Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday said that in spite of all the challenges, the State Government was quite confident that it will emerge victorious in time of crisis with the cooperation of the people of the state, and continue to carry forward the good work for the transformation of the State.
Addressing the Council of Ministers on the occasion of the second anniversary of his fifth term here he said that the people of Odisha have blessed the government with 5th term and we have been working very hard to live up to the expectations and fulfill all our commitments.
“In this term we have completed two challenging years in pursuit of realizing the dreams of Biju Babu and fulfilling our commitments to the people of Odisha,” Mr.Patnaik said.
The Pandemic has created a unique situation where the lives and livelihoods of people are at stake, he said adding that even before the start of the 5th term of this Government, the Government had to face the challenge of Cyclone Fani in May 2019.
“Since then over the last two years we have been continuously dealing with the devastating impact of the cyclones and the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s a period of unprecedented crisis and we are trying our best to protect our people,” Patnaik said.
Odisha’s model of disaster management is now recognized the world over for its efficiency and humane approach, he asserted and said climate change has created new challenges for humanity.
“In Odisha, we have been witnessing an increasing trend of cyclones of greater intensity,” he said.
“Since March 2020, a new dimension in our experience of disasters has been added – the Covid-19 pandemic. Globally, most countries have been severely affected by this pandemic in multiple waves and are yet to come to terms with the situation. Return to normalcy is still a challenge. Nobody is able to predict how many more variants or waves of infection humanity will have to face before we are able to successfully control the virus. It’s a reality we all have to accept and be prepared,” Mr.Patnaik said.
The Chief Minister said that the State has been affected by two waves of infection so far and the government has been able to ensure that all the healthcare systems are in place.
“We are not overwhelmed by the spread of the infection. Our government has been taking proactive steps to ensure that we are always ahead of the curve and in control of the situation,” the Chief Minister said.
While other states had to unfortunately grapple with oxygen shortages, Odisha has been able to successfully manage the oxygen logistics for our hospitals and we have even provided oxygen to other states, saving many precious lives, Mr.Patnaik said.
“However, we have a long way to go in Covid management. We are now focused on vaccination and mobilizing all possible resources to vaccinate and protect our people at the earliest,” he said.
Mr.Patnaik said one of the greatest strengths of the State has been the community involvement at all levels and cooperation of the people in times of crisis.
“Our Government is grateful to the people of Odisha for their continued cooperation and unconditional support to the efforts of the administration in dealing with one crisis after another. Their appreciation of the good works of the administration has been a constant motivation for our government in times of distress like cyclones and the pandemic,” he said.
“We have to continue to learn to deal with disasters and keep improving our systems and adapt to the impact of the climatic changes,” he said and added that since it’s a matter of survival for the society and the Government will leave no stone unturned to make the State strong and capable in this regard.
Mr.Patnaik said today, the Council of Ministers passed the resolution to make disaster and pandemic preparedness a part of the curriculum of the schools and colleges and every student, elected representative, government official, Mission Sakti Members, and so on will be trained in disaster and pandemic preparedness.
“This is a historic step and will enable and empower our future generations to withstand the vagaries of nature whether its biological or climatic. Odisha will stand out in saving peoples’ lives. It flows from our realisation that community preparedness is key to disaster management,” the Chief Minister said.
Mr.Patnaik said while the government has had to deal with crisis after crisis, we have not lost sight of the commitments we made to the people of Odisha in the last elections.
“Our major focus in this term has been the principles of 5T- Transparency, Technology, Team work, Time and Transformation. Every department has adopted a transformative agenda and is working relentlessly towards achieving the goals,” he said.
To connect directly to the citizen, we had started the ‘Mo Sarkar’ feedback system, he said adding that over a period of time, there have been visible changes in the attitude and behavior of the government servants at all levels towards the citizens.
There have been sincere efforts for systemic and process-based changes to make administration and service delivery more citizen-friendly and technology oriented, he asserted.
Giving details of the Government’s initiatives for boosting healthcare system he said, “We are having a special focus on the development of education and health. Massive investment of over Rs 8500 crores in development of healthcare infrastructure across the State is under progress. The SCB Medical College and Hospital will be developed as a great institution with an investment of Rs 3500 crores. More than 786 doctors and 5137 paramedics have been recruited in the last one year alone.”
Education is the key to unravel the full potential of our children and therefore, the transformation of the high schools has been a main agenda and more than 1000 schools have been taken up in the first phase this year, the Chief Minister said.
“To prepare our youth for the global job market, we have started the World Skill Center as part of our “Skilled in Odisha” program. Our youth will be provided quality skills in every sector so that they can compete with the best in the world. Odisha continues to be a favorite investment destination. Inspite of covid situation we attracted some of the biggest investments in the country,” he added.
Asserting that the State Government continues to focus on sports development in the State, he said more than Rs 1000 crores worth sports development projects have been taken up, including India’s largest Hockey Stadium in Rourkela.
Agriculture and farmers’ development is the keystone of our State’s development, the Chief Minister said.
“We have kept our promises related to the Kalia Scheme by transferring more than Rs 6118 crores to the farmers accounts in last one year. With renewed vigour, our government has given strict timelines to complete the irrigation projects. The Upper Indravati Lift irrigation project and Lower Indravati project have been inaugurated this year,” he said.
Towards women’s empowerment, we have been supporting the Mission shakti groups across the State, Patnaik said.
“In a pioneering move, the Department of Mission Shakti has been created. To enhance financial empowerment, it was decided that Government will proactively involve the Mission Shakti groups in various government activities worth Rs 5000 crore in five years,” the Chief Minister said.
“To preserve the cultural heritage of our great State, we have launched various projects for heritage conservation across the state in Puri, Konark, Samaleswari Temple, Harishankar-Nrusinganath temple etc,” Mr.Patnaik added.
“We continue to strengthen our Panchayati Raj institutions and Urban local bodies in our state by transfer of Rs 11287 crore directly from the Finance Commission grants over last two years,” the Chief Minister added.