Mr. Speaker and Hon’ble Members

It is a privilege for me to be able to address the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly for the first time after assuming the office of the Governor of Meghalaya. I extend my warm wishes to each one of you in this august House. The Meghalaya Assembly has the proud reputation it has earned for the status and decorum while conducting its proceedings. I am confident that the honour and prestige of this House will continue to be maintained by all the Members while discharging their duties and responsibilities as public representatives. We are approaching the General Election to the House of the People and I am confident that the will of the people can be translated into reality through our public leaders. The country as a whole is passing through a difficult phase, as a result of the global meltdown and recession. The State of Meghalaya cannot remain insulated from these phenomena, and hence policies and programmes will have to be drawn up to mitigate this. I trust that all of you will endeavour for higher levels of performance and that your deliberation in this House will focused on the upliftment, development and welfare of the people in the State. My Government will endeavour to provide clean and efficient governance, with an over riding focus on public interest.

1.

During the past year, the law and order situation of Meghalaya has been stable and all religious celebrations and observations of National days had passed off peacefully. The strong and determined action of the Government against militant activities broke the backbone of militancy in the State, and 238 militants belonging to different groups have returned to the mainstream. Government is concerned with the increase in the incidence of crimes against women and children, the most vulnerable section of society, and has notified separate women Police Stations in all the Seven Districts of the State. These Women Police Stations will not only look after the investigation of cases on crime against children. The construction of Border Fencing needs to be expedited in order to check influx and improve security in border areas. This matter will continue to be pursued proactively keeping the best interest of the people and the State. In view of the recent bomb blasts in Assam, terror attack in Mumbai and other security-related developments across the country, the importance of internal security has increased tremendously. The State Government has decided to strengthen the security set up by introduction of new technology better training facilities, modern equipment and specialized manpower. Steps have also been taken to prevent misuse of arms and explosives which could disrupt peace and tranquility. The State Government is in active engagement with the Government of Assam over the interstate boundary. The Chief Ministers of the two States had met on the 11th June 2008, where the desire to maintain peace, amity and harmony along the Inter-State Border was reiterated, besides the need to maintain status quo. A Committee was also set up, comprising of the Chief Secretaries of both the States, which was entrusted with the task of making suitable recommendations to the respective Chief Ministers in furtherance of the objectives. A series of meetings have been held accordingly. The Government has sought assistance of the Government of India for the purpose of checking influx on the International Border and on the Inter-State Border and also to enchance the technical and professional abilities of its police force. The State had the privilege of hosting Her Excellency the President of India, Smti. Pratibha Devi Singh Patil in October 2008. A number of high profile events in cluding the prestigious 96th National Science Congress were held within the State, which was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh in January 2009.

2.

The projected 11th Plan (2007-12) outlay of Meghalaya is Rs.9185.00 crores. The approved outlay for the Annual Plan 2008-09, which is the second year of the 11th Plan is Rs.1500.00 crores. However, due to shortage of resources during the year, it has been proposed to the Planning Commission to revise the size of Annual Plan 2008-09 to Rs.1425.00 crores. For the Annual Plan 2009-10, an amount of Rs.2500.00 crores was projected to the Planning Commission. This is yet to be finalized at the level of the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission. The priorities identified by the State Government during the 11th Plan period are Power Generation and Transmission, Agriculture and Allied Sectors, Roads and Bridges, Sericulture and Weaving, Tourism, Trade with Bangladesh, Social Services like Education, Health, Water Supply, Poverty Alleviation and Employment Generation. The Schemes and Programmes of various Departments have been framed and formulated keeping these priorities in mind.

3.

The Taxation Department is one of the major revenue earning departments of the State. An important achievement during the recent past has been the successful implementation of VAT (Value Added Tax). There has been a sizeable increase in the collection of Sales Tax when compared to the previous years. Liquor has also been brought under the purview of VAT. Central Sales Tax had been reduced from 3% in 2007 to 2% since the 1st June, 2008, and ‘D’ forms have been abolished. All Industrial units covered under the Industrial Policy are now required to pay VAT @ 1% of the tax payable and also Central Sales Tax.

4.

Government is committed to providing reliable and economical Road transportation to the people of the State, both for conveyance of passengers and also for transportation of goods within and outside the State. The construction of Baljek Airport has been completed and it was inaugurated on 22nd October, 2008 by Her Excellency the President of India Smti. Pratibha Devi Singh Patil. Efforts are continuing for acquisition of land to extend the runway at Umroi Airport to facilitate landing of larger aircraft. Steps are being taken for computerized registration of driving license and vehicles registration certificates in all the Districts of the State. For railway connectivity, two projects are underway, for extension of the railway line from Azara in Assam to Byrnihat in Meghalaya and also for the extension of the railway line from Dudhnoi in Assam to Mendipathar in Meghalaya.

