Governor Surjit Singh Barnala's Speech to the first session of the interim Uttaranchal Assembly Session
Honorable Speaker and Members of the interim State Legislature of Uttaranchal,
On the occasion of the first session of this house, I extend warm congratulations on the creation of Uttaranchal, with good wishes for the New Year. This is a historic moment for the newly created Uttaranchal.At the outset I would wish to offer tributes to those persons who gave up their lives and bore other tribulations to establish the Uttaranchal state. The state can never forget their resolve and sacrifice in this mass movement.
My government has decided to give preference in government service to nearest successors of those who have died in connection with struggle for the Uttaranchal state. With the exception of some types of cases action to withdraw cases filed against members of the movement is proceeding quickly and will soon be completed.The time has now come for all to rise above party politics, class, caste, region or other interests and to work for the public aspirations behind the creation of the state, and I have every hope that you will all contribute in this process.Such occasions come but rarely when a new state comes into being and we should jointly seize the opportunity to establish a new developmental and administrative culture which is sensitive, people centred, participatory, fostering of democratic values, oriented towards decentralization and transparent. This is the occasion for every aspect of administration and its necessity, form and work style to be reviewed. In this task the advice of experts from every possible source will
need to be taken.
The background for the demand for the new state and its creation derives from the fact that this region of Uttar Pradesh demanded separate consideration on account of its specific situation, that laws, administrative structure, work style be developed keeping in mind the geographic environmental, and social conditions. Most of the area of thirteen districts of the state is hilly, and deprived of essential minimum
services. At the same time there are also areas where land is fertile and population density higher than in the hill region. A large part of state is covered with forest. It is necessary for government to develop polices which ensure both environmental protection and speedy economic process.
Since the creation of Uttaranchal has resulted from a division of the erstwhile Uttar Pradesh it is natural that we have received a legacy of an economic, financial and administrative structure. All government works need financing and staff. The state has come into being in an extremely harsh financial situation. In the current year against the total expected receipts of Rs. 2892 crores, the total expected expenditure is more than Rs. 4868 crores. Over November 2000 to March, 2001, against the expected receipts of Rs. 1294 crores, the expected expenditure is Rs. 2192 crores. In these difficult circumstances, it is even more necessary that our laws and work plans are made keeping limited resources in mind, and further that government expenditure is kept at a minimum. In this context we have to keep
the administrative structure small and to encourage non-government investment and initiative.
With regard to administrative structure and manpower it is the view of my government that in this state, in accordance with the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution, a decentralized administration based on Panchayati Raj will be established. This arrangement is appropriate to the local geographic and social conditions. Based on the principles of self-determination and good governance, my government will work towards creating model villages and self-sufficient people.
Uttaranchal has come into being at a time when it can derive full benefit from the current Information Technology (IT) based economic order. However this benefit can only be derived when the laws and requirements of this economic order are understood. For the development of an economic order, physical infrastructure facilities, a good communication system, power, water, transport, etc. are necessary. The second requirement is for a progressive, competent and people friendly administration. The third requirement is for security and a user-friendly legal system. The fourth requirement is for social services including housing, health, education, leisure and entertainment facilities.
From this point of view our state is in a good position compared to other states. We have a clean, unpolluted atmosphere and great natural beauty, which is suitable for today's knowledge based and IT based economic activity. Uttaranchal is a natural centre for the development of Information Technology, the software industry, Research and Development, hospitals and educational institutions. We already have several reputed educational and research centres. At the same time there are also good possibilities for tourism and pilgrimage related activities based on the natural beauty and various pilgrim spots. From the point of view of environment, there are adequate possibilities for horticulture. If clean environment is an attraction of Uttaranchal then it is obvious that the government should make every possible effort to preserve its purity and to maintain the ecological balance.
The development of infrastructure facilities and administrative reforms will encourage modern industrial activities and will also develop forestry, power, agriculture and horticulture. At the same time it is also necessary to encourage processing industries in these sectors. In the social sector, education, drinking water and health services are the priorities of my government.
In the districts there are 257 primary health centres 23 community health centres and 32 large hospitals including male and female hospitals, combined hospitals and 3 base hospitals. The provision of medical, helath and family welfare services at every gram sabha is among the priorities of my government. In order to reducethe shortage of medical personnel in rural and difficult areas, a proposal is under consideration to redeploy staff from allopathic, homeopathic, unani and ayurved hospitals through which medical service would become available in every case in neglected areas. In un-served areas arrangements are being made to co-ordinate with the integrated Child Development Services programme so that basic medical,
health and family welfare services could become available in distant rural areas through the services of aanganwari workers and public health workers. The implementation of the World Bank assisted U.P. Health Systems Development Project will be implemented in Uttaranchal through the establishment of a separate Project Management Unit. It is also proposed that non-clinical services in government hospitals be provided through private sector assistance. To ensure transparency, in every hospital the availability of the medicines will be prominently displayed on boards.
