Inauguration of Cyber Park, Gender Park,and ‘KANIVU’ SCHEME’ Kozhikode, Kerala by Shri Pranab Mukharjee



Address by the President of India on the Occasion of Inauguration of Cyber Park and Gender Park, Inauguration of Digital Empowerment Campaign, And The Launch Of ‘KANIVU’ SCHEME’ Kozhikode, Kerala: Feb 27, 2016 


1. It is my pleasure to be here at this function in Kozhikode where unique initiatives, namely: (i) a Cyber Park in the labour cooperative sector; (ii) the digital empowerment campaign of the IT Department, (iii) Gender Park; and (iv) the ‘Kanivu’ scheme of the social justice department, are being inaugurated. I am thankful to the state government for inviting me here and take this opportunity to convey my good wishes for the progress and prosperity of the people of Kerala. 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 

2. The progress made by Kerala over the last few decades has been commendable. Today, it proudly stands at the forefront in social development particularly in the fields of education, health and women empowerment. The people of Kerala enjoy a quality of life that compares favourably with many developed countries in the world. This remarkable advancement has been possible due to the combined efforts of the government, various social organizations and, most importantly, because of the hard work, the spirit of openness and enterprise of the people of Kerala. 

3. Kerala has gradually evolved into a more equitable society. It has the highest literacy rate in the country. Kerala is also a pioneer in e-literacy having launched two breakthrough projects as early as 2002. The Akshaya Project was launched with the objective of making at least one person in every family e-literate. The IT@school project aimed at providing basic computer knowledge to every high school student. 

4. Kerala established its first State Data Centre in 2005 to deliver governmental services through e-governance. This was further strengthened with a second centre in 2011. It is heartening to note that Kerala has now over six hundred e-governance applications covering almost all departments, delivering e-services to its citizens. They are also being made available on the mobile platform now. All districts of the state have been covered under the e-District project. About thirty thousand digital certificates are delivered digitally to the citizens daily by the Revenue Department alone. The dynamic technology landscape due to the growth of internet and smart-phone penetration, combined with the proactive measures of the Government has rapidly transformed Kerala into a knowledge-powered economy. The state has a mobile tele-density of 95 percent and an internet access covering over sixty percent of the population. With broadband connectivity in every gram panchayat, Kerala has emerged as a truly ‘Digital State’. 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 

5. I am happy to know that the Kerala Government has initiated a digital literacy campaign leveraging its strong digital infrastructure. Started as a pilot project in Thiruvananthapuram district and implemented with the help of Student Police Cadets, this initiative aims at the digital empowerment of citizens from all walks of life. It will enable ordinary citizens to effectively use the internet to avail government and private services in a secure manner. Once extended to the entire state, the campaign will cover about three million citizens in the age group of thirty to sixty years. With this path-breaking initiative, Kerala is on track towards becoming a fully digital society by 2020. 

6. I am glad that on this occasion, a Cyber Park which is the first IT Park in the Malabar region is also being inaugurated. This IT Park also has the distinction of being the first in its class to be developed in the country by a labour cooperative society, the Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society (ULCCS). This society, formed in 1925 by the eminent social reformer Guru Vagbhadananda, has played a vital role in the socio-economic development of the region. It has helped in improving the living standards of the economically-weaker sections by providing them job opportunities. This IT Park – called the UL Cyber Park – will help generate employment in knowledge-based sectors. I am told that the first phase which covers an area of 0.5 million square feet will provide a base to five thousand professionals, besides creating indirect employment for over twenty thousand people in the region. I am confident that this Park will go a long way in positioning Kerala along with the other leading Indian states in the IT sector. 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 

7. A sustained path of socio-economic development in this region is incumbent on greater participation of women in economic activities. There have been several programmes aimed at encouraging women to take part in developmental and decision-making processes. Kerala is a pioneer in gender equity measures and is a leading state in several women-centric parameters. Yet, it was felt that a more gender-focussed approach is necessary, where all genders have equal access to development opportunities, resources and benefits, and possess equal voice in key decision-making areas. 

8. In this context, the novel concept of ‘Gender Park’ initiated by the Department of Social Justice is significant. This unique Park will act as a convergence centre for gender-related education, entrepreneurship training and capacity development activities. It will provide a strong impetus to gender-inclusive growth. 