5.

Meghalaya has hydra power potential of about 3000 Mega Watts, but only about 6% of this potential has been tapped. The present installed capacity in Meghalaya is 185 Mega Watts against the estimated demand of 610 MW. Due to the new liberalized Industrial Policy for the North Eastern Region, there is an unprecedented load growth in the industrial sector of Meghalaya. It is anticipated that with the implementation of the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) Scheme for 100% Village electrification, the demand will further increase. For the purpose of development of the Power Sector, the State Government has submitted the action plan to the Task Force set up by the Ministry of Power in respect of targeted Generation and transmission Schemes to be taken up during the 11th and 12th Plan Periods. Construction of the Misa-Byrnihat and Agia-Nangalbibra Transmission lines are progressing as per schedule. Implementation of the Scheme for accelerated Power Development and Reforms Program (APDRP) Phase-I in all towns of the State is almost completed. The Work Plan for the APDRP Phase-II has been prepared and submitted to Government of India. Under RGGVY, the Ministry of Power, Government of India, has sanctioned Schemes in all the 7(seven) Districts of Meghalaya at an estimated cost of Rs.290.42 crores. The implementation of the Scheme in the Jaintia Hills, Ri Bhoi and East Khasi Hills District is in progress and in the remaining Districts, the work is being taken up. The Myntdu Leshka Hydel Electric Project is nearing completion. The State Government has also taken up schemes to harness non-Conventional sources of energy like biogas, biomass gasification, wind energy, solar energy, and distribution of energy saving devises. The Government has distributed Solar Lanterns and domestic home lighting systems. Biomass and Biogas plants have been set up in different areas of the State and 73 remote villagers are proposed to be electrified through non-conventional energy sources. Government is also examining the feasibility of going in for hybrid systems.

6.

A good road network is the key infrastructure for enabling our land locked state to realize its economic and development potential. The Government therefore has continued to attach very high priority to this sector. During 2008-09, significant progress was made in the inter-state highways, most notably on NH 40. As many as five projects were implemented for providing the riding quality of NH 40, from Jorabat to Shillong, while over 7 km. Of this highway in the Shillong-Dawki stretch has been double laned. Work for improvement of the worst stretch of 30 km. on NH 44 connecting Shillong to Nongstoin has also commenced. Similarly, over 33 km of NH 51 has been taken up for widening and over 37 km. is undergoing periodical repair. On NH 62, a number of critical bridges are under construction and around 33 kms. Of roads are under periodical repair. Steps have been initiated for improvement of the national highways, especially NH 62 and NH 51 in Garo Hills and NH 44 and NH 40 in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills, including the portion connecting Jowai to Dawki. It is expected to commence work soon on the long pending Dawki bridge. The process for selection of concessionaires for the four laning of Jorabat-Umiam portion of NH 40 and the much awaited Shillong Bye Pass, by the National Highways Authority of India, is underway and it is likely that work may start by end of 2009. Given the limitation of State’s funding for roads, the strategy to harness all programmes of the central government for the road sector programmes of the central government for the road sector continues. Thus, two more schemes were added to the 17 on-going schemes under the Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) during the current year and all the 19 works worth around Rs.130 crore and covering nearly 147 km of road length are now under implementation, and at various stages of progress. Special Plan Assistance (SPA) has been availed for construction of the Intermediary Jowai Bye-pass which, upon completion, will make a huge impact on reduction of congestion in Jowai town. The construction of Meghalaya Houses at Kolkata and Delhi is expected to be completed in 2009. Other major buildings under implementation include Jail complexes at Nongpoh and Nongstoin, the Home Guards complex at Mawdiangdiang, the State Convention Centre and the High Security Jail Complex at Shillong.

7.

