Sikkim Exploring the newer frontiers Speeches of Chief Minister

Document Sample
Sikkim Exploring the newer frontiers Speeches of Chief Minister Powered By Docstoc
					   Sikkim: Exploring the newer frontiers


Speeches of Chief Minister Pawan Chamling




                VOLUME- III




                     1
Contents


XI Sikkim Legislative Assembly and Annual Budget
Presentation
  49 Address to the State Legislative Assembly, Gangtok, 5 February 2004
  50 Swearing-in-ceremony of the third consecutive Government, Gangtok, 21 May
     20042006-2007
  51 Budget Speech 2004-2005, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Gangtok, 7 September
     2004
  52 Budget Speech 2005-2006, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Gangtok, 21 February
     2005
  53 Launching of Sikkim Legislators’ Forum for Human Development, Banquet Hall,
     Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Gangtok, 10 August 2005
  54 Presentation of Economic Survey 2005-06, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, 21
     February 2006
  55 Budget Speech 2006-2007, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Gangtok 22 February
     2006

XII Agriculture and Rural Development
  56 Launching of Alpine Cheese ‘Spread’, White Hall, 13 March 2003
  57 NE Chief Ministers & Rural Development Ministers Conference on Rural
     Development, Gangtok, 5 September 2003
  58 Conference of the Chief Ministers and State Ministers on Rural Alleviation and
     Rural Prosperity through Panchayati Raj, Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, 29-30
     June, 2004
  59 Indian Council of Agricultural Research, 17th Meeting of Regional Committee
     No. III, Chintan Bhawan, Gangtok, 25 November 2004
  60 Workshop & Honey Festival on development of Apiculture in North East,
     Chintan Bhawan, Gangtok, 16 June 2006

XIII       Visits to Asian and European Countries
  61 Singapore Business Meeting and reception hosted by His Excellency Shri Alok
     Prasad, the High Commissioner of India, 31 Grange Road, Singapore January 13,
     2006
  62 International Tourism Bourse, Berlin on 09 March 2006
  63 Head Office of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Berlin, 10 Marhc 2006


                                         2
 64 Officials of the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC) and
    Intercooperation at Bern, 13 March 2006
 65 India Institute of Federalism, University of Fribourg, Switzerland, 14 March
    2006
 66 Sierre-Anniviers Tourism (SAT), Vissoie (Canton of Valais), Switzerland, 15
    March 2006
 67 Municipality of Vissoie, Sierre (Canton of Valais), Switzerland, 15 March 2006
 68 Dinner hosted by Mr. Amitabh Tripathi, Ambassador of India to Switzerland,
    Bern, 16 March 2006
 69 Development cooperation Issues and appeals placed before Ambassador Walter
    Fust, Director General, Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, Bern, 17
    March 2006
 70 Lunch hosted by Mr. Chappatte, Head of Multilateral Cooperaiton of SDC, Bern,
    17 March 2006
 71 Dinner hosted by Mr Elmar Lederberger, Mayor of Zurich & President of
    Intercooperation at Zurich, 17 March 2006
 72 Dinner hosted by His Excellency Mr. Rajiv Dogra, Ambassador of India to Italy,
    Rome, 18 March 2006
 73 Tourism Agencies and Media in Paris, 21 March 2006
 74 MAI and OFIT meeting, Paris, 22 March 2006
 75 Signing of MOU between the Government of Sikkim and the Dutch Consortium
    for Development of Horticulture Business in Sikkim, Amsterdam, The
    Netherlands, 24 March 2006
 76 Tourism Agencies and the Media in London, UK, 30 March 2006

XIV       National Conclaves
 77.   Chief Minister’s Conclave, India Today Group, Convention Hall, Hotel
       Ashok, New Delhi, 6 August 2004

XV Educational Events and Convocations
 78.   Convocation of Sikkim Manipal University on the occasion of conferring the
       Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa), Rangpo Mining, 11 October 2003
 79.   Inauguration of School Auditorium, Don Bosco School, Malbasay, West
       Sikkim, 15 November 2003
 80.   Fourth Convocation of Sikkim Manipal University, Rongpo Mining, 4
       December 2004

XVI       State Functions
 81    Suraksha Rally, Gangtok, 15 March 2003
 82    State level Sensitization Programme, 11 October 2004
                                       3
 83     Commonwealth Day 2005, Banquet Hall, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, 14
        March 2005
 84     Inauguration of Sankalang-Dikchu Bridge, North Sikkim, 17 April 2005
 85     Training Course on Professional Certification for the Security Personnel,
        Gangtok, 8 June 2005
 86     Commemoration of 5th Year of successful ascent of Mt. Kanchenjunga,
        Gangtok, 17 September 2005
 87     Inauguration of Ashirvad Bhawanm Ran Bhawan Complex, Gangtok, 20
        September, 2005
 88     Workshop on Right to Information Act 2005, Chintan Bhawan, 14 December
        2005
 89     Inauguration of Advanced Technical Training Centre (ATTC) Complex,
        Bardang, East Sikkim, 6 May 2006
 90     Laying of Foundation Stone by Vice-President of India, for new Raj Bhawan
        Building, Gangtok, 19 August 2006


XVII Economic Reforms, Industrial Progress and
Urban Development
 91     Consultative workshop for drafting of a new Municipal Law for Sikkim,
        Chintan Bhawan, Gangtok, 5 February 2005
 92     Seminar on VAT, Chintan Bhawan, Gangtok, 8 March 2005
 93     Inauguration of SICPA Plant, Mamring, Rangpo, 14 May 2005
 94     National Policy on Urban Transport, Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, 29 June
        2005
 95     Power sector Reformation & Restructuring, Chintan Bhawan, Gangtok, 26
        October 2005
 96     Visiting Singaporean team meeting, Samman Bhawan, Gangtok, 23 July 2006
 97     Visiting Dutch Consortium team meeting, Samman Bhawan, 27 July 2006




XVIII      Visits by Dignitaries

 98     Public felicitation in honour of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Hon’ble Prime
        Minister, TNA ground, Gangtok, 13 April 2003
 99     Courtesy Address of Chief Minister on the occasion of Dinner hosted by
        Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, 01 August 2006

