Namaskar! Khulumakha! Jai Maa Tripura Sundari!
Joining us in the program are Chief Minister of Tripura Shri Biplab Deb ji, my colleagues in the Union Cabinet Shri Giriraj Singh ji and Smt. Pratima Bhoumik ji, Deputy Chief Minister of Tripura Shri Jishnu Dev Varma ji, along with all MPs, MLAs and members of local bodies, Panchayats, and my zealous, hardworking dear brothers and sisters and my young friends.
By talking to my friends from Tripura, my confidence has increased further. Whosoever I could talk to, I felt good. This glow of development, this self-confidence of one’s own home and a dignified life will take Tripura and the entire Northeast to great heights. We can imagine the development of Tripura with a new approach in the coming days.
Whenever there is any big change in our life or we achieve some success, it naturally gives us enthusiasm and a new energy. But if the success and a new ray of hope emerges after a long wait and years of darkness, then the brightness of the ray increases manifold. This brightness is glowing continuously since we got an opportunity to work together with Biplab Deb ji. Today our Tripura and the entire Northeast is witnessing such a change.
Today the first installment under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana has given a new impetus to the dreams of Tripura. I heartily congratulate all the people of Tripura, including about 1.5 lakh families who got the first installment. I also congratulate Chief Minister Biplab Deb ji and his government for changing the governance culture and the old attitude in such a short span of time. The same youthful zeal and energy is visible in the entire Tripura with which Biplab Deb ji is working.
I remember people saying till four-five years ago that there is a system rampant in Tripura for decades and change is not possible here. But when Tripura decided to make a change, it completely changed the old approach that had blocked the development of Tripura. Now there is no place for that approach in Tripura which keeps Tripura poor and denies amenities to the people of Tripura.
Now the double engine government is engaged in the development of the state with full force and sincerity. Now both Agartala and Delhi make policies together and work hard for the development of Tripura. In the last four years, around 50,000 families in the villages of Tripura have been given pucca houses under the PM Awas Yojana. About 1.60 lakh new houses have been approved. Out of the houses approved, the first installment has also been released to about 1.5 lakh families today. And that too simultaneously, at the press of a button!
This temperament and speed of Tripura was also seen in our fight against Corona. Tripura was the first to set the record for 100% vaccination of people above 45 years of age. And now, Tripura is close to 100% vaccination of the entire population above the age of 18 years.
Earlier our rivers from the northern and western parts of the country used to come to the east, but the Ganges of development would stop before reaching here. The overall development of the country was seen piecemeal, viewed through a political lens. Therefore, our Northeast felt neglected. But today the development of the country is seen with the spirit of 'Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat'. Development is now considered synonymous with the unity and integrity of the country.
Earlier policies were made in closed rooms of Delhi, and there was an attempt not to fit the Northeast into them. This gives rise to isolation. Therefore, the country has embarked on a new thinking and approach in the last seven years. Now policies are made not only according to Delhi, but according to the needs of the states.
Take for example, the Prime Minister's Awas Yojana. Certain rules regarding pucca houses were becoming a hindrance for lakhs of families of Tripura. But the government realized the geographical conditions of Tripura, changed the rules accordingly and made necessary policies. As a result, thousands of new families are getting the benefit of this scheme. This sensitivity is very important for development. We also paid attention to the environment and living conditions here for the new houses. We also increased the size of the houses and added new facilities to them.
I tell the country time and again about the strength of the PM Awas Yojana. And I would certainly like to mention this to the place which is blessed by Tripura Sundari. For centuries, there were no houses or properties in the name of women because of the age-old thinking. The PM Awas Yojana has also endeavored to change this thinking too. It is our sisters, daughters and mothers who are largely getting the ownership rights of the houses built under this scheme. They are owners in legal papers as well. Moreover, our sisters and daughters are benefiting a lot as gas, electricity and water connections are also being provided to houses built under the PM Awas Yojana.
The confident women power of India has a huge contribution in the development of India. A huge symbol of this women power is the women’s Self Help Groups. We have connected the Self Help Groups sisters to the banking system through Jan Dhan accounts. Loans without guarantee to them have also been increased substantially. Where earlier every Self Help Group used to get loans up to Rs 10 lakh without guarantee, now this amount has been doubled to Rs. 20 lakh.
I am happy that the Tripura government has also been working with full force to empower women. In the five years of the government that was here earlier… I am talking about the government before Biplab Deb ji came… only 4,000 women Self Help Groups were there in Tripura. Whereas more than 26,000 new women Self Help Groups have been created after the formation of the double engine government in 2018. Women associated with these Self Help Groups are engaged in making agricultural, bamboo and handloom products. The Tripura government is providing them financial help and is continuously empowering them.
I congratulate Tripura for undertaking massive changes and creating new systems in a very short time. Earlier nothing moved without commission and corruption, but today the benefits of government schemes are directly reaching your accounts through DBT. Earlier, the common man had to make rounds of government offices for each and every work, but now the government itself comes to you to provide all the services and facilities.
Earlier, government employees used to worry about getting salary on time, but now they are getting the benefit of the 7th Pay Commission. Earlier, farmers here had to worry about selling their crops, but now the crop has been procured from the farmers at MSP for the first time in Tripura. It is the same Tripura, the same people and the same potential, but earlier the industry was afraid to come here because of the strike culture, while now Tripura's exports have increased almost five times.
Most of those who are benefiting from the double engine government in Tripura are poor, downtrodden, backward and especially brothers and sisters of our tribal society. Our Northeast is also the center of the oldest and richest tribal cultures of the country. In the history of independence, the tribal fighters of our Northeast and our tribal fighters of the country have also sacrificed their lives for the country. To honor this tradition, the country is working relentlessly to carry forward this legacy.
The country has taken another big decision during the Amrit Mahoatsav of Independence. Now the birth anniversary of Bhagwan Birsa Munda on November 15 will be celebrated as Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas. That is, tomorrow will be celebrated as Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas across the country and it will be forever. It will not only be a day to pay homage to our tribal heritage, but also to build a harmonious society. It will also become a symbol of the country's resolve. As 15th August has a special importance in our entire freedom struggle, 26th January has a special significance in our tradition of democratic values, Ram Navami is important in our cultural traditions and so is Krishna Ashtami in our lives; October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, is observed as a non-violence day, the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on 31st October is associated with the message of unity of the country, similarly November 15 will be celebrated as Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas with enthusiasm for the tribes of the country who have and want to contribute for the development and prosperity of the country.
This Amrit Mahotsav of freedom cannot be complete without the colors and culture of the Northeast. Therefore, when the country will complete hundred years of independence in 2047, the Northeast has to make a huge contribution to the development and the leadership of the country.
Today development in the Northeast is being accelerated in every direction, in every dimension. There are so many possibilities related to nature and tourism, there are ways to connect India with South Asia, there are immense business opportunities, but all these possibilities will be realized when there will be modern infrastructure and better connectivity.
Whatever was missing in this direction in the last few decades is being completed rapidly today. Today rail connectivity and new rail routes are being built in the Northeast. Similarly, new highways, wide roads and bridges are being built in the areas which were previously considered inaccessible. Here in Tripura also, a lot of work has been done for new railway lines and national highways. This modern infrastructure will reshape the progress and identity of the Northeast in the future.
I am sure that these resolutions and changes in the Northeast will take the country to a new height in the near future.
It also gives me immense pride and pleasure when a small state takes such a big leap. I convey my best wishes to all the beneficiaries, to the citizens of Tripura, to all my dear brothers and sisters of the Northeast. Heartfelt congratulations to all of you.