The Government is committed to providing safe drinking water to all the habitations in the State. The program for providing adequate safe drinking water to rural habitations including rural schools is a core element of the Bharat Nirman Programme. During the year 2008-2009, more than 500 rural habitations, which were categorized as Partially Covered or Not Covered, have already been provided with safe drinking water. About 700 more habitations are likely to be covered during the current financial year. Remaining uncovered or partially covered habitations will be covered during the year 2009-2010. Out of 31 projects under Community led Swajaldhar Programme, which is under implementation in the State, 14 projects have been completed. In case of urban areas, the Baghmara Water Supply Scheme is already completed. Replacement for Stage II pumping Machinery of Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme has been completed and the position of the water supply in Shillong city has improved considerably. The Tura Phase-III Water Supply Scheme is likely to be completed by March 2009. The physical progress of Jowai, Mairang and Nongpoh Water Supply Schemes is satisfactory and all the three schemes will be completed during the next financial year. Phase-III of Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme has been sanctioned under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) recently for further improvement of water supply in the State capital. A foundation stone was also laid by the Hon’ble President during her visit to Shillong. The ensure Water Quality monitoring, selected villagers/village school teachers are being trained and provided with villages testing kits to enable the villagers to test the water samples on their own. The Government of India has set up a goal of achieving 100% sanitation coverage in rural areas by 2012. The Total Sanitation Campaign has already been launched and is under implementation in all the districts of the State. Up to January 2009, more than 49,000 individual household latrines, 48 village sanitation complexes, and toilets for 1644 rural schools & 137 Anganwadi centres have been constructed. Eleven villages of Meghalaya have been awarded Nirmal Gram Puraskar awards by the President of India on 20th October 2008 at a function held at Guwahati, and it is expected that many more villages will qualify for the award during 2009-2010.

8.

The Government will continue its efforts to bridge the gap between foodgrain production and demand, through measures that increase the productivity, area and production of food crops. Special emphasis will be laid on development of paddy clusters and on the expansion and intensive cultivation of Boro and Sali paddy. In 2009-2010, a special thrust will be given to the cultivation and marketing of vegetables, to benefit producers and consumers alike. In this context, the Department will take up an integrated programme of production of planting material, dissemination of seeds, extensions services, awareness creation and marketing. The Department will carry out a range of activities to promote indigenous crops and vegetables, through provision of planting material, extension services and promotional activities. Organic farming, building upon one of the traditional strengths of farming in our State, will be promoted by the Department and a programme of certification and advisory services was taken up. In a major initiative with far reaching implications, the Department will seek to establish a large-scale micro-propagation production facility for high quality planting material, to meet the growing needs of farmers, especially in the areas of floriculture and horticulture. The Department would also establish critical elements of aggregation, grading, transportation and cold chain infrastructure for the benefit of farmers. As part of the effort to upgrade the marketing infrastructure, farmers’ markets will be established at five locations in the State. The Horti-hubs, established in each district of the State will be strengthened and equipped with modern and upgraded facilities to enable them to function as repositories of knowledge and demonstration, provide technical, advisory and marketing services, and function as a source of planting material. A significant enhancement programme of creation of irrigation facilities, and intensification of utilization of currently existing irrigated area will be taken up. The Water Users Associations (WUAs) will be encouraged to take up a greater role and responsibility, in the context of Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM). The Government recognizes the importance of the extension machinery, and of strengthening its capabilities, infrastructure and outreach. Three Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) will be established under the operation of the State Government, in Jaintia Hills, East Khasi Hills and West Khasi Hills districts. Steps will also be taken to similarly set up KVKs in the presently uncovered districts of South Garo Hills and East Garo Hills. Consistent with the tenets of the Government of India’s programme of extension reforms, Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) centres will be established in all seven districts of the State. A programme of capacity building of Departmental officers to face the challenges of agriculture and horticulture will be taken up. The Government of Meghalaya will continue to urge the Government of India to establish a Central Agriculture University in the State at the earliest.

9.

The State is yet to attain self sufficiency in respect of livestock and poultry production. The State will continue to focus on the development of infrastructure and to create conditions for enhancing production of animal origin food like milk, meat and eggs and also to generate self employment to the people. A cluster approach with emphasis on self help groups, cooperatives and encouraging private sector investments in the Field of livestock and poultry production would be adopted. Three Veterinary Dispensaries at Nongkrem, Belguri and Rymbai were established during the year 2008-09. With the outbreak of Bird Flu in neighboring States as well as in Bangladesh, vigilance was geared up and regulation was imposed on the movement of poultry and poultry products during the year. Community involvement in strengthening extension services and improving animal Health Care would continue to be sought.

10.

The expansion of the fisheries sector is constrained by the continuing deficit of production of fish seed. The Government will re-develop and re-invigorate the existing fish seed farms in the State, to mitigate the deficit, and provide fish seed to the fish farmers of the State. In addition, the Government will expand the coverage of the ‘Thousand Ponds’ scheme, to augment the area under fish cultivation and increase the production of fish.