9. To my mind, knowledge creation through relevant multi-disciplinary research and learning processes envisaged in the Park will have to be linked with policymaking. I am told that this Park will not only provide a platform to non-governmental organizations, academia and civil society to undertake gender-related research activity, but also test and replicate new interventions in the field of women empowerment. Already, the Gender Park is testing innovative programmes such as the She Taxi and Sandesh One, which are bringing women into economic spaces not ventured by them before. The research and knowledge base emanating from the Gender Park will have long-term benefits. I am even more hopeful after learning that the Centre will eventually transform into a university focused on gender equality, women’s empowerment and development. 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 

10. Kerala has a long tradition of care and compassion. The ‘Kanivu’ scheme is yet another initiative in this regard. In spite of Kerala having a robust social safety net, a large segment of the population find it difficult to cope with the problems of destitution, chronic or life threatening diseases, disabilities and sudden poverty. The Government is committed to ensure that no one in the state languishes for want of food, medical treatment or care. 

11. Through the ‘Kanivu’ initiative, the Government will reach out to the bed-ridden people and persons with acute mental disorders who are virtually living in isolation. Having earmarked Rs. 100 crore towards this project, the state will shoulder the responsibility of providing food, medicine and care to such needy people through community participation. I am happy to note that all the social security and social care initiatives of the state government will now come under the umbrella of ‘Kanivinte Keralam’ or ‘Compassionate Kerala’. 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 

12. Much needs to be done with the active participation of the people. Kerala has achieved considerable success in strengthening local governments and decentralized development. It has taken steps to ensure the participation of all sections of people in planning, decision-making, generating resources and ensuring transparency and accountability. Democracy is inherent in the thought and culture of Kerala. Parliamentary democracy thrives in Kerala on the solid foundation of an educated and well-informed electorate that accepts a diversity of views. Here, a multi-religious and multi-ethnic society has co-existed in harmony for centuries, fostering a culture of inclusiveness and tolerance. Kerala truly symbolizes the concept of Unity in Diversity, the very idea that defines India. 

13. I once again extend my warm greetings to the people of Kerala and wish them a bright and prosperous future. I wish all these projects inaugurated today, a great success and I am confident they will contribute significantly to improving the quality of life of the people and their welfare. 

Thank you.

Jai Hind. 

********


Kerala Truly Symbolizes the Concept of Unity in Diversity, the very Idea that Defines India 

Progress made by Kerala Over the Last Few Decades has been Commendable, Says President 

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee launched various schemes of Government of Kerala at a function held at Kozhikode today (February 27, 2016). These include dedication of Kerala as Digital State, launch of a Digital Empowerment Campaign, opening of the UL Cyber Park, the first Cyber Park established by a labour cooperative; inauguration of a Gender Park and launch of the ‘Kanivu’ (Compassion) Scheme. 

Speaking on the occasion, the President said Kerala has achieved considerable success in strengthening local governments and decentralized development. It has taken steps to ensure the participation of all sections of people in planning, decision-making, generating resources and ensuring transparency and accountability. Democracy is inherent in the thought and culture of Kerala. Parliamentary democracy thrives in Kerala on the solid foundation of an educated and well-informed electorate that accepts a diversity of views. Here, a multi-religious and multi-ethnic society has co-existed in harmony for centuries, fostering a culture of inclusiveness and tolerance. Kerala truly symbolizes the concept of Unity in Diversity, the very idea that defines India. 

The President said the progress made by Kerala over the last few decades has been commendable. Today, it proudly stands at the forefront in social development particularly in the fields of education, health and women empowerment. The people of Kerala enjoy a quality of life that compares favourably with many developed countries in the world. This remarkable advancement has been possible due to the combined efforts of the government, various social organizations and, most importantly, because of the hard work, the spirit of openness and enterprise of the people of Kerala. 

*****

Speech by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at the inauguration of Muziris Heritage Project in Kodungaloor, Kerala


1. I am happy to be here in this historic town of Kodungaloor today to inaugurate the Muziris Heritage Project, being implemented by the Tourism Department of the Government of Kerala, with the support of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. 

