As I begin, I take this opportunity to immensely thank the people of Odisha,
for their remarkable collective spirit with which they have stood up over the past
two years of the Pandemic in spite of loss at the personal, professional and
livelihood front. With the wholehearted support and cooperation of the people of Odisha, through our timely interventions and our preparedness, we were able to contain the spread of the Pandemic and save invaluable human lives. It was a war the whole world was fighting against, and the courage, determination in this war was indeed heroic.
At this juncture of the Pandemic, I am sure we are in the right path, taking timely steps to vaccinate our people in the eligible age group, following appropriate COVID protocol to stay safe, and preventing the spread of the virus. For us, every life is precious. We have reached a stage, where everyone can be provided with equitable, affordable and qualitative healthcare services. People of Odisha have started reposing greater trust and faith in our public healthcare systems. 96.5 lakh families have been issued BSKY smart cards covering a population of 3.5 Crore. On an average, about 1.5 lakh beneficiaries avail cashless services daily in Government and empanelled private hospitals.
Recovery of the economy from the impact of the pandemic was a huge challenge, and we have met this challenge with resolve and we have been able to successfully reboot our economy. Over the last 10 years, Odisha has grown at an average rate of 6.5% against national average of 5.3%. During 2020-21 fiscal due to slow down, Odisha‟s economy contracted by 5.3% compared to 7.3% contraction in national economy and that would mean, comparatively we are less affected. As per advance estimates for 2021-22, Odisha registered 10.1% growth compared to 8.8% growth in National Economy. At this juncture, I am glad to point out that we are the only State to be fully FRBM compliant since enactment. Fiscal prudence and inclusive development are our twin policy objectives that guide our growth trajectory.
We are a pioneer State in implementing international best practices in Public Financial Management. The Government is providing complete budget information in user-friendly formats in the website of the Finance Department as well as the dedicated Odisha Budget portal. My government has brought out new disclosures, along with Annual Budget, 2021-22 making Odisha a leader in budget transparency and disclosure.
Our success in Start-up Odisha Initiative has made us the “Top Performer” and “Leader” State in Start-up rankings during 2018 and 2019. We provided special financial support to the MSME sector to tide over the COVID crisis. We had continuous engagement with the industry to ensure that their production and logistics are not hampered by the pandemic. In spite of the pandemic, Odisha has emerged as a leading investment destination with over Rs.4.4 lakh crore investment intent during the last 3 years, with more than 1.53 lakh employment opportunities. I am sure, Odisha will continue to be the leader state and the most preferred investment destination.
Our tourism and hospitality sector also has a huge potential to generate employment and contribute to the State economy. My government has undertaken Integrated Master Planning and Destination Development programme to boost tourism, facilitate private sector investments, augment livelihood opportunities for the local communities and promote local entrepreneurships.
We aim to saturate all rural households with tap water connection by 2024 with a capital outlay of Rs.50,263 crores under the State Saturation Plan. Odisha is a trend setter in the country in achieving universal coverage of tap-water connections. Puri is the only city in India to have achieved the distinction of joining the prestigious league of International Cities in providing safe drinking water facility to all households under „Drink from Tap Mission‟. Along with Deep Bore Well and Parvati Giri Mega Lift Irrigation Programme, we are now adopting Under Ground Pipe Line distribution system instead of open canals to do away with land acquisition litigations, improve water use efficiency and ensure timely completion of irrigation projects.
We organized the first Odisha Agri Conclave, 2021 to link our farmers to organised national market, remove intermediaries and augment the farmer‟s income. We will continue to focus on sustainable agriculture and support to our farmers. Our food security mission has secured 4th place among large states in the third State Food Safety Index for 2020-21. Cash incentive of Rs.1,000/-per PDS card to the families under NFSA and SFSS was provided in the 1st phase to mitigate the effect of Covid-19 pandemic and 2nd phase livelihood assistance of Rs.1,000/- to each of the beneficiary families has also been provided by incurring an expenditure of Rs.960 crore.
We are committed to provide safe shelter to our rural households. As a step forward, we have distributed financial assistance of Rs.3,000/- under “Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana” to each beneficiary for repair, renovation of their pucca houses sanctioned since 2014. It will benefit 31 lakh such families with a total assistance of Rs.1,444 crores. It is further proposed to provide financial assistance of Rs.5,000/- each to eligible but left-out households of the State who are yet to get any rural housing assistance. The successful journey of Mission Shakti, an epoch-making movement of 70 lakh empowered women SHG members is a testimony of women‟s social, economic and political upliftment and their emergence into the mainstream over the last two decades in Odisha.
15% seats in medical and engineering colleges of the State have been reserved for students of Government High Schools. Under 5T-High School Transformation Programme, 1,076 high schools have been transformed in the first phase and 3,365 more high schools will be transformed in the second phase, thereby providing world class infrastructural facilities and studying atmosphere to our children in the Government High Schools. A vision document for integration and transformation of Odisha Adarsha Vidyalays into Centres of Excellence through the 5T High School transformation initiative has been prepared.
Odisha is playing a key role in the turnaround of Indian sports scenario with its continuous support for players and investment in sports infrastructure. In recognition of the brilliant performance of the Indian Hockey Team at Tokyo Olympics-2020, the Government has decided to sponsor Indian Hockey for another 10 years till 2033. Transforming the sports landscape and empowering athletes is the vision of the Government. It was also a year of economic revival, growth and transformation in service delivery. Technology has served as a tool in transforming delivery of good governance and public goods and services.
Pro-active steps through 5T and „Mo Sarkar‟ initiatives have been undertaken to orient Government departments and transform public service delivery. We are moving ahead in a determined path to transform Odisha, empower its people and take them to the next level of technology and transparency, and, build the new Odisha of their aspirations, and, give them ample opportunities to dream big and realise their full potential.