                                       4
 100   Public Reception in honour of the visiting Vice President of India, Shri
       Bhairon Sigh Shekhawat, Chintan Bhawan, 18 August 2006

XIX Democracy, Panchayat and Participation
 101   India-Bangladesh Workshop on “Democracy,                Development   and
       Participation”, Tashi Delek, Gangtok, 13 October 2003

XX Sports and Recreation
 102   Special Olympic Torch Rally, Gangtok, 16 September 2005
 103   Paljor Stadium inauguration by the President, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam,
       Gangtok, 22 September 2005




                                       5
XI Sikkim Legislative Assembly and Annual Budget
Presentation
49    Address to the State Legislative Assembly, Gangtok, 5 February 2004

Madam Speaker,
      I stand here to mark the last session of the 6th Sikkim State Assembly. I
would, therefore, take this privilege given by this august house to primarily thank
the people of Sikkim for their warmth, support, blessings and best wishes which
enabled us to successfully run the Government for the last ten years. My dear
colleagues and me cannot express in words as to how indebted we are to the people
of Sikkim for their act of kindness and benevolence. The Sikkimese people have
been with us during our most challenging and difficult times. They remained with
us when the situation was dark and gloomy. Therefore, the credit of ushering in
bright and sprightly situation we have in Sikkim today, goes to the people of
Sikkim. My government has been only an instrument, a facilitator and a supervisor
in the entire people-centric process of giving Sikkim the most enviable position
today in the country.

      Please accept our deepest gratitude for what you have done. Our hearty
thanks to each and every Sikkimese people for your immense contributions.
We profusely thank:
Our old revered people
Our mothers and sisters
Our young boys and girls
Our physically challenged citizens
Our college and school students
Our farmers, workers and labourers,
Our government officials
Our teachers in schools, colleges and other institutions
Our sportsmen, journalists, intellectuals, writers, musicians, painters, doctors,
engineers, architects, social scientists and natural scientists and technologists
Our associations and institutions representing various professions, tribes and
castes.
Our traders and industrialists, entrepreneurs

We want to extend our abundant thanks to:
Our Panchayat members,
Our political workers both in the ruling and the opposition parties,
Social workers, NGOs and other grass root organizations

       I would like to personally thank the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the
State Assembly. Hon’ble Madam and Sir, you have made commendable
contributions to keep the dignity and decorum of the House at the highest possible
level.



                                          6
     I would very heartily thank my own colleagues in the Cabinet and the Party
who have collectively worked for the well being of the people of Sikkim. Each one of
you has been valuable and precious to the Government and the party.

       In the 1970s, the Sikkimese people chose to break away from their past and
live under a new system of governance. Sikkim became a constituent State of India
and started marching on the democratic principles. Many of us thought that these
changes were inevitable as everyone wanted development, social change and
upward mobilizations. But our hopes were soon belied as democracy, the most
fundamental pillar of our system, was tampered with and the political power could
not appreciate the inherent aspects of democracy. Democracy fell and suffered in
the iron hands with the velvet gloves.

       Let me quote what Winston Churchill had to say about politics. He said,
“Politics are almost as exciting as war and quite as dangerous. In war you can only
be killed once, but in politics – many times”

       For some years we remained silent on this phenomenon of tyranny. For some
more years, we started discussing and debating on this phenomenon of one man
politics. And then we openly revolted. We made a vow to stop this process and
thereby the great sufferings of the people at large. We wanted to give a death blow
to this symbol of feudalism, exploitation and anti-humanism.

       This is how the Sikkim Democratic Front was born. We were soon given the
popular mandate to run the government and govern this beautiful State. Therefore,
the SDF is the symbol of revolt. It represents the collective voice and the social will
of the Sikkimese people. It is the forum of all the upholders of democratic principles
and rights.

       The Government led by the Sikkim Democratic Front party is now completing
ten years of its rule in the State. We have conducted the affairs of running the
government all these years with dazzling all round performances because we are the
friends, well wishers and the champions of people’s causes. Sikkimese people are
our strongest strength. They are our hopes and they are our conscience. Their
dignity is our basic foundation. Their prosperity is our immediate objective and
their happiness is our ultimate goal.

      In the long journey of almost ten years of running the government in a
responsible and serious manner, we have had many ups and downs. We had to
undergo many trials and tribulations. Each day has been different. Each moment
has brought new challenges and opportunities to us.

      Our interactions at all levels have been very enriching. I have personally
learnt so much from the thoughts and experiences of the people. Exchange of views
with all strata has been very rewarding. I have seen how talented are our villagers.
I have realised how important it is for us to conserve our natural and cultural
heritage. I have visited villages, valleys and mountain areas. They all have renewed
my abiding faith on our traditional strengths.


                                          7
      In the last ten years, my dear colleagues and me, and I am sure, my officials
witnessed both illuminating and dusky and dim Sikkim, both brilliant and lively,
and cheerless and desolate faces of our rural areas, both gloomy and joyless, and
radiant and sparkling villagers and both pessimistic and lustrous and warm
youths. The older generation has been a source of inspirations. They are the ones
who enkindle in us immense courage and action that are required in working for
the Sikkim and the Sikkimese people.

       In this decade of our very delightful journey, some of our esteemed colleagues
passed away for heavenly abode. A valiant soldier like Sanjog Chettri became the
martyr. We also lost some of our valiant and steadfast friends who had been with us
in thick and thin. Late Shri Kalzang Gyatso, former Rajya Sabha MP, C.B. Katuwal,
former MP, VC Ganju Lama, Digay Bhutia ex-MLA, Sang Dorjee Tamang, MLA,
Ratna Bijay Rai ex-MLA, Sompen Lucksom, N.K. Subedi, Tshering Kazi, Jas
Bahadur Chettri, Namgay Bhutia, Palden Bhutia, Kalu Rai, Vinod Pradhan, and Kul
Bahadur Rai are no longer with us. They were solid, substantive and very
resourceful. These colleagues died so young and so promising. They brought light
to actions and immensely contributed to our collective effort of building a new
Sikkim. They were there always and would remain with us always. We shall never
forget their concerns and commitments. We remember them this day and the task
we together embarked upon will have to continue.

