Northeast emerging as the land of opportunities: Vice President Dhankhar

Northeast emerging as the land of opportunities: Vice President Dhankhar

The Vice President of India, Jagdeep Dhankhar on May 3 said that the growth of India is incomplete without the participation and involvement of the eight Northeastern states of the country.

Northeast emerging as the land of opportunities, says Vice President Dhankhar Northeast emerging as the land of opportunities, says Vice President Dhankhar

The Vice President of India, Jagdeep Dhankhar on May 3 said that the growth of India is incomplete without the participation and involvement of the eight Northeastern states of the country.

He said, “The eight states of the Northeastern region are true ‘Ashta Lakshmis’ of India; without their growth, involvement, participation and contribution, Bharat will remain incomplete.”

Further, the Vice President of India asserted that Dibrugarh - the beautiful cultural and commercial capital of Assam- has been home to many notable intellectuals, literary, cultural and public figures like my esteemed colleagues in Rajya Sabha, Ranjan Gogoi, former CJI of India and Sarbanand Sonowal, a man of sublimity, elegance, that kind of mannerism he reflects authentically the culture of North East.

Also Read: Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar to visit Assam, Manipur today

"This year, we had the occasion for the conferment of Padma award to the people from this area, Hemoprova Chutia, Hem Chandra Goswami and Ramkuiwangbe Jene, who were honoured with Padma Awards for their contributions this year. 

There was a time when Padma awards were given in two categories: one by patronage and second by distinction. In the last few years, the system has changed. Padma awards are now conferred only to deserving people, and the moment they are declared, everyone is delighted that the right person has been conferred the award. Many congratulations to them.

When I am in this part of our country, I recall with great pride the heroic valour of King Prithu Jalapeshwer of Kamrup who defeated Bakhtiyar Khilji, the destroyer of Nalanda University and also we recall with pride and honour the legendary Ahom warrior Lachit Borphukan who defeated Mughal armies in the famous Battle of Saraighat.

Friends, the motto of your University which is taken from the Bhagwat Gita is very apt and significant, “Niyatam Kuru Karmah” Do thou perform thy bounden duty. If we take it further from what has been taught to us in the Bhagwat Gita, “Work is thy Worship; Reward is not thy concern”. This gives us an insightful approach that we must always and ever take pride in being Indians.

We must always be proud of our historic achievements and accomplishments.  It is gratifying to note that your University has emerged as a focal point for preserving the linguistic diversity of this region and its literary traditions.

Preserving our language is very important as we have got this for thousands of years and the Government of India is doing much in this direction. The work done by the University exemplifies the virtuosity of our culture. The focus on courses in Bodo, Tai and missing languages is commendable.

Centre of Excellence in Performing Arts is befittingly named after one of the most illustrious cultural icons of modern India, Bharat Ratna, Dr Bhupen Hazarika. His name instils us into a different kind of mindset. The country's longest road bridge is in Assam and named after the legend - the Bhupen Hazarika Bridge.

Another accomplishment is that Dibrugarh University has been chosen as one among the select 76 institutions of higher education in the country to host and participate in the G20 University Connect programme. Friends, what a proud moment for all of us and what a rise in the Global image of this country. India is President of the G20 summit and hosting it across the country the footfalls can be felt everywhere and its impact is being seen, this university is also a centre for that.

Convocation is a turning point, a milestone in the life of students, their teachers and their parents. It is a fruit, a hard-earned credential which gives you a march, a leap into the wider outer world. It is a great turning point; from being students of this great University you will now get the status of being Alumni. You have to play a very significant role in bringing about societal change. You are starting your career at a time when competition is intense, opportunities are huge, and challenges are daunting.  As I recollect my youth, something which was missing then; which is no longer missing now. Today there is the emergence of an ecosystem due to government initiatives and affirmative policies where every young man is now entitled to unleash his potential and talent to the utmost extent. You need to have an idea, to translate that idea into action; you will get all the support of the system.

Covid Pandemic was a challenge to humanity. There were stressful times; even during this period, India happened to be the fastest-growing large economy in the world.

We happen to be a favourable global destination for investment and opportunity. In September 2022 we had the distinction to attain the status of the fifth largest global economy, and what was the icing on the cake?  In doing so, we overtook our erstwhile colonial master which is a great achievement, a tribute to our visionary leadership and hard work of our people.

