An Inspiring Political Journey: Charismatic Naveen Continues to Lead Odisha’s Growth Story

Bhubaneswar: Today is a glorious day in the political history of not only Odisha but also the country as a whole. Naveen Patnaik, the most popular mass leader, has completed the fourth year of his fifth term as Chief Minister of Odisha, fulfilling the assurances given in the 2019 election manifesto and leading the State into a new era of transformation marked by continual inclusive growth. Naveen’s political journey of over two decades has exemplified the politics of good faith, strong leadership, cooperative federalism and people-centric governance.

On this day in 2019, Naveen was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Odisha for the record fifth consecutive term. Naveen is one of the longest serving Chief Ministers in the country. Often rated as the best Chief Minister, Naveen has scripted a phenomenal success for providing a strong, stable and transparent government to Odisha.

Odisha, under the leadership of Naveen Patnaik, has risen up the ladder in different parameters of development. The first four years of fifth term of Naveen Patnaik are a reflection of his numerous achievements deeply rooted in his good governance and people-centric policy approaches for the all-round development of the State.

In less than a year of the Naveen Government’s fifth term in office, Odisha faced the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic. The spread of the pandemic had been a cause of concern for almost all countries of the world. Under the leadership of Naveen Patnaik, Odisha had very successfully fought the battle against the pandemic and kept the growth trajectory unaffected.

Under the dynamic leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Odisha has witnessed an incredible growth in the various sectors in the last two decades. Today, Odisha enjoys robust economic growth with the state growing by 7.8 per cent in real terms against the national rate of 7 per cent during 2022-23. The per capita income of Odisha grew at an annual compound rate of 10.9 per cent against 9.4 per cent compound annual growth rate of national per capita income.

Odisha has emerged as the most favorable destination for investments due to the 5T-driven transparent governance and prudent economic policies. The state has received investment proposals worth more than Rs 10.5 lakh crores for its diverse sectors during the Make in Odisha Conclave 2022. Odisha has attracted Rs 20.1 lakh crore investments during the 2022-23 financial year to become the second major state in the country in getting massive investments.

Since the beginning of fifth term, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has emphasized on transformative initiatives in various sectors such as education, health, tourism and infrastructure under the Mo Sarkar programme, which is based on the guiding principles of 5Ts -Teamwork, Technology, Transparency and Time, leading to Transformation. In the last four years, the 5T Initiatives has been instrumental in bringing administrative reforms for further strengthening the trust and confidence of the common people towards the government.

The High School Transformation programme, one of the most successful 5T Initiatives of the Naveen Patnaik government, has ensured complete revamp of government schools across the State. It has enabled the children in remote areas to get quality education at par with modern private schools. Under the direct supervision of the Secretary to CM (5T) VK Pandian, 6132 high schools have been transformed in the three phases of the programme. The State Government led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has also implemented a slew of transformative initiatives in the spheres of higher education and technical education to create skilled human resources for development.

The health sector has undergone massive transformation during the fifth term of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The impact of 5T Initiatives on healthcare development of the state is clearly visible on the ground, from the initiative for transforming the SCB Medical College & Hospital into an AIIMS Plus category hospital to focusing on Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) Smart Health Cards to launching Mukhya Mantri Bayu Swasthya Seva (air health services) and Ama Hospital initiative.

The Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) has made rapid strides towards achieving the mission of ensuring universal healthcare system in the State. Over 96.5 lakh families covering over 3.3 crore people of Odisha are provided with cashless healthcare in more than 650 reputed private hospitals across 17 States.

In his fifth term, the Chief Minister has given utmost priority on the growth of Electronics and Information Technology (E&IT) sector in Odisha. Due to favorable industry policies, the State Government has been able to attract major IT companies such as IBM, Deloitte, Happiest Minds, PWC, Incture, Innovare Tech, Opex America, Yovant and other renowned companies to the State.

In the last four years, major heritage and religious sites of the State have undergone massive transformation to become world class pilgrim centres. Starting with the Puri Srimandir, the Naveen Patnaik Government has taken the initiatives for the facelift of major heritage sites such as Lingaraja Temple, Chandi Temple, Nilamadhav Temple, Sarala Temple, Samaleswari Temple, Taratarini temple and other famous shrines.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik continues to emphasis on development of sports infrastructure in the State. Today, Odisha is being recognized as a major sports destination in the country. Sports has become one of the pillars of Naveen’s New Odisha. The successful hosting of the FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 has been a landmark in the state’s sporting history. Beating the adverse challenges of COVID-19 pandemic, Odisha built the world’s largest fully-seated hockey stadium ‘Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium’ in Rourkela. It has been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records. The stadium is an outcome of the Government of Odisha‘s commitment towards Hockey and its development.

In his fifth term, Naveen Patnaik has continued his focus on women empowerment through Mission Shakti movement, which has remarkably transformed the lives of 7 million women organised into 6 lakh Self Help Groups (SHGs). The Chief Minister has approved an allocation of Rs.4,973.39 crore for the Mission Shakti Department. The budgetary allocation will span over a period of five years from FY 2022-23 to FY 2026-27. In the last four years, the Mission Shakti Department fulfilled all the promises made in the election manifesto. While the State Government promised to give Rs 5000 crore worth of business to the SHGs in five years, Rs. 4949.14 crore worth Government business and Rs. 1226 crore income has been achieved.

Naveen has always emphasized on the political empowerment of the women by encouraging their active participation in the political process. The success of women candidates in the three-tier Panchayat and urban polls in the State has reflected a paradigm shift in the way women were placed in the political space. The political empowerment of women in the state is resoundingly visible at the ground level with more than sixty five percent women being elected to the various posts in the three-tier Panchayatiraj system. The Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal always gives priority on women candidates in all elections.

Riding on the popularity of Naveen Patnaik, the Biju Janata Dal enjoys invincibility in Odisha politics. The BJD had created history with its landslide victory by winning 766 out of 853 Zilla Parishad seats in the latest three-tier Panchayat elections. It became the largest ever victory for any political party in the country. The BJD also registered an overwhelming victory in the urban elections in the State. The party had won seven out of the eight by-elections held after the 2019 Assembly elections in the State.

All these results indicate that the BJD enjoys a pro-incumbency for more than two decades due to the charismatic leadership and good governance of the Chief Minister.

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