SHILLONG: In his Independence Day address on Tuesday, Chief Minister Sangma announced the launch of a new flagship programme aimed at youth engagement, employment, and empowerment.
Titled “Chief Minister’s ELEVATE programme”, the flagship programme is set to foster the growth of approximately 20,000 businesses over the next five years, reinforcing Meghalaya’s commitment to an inclusive and prosperous future, he said.
“Under this comprehensive programme, a unified platform for business requirements of entrepreneurs will be established. The state government will extend support ranging from 35 to 75% to individual entrepreneurs, collectives, village organisations, and traditional institutions, spanning a diverse array of sectors including agriculture, tourism, construction, and entertainment,” he informed.
Hoisting the Tricolour and taking the Rashtriya Salute in Polo Grounds, the Chief Minister expressed gratitude to the 38 lakh people of the state for their unwavering faith and trust in his government.
Sangma said that one of the central pillars of Meghalaya’s progress is its youthful population, with an impressive 72% below the age of 35. Acknowledging the vigour of this demographic, Sangma vowed to provide meaningful opportunities for employment and empowerment.
“Seventy two percent of our population is below the age of 35 and about 165 young Meghalayans are entering the workforce every day. It is my foremost responsibility to greet these youth with opportunities for employment and empowerment. With a resolute commitment, the state is aiming to generate a substantial 5 lakh job opportunities over the forthcoming half-decade,” he said.
With the intention of boosting growth and generating employment, the Chief Minister underscored the key priorities including the development of urban areas, border trade, industries, and information technology.
For Shillong, Sangma reteirated that an extensive redevelopment plan encompassing government land spanning 100 acres is in the works. “This endeavour aims to augment road infrastructure, green spaces, markets, parking facilities, footpaths, and Effluent Treatment Plants,” he said.
“The master planning for the New Shillong City at Umsawli and Mawdiangdiang is ongoing. We expect to start first phase of the construction including the new secretariat building, a unity mall and sports infrastructure in the next 6 months. The planning for building the Mini Secretariat complex at Tura has started and the construction will begin soon,” he said, adding that these developments have been bolstered by holistic and participatory development in collaboration with local development committees and dorbars.
He further added that an innovative shared school bus system has been introduced, designed to alleviate traffic congestion during peak hours and offer a smoother experience for students and parents. “Furthermore, a strategy to manage legacy waste at Marten landfill is set to be concluded within the next 2-3 years,” he said.
He emphasised that in the years 2023-2028 the government will intensify its efforts towards establishing Meghalaya as a model hill state, fostering efficient governance, improved quality of life, and citizen happiness.