Republic Day parades capturing India's rich diversity were held across the country on Thursday as states listed their achievements and outlined development agenda, with Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan saying his government was working on a new excise policy to discourage liquor consumption.
In a major announcement, apparently eyeing the Assembly elections slated to be held by the end of this year, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said unemployed youth will be given a monthly allowance from the next financial year.
The celebrations, however, could not gloss over the differences between the Telangana government and the Raj Bhavan over protocol and other issues.
After unfurling the national flag at the Raj Bhavan, Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan said she would work for the people of the state though "some may not like her". Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao did not attend the event.
"New buildings are not only for development. Nation building is for development. All the farmers and marginalised people should have farms and houses. Few should not have farmhouses. That is not the development," she said.
Noting that Telangana is also witnessing a tremendous expansion of national highways, she thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allocating the lion's share in the sector to the state.
In Uttarakhand, the government honoured those who rushed to the aid of Indian cricketer Rishabh Pant who met with an accident on December 30.
Pant had a miraculous escape when his car crashed into the road divider and caught fire on the Delhi-Dehradun Highway.
Haryana Roadways bus driver Sushil Kumar, conductor Paramjit Nayan and locals Nishu and Rajat -- who rescued Pant from the burning vehicle -- were each given a cash award of Rs 1 lakh, a shawl and a citation.
The day was celebrated across Kashmir with functions held at all district headquarters amid tight security.
The main Republic Day function in the Valley was held at the Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium with Rajesh Rai Bhatnagar, the advisor to the lieutenant governor, being the chief guest.
The atmosphere in Srinagar was visibly relaxed with fewer check posts set up to regulate traffic. Concertina wires were also not used to block the intersections in the city. Also, mobile internet was not suspended, which used to be a regular feature of the security drill after the 2005 IED blast, triggered by using a mobile phone, outside the venue of the Independence Day function here.
In Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Chouhan said the state's second global skill park will come up in Jabalpur. He also said, "A new excise policy is being drafted to discourage drinking. Work for a drug-free society." At a function on the 74th Republic Day, he said a new industrial city will also be set up in Jabalpur for which 332 hectares of land has been identified.
Chouhan reiterated that his government is working to make Madhya Pradesh "self-reliant" on the lines of Prime Minister Modi's "Aatmanirbhar Bharat" vision.
Governor Mangubhai Patel said the state was buzzing with development activities and claimed that it kept its economy robust during the Covid pandemic when the global economy was hit.
In neighbouring Chhattisgarh, Chief Minister Baghel announced the formulation of a rural industry policy in the state to strengthen the cottage industry-based rural economy. He further said factories located in industrial areas developed by the Industries Department will be exempted from property tax.
His other announcements included setting up an aerocity near Raipur airport, a housing assistance scheme for labourers and a scheme to promote women's entrepreneurship.
"Unemployed youth will be given an unemployment allowance every month from the next financial year," Baghel said after unfurling the national flag at the Lalbag Parade grounds in Jagdalpur, the headquarters of Bastar district.
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari greeted people on Republic Day and appealed to everyone to make the state strong and developed.
Elaborating on the development works taken up in the state, he said of the 701-km-long Hindu Hruday Samrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Express Highway between Mumbai and Nagpur, the 521-kilometre stretch from Nagpur to Shirdi has been opened.
Karnataka Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot said it is the people's duty to build a developed India which will be the "crown of the whole world" in the next 25 years when the country will celebrate 100 years of Independence.
His Kerala counterpart Arif Mohammed Khan, in his address, referred to India assuming the presidency of G20 nations and said diligence and tenacity helped the country emerge as a world leader.
He said that instead of merely fighting for its survival, India was guiding the world with its mantra of "act unitedly" in tackling global issues like climate change, terrorism and pandemic.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, in his message to the people, said the state has been marching ahead in the fields of industrial development, education, health, women empowerment, agriculture and sports.
He claimed that Odisha has received investment intents worth around Rs 10 lakh crore in the recently concluded "Make in Make In Odisha Conclave-2022". The investment proposals have the potential to create at least 10 lakh employment opportunities in Odisha, Patnaik said.
Bihar Governor Phagu Chouhan noted that providing 10 lakh new jobs in the government sector and another 10 lakh employment opportunities in other sectors are among the priorities of the Nitish Kumar government.
He said the state government distributed 28,000 appointment letters to youth in the last five months.
Asserting the state is committed to preserving communal harmony, he said, "The Bihar government is consistently working towards maintaining law and order. The strength of the police force has been substantially increased and actions are being taken against people indulging in illegal practices." Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren listed the welfare measures he initiated thus far and said he is committed to "realising the dreams of leaders and common people who fought for the creation of a separate state".
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee extended her greetings to the people and urged them "to protect and uphold democratic ideals of justice, liberty equality and fraternity as enshrined in our Constitution".
"Together, we shall strive to build a nation our founding fathers envisioned," she also tweeted.