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'People's participation must for progress'

By Our Special Correspondent

BANGALORE, JAN. 26. The Governor, Ms. V. S. Rama Devi created a record by delivering her Republic Day address in Kannada after unfurling the National Flag at the Field Marshal Manekshaw Parade grounds here today.

She read out a prepared six-page address in the language of the State and became the first Governor other than the late Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wodeyar to do so. The delivery and pronunciation were flawless, and Ms. Rama Devi was cheered by the gathering after she completed her address.

It may be recalled that she had taken the oath of office in Kannada and it had been administered by the Chief Justice of Karnataka, Mr. Y. Bhaskar Rao, who too is a non-Kannadiga, and like the Governor hails from Andhra Pradesh.

Praising the Government led by Mr. S. M. Krishna, the Governor said that it was gratifying to note that it was making all efforts to rise up to the expectations of the people. The policies and programmes could be effective only if there was people's participation. The citizens should know what the Government was doing. The Government was taking steps to bring about financial discipline by putting an end to unproductive expenditure and mobilising resources to realise the concept of universal economic wellbeing. A massive project to provide better health facilities to the rural people had been taken up. She hoped that the Government would make use of the ``Human Development Report'' on the State while formulating policies. The publication of the report, which threw light on the social problems of the State, was a notable achievement.

The first woman Governor of the State wanted the Government and also the people to ponder over the atrocities on women and the disadvantaged sections of the population and take remedial measures. While the Government could concentrate on matters of investigation and prosecution of cases, it was society which had to change its attitude towards women and children. She was aware of the steady growth in extremist violence in certain parts of the State. Though police should be complimented for checking it, ``we should examine the root of the problem and try to take measures to nip it in the bud''. Happily, Karnataka had always been known for communal harmony and a satisfactory law and order situation.

Speaking of the adoption of Kannada as the language of State administration, She said she was happy that 176 Acts of Parliament and 72 State Acts, including the legislation which had brought about socio-economic reforms, had been translated into Kannada.

The Governor was happy the Government had taken up a project, ``Information Technology 2000,'' aimed at comprehensive computerisation of the entire administration at the State, district and taluk levels. Ms. Rama Devi hoped that the concept of ``e-governance'' would catch on in the State leading to a radical change in work culture. Thanks to some pioneering individuals, the State could boast of a place of pride in software technology. She hoped the leading position of the State in that sector would be retained.

One of the problems confronting the State was power shortage. She was confident the Government would execute all the projects which had been approved and also bring about the much-needed structural reforms in the power sector. The other infrastructure projects should be completed.

Referring to areas of concern, the Governor said that despite the best of efforts in elementary education, literacy among women in particular remained low. The total literacy campaign should concentrate on women . She also wanted intensification of the efforts on improving sanitation, housing, provision of infrastructure, especially in the power and transport sectors, and special efforts to bring the marginal sections of society into the mainstream.

The Chief Minister, Mr. S. M. Krishna, and some of the ministers were among those present.

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