The Annual Plan for Sikkim for the year 2008-09 was finalized here today at a meeting between Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission Shri Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Chief Minister of Sikkim, Shri Pawan Chamling. The Plan outlay was agreed at Rs.852 crores. This includes additional Central assistance of Rs.77 crores for projects of special importance to the State.
In his remarks, Mr Ahluwalia complimented the State for alround performance and said that the human development indicators of the State were better than majority of States. The State was doing well in areas of health, education and other priority programmes. Emphasis should continue on social and physical infrastructure. Efforts to promote public private partnership in the development process were appreciated.
Performance during Xth plan was satisfactory. State had almost achieved the growth targets set for the tenth plan. The State was advised to maintain progress achieved in agriculture with concerted efforts aimed at increasing area under agriculture without compromising in efforts aimed at improving growth in horticulture and floriculture. Cluster approach in promoting horticulture and floriculture was recommended. Thrust areas should include tourism, horticulture/floriculture and human resource development. These will not only generate revenue but also generate employment opportunities.
In his comments on the development strategy for Eleventh Plan, the Chief Minister Mr. Chamling said the State would have continued emphasis on social sector and over 40 per cent of funds would be ear-marked for the sector. With in the sector education will get highest priority with 17% allocation. He said the State Government was keen on skill development specially in the area of tourism where trained manpower was needed.
He said efforts would continue to further improve fiscal health. He said elections to rural local bodies have been completed and this would help further accelerate pace of development. He said in addition to promotion of tourism, horticulture and floriculture and citizen friendly services, setting up of low volume, high value and eco-friendly industries would encouraged. Policy initiatives have helped in creating investment friendly environment and more than Rs.1000 crores of investment have been committed. He sought adequate financial assistance from the Central Government for settingup of centre of excellence projects and establishment of Central University in Sikkim.