EXCERPTS FROM REPUBLIC DAY ADDRESS

Ever since  the dawn of Independence, India has fostered friendly relations with foreign nations. So also is our relation with neighbouring countries, based on the time-tested principles of mutual love and trust. Our Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi called at several nations signing pacts and ensuring support for our entry into the UN Security Council. Amid such winsome moves of diplomacy, the Pathankot episode comes as a rude shock which is a timely reminder and crucial warning that we have to be doubly vigilant and alert so as to thwart terrorist threats from both inside and out.

Ours is a pluralistic society that is at once multi-lingual, multireligious and multi-cultural. It is therefore imperative that we should attain inclusive growth, maintain communal harmony and sustain human dignity. We should also ensure transparency and accountability in governance at all levels.

With the State Government signing the agreement with Adani Group, the long-cherished Vizhinjam Seaport Project set sailed on 5th December. It is assured that the first Phase of the Rs.7,525 crore Project will be completed in thousand days while Shri Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, promised that the cabotage law will be relaxed soon. Another dream-project, the Kochi Metro Rail, is all set to take wings shortly. Cochin International Airport has emerged as the world’s first Green Airport while Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram has completed twenty-five fruitful years. Kerala was recently declared by our Vice-President of India as the first State to have attained total primary education in India. It was for this specific purpose, the Kerala Literacy Mission Authority started the novel project known as ‘Athulyam’ under the Panchayati Raj Institutions with funds allotted by the Central Government.

The State has already announced various initiatives on Swachh Bharat Mission and targeted to achieve full coverage of sanitation facilities by 31st March 2016. The State has also launched a massive 360 degree multimedia Information Education and Communication (IEC) programme ‘Freedom From Waste’ with a view to developing attitudinal changes among citizens and to create a new culture in managing waste. Another major initiative was the launch of the Chancellor’s Award aimed at nurturing healthy

for Transgenders, which provides fo r m o r e o p p o r t u n i ti e s fo r advancement of transgenders. Kerala has one more feather on its cap as IIT, one of the prestigious higher education institutions in the country, started off its academic orientation programme at a campus in Palakkad. In the Local Body elections, there was seldom any untoward incident, by and large, which speaks of the apparent maturity and peace-loving nature of the populace. Achievement of high level of human development indices with comparative low figures of per capita income had been the foundation of the well acclaimed “Kerala model of growth”. I think time has come for a true self introspection on the efficacy of this model of development. The apparent shift from the preventive care to the curative care in public health, the resurgence of diseases which were already controlled, threats posed by life style diseases and the expansion and modernization of infrastructure of Government hospitals etc. are areas of concern to be addressed by the State. Sustainability of agricultural operations and its modernization is one of the key parameters for the economic stability of any state. I express my serious concern for establishment of adequate and efficient administrative mechanism ensuring reasonable return for the farmers, who is exposed to all vagaries of the monsoon and exploitation by the middle man. I t i s n e e d l e s s t o h i g h l i g h t the importance of creation of an environment conducive for investment and conducting business operations in the State. In this context, it is imperative that reforms in the labour front commensurate with the economic reforms, are introduced, without loss of time. I have always felt that Kerala is a lovely land of limitless potential. Its people are intelligent, imaginative and industrious. However, we are yet to tap such rich human resources in full. The future beckons us all to rally together and move forward to build a new Kerala, and a new India, that is much more stable, stronger and prosperous.

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