11.

My Government will endeavour with the cooperation of the District Councils, to prepare working plans for the forest wealth of our State, to facilitate scientific management of our forest wealth. Our State is abundantly endowed with bamboo, and our people have rich and established traditions of skill and usage. In 2008, the State Government has formulated the Meghalaya Bamboo Policy, which is a first step towards developing the bamboo sector in the State. The Government will establish the Meghalaya Bamboo Development Agency (MBDA), to coordinate and promote the diversified uses of bamboo, and to provide livelihood and employment opportunities, especially for the rural poor, and utilized this plentiful, age-old and highly renewable resource. With the mounting pressure of population, and the transformation of natural habitats, the elephant population has come under stress. This has resulted in increasing the potential for man-animal conflict. The Government will formulate and implement a medium term strategy for containment of the menace of elephant depredation, and work with communities and the people to provide a secure environment for their livelihood, and well as protection of the elephant wealth of our State. In the context of the economically and ecologically destructive practice of production of wood charcoal, the Government has framed the Meghalaya Charcoal (Control of Production Storage, Trade and Transit) Rules, 2008. These Rules will be implemented and enforced, in the interests of the people, and the conservation of our forest wealth. Our State is home to some of the richest and most unique bio-diversity in the country. The Forest Department will seek to conserve and enhance this bio-diversity, and to carry out mapping and inventorisation, and develop modalities to cultivate and add value to the medicinal and herbal plant resources of the State. The State Bio-diversity Board will be constituted, and will function as the nodal agency for the purpose. The people of the State can be proud of the fact the major challenge of containment of bamboo flowering (Melaconna baccifera) was successfully met through a planned programme of mitigation and containment. As a result, the flowing of bamboo had only a minimal impact on the State and on livelihood and agricultural activities. Extraction was stepped up, seed collection organized, and nursery production increased, for purposes of regeneration. Within the framework of the National Wetlands Conservation Programme, and through the formulation of an action plan, Government will develop a programme for the biotic preservation and development of Umiam Lake, to address issues of siltation, catchment area treatment and pollution alleviation.

12.

During the year 2008-2009, the Government of India released two installments of grant under Special Central Assistance: Watershed Development Project in Shifting Cultivation Areas (SPA:WDPSCA) Scheme, amounting to Rs.2.75 crores. Government has implemented a new scheme known as Improved Shifting Cultivation, with model projects being started one each in Jaintia Hills District and West Khasi Hills District. Subsequently this scheme will be implemented in all the remaining districts in the State. The Government of Meghalaya is also developing a programme for Eco-restoration of Cherrapunjee and surrounding areas as suggested by the Planning Commission.

13.

Government will take steps to increase the area under plantations, to lay the basis for increased production of silk. At the same time, the Department of Sericulture & Weaving will promote mechanization, through simple and low cost equipment, for increased productivity and efficiency of reeling and spinning operations, to facilitate value addition at the grass root level. The functioning and outreach of the Integrated Handloom Development Scheme (IHDS) will be enlarged, and the existing handloom clusters strengthened. In collaboration with the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), collaborative programmes of design development and product development will be taken up, and facilities established for improved fabric finishing.

14.

During the year 2008-09, 465 Nos. of Self Help Groups (SHGs) were formed under Swarjayanati Gram Samaridhi Yojana (SGSY). During the present year up to October 2008, 956 numbers of new Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) houses wee constructed and 205 numbers of houses were upgraded. Upto October 2008, Rs.4115.50 lakhs was spent within the present financial year for implementing National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) and 38.63 lakhs person of rural employment generated. West Garo Hills, South Garo Hills and Ri-Bhoi Districts have been identified for implementation of Rashtriya Sam Vikas Yojana (RSVY)/ Backward Region Grants Fund (BRGF), which is scheme aimed to address the problems of the pockets of high poverty and low growth. The Government will continue to impellent Social Security Scheme such as Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Schemes (IGNOAPS) where Rs.200/- p.m. is distributed as pension, and the National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS) where Rs.10,000/- is given to the BPL family on the death of primary bread earner. So far, 72,445 beneficiaries are being covered under the Indira Gandhi National old age Pension Scheme. Recently the Government of India has introduced tow new schemes to cover the widows between the ages of 40 and 64, and the disabled from the ages of 18 to 64 by a Scheme known as Indira Gandhi National Widows Pension Scheme (IGNWPS) and Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS) respectively by giving them monthly pension at the rate of Rs.200/- p.m.

15.

