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Job promises, new schemes to RSS founder’s memorial & defence of federalism: CMs’ I-Day speeches

While Nitish Kumar promised to create 20 lakh new jobs in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced a memorial in honour of RSS founder KB Hedgewar.

(Clockwise) Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, and Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao.

Chief ministers across the country used their Independence Day speeches to highlight their governments’ achievements and announce new schemes. While Nitish Kumar promised to create 20 lakh new jobs in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced a memorial in honour of RSS founder KB Hedgewar, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan spoke of the importance of federalism for the country’s existence and KCR waded into the freebies debate and laid into the BJP.

Here is a look at what some of them said:

Maharashtra

Eknath Shinde said the state had begun its journey to becoming a leader of the country and added that his government had not stayed any public welfare scheme. After hoisting the Tricolor at the state secretariat, Mantralaya, Shinde said the Irrigation Department was working on developing a scientific program to remove silt and sludge from rivers and widen and deepen them.

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The CM said his government was committed to providing reservation benefits to Other Backward Class (OBC), Maratha, and Dhangar communities. Among his other announcements were support for entrepreneurs to boost start-ups, a new education policy, and the “Aamche Guruji (Our teacher)” initiative as part of which photos of class teachers will be displayed in classrooms. Shinde also said the first phase of the Nagpur-Mumbai super expressway would be inaugurated soon.

Bihar

The focus of Nitish Kumar’s Independence Day speech at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan was on jobs. Kumar promised that the new Janata Dal (United)-Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) government would create up to 20 lakh jobs within and outside the government.

Kumar referred to his deputy and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, who had promised 10 lakh jobs during the 2020 Bihar election campaign when he was in the Opposition. Tejashwi Yadav called it a “historic announcement”.

West Bengal

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Mamata Banerjee, in a series of tweets, said she wants to build a nation where no one goes hungry, where no woman feels unsafe and where no oppressive forces divide people. She also said that Indians must uphold the dignity of the country’s democratic values.

The CM unfurled the Tricolour at the main function in Kolkata’s Red Road area.

Gujarat

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Bhupendra Patel announced the increase in eligibility criteria of beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act from Rs 10,000 per month income to Rs 15,000 per month. He also announced one kilogram of chana (gram) will be provided to each NFSA card holder in the state at concessional rates. Patel made the announcements at a state-level Independence day event at Modasa in the largely tribal district of Aravalli.

Among his other announcements were: electric buses on iconic routes such as Dwarka, Ambaji, and the Statue of Unity to promote green energy; 1,200 new public buses at a cost of Rs 367 crore; 50 ATMs at as many bus stations in the state; and a 50-bed hospital equipped with a trauma centre in Narmada district’s Ektanagar at a cost of Rs 3 crore.

Punjab

Bhagwant Mann in his speech expressed concern about the state’s youth immigrating to other countries in droves because of unemployment in the country.  Urging youngsters to stay put in Punjab, the CM promised their parents that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government would “open new medical colleges, schools and stadiums in Punjab so that your children get all the opportunities here”.

Mann hoisted the Tricolour at the Guru Nanak Dev Stadium in Ludhiana.

Haryana

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Manohar Lal Khattar spoke of the public welfare measures taken by his government such as Antodaya Melas “to provide employment to people” and the Parivar Pehchan Patra through which government scheme benefits are provided to people. He said the state had ensured farmers’ payments were cleared within 72 hours of procurement of crops, and added, “Haryana is the first state in the country to provide MSP on 14 crops.”

Khattar, who hoisted the national flag in Panipat’s Samalkha town, also mentioned his administration’s attempts to strengthen educational and health infrastructure. “Our aim is to open a medical college in each of the 22 districts of the State. We have already established a cancer-care centre at Ambala and have connected Ayurveda with Ayushman Bharat,” the CM added.