       Let the people of Sikkim know that this is what we did in the last ten years.
We worked with a zeal and speed unparallel in the history of modern Sikkim. We
gave patient hearing to each and every individual and institution. We looked into all
the grievances and difficulties. We gave both individual and societal solutions. Yet
we devised a collective response and state level interventions in all these. We have
realised that for all these, we will have to bring about fundamental changes in our
system, in our attitude and in our approach. We have now started working towards
all these. I am sure our mission will be a successful one.

       Our Government has been able to fulfill all that we had promised in our
election manifesto in 1994 and all subsequent elections. Take any field, any village,
any sector and any segment of our society. You will find that we have delivered
what we had promised. Ask any visitor or any observer from outside Sikkim about
what they feel about Sikkim. They will tell you the difference.

      This is clearly reflected in the image we have projected and built about
Sikkim and the Sikkimese people at the regional, national and international level.
Our Stature today is unquestioned. Today Sikkim is widely known for its
development and economic growth, political stability, social tranquility, quality of
governance, reforms, communal harmony, high standard of environmental
management               and            crime            free             situation.

●     Sikkim became the Eighth Member of the North Eastern Council (NEC). This
      inclusion will bring about tremendous amount of financial, institutional and
      infrastructural benefits to the State.



                                         8
●     Top dignitaries of the country including Vice-President, Prime Minister, Home
      Minister, Defense Minister and others visited the State
●    Other national and international dignitaries including the heads of the United
      Nations, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, AUSaid, USAID offices in
      India, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Intellectuals,              Scientists,
      Environmentalists, Economists, Industrialists, legal experts, Politicians,
      Public figures, Media men and Social activists visited Sikkim. Sikkim also
      had the privilege of receiving representatives of very renowned national and
      international donor agencies, non-governmental organizations and other
      development                                                          agencies.

      As a result, a range of projects and development programmes have been
      initiated by the international and national non-governmental, multilateral
      and donor agencies in the State.
●     Sikkim has obtained very extensive coverage in both national and
      international media.
●     Sikkim has emerged as the Conference Capital of the North East. A large
      number of regional, national and international seminars / conferences /
      workshops have been held in Sikkim.
●     Sikkim became the third State in the country to prepare the Human
      Development Report. By also publishing the same in Nepali language, Sikkim
      possibly became the first state in the country to publish the Human
      Development Report in a national language.
●     Sikkim is also one of the first States to prepare a vision document entitled
      “Sikkim: The People’s Vision”
●     India’s trade with China is now possible through reopening of the traditional
      trade route via Nathu la. The gains to Sikkim will be enormous.
●     The Survey on the “State of India’s Public Services : Millenium Survey of
      States” done by the ORG-MARG and PAC in 2002 ranked Sikkim as one of
      the top States in the country in the arena of public services including
      drinking water, health, road and road transport, public distribution system,
      school education and domestic sanitation facilities.

All of us would like to know about Where Do We Stand today in India? With great
sense of satisfaction let me state before this august house that out of the 28 States
and       7      Union       Territories      in     the      country,      Sikkim’s:

►     Per capita income growth rate is 5th highest in the country
►     Per capita income is 10th highest
►     Per capita Plan Outlay is the 3rd highest
►     Literacy Rate is the 16th highest
►     Infant mortality rate is the 13th lowest
►     Fertility rate is the 12th lowest
►     Index of Social and Economic Infrastructure is the 9th highest
►     Access to Safe drinking water in percent of Households is the 6th
      highest
►     Plan Expenditure on Social Sector is the 4th highest
►     Average per capita per annum of Externally Aided projects is the 10th highest
►     Gross Fiscal deficit / Plan Expenditure is the 4th lowest
                                         9
►       Human     Development    Index     (HDI) has steadily improved    from
        0.454 in 1991 and 0.509 in 1995 to 0.532 in 1998. This is significantly
        higher than many other states of India.

        When we started our journey as the government in 1994, the financial
situation in the State was in a very poor and alarming condition. We had debt and
liability everywhere and with all the institutions.

      However, we were determined to change the situation to our favour. We
worked hard, injected discipline in the expenditure norms and patterns and
subjected ourselves to self imposed discipline. At the same time we started looking
for diverse sources of revenues. We convinced the Union Government about the
honesty of our purpose. Seeing our firm conviction and solid commitment to people
centric development programmes, we were given whatever we wanted by the Union
Government. Situation started changing and today we are in a very strong platform.

       Today our financial position is sound and upbeat. Some states in the country
have defaulted in the payment of salaries to the government officials whereas we
make advance payments of salaries. Many states have a large number of people
without proper shelter, drinking water, educational facilities, health amenities and
electricity. Our state has provided all of these including food items at an easily
affordable price. All these are possible, because each action of our government is
well thought out, prudently planned and seriously implemented.


i) INCREASED DEVELOPMENT SPENDING
     The Development Plan allocations in different plans have recorded very
     significant increases. As against a plan outlay of Rs 216.67 Crore in the 7th
     Plan (1985-90) and Rs 1091.32 Crore in the 9th Plan (1997-2002), Sikkim
     Tenth Plan (2002-2007) outlay has been fixed as Rs 1655.74 Crore.

ii)     Bright Performance in State Domestic Product and per Capita Income
        After 1995-96 both the Net State Domestic Product (NSDP) and per capita
        income have always recorded a very steady growth.
        The NSDP at current prices increased from Rs 426 crore in 1995-96 to Rs
        891 crore in 2001-2002.
        The per capita income also almost doubled from Rs 8905 in 1995-96 to Rs
        16143 in 2001-02
        This means both the NSDP and per capita income recorded a rather high
        growth rate of 18.19 percent 13.55 percent per annum respectively.
        Sikkim maintained one of the highest economic growth rates in the country
        during the Ninth Plan. As mentioned in the 10th Five Year Plan (2002-2007)
        document (published by Planning Commission, New Delhi) with a growth rate
        of 8.3 percent Sikkim was second to only Pondicherry, Chandigarh and Delhi.
        Sikkim     was    far    ahead    of   many     well   performing   states.

iii)   Growing Revenue
        Sikkim has started to generate handsome amount of revenue of its own that
        will lead the State to a self-sustainable situation. Our tax revenue increased
                                          10
      from Rs 27.28 crore in 1995-96 to Rs 105.53 crore in 2002-03. Most
      significantly, our non-tax gross revenue increased to Rs. 1316 crore and a net
      non-tax revenue of Rs 143.36 crore in 2002-2003.
      Fiscal deficit has been drastically brought down from 11 per cent in 1999-
      2000 to one per cent in 2002-2003.
      Tax-GSDP ratio has increased from six per cent in 1999-00 to nine per cent
      in 2002-2003 and non-Tax-GSDP ratio from eight per cent to 13 per cent
      during the same period of time.

iv) Falling Poverty Level
      The percentage of population below poverty line has gone down steadily from
      41.43 percent in 1993-94 to 36.55 percent in 1999-2000. By 2007 it is likely
      to go down to less than 33 percent.