In February this year, elections to all the 3 (three) Autonomous District Councils were held on expiry of their five year term, and new Executive Committees are now in place in all the Councils. The State Government would continue to support the District Councils in the discharge of their assigned responsibilities under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution, to meet the needs and aspirations of indigenous tribal population. For the purpose of infrastructural development, the State Government supports the three District Councils with grant-in-aid to finance the Council’s development schemes to a limited extent. Specific schemes are also entrusted by the Government to the Councils for implementation. Further, under Article 275 (1), the Ministry of Tribal Affairs releases development fund through the State Government to the Autonomous District Councils for implementation of their own Development Schemes.

16.

My Government is deeply committed to the development of the areas bordering Bangladesh, and to the upliftment of the people who reside in these areas, particularly developing infrastructure in the Border such as Roads, Market Complexes, Cold storages etc; in conjunction with similar development in the Bangladesh side so that people to people relations can improve. The Government will provide a special thrust through augmentation of resources available under the State Plan, and through Special Central Assistance, and through the establishment of coordination and convergence mechanisms with other Departments across the spectrum of development activity.

17.

Earnest efforts by way of intensification of promotional activities and implementation of various Department schemes and programmes provided noticeable momentum to the growth of Cooperative movement in the State. A number of initiatives are being taken by the Government since the last few years, and as a result there is visible impact on the quality of life of people in Rural Areas. A number of Cooperative Societies are paying dividends to the State Government. People from all strata of life are coming forward in increasing numbers to form Cooperative Societies to improve their quality of life. The Meghalaya Cooperative Apex Bank Ltd. as a pioneer of floating credit and advances to the rural areas of the State has played a vital role and nearly 41 branches of the Meghalaya Cooperative Apex Bank Ltd have been able to cater substantially to the credit needs of the rural farmers at the grass root level.

18.

There has been substantial achievement over the past few years in the field of industrialization. At present there are 6523 registered SSI units and 116 large & medium units in the State with a total investment of Rs.933.88 crores and providing employment to 20894 persons. The North East Investment & Industrial Promotion Policy, 2007 and Prime Minster’s Employment Generation Programme 2008, announced by the Government of India has given boost to development of industries in the State. The Revised State Industrial Policy is under preparation and is expected to be finalized very soon. Training to small entrepreneurs, in various trades would continue to be provided to assist them in taking up self employment ventures, especially in locally available resources.

19.

The Government is actively engaged in geological exploration of minerals, administration of mines & minerals and collection of revenue on major mineral in the State. It also undertakes exploration of ground water resources by geological investigation and drilling, as well as geo-technical studies. During 2008-09 the Department has taken up a total of 6 (six) mineral investigation programmes for exploration of limestone, coal and iron ore. The total production of coal and limestone in the State were recorded at 65.41 lakhs tons and 21.53 lakhs tons respectively during 2007-08 and the total revenue collected on major minerals during the year was 12,364.91 lakhs. The total quantity of coal and limestone exported during this period were 9.96 lakh tons and 5.49 lakh tons, respectively.

20.

Meghalaya is well known for its scenic beauty and cultural diversity. Tourism sector has a vast potential to create employment and to generate income with low investments. Greater impetus to tap this great potential has been taken by involving stake holders in community based tourism, which can be seen especially in Rural Tourism Projects. The tourist inflow into the State has been increasing and the present figure is around 4.5 lakh annually, of which about 12000 are foreign tourists. To cope with the increasing inflow of tourists into the State and in view of the shortage of accommodation, the Government has taken up a number of projects for development of tourism infrastructures under Tourist Circuit Development Schemes and Tourist Destination Development Schemes. Efforts are also on to popularize the Bed and Breakfast Scheme to increase availability of accommodation. Steps are also being taken to build up the capacity of NGOs and individuals through training activities under State and Centrally Sponsored Schemes. Attention is also being given to publicity and promotional activities both through print and electronic media and by facilitating and sponsoring traditional festivals and dances as well as annual events like Autumn Festival, Winter Festival etc. The strength of the State lies in the development of activity based-Tourism, Cultural Tourism, Adventure Tourism including Cave Tourism and these have become thrust areas for the development of tourism in the State.

21.

