Kerala Governor R. S. Gavai on Wednesday said the State Government had laudably expanded the safety net for the under privileged sections of society through various social security packages such as the Comprehensive Health Insurance scheme.

Speaking after taking the “National Salute” at the Republic Day parade at the Central Stadium here, Mr. Gavai said the Government had commendably contained the increase in the price of essential commodities and also extended credit facility to farmers.

Citing the success of the IT@school programme, the Governor urged the State Government to harness technology to improve the efficacy of public grievances rectifying mechanisms and proper marketing of agricultural products. The IT sector in the State was booming, with the targeted investment slated to touch Rs 10,000 crores.

The recently established Health University should be developed as a centre of innovation. People should sink rigid differences and stand as one to face modern day challenges.

Mr Gavai congratulated Kerala’s athletes who reaped glory for the country at the recently concluded Common Wealth Games. The Right to Information Act needed to be further reinforced through administrative reforms. On the national front, the Republic needed to confront the menace of terrorism and naxalism.

The Governor began his Republic Day address by remembering the 102 devotees who were killed in a stampede at Pulmeedu near Sabarimala hill shrine on Makara Vilaku Day. He also paid homage to the memory of late Chief Minister K. Karunkaran.

Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan was present. Armed units of the Army 16 Madras (Travancore) Regiment, Indian Air Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Railway Protection Force, Special Armed Police, Thiruvananthapuram City Armed Reserve Police and Kerala Prisons Department participated in the parade along with marching contingents of the Kerala Fire and Rescue Service, Kerala Excise Department, Kerala Forest Department, National Cadet Corps, Student Police Cadets and Bharath Scouts and Guides.