      In the last ten years of our being in the Government, we have single-mindedly
devoted our time, effort and resources in building as many institutions as possible
in the State. The institutions we have set up are diverse and cater to the all round
development of Sikkim.

      We firmly believe that it is the institution which will always remain as a
strong link between the past and the present generation. It is the institution that
smoothly ushers the present into the future.

      It is in institutions we can make policies. Debating and discourse is not a tea
shop or a motor stand gossiping. It is thinking, reading, understanding, consulting,
discussing to arrive at a constructive conclusion. This conclusion can then be used
for meaningful political action.

      We have set up institutions in very crucial sectors like health, education,
agriculture, environment, trade and commerce, tourism, science and technology.
Let me name some of these institutions:
1     Sikkim State Planning Commission
1     Agriculture Export Zone
1     World Trade Organisation Centre for Excellence
1     New Colleges and Schools
1     Sikkim Akademy
1     Mass Communication Centre (is being designed and implemented by Jamia
      Milia University in New Delhi)
1     Himalayan Centre for Adventure Tourism,
1     Chintan Bhavan and Samman Bhavan
1     Sikkim Board of Investment
1     Encouraged a large number of non-governmental organizations in the
      development sector which includes Watershed Management Institute by
      Social Work and Research Centre in Tilonia, Rajasthan, Sikkim Development
      Foundation, Eco-tourism and Conservation Society of Sikkim and Voluntary
      Health Association of Sikkim.
1     Under the leadership of the Chief Minister, an extraordinary and unique
      Round Table Meeting was held between the Sikkim Government and the
      NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and other institutions at India
                                         11
      International Centre, New Delhi in December 2000. This Round Table was
      attended by a very distinguished group of dignitaries representing very well
      known and eminent institutions. NGOs from Sikkim, Sikkim Government
      Officials, Union Government Officials and Experts participated in these
      deliberations              with              positive               results.


It is during our regime many distinguished Sikkimese have got national awards,
honours and other distinctions.
       One of our valiant soldiers Sanjog Chettri got the top gallantry Ashok Chakra.
       He attained martyrdom while fighting against the terrorists in Jammu and
       Kashmir.
       The first Chief Minister Shri Kazi Lhendup Dorjee was conferred the Padma
       Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award of the country,
       Shri Danny Denzongpa has been conferred with the Padma Shri.
       Our literateurs, cultural doyens, craftsmen and intellectuals have brought
       laurels to the State. These awards include Sahitya Akademi Award, Sangeet
       Natak Akademi awards and range of Awards given by both the Union
       Government and affiliated institutions and other prestigious private
       institutions.
       Sikkimese including the Chief Minister have been conferred highest degrees
       including doctorates and honoris causa
       Sikkim Tourism Department bagged the national award for the best
       performing State in the North Eastern for 2001-2002 for the fourth
       consecutive year.

       The villages are the greatest asset and strength of the Sikkimese society. We
are, therefore, extensively using the decentralisation and devolution under the 73rd
amendment of the Constitution to be the basic policy instrument. We have
conducted two rounds of Panchayat elections where our youths have actively
participated. What have we done for our Villagers, Poor and Marginalized people?


      The Sikkim Democratic Front Government has provided direct assistance to
the       needy       sections       of       the       population         by:

◘     Exempting poor farmers from paying toll tax for their products brought to
      bazaar for sale.
◘     Providing housing grants of Rs 20,000 each for needy families.
◘     Providing GCI sheets free of cost to needy families for house
      construction.
◘     Distributing LPG gas stoves free of cost to families living below poverty line.
      After the launch of LPG distribution scheme in 2002, the government has
      already covered a total of 16,381 beneficiaries till date for Rs. 4.23 crores
◘     Achieving 100 per cent electrification in rural and urban households in
      Sikkim.
◘     Covering 15,800 households between 1994-2003 under the 2 point free
      connection scheme, now the government has further moved on to provide free
      electricity to poor rural households.
                                         12
◘     Constructing a Janata Bhawan at Gangtok for the poor people who visit
      Gangtok for various reasons.
◘     Providing safe drinking water to 100 per cent of the population both in rural
      and urban areas.
◘     Simplifying the licensing system for rural traders and businessmen desirous
      to start a business in rural areas.
◘     Conducting the rounds of Janata Melas all over the State under which the
      needy people were distributed with items of their daily requirements including
      gas stoves and blankets.
◘     Launched Annadan Yojana for the people below poverty line which provides
      for free distribution of rice @ 35 kilograms monthly for poor household. They
      are identified in a particular village by the village community itself for relief
      and support.
◘     The government has provided half acre of land to the landless Sikkimese for
      construction of dwelling house. The idea has been to give them a proper
      address and raise their prestige and self esteem. Under the Land Bank
      Scheme, thousands of Sikkimese have benefited making them the owners of
      homes.

      The SDF Government is trying to revolutionise the role of Panchayats in all
the development activities. This is done to realise our avowed goal of “People’s
Supremacy”. We want to have a leader in every village. Leader is very important for
any social and political action.

