(The writer is Chief Minister, Assam. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
After taking over the charge of Prime Minister in 2014, Hon'ble Narendra Modi had strongly asserted himself as a 'servant of the people'. Our countrymen have already witnessed a testimony of that for over the last 6 years when he exemplified 'service to the nation' as the sole motto of his life. Hon'ble Prime Minister's principle of "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Viswas" has set in motion the journey for country's inclusive growth taking people of all caste, creed and community along. His landmark initiatives based on ethical values and Indian philosophy have bolstered the country's image worldwide. Hon'ble Prime Minister's life and works have today become an unequalled source of inspiration for our people.
Hon'ble Prime Minister's path-breaking initiatives to take forward the country's 5000-year-old culture and civilization makes the world community realize India's power and capabilities. The National Education Policy 2020 which envisions creating better human beings with roots embedded in strong academics and value-based education taking Indian languages and culture as one of its cornerstones provides an opportunity to everybody to march forward in the global landscape with a new set of progressive ideas coupled with traditional and scientific values of our country. Similarly, the 'Digital India Programme' provides a platform to tap the potential of innovative technologies and carrying out the development narratives by instilling scientific temperament, bringing transparency at all levels of administration and weeding out corruption by executing most of the administrative works digitally.
Hon'ble Prime Minister's steps for protecting our sovereignty, unity and integrity boost the self-esteem of our countrymen. The accountability of the Hon'ble Prime Minister towards our country is adequately reflected through the surgical strike perpetrated against Pakistan and our defence forces' uncompromising stand along the Indo-China border. Abrogation of Article 370 to strike off special status to Jammu & Kashmir to strengthen the ideal of 'One nation, one Constitution' is an essence of Hon'ble Prime Minister's love for the country. The sequel of steps taken by him, such as Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, Ujjwala Yojana, Saubhagya Yojana, Deen Dayal Divyang Yojana etc., have developed a promising environment for fulfilling Mahatma Gandhi's dream of a Ram Rajya. The long-standing aspirations of the people of India for a Ram Temple at Ayodhya bore fruits as the country found out a legal solution to the 500-year-old land dispute and Hon'ble Prime Minster leading the country in a unique and disciplined way to perform Bhumi Pujan for the Ram Temple. The steps initiated by him for achieving the vision of 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' have tremendously boosted the confidence of the country's people.
Due to the unparallel political will of Hon'ble Prime Minister, the north-eastern region is fast emerging as the nerve-centre of India's economic activity today. After former Prime Minister Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Hon'ble Narendra Modi is the only Prime Minister in independent India who gives Assam unequalled love, respect and attention. While terming the Northeast as 'Astalakshmi' and 'New Engine of Growth' for the country, Hon'ble Prime Minister has initiated many innovative steps for rapid development of the region. The Central Government has mandated every minister to visit the region once in every fortnight for ensuring speedy implementation of development schemes here while the Hon'ble Prime Minister himself made more than 30 visits to the region which is a record in itself.
Many landmark initiatives taken by the Hon'ble Prime Minister such as doubling and electrification of the railway line, UDAAN scheme for civil aviation connectivity, emphasis on early completion of the trilateral Asian Highway, boost on water transportation though dredging of Barak River etc., give the people of the Northeast new hope and confidence to emerge as the expressway to the South East Asian countries. Today, new doors of opportunities have opened up in communication, transportation, trade and business, tourism, cultural exchange, sports, information technology, agriculture etc., as Hon'ble Prime Minister has initiated steps to link the Northeast with South East Asia through the Act East Policy.
Hon'ble Prime Minister's love and affection for Assam can be gauged from the fact that in his "Mann Ki Baat" and other interactive programmes, he has regularly interacted with the people of the State. Due to Hon'ble Prime Minister's unstinted commitment towards the State, many neglected and long pending development works have become a reality today. India's longest Dhola-Sadia bridge, longest rail-cum-road Bogibeel Bridge, new Saraighat bridge over river Brahmaputra are a few such initiatives. Similarly, construction of many major projects such as new terminal at LGBI Airport, AIIMS at Changsari and Indian Agricultural Research Institute at Gogamukh in Dhemaji etc., have also been taken up. Besides, during last six years, the Central Government has sanctioned a large number of infrastructural and other projects benefiting Assam and the Northeast, including the project for augmentation of production capacity of Numaligarh Refinery Limited from 3 MMT up to 9 MMT along with a bio-fuel plant as a significant value addition to the Refinery.
As a result of Hon'ble Prime Minister's pro-active initiatives, Indo-Bangladesh border sealing activities have received fresh momentum. The peaceful environment prevalent in Assam today is another milestone achievement of the synergy between the Central and State governments. Almost all major insurgent outfits have either laid down arms or are engaged in dialogue with the government today.
Hon'ble Prime Minister has taken sincere steps to address the flood and erosion problem of Assam. A high level committee constituted by him under the chairmanship of NITI Aayog vice chairman has recommended setting up of the North East Water Management Authority for adopting a holistic approach to solve the flood and erosion problem. Similarly, the 15th Finance Commission as per our request has recommended consideration of erosion as a natural calamity and suggested the Central Government for funding the steps taken by the State Government.
Hon'ble Prime Minister has glorified the Assamese 'gamosa', which is the symbol of Assamese identity, at the world stage by wearing it in different national and international forums. He has strengthened the self-confidence of the Assamese people by honouring the creation of Assamese weavers in his own way. He has provided a newfound recognition to Assamese identity and bolstered the cultural horizon of the state by conferring Bharat Ratna upon 'Bard of the Brahmaputra' Dr. Bhupen Hazarika.
The steps taken by Hon'ble Prime Minister to script a new development narrative in the Northeast have awakened self-realization among the people of the region and made them enthusiastic to become stakeholders in the nation building process. Similarly, the initiatives of Hon'ble Prime Minister to augment the development process in Assam would soon turn the State into one of the strongest States in the country.