Himachal Pradesh

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Jairam Thakur highlighted the state’s progress on several parameters, saying the literacy rate had gone up from 4 per cent to 83 per cent in the last 75 years and the state was ahead of Kerala at present. When HP was formed, the per capita income was Rs 240 and it had now increased to more than Rs 2 lakh, the CM said. The road network increased from 288 km to 40,000 km while the number of educational institutions increased from 301 to 16,124.

Thakur announced that the first instalment of arrears would be handed out, which will benefit 2.25 lakh employees and 1.9 lakh pensioners.

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Uttar Pradesh

Yogi Adityanath, in his speech, said “service, security and good governance” were his government’s priorities. He said the UP administration was working on a plan to develop Ayodhya, the birthplace of Hindu deity Ram, along the lines of the  “divine Kashi Vishwanath Dham”. Work was also going on for the overall development of other religious places such as Braj Bhumi and Naimisharanya. The government was also trying to preserve forts in Bundelkhand, Adityanath said.

Madhya Pradesh

Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced that a memorial of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) founder KB Hedgewar would be built in Balaghat district’s Rampayli for his contribution to “awakening the spirit of swaraj and the freedom struggle”. Another memorial called the “Veer Bharat Smarak” would be built in Bhopal to showcase the lifestyle of freedom fighters and revolutionaries from the state.

Chouhan, who hoisted the Tricolour at Bhopal’s Motilal Nehru Stadium, said that under the Mukhya Mantri Bhu-Adhikar Yojana a piece of land for housing would be provided to residents of the state and wherever necessary high-rises will be provided to the poor. “Swaraj Colonies” would be developed on about 21,000 acres of land “freed from the mafia”, Chouhan said, adding that the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act would be implemented by September 18 for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities.

Chhattisgarh

Bhupesh Baghel on Monday announced that 422 government schools would be converted into Swami Atmanand schools and all higher and higher secondary schools in Dantewada, which has an active Maoist presence, would be turned into schools of excellence under the Swami Atmanand Yojana.

The CM, who unfurled the Tricolour at the Police Parade Ground in Raipur, also said that rural industrial parks would be launched on October 2 with the focus on strengthening the rural economy by improving the financial condition of villagers. Highlighting steps taken for the tribal welfare, Baghel said 1,275 cases against tribals pending in courts were withdrawn, resulting in acquittal, and rules under the PESA Act were recently enacted in the state. Baghel said his government had set up cow shelters in villages under its flagship Narva Garva Ghurva Bari scheme, and was procuring cow dung at Rs 2 per kg and cow urine at Rs 4 per litre under the Godhan Nyay Yojna.

Assam

Himanta Biswa Sarma said that “exuberant celebrations and display of love for the Tiranga” were a response to militant groups’ call to “boycott” Independence Day celebrations. The CM announced that the government had decided to withdraw one lakh minor cases, including those related to social media posts, registered before midnight of August 14 to lessen the “burden on the lower judiciary”.

Sarma also spoke of the success of his government’s schemes such as Mission Basundhara (updating of land records), Mission Bhumiputra (digitisation of caste certificates), Mission Sadbhavana (disposal of pending files in the state secretariat) and Orunudoi (monthly assistance to women members of marginalised families). He added that Rs 10,000 crore had been earmarked to improve infrastructure in all government-run High and higher secondary schools.

Tripura

Manik Saha said Tripura was at the forefront in implementing schemes with the aim of achieving Sustainable Development Goals and said his government was filling up vacant posts, providing benefits to farmers under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, and the Mukhyamantri Fasal Bima Yojana.

Saha, who hoisted the Tricolour at the Assam Rifles ground in Agartala, said Tripura had made significant progress in milk, egg, and meat production and had inched closer to self-sufficiency in the production of goods. He also highlighted his government’s success in promoting industries through the Tripura Industries Facilitation Act, 2018, and said a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Sabroom had opened new avenues of international export and import trade, taking advantage of Chittagong port in Bangladesh. The CM said a host of schemes such as Swadesh Darshan and Prasad had propelled revenue generation through the tourism sector.