       In Kautilya’s “Arthasatra” when he discusses the role of the King he says,
“If the king is energetic, his subjects will be equally energetic. If he is reckless, they
will not only be reckless likewise, but also eat into his works. Besides, a reckless
King will easily fall into the hands of his enemies. Hence the King shall ever be
wakeful. In the happiness of his subjects lies his happiness; in their welfare his
welfare; whatever please himself he shall not consider as good, but whatever please
his subjects he shall consider as good. Hence the king shall ever be active and
discharge his duties”

♥     In order to empower the Panchayats at the grass root level, the Government
      has delegated more administrative and financial powers to the Panchayats.
      Administrative control of all government institutions like Primary Schools,
      Primary Health Sub-centres, VLO Centres, Libraries, Community Information
      Centres, Rural Tourism, Minor Irrigation Works, Community Centres,
      grounds for sports etc. falling under a Gram Panchayat Unit (GPU) are being
      given to the President of the particular Gram Panchayat.
♥     Gram Panchayat Units will now have the power to prepare, sanction,
      supervise and implement various schemes in their own areas. To enable
      them to exercise these powers each Gram Panchayat Unit in the State is
      being provided with an amount of Rs. 10 lakhs and four Zilla Panchayats are
      being allotted with an amount of Rs. 50 lakhs each. This will benefit all 166
      Gram Panchayat Units and four Zilla Panchayats in the State.
♥     Out of 166 Gram Panchayat Units in the State, 102 GPUs have self-contained
      Panchayat Bhavans and 10 more such Bhavans will be constructed this year.


                                           13
      Apart from this, Gram Pachayat Units also have bank accounts in district
      headquarter operated by DDO.
♥     Village libraries have been established in each Gram Panchyat Unit in the
      State to enable local citizens to get access to books, magazine, periodicals and
      newspapers.
♥     Zilla Adhyaksha and Upa-Adhyaksha have been accorded the status of
      Minister of State and Deputy Minister of State. The government has also
      honoured them with a monthly honorarium. Likewise, Zilla members and
      members of Gram Panchayat unit are being provided with monthly
      honorarium.
♥     Decentralization of Payment System has been introduced. All payments are
      now made at the District Head Quarter through the Pay & Accounts Offices.
      Zilla Panchayat bhawans are run by officials of the rank of Joint Directors
      and below and other subordinate staff.
♥     The traditional Dzumsa system at Lachen and Lachung has been retained
      and protected. It is run and administered by the locally elected head known
      as Pipon from among the local populace.


What have we done for our Youths?
       The SDF Government have made very substantive and consistent efforts for
the all round development of youths in the State. It launched various programmes
including in education, sports, health, employment, tourism, intellectual activities,
industries and many other areas that directly impinge upon the youth and their
aspirations. Indeed, to start with, the SDF government created a new and
independent Sports and Youth Affairs Department in the State.
■      The SDF Government has created a large number of job opportunities for the
       youths both in the governmental and non-governmental sectors. We have also
       enabled the youths to grab the opportunities outside the State by extending a
       range of facilities to them.
■      There are several development projects both in the government sector like
       Teesta Hydel Power projects and in the private and non-governmental sector
       like Indo-Swiss projects, Manipal Hospital projects and Engineering projects
       that have generated considerable number of employment for the youths.
■      For the first time in the State, the Sikkim Democratic Front Government also
       launched the Chief Minister's Self Employment Scheme (CMSE). This scheme
       enables the educated unemployed youth of Sikkim to start their own
       ventures.
■      During the last two years since its inception, the government has sanctioned
       and disbursed loans to 2,293 young entrepreneurs amounting to Rs. 14.96
       crores.
■      State Sports Policy for Sikkim has been formulated and announced.
■      The government has also launched the Swarozgari Udyog Yojana which
       provides for assistance in the form of cash and materials amounting to Rs.
       25,000/- to the vocationally trained unemployed youths to establish their
       own business. In the financial year 2002-03 alone, the government spent an
       amount of Rs. 8.05 lakhs reaching out to a total of 1071 craftspersons.
■      Skill Development Fund is also being launched primarily to build a range of
       skills among the youths in the State. Youth can take advantage of this fund
                                         14
      to undertake a varieties of skill building trainings, professional courses and
      other capacity building exercises anywhere in the country.
■     A number of youth hostels have been built across the State. A 50-bedded
      Youth Hostel at 6th Mile Tadong was recently inaugurated on January 25,
      2004. This is one of the few Hostels with all modern facilities.
■     A new adventure tourist complex, the Rangit Water World (RWW) at the NHPC
      Dam at Legship - the first of its kind for boating and rafting in dam water -
      was inaugurated. It is a new tourist spot that provides a major employment
      opportunity for the local youth.
■     The State Government has also launched “Talent Search among youths”
      project in which talented young students are selected from across the state.
      They are put under intensive training course in sports besides providing for
      their education, fooding and lodging.
■     Work for upgrading Palzor Stadium to a full-fledged stadium has been going
      on.            The         stadium            with           all        modern
      facilities is within completion now. Gymnasium halls have been established
      in all four districts. Playgrounds are being provided in all the Gram
      Panchayat Units
■     Under the Incentives to Promising Sportspersons an award of Rs 1 crore will
      be given to the sportsperson who wins a Gold Medal, Rs 50 lakh for a silver
      Medal and Rs 25 lakh for a Bronze Medal in the Olympics. Under the Asian
      Games category, the cash prize respectively for gold, silver and bronze is Rs.
      15 lakhs, Rs. 10 lakhs and Rs. 5 lakhs. Similarly under the national games,
      the prizes are Rs. 5 lakhs, Rs. 3 lakhs and Rs. 2 lakhs.
■     The Government has also instituted State Award with Rs. 1 lakh in cash and
      a citation for prominent Sikkimese in fields like literature, music, drama, arts
      and sports. Captain Ramsingh Thakuri, Late Pem Dorji Bhutia, Shri Jas Lal
      Pradhan, Late Tulsi Ram Sharma Kashyap, Danny Denzongpa, Sonam
      Tshering Lepcha, Lharipa Ganden Lama, late Benjamin Rai, Baichung Bhutia
      and Shri Chugden Sherpa are some of the recipients of the State Award till
      date.
■     The new Incentive Scheme of providing cash awards to deserving
      sportspersons has already been announced and notified. In the year 2003
      alone, an amount of Rs. 3 lakhs was distributed to 64 outstanding
      sportspersons who had secured medals at the national and zonal level
      competitions.
■     Khel gaon/Sports village: The State Government has approved the
      establishment of a holistic ‘Khel Gaon’ for which a land measuring 50 acres is
      being earmarked. The “Khel Gaon” will have state-of-the-art sporting facilities
      of international standard for all games including a golf course and a research
      centre for sports sciences. This is going to be the first such facility in the
      country.
■     The government has also announced its decision to award 2% reservation in
      government employment to artists and sportspersons.


