Address by Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Honourable Vice President at the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi Award ceremony in Guwahati on October 3, 2021.

Guwahati | October 3, 2021

“I am very happy to be here in this holy place at the hallowed feet of Mother Kamakhya and to present the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi Award for National Integration and Contribution 2021. I am thankful to the Government of Assam for inviting me to this special occasion.
Sisters and Brothers,
Assam is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Apart from its rich history and splendid cultural diversity, its breathtaking scenic beauty, flora and fauna, lofty hills, lush tea gardens, undulating plains, mighty waterways and dense forests, have abiding appeal.
Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi was one of the makers of Modern India. He was a self-made leader with many outstanding qualities of head and heart and who came to be revered as the builder of modern Assam. A front-ranking freedom fighter, he threw himself into the Non-Cooperation movement under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi for which he was arrested in 1922.
Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi was a visionary leader whose unparalleled contribution to protecting India’s integrity and sovereignty in the turbulent times of Partition, deserves a special mention here. As the first Chief Minister of Assam in independent India, he implemented an array of progressive industrial policies.  A farsighted thinker with a vision to unify people, he was also responsible for establishing a number of educational institutions including Gauhati University. He firmly believed that sound education is the cornerstone of progress.
As a recognition of his unwavering commitment towards the state and the all-round welfare of its people, the then Governor of Assam, Shri Jayram Das Doulatram conferred upon him the title, "Lokpriya". It would be apt to say that Gopinath Bordoloi was Lokpriya (loved by all) in the true sense of the term.
Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi is said to have been a gentle giant—soft-spoken and mild mannered yet committed to truth and wedded to his ideals.
His statesman-like personality had transcendental appeal—not only his colleagues but people across communities, denominations and political affiliations looked up to him. Passionately committed to the cause of a united Assam where people of all communities and tribes lived in total harmony, he constantly endeavored to resolve political differences on various issues through dialogue. Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi was a multi-dimensional figure with outstanding accomplishments in many fields of activity. He was also an eminent writer with a number of books on diverse topics to his credit. 
Quite fittingly, the Government of India conferred Bharat Ratna posthumously in 1999 upon Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi. More than seven decades have lapsed since his premature demise, but to this day, he occupies a revered place in the hearts of the people of Assam in particular, and of the Nation in general.
I take this opportunity to congratulate one of the distinguished recipients, Shri Nirode Kumar Barooah, who has come all the way from Germany.  Barooah Ji’s sterling contribution lies in introducing  Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi to the larger international audience through his valuable research work and books. His insights into the eventful history of Assam are well-known.
Duty impels me to congratulate members of the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust, Assam Branch for their stellar contribution to the cause of reconstructing the lives of rural women and children through their initiatives. I would also like to congratulate the members of the Shillong Chamber Choir for this crowning achievement which is a recognition of their contribution to the cause of national integration through music and culture.
As you are indeed aware, the Union Government led by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has focused on the need to promote all-round development of the North-Eastern Region. As initiatives over the past seven and a half years reveal, development, peace and prosperity have been the top priorities for the Central Government. One recent example is the historic Karbi Anglong Agreement signed in the presence of Union Home Minister, Shri Amit Shah, about a month ago, to end the decades-old crisis ensuring Assam’s territorial integrity. This pact has rightly been described as another milestone in the Government’s vision for an “Insurgency free, prosperous North-East.” I am certain that the Union government’s Special Development Package of around Rs. 1000 crores to undertake specific projects for the development of Karbi areas will fast-track growth and progress here.
The Central government’s thrust to improving air connectivity in the North-Eastern Region is also an integral part of the ‘Act East’ policy and will fill a critical gap in this sector .
The government of India’s focus on the need for accelerated progress of the North-East can be seen in a range of initiatives it has undertaken. The NER District SDG Index & Dashboard, a collaborative effort by NITI Aayog and Ministry of DoNER, with technical support from UNDP, is the first of its kind in the country as it concentrates exclusively on the North-Eastern Region. Clearly, this is of critical significance to the country’s development curve. The Index measures the performance of the districts of the eight States of the North-East and is a unique policy tool with tremendous potential to measure district level progress, highlight vital gaps and aid appropriate resource allocation. Needless to add, it will also serve as a handy tool for policy makers.
As you know, both the Union Government and the Assam state government have initiated and implemented a host of initiatives to promote entrepreneurship by creating a vibrant ecosystem in North-Eastern Region. I am certain that all these progressive steps will cumulatively help Assam, as also the other states of the North-Eastern Region, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura to scale higher peaks of progress and development in the future.
Thank you once again.
Jai Hind!”