Friends, by the turn of the decade India will be the third largest global economy, and this is because, in the last few years, we have a new mantra of Governance “Less Government and more Governance”, earlier it used to be the other way around.

There was a time when an anguished Prime Minister of this country, in the nineteen-eighties reflected, 85% of the assistance to beneficiaries vanishes and does not reach them. Today, there is direct transfer and the leakage has been 100% plugged. This historic achievement has been brought about first by visionary planning and then by the execution of human resource.

There was a time when power corridors were infected by power brokers when the institution of middleman flourished and there was no transparency and accountability that is behind us. Power corridors have been sanitized of all these evil elements and extra-legal leveraging of authority has vanished. As a matter of fact, this industry of powerbrokers, liaison agents and middlemen has been decimated.

Friends on this day, when you have got the fruits of hard work and you will be marching into the larger arena; I can tell you the best Guru is Competition, there can't be a greater Guru than competition and the deadliest enemy is fear-Fear of defeat or failure. Take it from me, as a product of education, never have tension, never have stress, and face all challenges with positivity. Unleash your energy. My advice to you is to try different things. Try unconventional things. Do not allow an idea to harbour in your mind, the moment you give positioning to an idea without translating it into action you are not contributing to society.

Those who have achieved great milestones and accomplishments, failed several times. You have to get this fear out of your mind. Progress comes from innovation. Good ideas can emerge only when you think out of the box.

Friends, I have been Governor in the state of West Bengal for three years. I am personally seeing the transformative change that is taking place in the North East. In 1991 we had the “Look East” policy and after the Honorable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi came to power in 2014 we have the “Act East” policy.

2014 was a watershed moment in Indian political history. After a gap of 3 decades, when the country saw coalition governance, we had one-party regime. I was elected to Parliament in 1989, and I was a Union minister. We were running a government of more than a dozen parties. I know the consequences of it. And this verdict of the people has transformed India into a nation, now watched by the world, respected by the world and 1/6 of humanity's voice was never so categorical as it is presently. But the development that has taken place in this part is significant, enormous.

NCERT is commendably developing course material to include the contribution of unsung heroes of the North East, in our history and in our freedom struggle.

We had nearly forgotten them. Go to any part of the country you find heroes; we need to recognize their contribution in Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.  This area is getting very special attention

The Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) has held a series of lectures on the unknown freedom fighters of NE.

The North Eastern Region, owing to its all-round progress in physical, social and digital infrastructure, is emerging as the land of opportunities.

PM Development Initiative for North East is bearing results with fund infrastructure convergence.

In the last nine years, 375 projects of Road connectivity have been launched. Historic Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge was inaugurated only a few years back.

Now go to any part of the world, I can say without out fear of contradiction, the kind of culture, historical background, the kind of flora and fauna, the kind of parks and sanctuaries, Kind of religious places, we have in this part of the country, we have nowhere in the world. Continual enhancement in Rail connectivity and the rise of the network of airports the area is getting exposed to the rest of the countrymen in an effective manner. And look at the change that has been brought about when it comes to travelling to this part of the country, apart from rail connectivity. The no. of airports has gone from 9 to 17. All this augurs well for the development of this area and is indicative of our inclusive growth.

I greatly admire and appreciate the cooperation between the Central and the State Government in the health care sector, Education Sector. Last year, seven cancer hospitals were opened in the State, and the foundation stone of seven new cancer hospitals were laid across Assam by the Prime Minister.

I take education as the most effective transformational mechanism to bring about equity equality progress and development in this society. Nothing can change societal situations than the people getting educated. In the education sector, 190 new institutions of higher education have been set up in the North Eastern region in the last nine years including the Center of Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education at IIT Guwahati.

New avenues and vistas are now available to youth as never before to unleash their energy and to promote youth. Your “Ishan Uday" scholarship scheme is very helpful and the same is the case with 190 new Skill Development Institutes that have been set up.

All over the world India is being recognized for its skilled human resource. It is tribute to our DNA that we Indians pick up skills very fast. But if the government comes forward with those kinds of institutions then the development is not arithmetic it is geometric.

I would invite your attention to some of the creditable achievements and the entire world is looking at us in admiration, with envy. As the most populous country on the planet, Mother of democracy and very functional democracy, look at their attainments. 99.9 percent of adult Indians have a digital ID- AADHAR which is open to all and free. It has turned out to be a game changer in the life of ordinary people. Nobel laureate Paul Romer describes it as “the most sophisticated ID program in the world.” Those who are outside the country do their homework when it comes to praising the country, when it comes to denigrating and decrying our country it’s a narrative.

