Lauding the Yogi Adityanath government’s flagship scheme of `One District One Product` (ODOP) on the occasion of the first ‘Uttar Pradesh Diwas’, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday said it was a very important initiative not only in terms of the state’s progress but also for apprising the new generation about their rich heritage.

Wednesday saw Uttar Pradesh celebrate its first foundation day (Sthapana diwas). It was on 24 January 1950 that the United Provinces took on the nomenclature of Uttar Pradesh. While 24 other states of the country have been observing their foundation day, UP had lagged behind on the count. Following the suggestion from Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and at the initiative of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, UP celebrated its first `sthapana diwas’ on Wednesday with the Vice President as the chief guest.

The function to mark the UP Diwas celebrations was held at Avadh Shilp Gram here. The 10-day long Lucknow Mahotsav was also inaugurated.

Speaking on the occasion, the Vice President said till such time as Uttar Pradesh moved forward, the country will not move forward. The ‘ODOP’ scheme had the potential of opening new opportunities and new vistas for all as every section of the Indian society had some talent. What was required was to give it the requisite support. Naidu said 44 per cent of the handicrafts exported was from UP which also had the maximum small and medium industries. This was the land of freedom fighters like Mangal Pandey, Ram Prasad ‘Bismil’, Ashfaqullah Khan, Rani Laxmi Bai and of stalwarts and politicians like Madan Mohan Malviya and Atal Behari Vajpayee. He added it was his desire that Uttar Pradesh gets slotted in the category of ‘Uttam Pradesh’.

Earlier, the Chief Minister in his speech had referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s desire that Uttar Pradesh be pulled out from the category of BIMARU states. Adityanath said it was the privilege of UP that every district here had a distinct identity by way of products. He listed the chikankari of Lucknow, the Banarasi sarees of Varanasi, the locks of Aligarh, carpets of Bhadohi, flutes of Pilibhit and the sports goods of Meerut as some examples of the same. These products could not get the recognition due to them for lack of promotional support.

The ODOP by combining with such Central schemes as the Start Up yojana, Digital India would give the much needed support for their promotion, Adityanath said. The CM added that an anticipated 20 lakh jobs would be created through the one district one product scheme. In the process a strong heritage would also be laid for future generations, he observed.