Naveen Patnaik addresses last Cabinet of his 5th term

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | March 16, 2024 IST

Naveen Patnaik

Bhubaneswar, March 16: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday chaired the last Cabinet meeting of his 5th term.

On May 29, 2019 we had the first Cabinet after the elections where the manifesto was approved as the Government’s priority. Today, as we sit for the last Cabinet of this term I express my gratitude to the people of Odisha for repeatedly reposing their faith. I feel blessed to have been chosen to serve the four and half crore family of Odisha, Naveen said in his address. 

“ When I first took office as Chief Minister of Odisha, the state was devastated by the Super Cyclone and looked down upon as a poor underdeveloped state. There were humongous challenges in bringing the state back on the track of development. But I was guided by the vision of Biju Babu to make a difference in the lives of my 4.5 crore family members. Today, Odisha is recognised as one of the most progressive states in the country and is cited as a model in various fields”, he said. 

The last five years have been based on the Principles of 5T. History will remember this period as a milestone which put Odisha on a firm path of Transformation and prosperity for its people. Transformation is visible across the state and across every segment of the population. Our Team work through transparent governance and intense use of technology has been creating remarkable change within a short period of time, he added. 

It may be recalled that even before we started this term in 2019, the State faced a rare summer cyclone, first in 43 years, Cyclone Fani which was an Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm, Category-5 with wind speeds of 280 kmph. This caused extensive damage to the nerve center of our economy including Puri, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. Thanks to our dedicated and diligent community based disaster management systems, we faced the cyclone courageously and our relief measures started immediately after the cyclone storm passed. Even New York Times, on front page, praised Odisha as a model in disaster management. Our resilient people bounced back and within a few months there were no signs of the cyclone’s devastation. 

With renewed vigour, we started this term with a firm commitment of transformation and fastened the pace of progress, Patnaik said.

Unfortunately, in early 2020, the World was hit by the Covid Pandemic. For the next two years till 2022, the virus, in its multiple variants, had caused immense damage to economies across the globe. In spite of the unknown fear of this first of its kind pandemic, Odisha was comparatively well prepared and emerged as a model in Covid Management, as per a study by John Hopkins University. We not only ensured one of the lowest mortality rates in the country, but also saved millions of lives across India by supplying oxygen. We were the only state which provided free quality health care from testing to treatment for every citizen, in partnership with the private hospitals. 

 

As soon as the pandemic was coming under control, we restarted our projects and schemes with extra pace. One of our main focus areas in this term has been education. Today, in every panchayat of the state, you will find a transformed High School with smart classrooms, e-libraries, science labs, computer center, sports facilities etc. Probably, nowhere in the world such a large number of schools have been transformed in such a short time. As a next step, we have started the transformation of the colleges across the state. To inspire the youth to dream big and empower them to achieve, the Nua-O program and scholarships have been launched. This is a revolutionary step which has never been attempted in the world at this scale. We are committed to make the innovative Nabin Odisha Magic card as a passport to prosperity for our youth. 

To further empower our youth, modern and latest skill initiatives from across the world are now incubated in Odisha. Skilled in Odisha is now a recognised brand. Swayam is our youth empowerment scheme to provide Rs 1 lakh loan at zero interest rate to the unemployed youth to start their entrepreneurship journey. 

Modern sports facilities are being set up across the state. The World's Largest Seated Hockey Stadium, created in 15 months, in Rourkela is a case study in project management. Odisha has become the Sports capital of India. We truly believe Sports for youth and youth for the future.

In women’s empowerment, our Mission Shakti members have set a unique example in the country. Fuelled by zero interest loans upto 10 lakh , SHGs are fast converting to SMEs  in every sector. Rs. 40,000 cr bank linkage has been provided to SHGs in the last 5 years with Rs 15,000 cr in this financial year alone. To provide identity and recognition to our Mission Shakti members, our Government has provided uniforms to all 70 lakh members with blazers to the leaders, uniforms to all community support staff and enhanced remuneration. Their selfless work and dedicated leadership during Covid and natural disasters has shown that Mission Shakti Women are strong partners in the transformation story of Odisha. 

We have made significant strides in providing health care services in the state. The near universal coverage under the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana has provided complete assurance for the poor and middle class to access quality medical services in top private hospitals in a dignified manner across the country. Today we are spending Rs 3500 cr every year under BSKY. This money would have gone from the pockets of our people leading to suffering, harassment and poverty. The Health infrastructure has also undergone a massive transformation with modern hospitals and medical colleges. Odisha has now become a doctor surplus state which has improved the health services even in the remote areas. Large scale recruitment of doctors and para medical personnel has strengthened our health services. The large fleet of 108 Ambulance services in Odisha is among the fastest response units in the country. Ama hospitals will upgrade the infrastructure and services in all the 1858 hospitals across the state from PHC to District hospital. In the first phase, 149 hospitals have been upgraded this year and the rest will be completed in a time bound manner. 