2. If Kerala is God’s own country, Kodungaloor is the town where the Gods gather in unity and harmony. This town and its surroundings have been a thriving centre of Islam, Christianity, Judaism as well as Hinduism. It is heartening to know that the ancient Kurumba Bhagavati temple and the Cheraman Mosque, believed to be the oldest mosque in India, are both in Kodungalloor. The two synagogues in Paravur and Chennamangalam, the historical precinct of Kottayil Kovilakam and the Kottapppuram fort with its links to the Portugese, the Dutch and the Mysore Sultans are also in the neighbourhood. Kodungaloor is also believed to be the place where the Apostle of Jesus Christ, St. Thomas, landed bringing with him Christianity to India much before it reached Europe. 

3. The Muziris Heritage Project, which was initiated six years ago, is an ambitious project comprising the development works of Chennamangalam palaces, Cheraman Parambu, Synagogue and waterfront at North Paravur; a visitor's centre; a performance centre at Gothuruthu; a Museum at Pallipuram, and a Tourism reception facility at Pattanam. The project also envisages the conservation of archaeological monuments within 125 square kilometres spread across Thrissur and Ernakulam districts. 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 

4. India was probably one of the most globalized nations in ancient times. Muziris, after which this project is named, at the height of its glory, was an active port, trading everything from precious stones to spices. Muziris was the doorway for cultures, religions and races into India. It was frequented by large ships of ocean traders from across the world, including Arabs, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Chinese. 

5. The name ‘Muciripattanam’ is mentioned in Sangam literature (which spans 300 BCE to 300 CE) as an affluent port and habitation on the western coast of ‘Tamizhagam’. In Akanānūru, the seventh book of Sangam anthology, the poet describes Muziris as a prosperous Cheran town on the banks of river Periyar visited by theYavanasor Greeks seeking pepper in exchange of gold. 

6. Muziris finds mention in the "Voyage around the Erythraen Sea”, a work by a Greek speaking Egyptian merchant from the middle of the first century CE. It is described as one of the four active ports which exported pepper and other goods. Pliny the Elder, a Roman naturalist of the first century CE refers to Muziris, in his encyclopaedic work, ‘Naturalis Historia’, as ‘the first emporium’ of India. ‘Emporium’ in ancient times was a place reserved for the business interests of foreign traders. 

7. It is believed that a devastating flood that changed the course of the Periyar river or an earthquake in the 14th century led to the decline of Muziris. But, the Malabar Coast remained a prime destination for foreign traders and visitors from different parts of the world. Travellers such as Ibn Batuta and Marco Polo visited and wrote accounts about the busy ports of Malabar. The Arabs continued their flourishing trade in spices and the Chinese were frequent visitors. 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 

8. For more than two thousand years, people of different faiths have lived together in this region in peace and harmony.The Hindu Kings of Kerala welcomed people from foreign lands as well as their religions - Judaism, Islam and Christianity. The Kings gifted land to set up places of worship and offered protection and patronage to believers of different religions. Today, Kerala is a state where religions share traditions. Many churches light oil lamps and raise flags as is done in Hindu temples. Similarly, the Cheraman Mosque has an oil lamp which is always lit. 

9. I am glad that the Muziris Heritage Project seeks to bring alive this wonderful mosaic of cultural influences in a holistic way. This region is home to an exceptionally rich and diverse history. It is important that this complex narrative be disseminated and interpreted to the world and to India in a sensitive and professional way. I am happy that the Muziris Heritage Project proposes to do so through a series of museums and interpretation centres, taking visitors through events and experiences across millennia. I believe the project also seeks to provide visitors with a glimpse into the life of the common people of this area using the network of waterways that connect the historic sites with one another. I have no doubt this project will open up to Indian and foreign tourists a new destination, bringing economic benefits to the people of the region as well as knowledge and enjoyment for the visitors. 

Friends: 

10. Being the largest conservation project in the country and first green project of Kerala Government, Muziris Heritage project has a lot to boast about, be it in the area of heritage, conservation or tourism. The spice trade and ancient ports in the state have created many islands of heritage and history within Kerala, but the tourist experiences have always been discrete. This is where Muziris heritage project offers the best of heritage tourism to global travellers. 

11. I compliment the State Government for emphasizing responsible tourism and involving the local population in the project. Local ownership can help bring grassroots knowledge and ideas for the implementation of the Project. It will entrust the people of the area with the responsibility of ensuring that the Indian tradition ofAthithi Devo Bhavais made a reality. Participation of people in planning and implementation of the project will further ensure full utilization of the economic and employment prospects that growth in tourism will bring to the region. 

