A ceremony was held in Buon Ma Thuot City, Dak Lak province on July 17 to honour outstanding ethnic minority individuals and those who have rendered great services to the stability and development of the Central Highlands.

It is also to mark the 10 th anniversary of the establishment of the Central Highlands Steering Committee.

Addressing the event, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung expressed his pleasure at the gigantic development of the region over the past 10 years and the rapid growth of the Steering Committee.

Apart from regional development, the most important achievements include the creation of the national unity, the gathering of great spiritual power, the continuation of the resilient revolutionary tradition of the ethnic minorities and the building of a strong belief in the Party and State’s leadership.

The Central Highlands is still a poor area and fails to tap into the region’s potentials and strength, PM Dung said, pointing out that the infrastructure is not synchronous and the living conditions of some ethnic minorities is still inadequate.

He asked the Party committees and authorities at all levels from Central Highland provinces and neighbouring provinces to make more efforts to improve the cultural lives and intellectual standards of ethnic groups as well as ensure social welfare.

These aim to free the Central Highlands and neighbouring provinces from poverty and underdevelopment, for the purpose of sustainable development.

He also asked members of the Steering Committee to bring into full play the achievements they have reached over the past decade and strive more to fulfill their assigned tasks.

On the occasion, PM Dung commended outstanding ethnic minority individuals and those who rendered great services to develop the villages, overcome poverty and protect social order and the environment.

He also praised religious representatives who have upheld the traditional patriotism and fulfilled their responsibility to society.

The Party and State have always cared for and affirmed that religions and beliefs are spiritual needs for the people, and considered religious people an inseparable part of the national unity bloc, Dung stressed.

Senior Lieutenant General Tran Dai Quang, Minister of Public Security and head of the Central Highlands Steering Committee, said that under the leadership of the Party Central Committee and the Government, the committee has worked closely with the relevant ministries, agencies and the authorities in Central Highland provinces to implement the Party and State’s policies associated with the region, to ensure security and national defence.

Important results have been made in politics, economy, culture and society, he said.

Added to this, the political system at the grassroots level has been strengthened and consolidated as well as the quality of Party organisations, especially those in remote areas, Quang said.

He added that from a backward and imbalanced structure, the region’s economy has made a great change in scale, quality and effectiveness, with a yearly average growth of 12 percent.

The per capita income gap compared to the national level has been narrowed, the socio-economic infrastructure developed while ethnic people’s living conditions improved. Many households have become rich and are considered good examples of economic development among ethnic groups.

The meeting honoured 122 ethnic representatives, 57 people who rendered great services to their country, 25 religious dignitaries who reaped achievements in socio-economic development in the Central Highlands and neighbouring provinces.

On the occasion of the 65 th anniversary of War Invalids and Martyrs’ Day on July 27, PM Dung and Quang, among others, offered incense in commemoration of martyrs at Dak Lak’s provincial monument to fallen soldiers./.