      In the government, we have been the strongest votary of rule of law. Every
one is equal in the eyes of law. If one flouts the law and goes scot free, there will be
scores of peoples and institutions to do so. This is how system gets infected, society
                                          15
gets fragmented and country gets disintegrated. Therefore, we have followed and
abided by the system however, outdated some of them may be. This has brought a
very distinct and unquestionable faith and confidence of the people on both the
government and the system. This is what is important for the state and the nation. I
am at the same time a firm believer in the changes and reforms. We will have to
reform, amend and change our system, laws and norms as per the changing time
and needs of the people and society.

      As the head of the government, I am directly accountable to the people. At
the same time every individual who works for the government is accountable to the
system.

      To the Government Employees of Sikkim, our government has given due
honour and prestige. We pledge to keep up the same spirit so that all the
government employees can work with more commitment, zeal and enthusiasm. The
government feels that the government employees are the invaluable partners in the
development of the State.

      The government affected a record increase in their basic salary structure by
      more than 300 per cent.
      Teachers are the best paid employees compared to employees of other
      services in the state and elsewhere in the country.
      The government granted promotion on an unprecedented scale to all
      qualifying employees, in many cases, overcoming stagnation suffered in the
      past.
      The qualifying years of advancement grade for Primary Teachers and School
      Mothers have been reduced from fifteen years to ten years.
      The government has granted Leave Encashment benefit to the Grade III and
      Grade IV employees.
      Ration allowance @ Rs. 400 per month has been given to Police personnel.
      Physically Challenged Employees of Government and Public Sector
      Undertakings are being paid monthly conveyance allowance of Rs.100 per
      head.
      The daily emolument of MR workers and other temporary employees have
      been raised to Rs. 85-100 per day with effect from April 2004.
      The government also, for the first time, introduced Compassionate
      appointment scheme for the non-gazetted employees. When the sole bread
      earner in a family passes away, employment is given to the wife of the
      deceased or the next of kin of the deceased for family sustenance. Till date,
      500 such appointments have been made by the state government.

      The voters are a very conscious lot today. They do not buy cheap gimmicks.
They do not want comedians as politicians. More than anything else they can
distinguish between a sincere and committed leader and a phony and artificial
character. We will have to be serious about it.

       Our actions and their results are all before the people. We have consistently
tried to inject social justice because we believe that the entire concept of distributive


                                           16
justice is based on this. Therefore, we have taken a range of affirmative actions
which will have a very rewarding impact in the long run.

☼    After the persistent demand made by the present Government the Limboo
     and Tamang communities of Sikkim have been included in the List of
     Scheduled Tribes.
☼    Thami community has been included in the Central list of OBCs
☼     Bahuns, Chettris, Newars and Sanyasis have been included in the OBC list
     of the State.
☼    A provision of total 74 % reservations has been made by the government in all
     the Government jobs and higher studies
     33 %: Scheduled Tribes including Bhutia, Lepcha, Limbus and
            Tamangs
     21 %: Most Backward Classes (MBCs) including Bhujel, Dewan, Gurung,
     Jogi, Kirat Rai, Mangar, Sunuwar, Mukhia and Thami
     14 %: Other Backward Classes including Bahun, Chetteri, Newar and
     Sanyasi
     6 %: Scheduled Castes
     (horizontal reservation of 30% for women, 3% for handicapped, 3% for ex-
     servicemen and 2% for sportsperson within the total of 74%)

☼    The government established the Sikkim Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes
     & Other Backward Classes Development Corporation Limited (SABCCO) in
     February 1996 to promote economic and development activities of these
     classes in the State
☼    The SDF Government has also been making persistent demand to the Centre
     to grant constitutional recognition to Bhutia, Lepcha and Limbu languages.
☼    Similar demand is being made to accord national recognition to Bahun,
     Chettri, Newar and Sanyasi as OBC at the centre.
☼    Demand has been made with the central government to include Most
     Backward Classes of communities in Sikkim in the list of Scheduled Tribes.
☼    Ever since SDF party took over in Sikkim, we have made persistent demand
     to recognize Nepalese in India as the Minority Community.

      The SDF Government has laid ample emphasis on agriculture as it is the
backbone of our economy. Sikkim's agriculture sector has shown a robust
performance.
♫     Total food production in the State has steadily increased from 61.8 thousand
      tonnes in 1980-81 to 1.14 lakh tonnes in 2000-01 produced in hardly 64000
      hectares of net sown area.
♫     Maize production increased from 28930 tonnes in 1980-81 to 50940 in 2000-
      01
♫     Sikkim also made significant progress in the livestock and poultry
      production.
♫     Milk production has gone up from 27000 tonnes in the Seventh Plan to
      34000 tonnes in the Ninth Plan and the per capita availability of milk
      increased from 163 ml to 243 ml during the same period.
♫     Horticultural production recorded impressive growth with the production
      increasing from 62790 tonnes in 1990-91 to 86465 tonnes in 2001-2002.
                                        17
♫     A cheese plant at Dentam, West Sikkim has been set up and is running
      successfully in the production of ‘Alpine Cheese’ with a steady sale in the
      domestic as well as foreign market.

      We have not left a single field unattended. Industry, investment and other
income and employment generating activities have always received our maximum
attention. Sikkim has been adjudged as an investor-friendly state. A survey carried
out by a leading national magazine Business Today showed that various parameters
like the quality of electric power, social infrastructure and State government
support have improved during 1995-99 in the perception of the investors.

      State Government has set up the Board of Investment under the
      Chairmanship of the Chief Minister to implement a SINGLE WINDOW
      POLICY. This is apex body that examines investment proposals and gives
      clearance at the highest level.
      The government has earmarked number of highways as industrial belts. The
      stretch between Rangpo – Gangtok, Melli-Jorethang, Jorethang-Legship,
      Jorethang-Namchi has been identified as industrial zone with easy access to
      basic infrastructure for setting up industrial units.
      After Sikkim became the member of NEC, Sikkim is slated to enjoy tax
      holiday including exemption of excise duty for the initial 10 years, on
      industrial ventures
      The first Sikkim Investors' Forum Meeting was held on 22nd February 2001
      at India International Centre in New Delhi. It was subsequently held in
      Kolkata, Mumbai, Gangtok and New Delhi primarily to attract investment in
      the State.
      There are a number of proposals under the active consideration for their
      entry into Sikkim.
      We have also initiated the disinvestment process in the existing industries.