Government has initiated steps for implementing the State Wide Area Network which is expected to be operationalised by 2009. Common Services Centers (CSCs) are being set up in 225 location across the State, with the first CSC being operationalised on the 2nd October, 2008 in Mawlai-Mawtawar, and the remaining CSCs being rolled out in phases. Laptops have been awarded to the toppers of various Boards exams as incentive. IT enabled Services (ITES) courses of 2 (two) months duration were conducted for XII passed students in 10 (ten) batches in association with the Department of Electronics Accredited Certified Courses (DOEACC). Currently, a similar ITES course for women only under “Women Empowerment Programme” is also being conducted by the IT department. The Government has tied up with Symantec Corporation, Singapore, the 4th largest IT company in the world, for providing International Level Training to XII passed students with certification from Symantec. The training has commenced from 15th October, 2008 in 4 batches of 40 students each. All together 2000 students will be trained over a period of two years.

22.

Government will be taking steps for early implementation of all the schemes approved under the Jawahar Lal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The work for Storm Water Drainage system for Shillong city with an estimated cost of Rs.2446 lakhs will be expedited. The project for construction of 456 housing units at Tura under Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme (IHSDP) has been approved by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation at the total cost of Rs.2181.73 lakhs and will be taken up soon. During the year 2007-08 the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation had approved the project for construction of 600 dwelling units for Urban Poor at Nongmynsong. The work for this project is under progress. The Multi Storeyed Parking Lot at Mawlonghat is nearing completion and is expected to be made operational within 2009. For the Parking Yard cum Shopping Complex at Nongpoh, the work is under progress and is expected to be completed by February 2010.

23.

The Constitutional mandate to provide Free and Compulsory Education to children upto the age of 14 years is being continued through Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), with multi – pronged intervention for ensuring universalization of Elementary Education, Universal Education and improvement of the quality of learning and the school environment. In order to increase access to Elementary Education the Government had set up 497 Primary Schools and 298 Upper Primary Schools by upgrading the existing Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) Centres and Primary Schools during the year 2008-09. To enhance the competency of teachers, 4598 Primary and 12,381 Upper Primary Un-trained Teachers have been deputed for 2 years Diploma Course in the different District Institute of Educational Training and Teacher Training Institutes (TTIs) and also through Certificate Course in Primary Education (CPE) conducted by IGNOU in the distance – learning mode. Training of remaining un-trained Teachers will continue. In order to encourage retention and minimize dropouts, cooked mid-day meal is being served in all Government and Government aided Primary Schools and EGS Centres as well as Government and Government aided Upper Primary Schools. For the purpose, 2539 Government Lower Primary Schools and 461 Upper Primary Schools have been provided with Kitchen Sheds during 2008-09. The Educational Satellite Project (EDUSAT) with 50 Satellite Interactive Terminals (SITs) in different Educational Institutions was successfully launched during the year 2008-09. The main Hub located in DERT will be actively used for promoting Teaching and Learning skills through the Satellite connected to different SITs. Due importance is being given to Secondary and Higher Secondary Education in order to bring about improvement in quality education. A step had been taken by raising the salary of the Adhoc Secondary School Teachers from Rs.3000 to Rs.5000 and from Rs.4000 to Rs.6000 to the Science Teachers in the Adhoc Secondary Schools. The Government has undertaken the process of upgrading existing Government Secondary and the Secondary Schools to the level of Premier Institutes in the State. Sanction has been received for setting up a Polytechnic at Williamnagar under the Centrally funded scheme in addition to the existing Polytechnics in the State. The State Education Policy, which has been adopted recently, will be implemented vigorously.

24.

Providing health care to the people is a constant endeavor to help achieve an efficient health system. This is necessary in order to improve quality of life and the well-being of the people and reduce the burden of disease. There are 9 hospitals, 28 CHCs, 104 PHCs in the State. Construction of 100 bedded hospitals at Nongstoin and Baghmara is still under progress and construction at Williamnagar is completed. The new building of Meghalaya Institute of Mental Health and Neurological Science (MIMHANS) at Pasteur Hill is nearly complete. Action is being taken to increase the capacity after which the staff and inmates will be shifted from the building at Mawlai, where it is presently located. The additional 100 bedded wing at Civil Hospital, Tura has been completed. The TB Hospital and Women and Child Hospital at Tura are expected to be made functional by the present year. The construction of Accident & Trauma Centres at Tura and Jowai with financial assistance from NEC are nearing completion. 12 Urban Health Centres (UHC) are functioning at present. An MoU was entered into with Emergency Management & Research Institute (EMRI), to provide free emergency medical response services to the public, for medical, police and fire emergency cases. In the first phase, 15 (fifteen) Ambulances were launched on 2nd February, 2009. Primarily with a view to meet the shortage of doctors and qualified man – power and provide improved health care to the people on 24 x 7 basis, the State Government decided to involve experienced, resourceful and committed Voluntary Agencies/NGOs (Partnership Agencies) on a PPP model. Memorandum of Understanding was signed with seven such NGOs and further progress is at hand. The Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) is setting up an Institute called Institute of Public Health at Shillong to train and sensitize personnel, and promote the effective delivery of public health systems. The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) seeks to provide universal access to equitable, affordable and quality health care to the people and especially the poor and the vulnerable sections of community residing in the rural areas. The disease control programmes like National Blindness Control Programme (NBCP), Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP), National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) and National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP) have been brought under the umbrella of NRHM which will endeavor to reduce Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and will strive to achieve universal immunization of children. It will also set a goal to achieve 100% registration of births and deaths and encourage institutional deliveries under Janani Suraksha Yojna (JSY). Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) or grass root level health workers are engaged in almost all the villages in the State and they have been trained and will be provided with Drug Kits shortly. The ASHA in a village will be an important link between the community and the health facility.

