Address at the Conference of Governors in New Delhi
Speech by Shri CH.Vidyasagar Rao, Hon’ble Governor of Maharashtra at the Conference of Governors
Hon’ble President, my fellow Governors, Lt. Governors and Hon’ble Ministers,
With the permission of the Hon’ble President, I take this opportunity to mention a few important issues of Maharashtra state in regard to the agenda points of the conference and also in regard to the empowerment of tribal people.
1. Security related issues:
i. Registration and investigation of criminal offences occurring in the sea in west coast from Jakhau in Gujarat to Kanyakumari in Tamilnadu, with a length of 1600 km and in 12 to 200 nautical miles, is done by one police station called Yellow gate police station located in Mumbai. It encompasses five states on the western coast.
There is a need to set up independent coastal police stations for Gujarat, Karnataka and Kerala with powers to register offences occurring in the territorial waters to effectively deal with security related offences.
ii. In the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Mumbai on 26th November, 2008 a number of measures have been initiated to secure the coast. Proper identification of fishermen and other people going into the sea and coming back and their identification on high seas and landing points is a very important concern. To tackle this problem Identity cards (biometric based) are being issued to the fishermen but it is yet to be completed. It is observed that the coast line in Maharashtra is highly porous from the infiltration point of view. There is a need to complete the process of issuing the identity cards to all fishermen on a war footing.
Moreover, it is necessary to provide a uniform platform across all states for identification of the fishermen and to improve coordination between the coastal police, navy and coast guard in the matters of coastal security and safety of fishermen by setting up Fishery Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Centres in all coastal districts of the country. As this is a very important measure for coastal security it may be taken up by GOI on a very urgent basis.
2. Tribal development:
a) The Governors of the states having Fifth Schedule Areas send Annual Reports to the President along with their independent assessment as per the Para 3 of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution. I would request the Union government to take suitable note of the independent assessment reports sent by the Governors and to issue appropriate directions to the state governments accordingly, and also intimate the Governors about the directions.
b) Complete absence of mobile and telephone connectivity in remote tribal areas is a very big concern. As a result of this the people living there are deprived of even ambulance and emergency health services of the government, whereas the rest of the people in the state can avail these services with just a phone call. This has become one of the major impediments in providing emergency health services and in ensuring institutional deliveries of pregnant women.
I request that urgent steps may be taken in order to provide mobile connectivity in the scheduled areas of Maharashtra, especially, in the districts of Nandurbar, Gadchiroli, Nanded, and the Melghat area of Amravati district.
c) I would like to inform that as a result of the notification issued under para 5 of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution declaring all non-timber forest produce of plant origin as “minor forest produce”, and also as a result of the constant and sustained efforts by Maharashtra government, people have started exercising their rights over high value minor forest produce like Bamboo.
This year, I am told, in Gadchiroli district alone, more than 200 villages are going to access bamboo. I think this step is going to be a very important one in improving the financial resources of the villages and strengthening of the gram sabhas in Scheduled Areas. I consider these initial success stories as humble beginnings and they need to be strengthened by way of creating infrastructure for grading and packing, processing and value addition. It must be noted here that the above -said processes have begun because of the rights-based approach of FRA and PESA and hence sustained efforts should be made for their effective implementation.
d) A notification was issued in Maharashtra in October 2014 for devolving 5 % of the annual tribal sub-plan funds directly to the Scheduled Area Gram Panchayats. On account of this a sizeable amount of funds are being released to the Gram Panchayats and they have been vested with the powers to take up works from a wide ranging list of activities. In order to create essential infrastructure in the Scheduled Area villages the Government of India may consider convergence with funds of Fourteenth Finance Commission and other related schemes.
e) The Part IX A of the Constitution which pertains to Municipalities envisages in Art. 243 ZC that nothing in this part shall apply to scheduled areas; however, the parliament may by law extend this part to the scheduled areas.
It has been noticed that some villages in scheduled areas have been notified as Municipalities though the Parliament has not passed any law for extension of part IX A of Constitution to scheduled areas. This needs to be corrected by enacting a law for Municipalities Extension to Scheduled Areas.
3. Involving Corporate sector in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and skill development:
My Government had recently organized a meeting with major corporates in the Raj Bhavan, Mumbai and has also established a nodal cell to ensure convergence of CSR activities.
I thank the Hon’ble President for giving me this opportunity.