       Hon’ble Madam Speaker, it gives me a great pride in expressing the sense of
satisfaction. This has become possible because of the collective action of all the
legislators, bureaucrats, officials at the grass root, civil society members and most
importantly the people of Sikkim. Each of us has contributed to what Sikkim boast
of today.

One can pick up any micro level and macro level indicators today in Sikkim to
assess how much we have progressed. Sikkim is a happening State today. There
has been massive review of the activities we have been doing by both the public and
the press from within and outside Sikkim. We have seen most of these reviews and
assessments to be of high appreciation for what we are doing. But we should not be
complacent. We would have to keep up this tempo both in spirit and content. It’s a
major challenge to all of us.

       The SDF Government is very conscious of the need to protect the fragile
nature of Sikkim's environment and eco-systems. Sikkim has been able to
traditionally and scientifically conserve its rich biological diversity including that of
more than 5,000 species of angiosperm (one third of the total national
angiosperms).
                                           18
♀     In recognition of the SDF government’s outstanding contributions towards
      preserving forests and plants and safeguarding the environment, we were
      awarded the “Greenest Chief Minister of India” award in a rigorous national
      opinion poll conducted by the internationally acclaimed institution viz., New
      Delhi's Centre for Science and Environment in 1998.
♀     Sikkim made a major headway in both replantation including innovative
      concept like the "Smriti Van" or Memorial Forest.
♀     Ban on grazing by all domestic and semi-domestic animals in reserve forest
      areas to protect the plantations in the State.
♀     Total closure of army shooting zone (G Firing Range) in North Sikkim
      measuring 17,250 hact.
♀     Ban on the use of non-biodegradable products like plastic bags to protect the
      environment. This makes Sikkim the first State in the country to effectively
      implement this ban.
♀     Landscape and other beautification of numerous parks, gardens and other
      aspects of urban areas
♀     Government safeguarded the religious-cultural interest of the State, by
      scrapping the proposed Rathong-chu Hydel Power Project
♀     Protection of cultural ecology of the Mount Kanchenjunga by banning
      climbing expeditions to this revered mountain.
♀     Intellectual Patent Committee and State Intellectual Law Committee have
      been set up to deliberate and decide upon intellectual property rights related
      issues.
♀     The government has declared to make Sikkim as the “Total Organic State”.
♀     The State Government is committed to preserve environmental cleanliness
      through enactment of various acts like the Sikkim Non-Biodegradable
      Garbage (Control) Act 1997. The work with regard to installation of an eco-
      friendly Garbage Treatment Plant converting waste into compost is being
      completed.
♀     The government has covered a total of 289.34 kms in jhora/river training
      works and construction of minor irrigation channel in the State

      This government has been a government which has performed. Let me cite
only two major sectors of prime importance i.e education and health. We have all
good signs.
Educational Heights
→     The literacy rate, which was hardly 17.7 percent in 1971, increased to 56.9
      percent in 1991 and finally to over 70 percent now.
→     In 2002, Sikkim had a total enrolment of 1,37,656 students in Government
      and Government aided schools. This has been possible because of number of
      interventions made by the SDF Governments including:
 ·    No    tuition    fee   is   levied   in    all  the    Government     schools
 ·    Free            textbooks            and            exercise           books.
 ·   Free uniforms to all students up to Class V
→     The most notable aspect is the number of enrolments among the girl children
      which is almost 50 percent of the total enrolment in the State.
→     A school now exists within walking distance of every child in Sikkim.
→     A Mid Day Meal Programme for school children has been launched.
                                        19
→     Three State Languages - Lepcha, Limbu and Bhutia - are taught at the
      University level.
→     'Smart School' concept is now being adopted in schools and emphasis is
      being laid on the quality of education.
→   Sikkim University Act has been enacted in March 2003 thereby formally paving
      the way for establishment of the first State University in the State. Till such
      time that we establish our own University, we will seek affiliation of all our
      colleges in the State with the North Eastern Hill University.
→     Sikkim had only one College when the present ruling Government assumed
      office. Now the State can boast of more than half a dozen colleges including
      Engineering College, Medical College, Advanced Technical Training Centre at
      Bardang (East Sikkim) and Centre of Computers and Communication
      Technology at Chisopani (South Sikkim).
→     The government has also established a Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya in Sikkim
      and thirteen other Vidhyalayas across the State.
→     One OBC residential school is being established at Kamrang and a Tribal
      Residential School is set up in North Sikkim.
→     Computer Education has been made compulsory in schools. Twenty nine Sr.
      Secondary Schools have been fully computerized. Tashi Namgyal Academy
      bagged the President’s Award for Excellence in IT.
→     Teacher Training is given utmost importance. The government has made
      District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) fully operational from
      August 2003 which is recognized and affiliated to the National College of
      Teacher Training Institute.
→     Physically Challenged Persons are getting subsistence allowance from the
      State Government and school going children are provided with stipend to
      encourage them in academic field.
→     The State Government awards scholarship under various categories for
      students pursuing higher courses outside the State. I would like to mention
      only a few. For Post Graduate course, the scholarship is Rs. 2000 per month,
      for M. Phil and PHD Degree, it is Rs. 2500/ per month. The Post Matric
      Scholarship is increased to Rs. 1200/ per month.
→     The government has also launched two merit scholarship schemes namely,
      General Merit Scholarship and a separate Merit Scholarship ‘Prerna Scheme’
      for girl students of government schools.
→     Under Prerna Yojana, scholarship is given to School girl child who excels at
      Standard V, VIII and X.
→     Reading of nepali language, as the lingua franca of Sikkimese people, has
      been made compulsory in all schools in Sikkim.
→     Likewise, local dialects like Gurung, Tamang, Rai, Mangar, Sunwar, Sherpa
      and Newar have been recognized as State languages. Teachers in these
      subjects have been recruited in schools and these subjects are taught as part
      of the academic curriculum.