25.

Various programmes are being implemented for women, children, physically handicapped, juvenile delinquents, and the aged and infirm. At present the State Government is running 3 (three) training centres for self employment of women in need of care and protection at Shillong, Tura and Jowai. These training centres impart training in tailoring, embroidery, weaving and knitting. The Integrated Women’s Empowerment Programme (IWEP) has been implemented with the objectives being the establishment of self reliant women’s Self Help Groups (SHGs) and creation of confidence and awareness among helpers of SHG’s, regarding women’s status, health, nutrition, education, sanitation and hygiene, legal rights, economic and political issues etc. The scheme is being implemented in 5(five) Community and Rural Development Blocks namely Betasing, Mawshynrut, Thadlaskein , Resubelpara and Mylliem. A scheme for setting up employment-cum-income generating units for women (NORAD) is implemented to train women folks in different income generating trades so as to enable them to earn their livelihood and improve their economic status. Under Integrated Child Development Services Schemes, there are 39 ICDS Projects, and 2 Urban ICDS Projects with 3327 AWCs and under these schemes, non formal education, nutrition, health check up, health and nutrition education and referral services are provided. National Nutrition Mission Scheme was introduced by Government of India for providing subsidized foodgrains to adolescent girls and expectant and nursing mothers belonging to BPL families and the undernourished. Nutrition Surveillance System (NSS) which involves training of officers and the ICDS functionaries is implemented in collaboration with National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad. The Scheme of Kishori Shakti Yojana, a component of ICDS scheme with the aim to improve the nutritional health of the adolescent girls, has been implemented.

26.

Under the scheme of Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) Food grains are distributed to the Families Below the Poverty Line at subsidized rates of Rs.6.15 P per Kg in the scale of 35Kgs of Rice per family per month and the scheme will continue to be implemented during the year. At present, 1,12,800 BPL Families are covered under the scheme. To the poorest of poor families 35 kgs of rice per month @ Rs.3.00 per Kg are distributed under the scheme of Antodaya Anna Yojanza (AAY) and the scheme will also be continued to be implemented. At present, 70, 200 numbers of AAY families are coved under the scheme. Under the Annapurna Scheme covering destitute and indigent Old Age Persons who are not covered under the National Old Age Pension Scheme, 10Kgs of Rice per month is distributed free of cost and the number of the beneficiaries at present is 9,263. Village Grain Bank Scheme have also been launched in the Seven Districts of the State where 40 Grain Banks out of 44 as sanctioned by central Government have been established so far. The purpose of Village Grain Bank is to ensure supply of Food grains or Food Security to the BPL Families during the lean period.

27.

During the year, Government has extended financial assistance to 258 Nos. of Clubs and Association and Schools to organize sports competitions. The State Associations are also financially assisted to take part in the National tournaments. It was a proud moment for the State when two boxers from the State became the winner and runners-up respectively in the 55th Senior National Boxing Championship held at Punjab in September, 2008. The State Karatekars did the State proud by winning 6 Gold, 4 Silver and 4 Bronze medals at the National Karate Championship held at Kolkata. In order to encourage more youth to take part in sports and games, State teams were sent to participate in North East Games held at Guwahati, National Inter School Tournament at Orissa, Delhi and National Rural Sports Tournament at Faridabad and National Women Sports Festival in Punjab.

28.

The Government will continue to implement the various Labour Acts and Rules for the welfare of the workers in the State. 25% of seats for women, and 3% for persons with Disability have been earmarked for admission in Industrial Training Institute’s (ITI) in the State.

29.