 

Transformational initiatives have been making a visible impact across the sectors. The Lower Suktel project in Balangir is a prime example of team work and commitment to resolve complicated issues within a time frame. Gangadhar Meher Lift irrigation Project has set new benchmarks in using technology and timely execution. Irrigation infrastructure will further improve the lives of our farmers with Kalia assistance assured to poor and marginal farmers. Farmers are the backbone of the state and improved irrigation and better technology affects their living standards. 

“For our tribal brothers and sisters, Special Development Councils have been formed in 175 blocks with over more than 400 cr allocation. This is a movement with protection and preservation of tribal identity as the main theme,” he said. 

Odisha is the only state with an initiative called LABHA which assures Minimum support Price for Minor Forest Produce collected by tribals. This assures sustainable incomes in a dignified manner without harassment.

To further protect tribal languages an initiative to have Multi lingual teaching in 21 tribal languages of Odisha was created and teacher posts filled up. 

For minorities, funds have been sanctioned for educational establishments and religious institutions. Protection of minorities is fundamental to our inclusive culture and our Government is committed to it. 

Connectivity has been the top priority of Government in the last 5 years. Laccmi buses have transformed rural connectivity especially for students and women and farmers. We have direct flights to Dubai, Bangkok and Singapore now.  Top class Bus stations with citizen amenities have come up in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and other major towns. Biju Expressway has become a reality across the districts of Western Odisha. Once a remote district, Malkangiri has an airport now. 

Odisha is among the few states with the sharpest drop in multidimensional poverty in the last five years. We are among the fastest developing economies in the country. In spite of the large number of people oriented schemes, Odisha has been rated as the best in fiscal management, due to our prudent fiscal practices and major revenue generation efforts through transparent mineral auction process and increasing industrial growth. To ensure last mile connectivity the AMA bank scheme has been initiated. 4373 unbanked GPs of the State will be covered with AMA Banks to ensure financial inclusion to the last point. So far 2750 AMA banks have been set up across the state. 

Odisha is destined to be one of the largest steel and aluminium production centres in the world with major investments from companies like AMNS, Tata Steel, JSW etc. We are diversifying into other sectors and even emerging as a major IT destination with the recent opening of offices by IBM, Cognizant, Accenture etc. Odisha will be the economic powerhouse of Eastern India, as it has risen to No 2 position in attracting Manufacturing investment in the country. 

While we embrace modernity, we are also strongly rooted in our heritage. Odisha is the Land that gave Jagannath Culture to the world.   A culture that is based on universal love, service and equality . It is based on inclusiveness and embraces everyone irrespective of caste and community. The identity of Odisha is linked to Jagannath culture, to its language and its heritage. With the blessings of Mahaprabhu, we have been able to complete the Shree Mandir Parikrama project inspite of great challenges. Not only Srimandir , but thousands of Jagannath temples have been taken up across the state for preservation and creation   of amenities for the devotees. The Maa Samalei project has been a landmark project in Sambalpur. For promotion of Odia language, the Biswa Odia Bhasa Sammelini was held for the first time. This had never happened in the history of Odisha. Focussing on Bhasa hi Bhavishyat , the three day conference led to many important decisions being tabled in the Assembly. Decisions that will help promote our language which our government is committed to implement. For preservation and promotion of our culture, all our important heritage centres have been taken up . As a mark of respect and recognition for the baraputras of Odisha , the areas associated with them , from north to south and east to west will continue to be developed and protected. Our identity is our strength and we shall continue to work for its preservation and promotion. 

Together with strengthening our roots New Odisha will also firm up her wings to scale the horizon. The future of Odisha is bright. We are going to celebrate the centenary of Odisha state in 2036 and by then we want Odisha to be number one in the country in every field. 

The coming decade will be the decade of the youth. Our entire focus will be towards providing the best of educational and employment opportunities to the aspiring youth and empowering them to achieve their dreams. The youth of the state will build New Odisha - a state which will set benchmarks in every sector and bring prosperity to its people. 

In a few months, the people of Odisha are going to create a new record in the political history of this country. I always feel profoundly blessed and humbled by the intense faith of the people which also inspires me to work harder. The next 10 years will be decisive for Odisha’s future. We will herald an empowered Odisha – modern, dynamic and responsive - primarily for our youth …. Also for Our Women and Children, Entrepreneurs, Farmers and Tribals. 

We will usher in an Odisha with Secure Roots and Powerful wings. With all your blessings, the Juggernaut rolls on, the Chief Minister concluded.

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