Friday, May 18, 2007

Message of the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Sikkim on the occasion of the State Day

On the occasion of the 33rd State Day I extend my heartiest greetings to the people of Sikkim,

May 16 is a very important day in the history of Sikkim. The day is marked with the fulfillment of the long struggle of the people of the state to become masters of their own destiny by acquiring the status of a full democracy in joining the political, economic and social mainstream of the Indian Union.

Unlike thriving democracy of today, Sikkim had a different set of political dispensation before 1975 with distributive justice. The social order was based more on landed aristocracy rather than social values of equality, human security and collective living. Since then our journey to today’s Sikkim has been marked by trails and tribulations, setback and achievements, frustrations and satisfactions, nonetheless moving forward steadily.

My government was voted to power 13 years back in December 1994. With unstinted and massive support from the people of Sikkim and the Union Government we have mad tremendous progress in all the different fields of developmental activities. I am very happy to state here that today we rank among the top leading states in the country.

The pnenomenal all-round transformation that is taking place in Sikkim has made our state one of the est performing states in the country. There is no second opinion that Sikkim is today the happening state. The rapidity with which the developmental activities are being carried out throughout the length and breadth of Sikkim has completely transformed the state and has made Sikkim, especially during the last 12 years of SDF Government, the cynosure of all the eyes in the country.

A numer of progressive and pro-poor programme launched in Sikkim has immensely benefited the unprivileged sections of the society and improved the living standard of their lives. Maintaining peace and tranquility in this sensitive border state coupled with amazing all-round progress has made Sikkim a model state in the country and worthy of emulation by the rest of the country.

-When we took the rein of the state administration the state of affairs was in a bad shape. The overall financial scenario was deplorable and the state was literally under the debt burden. However, Sikkim has bounced back to a healthy economic condition and its annual revenue which was a mere Rs. 41.30 crores in 1993-94 has shot up to Rs.228.31 crores. Now we have emerged as one of the est governd and progressive states in the country. It is well known to everyone that Sikkim has achieved many milestones in various sectors and won a number of accolades and laurels in many fields.

The per capita income which was just Rs.7,550/-in 1993-94 has risen to Rs.26,851/-during 2005-06 and the people living below the poverty line has gone down to 19.2% from 41.43%.The total number of educational institution has increased from 269 in 1993-94 to 794 in 2005-06. The literacy percentage which was 56% in 1994 has gone up to 82% in 2005-06 . Similarly, the infant mortality rate has decreased from 46 (per thousand) in 1993-94 to 32 (per thousand) in 2005-06 and the death rate has been considerably reduced from 7.5 (per thousand) in 1993-94 to 5 in 2005-06.

Thirteen years ago, power generation of Sikkim was only 65.81 MU only and the same has now increased to 165.00Mu. This has also resulted in increase in revenue figure in power from Rs.3.57 crores in 1993-94 to 27.10 crores during 2005-06.

Out of 8000 MW power potentiality of the state, 5148 MW will be added by the end of 11th five year plan. 22 new hydro power projects nave been awarded to various power developers and the works have already commenced.

My government has adopted tourism as an industry without disturbing the fragile eco-system of the state. There is record increase in the flow of tourists in the state. Sikkim was visited by 2,51,744 domestic and 16,523 foreign tourists during 2005-06 against the figure of 70,365 domestic and 7,360 foreign tourists in 1993-94.

Among the list of incredible developments made by Sikkim under the SDF Government are inclusion of Sikkim in NEC, grant of ST status to Tamang and Limboo communities of Sikkim, reopening of Nathula trade route, grant of OBC status to Bahun, Chhetri and Newar.

The achievements of the state have been widely acclaimed by various leaders from within and outside the nations as well as internal and external agencies. The Planning Commission has lauded the marvelous performance made by Sikkim during the recently held plan discussion in New Delhi. It is also evident from the fact that our plan seze for current financial year has been increased by 26%.

Sikkim was ranked first among 12 states of India Union in the Health and Investment Enviroment.

Rural development being an integral process of our strategy my government has set aside 70% total plan outlay towards rural development. The major rural development programmes currently in operation are-Chief Minister’s Antyodaya Annadan Programme, Chief Minister’ self-employment progress for educated unemployed youth, PM”s Gramin Sadak Yojana, Rural Housing Scheme Integrated Watershed Development Programme and Total Sanitation Campaign.

In order to provide more power to the people and to bring administration at their doorsteps, 24 Block Development Offices with adequate infrastructures have been established all over the state. The Panchayati Raj Institutions have been given adequate financial, administrative and supervisory powers. To boost developmental process at various levels, Panchayats are being involved in the planning and execution of poverty alleviation and employment generation programmes, so as to ensure that the benefits under these programmes are percolated down to the needy and deserving.

Agriculture and Horticulture are the main thrust areas of the Government. Food production has increased from 61.8 thousand tones in 1980-81 to 1.07 lakh tones in 2005-06. Between 1990-2002 horticulture production has risen from 62,790 tones to 86,465 tonnes. My government is committed to make Sikkim a total organic state by 2015. Following my study tour to six European nations and south east Asian countries a number of agencies related to agriculture and horticulture of these countries have shown their keen interests to participate in the development of these sectors in Sikkim. In fact, some of them have already visited and works have initiated.

Mo government is committed to extend the social security cover to all the eligible beneficiaries under old age pension, widow, physically challenged. 33% seats in Panchayat and 30% in Government jobs are reserved for womn. Various programmes towards empowerment of women namely Prena Yojana, Laghu Pariwar Yojana, Balika Samridhi Yojana, Bidhwa purna Bhibaha Yojana, Swayamisddha Yojana etc. are being implemented. My Government has always stood for the welfare of government employees. Ours is the best paid government servants in the whole nation. The pay scale of employees have been raised by 300% during the last 12 years. I have already announced a hike in the wages of Muster roll workers to minimum of Rs. 100/-to Rs.150 per day. This was done to encourage the employees for better performance and efficient administration.

Another priority sector of my government is preservation of ecology. Our Green Mission will be carried out more vigorously.

Whatever achievements we have made so far the credit of which goes to the peace loving people of Sikkim and their unstinted support to us. Let us not remain complacent to what we have achieved, but forge ahead with our concerted efforts in making Sikkim a self-reliant and prosperous State. My Government has already worked out plans and mission in this direction and we are totally committed to achieve them all within the stipulated time.

Jai Sikkim! Jai Bharat!