12. I am told that the next phase of the project is the ‘Spice Route Initiative’ which will explore the international connections and linkages that the Malabar Coast had with many parts of the world. This phase is to be implemented with the support of UNESCO and United Nations World Tourism Organization. TheSpice Route Initiative is both important and timely with India seeking to once again emerge as a major centre for international trade and transport as well as a maritime power. I understand theSpice Route Initiative will link 41 countries in Asia and Europe with India and rejuvenate our culturaland academic exchangeswith these nations. The goal will be the development of a multi-national cultural corridor which will not only throw light on India’s glorious heritage but also open up arouteofpeace bringing nations and people together.

Friends, ladies and gentlemen: 

13. Kerala has through the ages demonstrated a remarkable ability to adapt to new traditions and values in every sphere of human thought and endeavour.The spirit of tolerance and catholicity of outlook of the people of Kerala is a model for the rest of the country. The Muziris Heritage Project celebrates this magnificent heritage of our land where people of different religions, castes and languages live in harmony. This project reminds us that our history is one of assimilation, mutual respect and celebration of our differences, respecting each other’s beliefs and values. 

14. As a country intersected by major maritime and caravan routes, India has always been one of the most cosmopolitan societies in the world, comfortable in dealing with diversity and welcoming of new ideas and cultures. I hope this Project will spread the message of Indian cosmopolitanism far and wide, adding thereby to India’s soft power across the world. 

15. I call upon you to uncover and highlight the long-standing civilizational links and cultural affinities that India shares with the rest of the world. May this Muziris Heritage Project emerge as an invaluable link between the new world and the rising India! 

Thank you, 

Jai Hind. 

***


Our history is one of assimilation, mutual respect and celebration of differences, respecting each other’s beliefs and values, says President


The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the Muziris Heritage Project today (February 27, 2016) at Kodungaloor, Kerala. 

Speaking on the occasion, the President said being the largest conservation project in the country and first green project of Kerala Government, Muziris Heritage project has a lot to boast about, be it in the area of heritage, conservation or tourism. The spice trade and ancient ports in the state have created many islands of heritage and history within Kerala, but the tourist experiences have always been discrete. This is where Muziris heritage project offers the best of heritage tourism to global travellers. There is no doubt this project will open up to Indian and foreign tourists a new destination, bringing economic benefits to the people of the region as well as knowledge and enjoyment for the visitors. 

The President pointed out that for more than two thousand years, people of different faiths have lived together in this region in peace and harmony. The Hindu Kings of Kerala welcomed people from foreign lands as well as their religions - Judaism, Islam and Christianity. The Kings gifted land to set up places of worship and offered protection and patronage to believers of different religions. Today, Kerala is a state where religions share traditions. Many churches light oil lamps and raise flags as is done in Hindu temples. Similarly, the Cheraman Mosque has an oil lamp which is always lit. 

The President said Kerala has through the ages demonstrated a remarkable ability to adapt to new traditions and values in every sphere of human thought and endeavour. The spirit of tolerance and catholicity of outlook of the people of Kerala is a model for the rest of the country. The Muziris Heritage Project celebrates this magnificent heritage of our land where people of different religions, castes and languages live in harmony. This project reminds us that our history is one of assimilation, mutual respect and celebration of our differences, respecting each other’s beliefs and values. 

The President said he understands the next phase of the project is the ‘Spice Route Initiative’ which will explore the international connections and linkages that the Malabar Coast had with many parts of the world. This phase is to be implemented with the support of UNESCO and United Nations World Tourism Organization. The Spice Route Initiative is both important and timely with India seeking to once again emerge as a major centre for international trade and transport as well as a maritime power. The Spice Route Initiative will link 41 countries in Asia and Europe with India and rejuvenate our cultural and academic exchanges with these nations. The goal will be the development of a multi-national cultural corridor which will not only throw light on India’s glorious heritage but also open up a route of peace bringing nations and people together. 

The President said as a country intersected by major maritime and caravan routes, India has always been one of the most cosmopolitan societies in the world, comfortable in dealing with diversity and welcoming of new ideas and cultures. He expressed hope that the Muziris Heritage Project will spread the message of Indian cosmopolitanism far and wide, adding thereby to India’s soft power across the world. 

The President called upon the project authorities and people of the region to uncover and highlight the long-standing civilizational links and cultural affinities that India shares with the rest of the world. He expressed the hope that the Muziris Heritage Project will emerge as an invaluable link between the new world and the rising India. 

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