The month of March 2016 during which the Budget session occurred, proved to be a fruitful one for the Gujarat government. During this session, Chief Minister Anandiben Patel met more than one lakh visitors. These visitors consisted of over 63,000 women and 22,000 youth and students. The Budget Session was also productive as over 14 bills benefitting the people were passed.
More importantly, during this session, the Gujarat government also took the opportunity to announce and put into action five public welfare policies. These policies cover a range of diverse sectors; however, the common theme binding them is that they each reflect the government’s desire to provide the people the means to fulfil their potential, while looking after their welfare. The policies introduced included the following:
IT and ITeS Policy and Incentive Scheme
Cottage and Rural Industries Policy
Road Safety Policy
Other Important Initiatives
The Chief Minister is known for her distinct style of governance, where she ensures that a decision taken or policy announced is implemented properly. During the Budget Session, she organised 11 review meetings on issues such as administration, drinking water facilities, infrastructure as well as providing guidance to district and municipality officials, local leaders and government officers.
During the Assembly session, the CM laid the foundation stones for several development projects and dedicated many welfare works across several districts in Gujarat. She also attended eight ground-breaking ceremonies and dedicated seven developmental work programmes in various districts of Gujarat.
The Budget Session also witnessed several national and international dignitaries paying visits to the Chief Minister. This included the Consulate General of Korea, the Assistant Secretary Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, US Department of State, and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.
The significance of the Budget Session is not just the number of people that the Chief Minister had a chance to meet or the number of policies that the government launched, but that it helped clarify the government’s dedication to ensuring “inclusive growth”. Five policy schemes were announced during the Budget Session, across diverse fields all of which possessed not only long-term vision, but also had short-term achievable goals. According to the CM, the Gujarat government has understood that in order to ensure “inclusive growth” in a state as diverse as Gujarat, administrative laws and rules must be simplified.
Highlights of Meetings held by CM during the Budget Session
Chief Minister holds meeting with women and children on a visit to Vidhan Sabha (2 March 2016):
The CM held an interactive session in which she spoke with women and children from tribal areas, students from schools and colleges from near Ahmedabad and women from southern Gujarat.
She talked to them about the new schemes and programmes in the state budget for the welfare of women and children. She also talked about the “Healthy Gujarat Initiative” under which they can avail free health check-ups for cervical and breast cancer.
Under the same initiative, the government also provides nutritious food packages to children suffering from malnutrition and treatment for children suffering from birth deformities such as cleft lip or club foot.
The CM also spoke about various provisions in the budget for cattle rearers and the financial support the budget will provide to farmers and cattle rearers.
CM felicitates women with Mata Yashoda Awards 2014-15 in Gandhinagar (4 March 2016):
Ahead of International Women’s Day, the CM distributed Mata Yashoda Awards worth Rs 5 lakh to 20 hard-working women of Anganwadis in Gandhinagar.
Prior to this, she also launched the mobile application of the 181 Abhayam Service, and also flagged off two new vans for the Abhayam team, bringing the total to 45 for Gujarat.
Speaking on 181 Abhyam service, the CM said that over one lakh women have used the service to get help during a crisis.
On International Women’s Day, the CM speaks with trainee women police officers at Karai (8 March 2016):
The CM talked about how the Gujarat government’s 33% police reservation policy for women has borne fruit, and said she hopes to see a day when there are more women than men in Gujarat’s police force.
The CM also spoke about education and that today 65% of primary school teachers are women. The dropout rate has fallen from 45% to 1.5%.
The CM also said that for incomes upto Rs 6 lakh, the government will provide 50% financial aid to girls who obtain admission in medical institutions.
The state will also provide Rs 90,000 in compensation to women and upto Rs 75,000 to men preparing for UPSC/GPSC exams.
CM informs women about Gujarat’s various healthcare initiatives on International Women’s Day (8 March 2016):
3,000 rural and tribal women from Saurashtra, Kutch, South Gujarat and Central Gujarat, met the CM at the Vidhan Sabha.
During the meeting, the CM appealed to the women to take advantage of the state-wide free health camps to treat breast and cervical cancer.
She shared that out of 60 lakh women screened, 900 diagnosed women were currently receiving treatment.
The CM also talked about the Gujarat government’s “Gender Budget” and its schemes.
Consul General of Republic of Korea expresses interest in partnering with Gujarat (9 March 2016):
The Consul General of South Korea Kim Soungeun met the CM for his first visit to Gujarat since taking charge of the Korean Consulate in Mumbai.
Discussions were made on broadening the scope of technology transfer between Gujarat and South Korea. The CM expressed interest in South Korea’s expertise in land reclamation technology with regard to the Gujarat government’s “Kalpasar Project”.
Given Gujarat’s commitments under the “Smart Cities Mission”, Kim was also willing to extend his country’s expertise in this field. He mentioned that the city of Songdo in South Korea is considered a “model Smart City”, and expressed his readiness to develop Ahmedabad and Surat on the same lines.
CM distributes grants worth Rs 413 crore for developing infrastructure & facilities in 31 cities (10 March 2016):
These grants were disbursed under the AMRUT Mission and Swarnim Jayanti Mukhyamantri Shaheri Vikas Yojana.
The grant is aimed at enhancing civil facilities in eight municipal corporations and 23 municipalities.
CM interacts with municipal councillors from Lucknow on a visit to Gujarat (10 March 2016):
60 councillors from the Lucknow Municipal Corporation met the CM to study the development journey of the state.
In the meeting, the CM talked about Gujarat’s free health camp initiative, as well as how the state budget’s recent allocations for development of villages, farmers, welfare of women, health & education.
CM dedicates various development works of Gandhinagar Urban Development Authority (12 March 2016):
As part of the Gujarat government’s initiative to provide quality housing to the poor, the CM handed over keys to the beneficiaries of 640 LIG houses constructed at the cost Rs 38.40 crore.
The houses have an Anganwadi, garden and a commercial complex around them.
The CM also dedicated a pumping station and a drainage network worth Rs 29.21 crore.
Commander-in-Chief of Western Naval Command pays a courtesy visit to Chief Minister Anandiben Patel (14 March 2016):
Vice-Admiral Sunil Lamba, the Commander-in-Chief of the Western Naval Command, paid a courtesy visit to Chief Minister Anandiben Patel.
CM meets American delegation led by Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (16 March 2016):
The Chief Minister met Charles H Rivkin, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, and talked about avenues for collaboration in areas such as clean energy, entrepreneurship and e-governance.
Possibilities for collaboration in the field of media and entertainment and investment opportunities in GIFT (Gujarat International Finance Tec City) and Dholera SIR were also discussed at the meeting.
Ram Vilas Paswan pays courtesy visit to Gujarat Chief Minister (21 March 2016):
Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Cabinet Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public distribution, paid a courtesy visit to Chief Minister Anandiben Patel.