To provide assistance for construction of durable houses to rural poor belonging to Economical Weaker Section (EWS) & Low Income Group (LIG), the Housing Department is implementing the Rural Housing Scheme under State Plan. Under this Scheme, 3 bundles of CGI Sheets are given as grant-in-aid to the poor and houseless villagers who are willing to construct their houses upto roof frame level with their own resources. During the last financial year 2007-2008 an amount of Rs.550.001 lakhs was spent under the scheme, covering 3725 rural houseless families.

30.

The Meghalaya House at Vashi Navi Mumbai was inaugurated on the 29th August, 2008 and the House is now functioning. The Meghalaya House at Vasant Vihar, New Delhi is 70% complete and it is scheduled to be completed by next financial year. Construction of Residence-cum-Commercial Complex at 9/10 Anandilal Poddar Sarani, Kolkata, is making good progress. Construction of 27 Units of staff quarters in the premises of Pinewood Hotel has been completed and the construction of the State Convention Centre building has made considerable progress. Steps have been initiated for Construction of Governor’s Guest House, at Tura at an estimated cost of Rs.5.47 crore.

31.

The construction of Guwahati High Court Building for its Permanent Bench at Shillong has been completed and shortly it would be ready for use. The Land Steering Committee set up for the purpose of inspection and identification of land for construction of judiciary buildings in all the Seven Districts in the State has identified alternatives sites for the purpose.

32.

The construction work on the extension building of the Williamson Sangma Museum at Shillong is in progress, while construction of Museum galleries at Jowai has been completed. The regional offices of the Indian Council of Cultural Relation (ICCR) have started functioning at Shillong and are temporarily located in the Brookside Art & Culture Complex.

33.

Government is continuing to publicize information about the activities of the State Government to the grass root level through various initiatives like organizing of Special Interactive Programme (SIPs), publication of booklets, etc. This is in line with the policy to bring Government closer to the people. To project and promote a positive image of the State at the National and International level, the State Government participates in fairs and exhibitions such as the India International Trade Fair. SIPs were conducted extensively in the rural areas of the State to enable people to access first hand information about various activities of Government departments. Recently the Directorate of Information and Public Relations collaborated with Meghalaya Administrative Training Institute to run a campaign called Right to Information on Wheels in Jaintia Hills District, East Garo Hills District and West Garo Hills District.

34.

Revenue & Disaster Management Department in collaboration with Government of India - United Nation Development Programme is conducting training such as Mock Operation in Collapsed Structures, Search & Rescue, Medical First Aid Response, Trauma Counseling to create awareness and preparedness to cope with any eventuality in the wake of Natural Calamities.

35.

Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies in the State have been re-determined by the Delimitation Commission set up under the Delimitation Act, 2002. By a Presidential Notification issued on 19th February, 2008, the Delimitation Orders of the Delimitation Commission in relation with the State of Meghalaya have been made effective from 20th March, 2008. The Electoral Rolls of the State have been updated in terms of the aforesaid delimited constituencies, with respect to 1.1.2009 as the qualifying date and these have been finally published on 10th January, 2009. The total electorate of the State is 12,77,012 of which 6,29,725 are males and 6,48,087 are females. Photographs of all the electors are printed in the Electoral Rolls. With 516 more Polling Stations, the State has 2115 Polling Stations at present, as compared to 1599 Polling Stations as on 3rd March, 2008 Assembly Elections.

36.

Feedback is essential to policy makers and planners in the State on the actual performance and impact of the different developmental schemes and Programmes. Field visits and inspections are undertaken to ascertain the actual ground realities of the schemes and projects. To increase the efficacy of such evaluation, independent external agencies of reputed would be involved in the evaluation, monitoring and social audit of various Government schemes and programmes.

37.

Jail administration is an integral part of the criminal justice system, with jails not being only a place for imprisonment but a place for reformation of offenders. In order to improve the jail administration, Govt. of India has initiated Schemes for construction of new jails at Nongstoin and Nongpoh and for expansion, repair, and renovation of existing jails, besides provisions for Water supply and sanitation. Construction of High Security Prisons at the existing jail premises has been approved with provisions under State Funding and through Additional Central Assistance.

I have attempted to indicate, in brief, the achievements of my Government. As Hon’ble Members, you will be getting the opportunity of deliberating further on various issues. I am confident that your deliberations will be constructive and fruitful, bringing success and prosperity to the people of the State as a whole. I wish you all success in your endeavours.

   
 

JAI HIND

 

KHUBLEI

 

MITELA