The development of Assam has seen a new momentum under the visionary leadership of the Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma. Positive changes and progress are evident across all sectors in the State.
Dr. Sarma, as a Minister of different important departments in the previous regimes, had initiated various innovative schemes. These schemes still continue under the present Government impacting common lives to a great extent. The Orunudoi scheme initiated by him during his tenure as the Finance Minister has resulted in a paradigm shift in financial independence of rural women and their families. This path-breaking scheme has benefited 18,97,915 beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode. Gunotsav is an initiative to ensure quality education in the schools which helps to identify learning gaps and take remedial measures for improvement of children. The 4th round of Gunotsav-2023 covered 44,531 schools with 41,35,163 students.
Under his visionary leadership, all Government departments and functionaries are now working relentlessly and in the same direction with the motto of ‘Assam First’. Coming out of departmental silos, all the Government officials are inspired to work as a member of ‘Team Assam’ to fulfil common goals and objectives. Lachit Divas organised in New Delhi from November 23-25, 2022 is an example of such a synchronised action. The event was graced by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah, Union Finance Minister Smti. Nirmala Sitharaman. This event offered an occasion for national and international audience to peep into the heroic and resplendent history and heritage of Assam. Likewise, Bihu has been taken to the world arena with more than 11,000 Bihu dancers and drummers performing at Sarusajai Stadium, Guwahati on April 14, 2023. The event was a Guinness World Record.
Governance and administration have to come closer to the people to ensure all-round development. The present Government has taken many innovative measures to meet this end. Examples can be cited from Transport Department. It has launched online contactless Aadhaar-based citizen-centric service which has enabled them to apply online and get learner’s driving license, renewal as well as duplicate driving license from the comfort of their homes. Similar steps also have been taken in other departments. Under Industries and Commerce Department, the amendment of Assam Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (Facilitation of Establishment and Operation) Act is an instance of such initiatives. It will now enable a person or enterprise to obtain all clearance, except power and fire services, for setting up an Industrial Unit in the ‘Notified Industrial Area’ within 30 days of application.
A vibrant bureaucracy is a crucial factor for better services to the people. Holding of regular conferences of Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police is an apt action to rejuvenate the bureaucracy for efficient delivery. Assam Police has enhanced its drive against social evils like drugs, cybercrime, crime against women, etc., during the present regime. Many steps are being taken to use scientific aids in investigations. Steps have been taken to set up new Regional and Mobile Forensic Science Laboratories and upgradation of State FSL at Guwahati.
The Chief Minister has appointed ‘Guardian Ministers’ and ‘Guardian Secretaries’ to oversee the implementation of government policy decisions, administrative reforms, and other welfare schemes in districts of the State. This step has also made Government easily accessible for the common public. Districts will now be made the fulcrum of development.
Dr. Sarma is a great institution builder. From model high schools in tea gardens, new medical colleges in different districts to sports infrastructure, he has made a mark in all spheres. All India level institutions like AIIMS have been set up and made functional. National Forensic Science University of Gujarat, a University of Eminence, is going to set up one of their campuses in Assam.
The weekly Cabinet meeting is another path-breaking initiative of his. Since May 11, 2021 to April 29, 2023 a total of 87 Cabinet meetings have been held taking hundreds of critical decisions for fast forwarding the development process. Making a departure from earlier practice, in almost all cases, departmental secretaries give detail presentation regarding their proposal before the Cabinet, to help it understand the proposal in the right context. Holding Cabinet meetings in different districts has changed the development scenario in these places.
The people of the State are availing great benefits from what Hon’ble Prime Minister terms as the ‘double-engine’. The active support and cooperation received from the Centre gives impetus to development initiatives of the State Government. On the other side, the relationship of the State Government with the 6th Scheduled Councils are at its best. Thus, as the Centre, State and 6th Schedule councils tune to the same wavelength, the momentum for development becomes most agile and synergetic.
The Chief Minister understands well the need of good health of the citizens of the State. His initiatives and actions, earlier as Health Minister and now as the Chief Minister, bear testimony to this fact. Along with the new AIIMS and three other medical colleges at Nalbari, Nagaon and Kokrajhar, health is getting an impetus like never before. The aim is to have 24 medical colleges in Assam in the next 4 to 5 years. The Prime Minister during his visit to Guwahati also launched the distribution of 1.1 crore Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) cards.
As a part of the citizen-centric governance initiated by the Government of Assam, Mission Sadbhavana was rolled out to dispose all pending public applications at Janata Bhawan prior to May 10, 2021. Mission Sadbhavana, was launched by the Chief Minister on 1st February, 2022 for responsive administration to the people of Assam through three components: 1) Application Disposal 2) File Categorization and 3) Implementation of e-Office. All the applications received under Mission Sadbhavana were disposed within stipulated time. Introduction of e-Office File Management System as part of digitization efforts of the Government of Assam has brought in a new dynamism in the Secretariat. The second phase of Mission Sadbhavana will include all the Deputy Commissioners’ Offices and Directorates/Commissionerates of the Government of Assam for e-Office.
The Chief Minister launched Mission Basundhara on October 2, 2021. The objective of the mission is to purify and update all land records and maps with each deliverable. Under Mission Basundhara 1.0, a total of 8,13,981 applications were registered and out of which 5,82,688 applications were delivered. Under Mission Basundhara 2.0, a total of 13,39,498 applications were registered. These numbers speaks of the overwhelming public response.
Mission Bhumiputra was launched on August 1, 2022 in order to avoid the delay in obtaining caste certificates by applicants, especially in the rural areas. Through Mission Bhumiputra caste certificates could be obtained in a uniform and a simplified procedure through an online form. As part of the Mission, a special drive has been initiated wherein Deputy Commissioners distributed printed application forms through Principals/ Headmasters and delivered caste certificates at the school itself. Under the Mission, 11,38,294 applications for caste certificates have been approved.
Kritagyata Portal is a one-stop transparent ICT platform which provides all required information and guidance on retirement procedures. The online portal enables the State Government pensioners for submission and tracking of their pension proposals. Pension Seva Kendras are being set up in the Districts to facilitate the uploading of the pension papers.
During the last two years, the State has witnessed general peace, a precondition for growth and progress. This has been possible due to the ability of the Government to persuade different armed groups to surrender and join the mainstream. The State Government has developed good relations with the neighbouring States and addressed the complex and perennial boundary disputes for early amicable solutions.
Constitution of civilian awards – Assam Baibhav, Assam Saurav and Assam Gaurav – has induced a new value system in the society while spreading optimism among people from all walks of life. The range of awardees encompasses achievers from industrialists, physicians to a weaver or an ASHA worker. These three awards carry the message that irrespective of the background, Assam Government will acknowledge the good deeds of the deserving personalities and that work culture is the best culture.
The relentless and tireless works of the Chief Minister have instilled new hopes and aspirations into the minds of people. Assam beckons all to join in her journey to make it a peaceful and prosperous State, with Nature and Culture as its perennial spirit of an age-old civilisation.