Drinking water, as Honorable Members are well aware, is a specific requirement of Uttaranchal. The problems of drinking water supply here are completely different from those in the plains. My government regards the continuous supply of the minimum requirement of drinking water to every village as a programme of the highest priority. Suitable organisational arrangements to establish effective co-ordination between construction and maintenance organisations and to bring about basic changes in this direction are under consideration. Based on the encouraging results of the Rural Water and Environmental Sanitation Programme, and based on experience gained, a decision to frame a state policy is under consideration. Several Honorable Members are personally aware of the encouraging results of the SWAJAL programme in rural areas. Where on the one hand it is proposed to extend coverage in the second phase of the programme to more difficult villages, on the other hand it is also proposed that policy changes be made to increase the participation of beneficiaries in other state sponsored schemes. Under the rural drinking water supply programme, there is a target of 350 hamlets in the current
financial year. It is proposed that the remaining unserved villages will be soon covered. Under the urban drinking water supply programme drinking water
arrangements in 22 towns will be strengthened and work on water and sewerage
programmes in 6 towns will be completed in the current year.
Universal primary education is a priority of my government and by making education compulsory for all children in the state between the ages of 6 to 14, there is a goal of reaching education facilities to all regions. Every school will have an arrangement for a minimum of two teachers and vacant posts will be filled by the alternative arrangement of the Shiksha Mitra. In addition to making IT an integral part of secondary education, military science will also be included. Vacant posts in the secondary school system will be filled through the Shiksha Bandhu system. Promotion posts in primary and secondary education will soon be filled through departmental promotions. Courses of education in technical and higher education will be reviewed and education will be made employment oriented. Education will be given a new focus through the inclusion of biotechnology, information technology, tourism management, hospitality management and study of foreign languages. In order to develop Uttaranchal as a "Shiksha Vihar", in addition to drawing on existing institutions, the establishment of new institutions will be
encouraged so that the state becomes a centre for intellectuals, and social and economic progress takes place.
My government has taken an important decision to bring about change in the
administrative structure. My government will reorganise all divisional/regional offices, review posts in the secretariat, create directorates where necessary and remove the shortage in the staff posted in the new districts created a few years ago. In this process where on the one hand the shortage of staff will be reduced in the secretariat, offices of heads of departments and new districts, on the other hand the likely expenditure on these arrangements will not increase. No serving officers and employees will be relieved from service in this important administrative
restructuring; however opportunities will be provided for them to develop the new skills and expertise necessary for this restructuring, so that every government employee can contribute to the establishment of the new state.
Since the creation of the state my government has made every possible effort
to fulfil public expectations from the new state by giving tangible shape with skill and competence to new laws and programmes. I have full hope that very soon after the transition following the reorganisation; my government will speedily assume its responsibilities. Towards this end, my government will continue to rely for some time on your patience and cooperation.
My government has also initiated action for the selection of an appropriate site for the permanent capital of the state. A single member commission has been set up for this purpose. It is expected that the recommendation of the commission would become available in six month's time. At the time when Dehradun was chosen as the temporary capital of the new state, the main problem was with regard to the availability of those buildings, which are necessary for any state capital. In the establishment of the state headquarters, the available public buildings in Dehradun have been used. My government will try to remove those shortcomings which Honorable Members my experience with regard to the desired facilities in the Vidhan Sabha Bhawan.
The construction of the State Secretariat, Vidhan Sabha Bhawan, Raj Niwas,
Chief Minister's Residence etc. have been completed in the first phase. I would like to compliment the officers for the manner in which the construction work was completed in an extremely short period time, in the given circumstance, and at a place like Dehradun. Work is proceeding speedily towards provision of minimum requirements in these buildings and with their completion all the work in the capital would be fully completed. The residential problem has been resolved to a considerable extent and my government is working towards new solutions to solve the housing problem in the temporary capital at a minimum cost. Along with the establishment of the capital, several organisations have begun to set up their establishments/regional offices in the state headquarters. My government will render every possible assistance in the setting up these establishment/regional offices.
Following the creation of the state and the fixation of the physical boundaries of the successor states, my government has had to face several immediate challenges. These challenges were made more difficult because at that time a sufficient number of officers/staff had not joined. These problems included trade tax, paddy purchase and supply, concessions announced by Uttar Pradesh regarding cane purchase, relief on tax on potash and phospatic fertilizer, and cane related problem with sugar mills.
Despite these problems my government has resolved these issues with the co-operation of several affected institutions and groups in addition to the government of Uttar Pradesh. My government has taken immediate policy decisions keeping in
mind the interests of farmers, the business sector and other groups, and the situation in almost all areas is now normal. On the remaining issues my government is separately taking a quick decision. I am happy that on all these issues my government has played an extremely sensitive role. In order to carry out at a desired pace, those provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2000, which are beneficial to Uttaranchal, my government has established an office of a full time Reorganisation Commissioner in Lucknow who is continually maintaining co-ordination and contact between different departments in Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal. In every department references received through the office of the Reorganisation Commissioner are being disposed of quickly. In the same manner Uttaranchal has established the office of a Resident Commissioner in Delhi.
My government's main objective is that we obtain, at the highest priority, the financial share that Uttaranchal is to receive under the Act and that the agreement of the government of Uttar Pradesh be obtained without delay on those matters on which agreement with the government of Uttar Pradesh is possible, and that wherever possible the necessity be avoided for the central government to intervene in any manner between two states.