be provided to malnourished children below the age of six years, and expectant and nursing mothers from the lower income groups.

  28. Recognizing the need to pursue an inclusive developmental and growth strategy, the Government will continue to directly address the essential minimum requirements of the poorer and vulnerable sections of the population. Towards this objective, the ongoing Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) will receive increased focus to ensure an effective delivery system. Families below the poverty line (BPL) and amongst them, under the Antodya Anna Yojana (AAY), the poorest of the poor, would receive 35 kg of subsidized rice per month at the current rates of Rs.6.15 and Rs.3 per kg respectively. Similarly distribution of rice to inmates of SC and ST Hostels at the rate of 15 kg per month and to Vocational Training Centres at 5 kg per month will also continue as will the distribution of levy sugar and kerosene through the Fair Price Shops. For enhanced food security for the vulnerable population, the Village Grain bank Scheme has since been launched in the seven districts of Meghalaya. The government attaches priority to increasing consumer awareness in order that the extant regime of protection of consumer rights gets a fillip. Price rise of essential commodities will be closely monitored.

  29. In recent years, sportsperson from Meghalaya have made their mark at the national and international levels, especially in the fields of athletics football and boxing. The Government will finalise the “Sports Policy” for the State, to provide a focused approach and a road map to promote sports and games in the State, for the special benefit of the youth. Amongst the areas that will receive particular attention in the policy are the package of incentives to encourage sportspersons, categorization and prioritization of different sports, and the infrastructure that will be needed to promote excellence for gifted sportspersons, and a healthy environment for all sections of the people.

  30. The Government will direct its efforts towards improved labour welfare measures and better enforcement of various Acts and Rules for the welfare of workers in the State. The State has promoted a soft toy making unit, and innovative efforts for improved employment and work opportunity would be launched in the State. Other skilled promoting PPP efforts including promoting IT skills, and creation of new ITIs in the Civil Sub-Division are envisaged during the 11th Plan.

  31. The Government would continue its efforts to encourage the replacement of temporary structures for housing with durable, yet cost effective structures of a permanent or semi-permanent nature. Schematic interventions to provide affordable, cost effective and environment friendly housing, especially for the economically weaker sections would be continued.

  32. The Government will seek to enhance the cadastrally surveyed areas of the State. An integral part of the approach will be to create prior public awareness of the benefits through seminars and interactive workshops involving the local communities. The Government will continue to give the highest priority to Disaster Management related activities and to the creation of awareness among the public on pre-disaster preparedness and post-disaster mitigation.

  33. In the area of general administration, several important projects are underway and at various stages of implementation. Notably, a new administrative building in the compound of the old transport Building has been completed and is now housing a number of government departments. The construction of the Meghalaya House at Mumbai has been completed and at Kolkata, it is at an advanced stage of construction. Besides, 27 staff quarters in the premises of Pinewood Hotel are on the verge of completion, and the State Convention Centre is progressing quite well. The Government will endeavour to take forward the proposal to build a new Legislative Assembly and the construction of Governor’s Guest House at Tura.

  34. The Government Printing Press in Shillong and the branch press at Tura have been upgraded with the installation of computers, desktop printing machines and generators. Additional machinery equipment and infrastructure will be provided to the Department to enable it to carry out its functions more effectively.

  35. The construction of a new permanent building of Shillong Bench of the Guwahati High Court is expected to be completed shortly. Regarding implementation of Supreme Court order on separation of Judiciary from the Executive, initial steps of acquiring land, where no Government land is available, for construction of judiciary building in all the seven Districts are being taken up.

  36. The Government would endeavour to ensure proper standards, uniformity and accuracy in weights and measures. This would be done through promotion of consumer awareness by safeguarding consumer’s rights, conduct of surprise checks, regular inspections and enforcement of Acts and Rules.

  37. Government will continue its policy of conservation, documentation, promotion, development and augmentation of the rich cultural heritage of the State. Schematic interventions such as the “Intensive Art & Culture Development Programme”, “Development of Traditional Folk Music”, “Living Heritage” and “Heritage Protection” will be continued. The Captain Williamson Sangma Museum at Shillong will be further upgraded with technical assistance from the Victoria Memorial Hall and the Indian Museum, Kolkata. The construction of a museum gallery at Jowai will be expedited. The centre of Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Lalit Kala Academy are expected to be set up in our State within this year. The Government would endeavour to set up a modern archival system.

  38. The Government will develop and disseminate well-designed information packages on issues and interventions of national, social and societal relevance to the people. It will also seek to project the aspirations and achievements of the State and its people at national, State and community levels, through the print and electronic media, and through fairs, festivals and special focus events. Steps will also be taken for regular publication of the Meghalaya Chronicle and monographs on subjects of relevance to the people. In line with its commitment to transparency in the public administration, the State Government will vigorously implement the Right to Information Act.

  39. The Meghalaya Administrative Training Institute (MATI) will conduct specialized skill development and training programmes for officials and personnel of the State, to enable them to keep pace with the increasing technological, and systemic complexity of administration. The Government will also review the infrastructural requirements of the Institute, with a view to providing improve facilities, including hostel accommodation for personnel from outlying districts.

  40. In addition to their security related duties, Civil Defence and Home Guard personnel are amongst the first responders during natural calamities and in emergency situations. Through training, within and outside the State, they will be built up as an integral and effective component of the State’s disaster response capabilities and preparedness.

  41. Consistent with modern approach and practice, efforts will be made to provide a changed environment within jails and to transform them to reform oriented institutions to enable and encourage inmates to become productive and responsible members of society on release. The existing jail infrastructure will be strengthened with the completion of new jails at Nongstoin and Nongpoh this year.

  42. Hon’ble Members, during this session you will be considering several business of the government. I hope that your deliberations would be constructive and bear fruit, resulting in success and prosperity to the people you represent, and to the state as a whole. I wish you all success.