Odisha

Naveen Patnaik urged people to give their time for nation-building so that a major transformation could be achieved in the lead-up to the centenary of Indian Independence.

At the Independence Day function at the Exhibition Ground in Bhubaneswar, the CM said that among the major achievements of the state were turning food surplus, becoming a role model in disaster management and turning into a sports hub. He said education was the priority of his government and the school transformation programme was part of his government’s commitment to providing quality education.

Tamil Nadu

MK Stalin, in his speech, said the freedom struggle did not begin in 1857 but rather much earlier. “For some, the freedom struggle began only with the sepoy mutiny in 1857, but Tamils had started it long before that.”

He announced a museum in Chennai that will document Tamil Nadu’s 260-year contribution to India’s freedom struggle as well as an increase in the government’s pension for freedom fighters from Rs 18,000 to Rs 20,000. The DMK chief cited a number of policies and MoUs his administration had signed, saying that the “free bus pass scheme for women has achieved greater participation of women in society”.

Karnataka

Basavaraj Bommai announced a new scheme to provide employment to one family member of soldiers martyred in the line of duty. Among other new initiatives, the CM said Rs 250 crores would be allocated for a clean and hygienic environment in government schools and colleges for increasing toilet coverage, and a loan subsidy of Rs 50,000 would be given to backward class and SC artisans.

The “Raitha Vidya Nidhi” scheme to provide scholarships for farmers’ children to pursue higher education will be extended to landless agricultural labourers. Bommai also said that more than 4,000 “new Anganwadis will be opened based on requirements with a special focus on dwellings of landless labourers”.

After drawing flak from the Congress for omitting the name of Jawaharlal Nehru from a list of freedom fighters in publicity material to mark Independence Day, Bommai mentioned India’s first PM as a key contributor to the freedom struggle.

Kerala

Pinarayi Vijayan said only by retaining federal principles “we can realise freedom fighters’ dream as a country that incorporates its rich diversity”. He said federalism was a vital factor in the country’s existence.

After hoisting the national flag at the central stadium in Thiruvananthapuram, the CM said his government was going ahead with programmes to bridge the digital divide, eradicate extreme poverty, and address homelessness. The IT and start-up sectors were on the path of progress, he added. Vijayan said the Rebuild Kerala initiative, launched after the devastating floods of 2018, would make Kerala a nature-friendly state.

Telangana

K Chandrasekhar Rao, popularly known as KCR, tore into the ruling BJP at the Centre over the freebies debate, alleging it was “insulting” to dub welfare schemes as freebies. Rao alleged that the BJP government was hurting federal values, weakening states financially and also centralising powers.

The CM, who highlighted numerous welfare schemes and progress achieved in Telangana during the eight years of his rule, said the state’s revenue rose from Rs 62,000 crore in 2014-’15 to Rs 1.84 lakh crore by 2021.

Goa

Pramod Sawant said the state had shown its special place in Indian polity as different religions live there in harmony in the state following a Uniform Civil Code. He said the state was in line with “One nation, one emotion, one identity”.

Sawant said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would inaugurate the Mopa International Airport in north Goa in the coming months. The CM, who addressed the state from the Old Secretariat in Panaji, said it was his government’s endeavour to ensure every scheme of the central government and the state government reached the last beneficiary and the “Swayampurna Goa 2.0” mission was being carried out with that in mind. He said under the Centre’s Gati Shakti mission, a master plan had been prepared for Goa to improve connectivity by road, rail, air and waterways.

(With inputs from ENS Mumbai, Patna, Gandhinagar, Chandigarh, Shimla, Lucknow, Bhopal, Raipur, Guwahati, Agartala, Chennai, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram & Panaji, and PTI)

First published on: 15-08-2022 at 10:36:32 pm
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