JAM Trinity of Jan Dhan Accounts, Aadhaar number and Mobile Telephony has made Direct Bank Transfers into beneficiary accounts possible without any middlemen. 11 crore Indian farmers have got so far 2.25 lakh crores under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi. Where are those long for bill payments? Right from passport to a Rashan card, to making an application for employment, you don’t have to get out of your village. Technology is at your doorstep.

Digital payment transactions, amounting to $1.5 trillion in 2022 are more than four times the combined transactions in US, UK, Germany and France.

As per IMF, India's development of a "world-class digital public infrastructure". We are a country now having 700 million internet users and have exceeded the consumption of China and the United States combined.

Our startups, Unicorns, make us very proud. The MUDRA scheme has made available a new avenue to everyone, not only to be a job seeker but also to be a job creator.  Ever since its launch, more than Rs 23 lakh crores MUDRA loans have been given of these 70% are women entrepreneurs. It was so gratifying to note that when the Governor was honouring the students with their hard earned degrees, I have not checked up the numbers but our girls perhaps scored over the boys. Their number was more.

In Assam, in 2020-21, 6.8 lakh entrepreneurs availed more than Rs 4500 crore loans under MUDRA scheme. These achievements will help us attain the right place on the globe when we celebrate our centenary of independence in 2047.

I need to question you, when all is going well, why some of us decry our democracy, why some of us inside and outside the country talk of unforced silence, say this country doesn’t have the democratic values. I dare say with confidence and with fear of contradiction that India is the most vibrant and functional democracy on the planet as on date.

No country in the world can claim to have a constitutional democratic mechanism for the Village, Municipalities, States and the Parliament. I appeal to students, intelligentsia and media that they have to act as ambassadors of this country, they have to believe in our nationalism, they have to run down this narrative. We cannot support those who in the country and outside tarnish, taint our growth trajectory and democratic values.

As Chairman Rajya Sabha, I know the freedom of expression available in our country, is not subject to any enforced silence. Those who think so, need to revise their opinion.

Such false narratives are emanating from some universities outside. Some universities in the USA, it is only Indian students who criticise their own country. You will not find another example where a faculty member, student of a country criticizing its own country outside its country.

You’ll not find a politician who will trot all around the globe to tarnish our democratic values. And this is not Indian culture.

Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee by Narasimha Rao to represent the country. We have to believe in our motherland and subscribe to the sublimity of our nationalism. Onus lies on you, you have to find a way out so that such kind of pernicious, sinister narratives are nipped in the bud.

Parliament and educational institutions are temples. Parliament is a place for dialogue, debate, deliberation and discussion and not a place for disruption and disturbance.

How can we weaponize disturbance as a political tool? How can we allow these theatres to be so polluted? My young friends, the Indian constitution was formed by the constituent assembly in three years and during those three years, they debated very sensitive issues, some issues that could be taken as very divisive, very complicated and complex. There was no disruption and disturbance. There was an attitude of collaboration and not of confrontation.

I call upon the intelligentsia, media, it is time in Amrit Kaal, we help generate an ecosystem so that our parliamentarians respond positively to the spirit and essence of the founding fathers of our Constitution. 

I have no doubts friends, after going out of this university you will contribute to societal growth but never forget two things. One, always respect your teachers. No education can fructify into a good human being without the facilitation of a good guru.

Secondly, never forget your university, contribute for the welfare of the university in whatever form you can. Have a dream, but don’t allow that dream to be parked in your brain.

A dream is not to be parked with a brain, a dream is required to be realized.

I call upon the Hon'ble Chancellor and vice Chancellor. We need to harness the energy of alumni. They can make a huge difference. I have been visualizing an idea of Confederation of Alumni that will constitute a spinal think tank for the country’s welfare.

Take your university, it has notable alumni. Have it structured, have it developed.

It’s a delightful experience for me. I am grateful to the Hon’ble Chancellor and Vice Chancellor and a deep sense of gratitude for the Hon'ble Chief Minister who has not only made my visit to this state ever memorable, he also responded to one of my invitations to be at Darjeeling," said VP Dhankhar.

Edited By: Atiqul Habib
Published On: May 03, 2023