(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
September 18, 2011
MANIK SARKAR AT NIC MEETING
‘Clean and Pro-People Governance
Must for a Stable Society’
Below we reproduce the full text of the speech made by Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar at the meeting of the National Integration Council in New Delhi on September 10, 2011
AS we all know, India is a vast multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious society. The foundation of our national life is equality, socio-economic and political justice, secularism and unity in diversity. These values are also enshrined in the Constitution of India.
The people of India are peace-loving and have faith in values of tolerance, co-existence and brotherhood. However, of late, there have been some disturbing trends, which require immediate attention of all of us. The process of development in country has not been as fair and equitable as it should have been, resulting in serious imbalances. A large section of population still lives below the poverty line. The gulf between the rich and poor – the haves and have-nots – has been widening. The weaker sections of the society like scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, religious minorities, etc., have not got adequate opportunities which they deserved to get in order to rise to the level of the rest of the population. Some parts of the country have developed at a very fast pace while many others are seriously lagging behind. There is widespread unemployment and under-employment in the country. All these factors have led to a sense of deprivation and alienation among certain sections of the society, especially the youth.
There are divisive forces in the country which are always on the look out to take advantage of the genuine grievances and dissatisfaction prevailing in the society. The dissatisfied and deprived sections of the society, especially the youth, become easy target for such forces, who provoke such misguided youth to indulge in various counter-productive activities.
Another important fact which has been causing serious concern among the people, especially the youth, is the prevalence of wide-spread corruption in public life. The nationwide anti-corruption movement in the recent months is a reflection of such a situation. A series of corruption scandals involving people in high places have come out during the last few years, which has led to large-scale resentment among the people. The people are feeling let down and cheated. They are demanding clean and efficient governance.
The current situation calls for immediate and effective measures. Efficient, fair, clean and pro-people, especially pro-poor governance is the basic foundation for building a stable society. We are in the process of finalising the approach to the Twelfth Five Year Plan. In my view, the approach to the Twelfth Plan should be such that it results in fast and inclusive economic growth. There should be special focus on development of the poor and weaker sections of the society, including SC, ST and religious minorities. Special emphasis should be placed on development of relatively less-developed parts of the country including the North Eastern Region. Highest priority should be attached to the generation of employment, so that the productive capacity of the youth of the country can be channelised in the right direction. In short, we need to provide transparent and responsive governance to the people of our country.
Maintenance of communal harmony in the country is of highest importance. The people of all communities are peace-loving, but sometimes some sections of the society fall prey to the evil designs of the fundamentalist forces. Special efforts need to be made for development of such sections of society, especially the minority communities by providing them basic amenities, education and employment opportunities, so that they do not carry any sense of alienation. In addition, the fundamentalist organisations should be firmly dealt with and should not be allowed to create any communal disturbances in the country. I understand that the central government is intending to introduce “The Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill, 2011” for this purpose. It is my firm view that the existing legal framework is adequate to deal with all kinds of law and order situations, including communal disturbances. The proposed Bill will be an infringement on the rights of the states and is bound to seriously impair the federal spirit enshrined in the Constitution of India and therefore, the same should not be pursued.
While an appropriate development strategy can play a crucial role in promoting national integration, it is also necessary that proactive efforts are made by all the secular democratic forces in country for effectively countering the divisive, secessionist and sectarian forces. I am of the view that all the national and regional political parties should launch all-out ideological and political campaign in a serious and systematic manner for promoting national unity and integration among the masses, so that the divisive forces can be exposed and isolated.
In Tripura, we have been making sincere efforts to effectively deal with various threats to the national integration. The strong democratic traditions of the state right upto the village level have ensured effective participation of the people in the development process. All the state government policies are targeted towards welfare and development of poor and downtrodden sections of the society. There is no discrimination against SC, ST, religious minorities or any other section of the society. Though there is no room for complacency, but it is due to such proactive policies that the state has been able to effectively deal with the extremists and to bring back a sizeable section of the misguided youth into the national mainstream.
In the end, I would like to reiterate that the state of Tripura is committed to continue the fight against all the divisive forces which pose a threat to the unity and integrity of our country.
Thank you all.