      We have made the Health facilities both accessible and affordable. Increased
health facilities have resulted in better health for the people and the longevity of all
the Sikkimese have steadily gone up.



                                          20
↔    Free Medical Treatment to the people both within and outside Sikkim at
     Government's expenses. A record number of people have benefited from this
     facility.
↔    Disease Prevention is given paramount importance.
↔    The entire State has been covered by the anti-Polio vaccinations and is on the
     verge of making Sikkim into a polio-free State.
↔    As against hardly 30 percent infants covered by immunization in 1975, the
     rate of immunization is more than 70 percent in 1999.
↔    Infant Mortality Rate figure of 42 per thousand is much lower than the
     national figure of 66.
↔    Sir Thutop Namgyal Memorial (STNM) Hospital is being converted into an
     ultra modern Hospital equipped with sophisticated and the latest machinery
     to enable the local patients to obtain the best treatment and facilities. This
     hospital will now be linked with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences
     (AIIMS), New Delhi through Telemedicine, for both treatment and research.
     This was announced by the Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee during
     his visit to Sikkim.
↔    Five new Hospitals have been constructed in all the districts of Sikkim. A new
     110-bedded hospital was dedicated to the people of Sikkim recently on
     January 29, 2004.
↔    From a mere 2 in 1975, the number of Primary Health Centres and Sub-
     Centres have increased dramatically to 24 and 147 respectively in 2002.
↔    To discourage alcoholism, the Government has banned serving of liquor at
     Mintokgang, the official residence of the Chief Minister and all other official
     functions, party and dinner.
↔    Sikkim is the first State in the country to launch Hepatitis 'B' vaccination
     programme for the benefit of children in the age group 0-1 at Government's
     expense launched on 14th August 2001. A total of 22,829 children have so
     far been vaccinated following implementation of the said programme.
↔    Several re-constructive plastic surgery camps were organized in the State in
     collaboration with Interplast Germany. So far, about 600 patients have
     benefited from these camps.
↔    By bringing legislation entitled “The Sikkim Prohibition of Smoking and non-
     smokers Health Protection Act, 1997” Sikkim became the first State in the
     country to ban smoking in places of public works or use in public service
     vehicles in the State.
↔    The Sex Ratio of 986 females per 1000 males in the age group 0-6 years is
     also one of the best in the country, indicating non-discrimination of sex and a
     very low death rate among female child in the State.
↔    The government has announced construction of a Superspeciality Hospital at
     Sichey, Ranka
↔    The State Government, through Notification No. 601/H&FW, dated the 11th
     June 1996, has also waived all charges on investigations in respect of senior
     bonafide citizens (above 65 years)


      Infrastructure is our top priority. We have already made big progress. The
real progress on the planning and investment we have made would actually start
appearing only in the next few years to come.
                                        21
▓    A new airport at Pakyong in East Sikkim is under construction
▓    Construction of eight helipads have been completed in different parts of the
     State connecting rural Sikkim by airways.
▓    Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) has been vigorously
     implemented to improving and carpeting the existing road network and also
     for the construction of new road providing connectivity to remote villages.
▓    The ropeway in Gangtok is functional now attracting thousands visitors from
     within and outside to experience this new development in the State.
▓   Another enchanting ropeway linking Namchi, the headquarters of South Sikkim
     with Samdruptse, where a 135 feet statue of Guru Padmasambhava has been
     erected, is also under execution. These transport projects will considerably
     increase the number of tourists.
▓    Rural markets or haat bazaars are constructed in various small towns for the
     benefit of people in rural areas.
▓    The historic Lal Bazaar at Gangtok has been replaced by a multi-storied
     Super Market.
▓    A Satellite Town is being planned below Sichey Busty area to ease the
     growing congestion in Gangtok Town.
▓    State Bank of Sikkim has opened many new branches in all the four districts
     to provide its services to rural people.
▓    Sikkim State Cooperative Bank has been established in Gangtok providing
     soft loans to farmers and cooperative society in each gram panchayat unit.
     Two of its branches, one each in Namchi and Geyzing have also been set up.
     The government has secured approval of RBI to set up another four
     cooperative branches across the State.
▓    The Central Electricity Authority of India has recently identified a total of 21
     macro and mini hydel schemes. A detailed study has been completed on
     different phases of power projects on Teesta River.
▓    The government has commissioned the 2 MW Kalez Khola Hydel Project in
     West Sikkim and a 3 MW Rabomchu HEP in North Sikkim. The government
     has also begun construction of a number of mini & micro hydel projects
     within the state sector like the Lachung II HEP, Mangley HEP, Rongli HEP,
     Ringyang HEP, Lachen-II HEP and Relli Chu HEP. With the commissioning of
     all the VI stages of projects along the Teesta cascade and other power
     projects, Sikkim is poised to become a power surplus state with the annual
     revenue of Rs. 1500 crores.
▓    510 MW Teesta Hydroelectric Project Stage-V will be completed by 2006. The
     project will generate 2172 million units annually which could be exported to
     other parts of India thereby generating handsome revenue for the State. This
     has also created employment opportunity for the local people during the
     period of construction, operation, maintenance and in the aftermath of
     completion.
▓    The state government has entered into agreement with MS Gati Investment
     on Build, Own, Operate and Transfer arrangement to develop three projexts
     at Sada-Mangder, Bhasmey, Chuzachen. Similarly agreement has beem made
     with another private developer, MS Amalgamated Transpower India Ltd for
     developing hydro electric projects of Rolep, Ralong, Chakungchu for
     development of clean and environment friendly hydro energy. The government
                                         22
      will execute work for generation of 2000 MW of hydro power in the next
      financial year.
▓     These infrastructure projects have also created business opportunity for the
      local contractors and entrepreneurs and training opportunity to the local
      youths for the jobs required during and after the construction period.
▓     The Legship Project has already been commissioned and another major
      project is being undertaken in full swing in collaboration with NHPC.
▓     The SDF Government is now seriously taking up the extension of the East-
      West Corridors to Sikkim to link it with the Golden Quadrilateral under the
      National Highway Development Project. This means effectively linking
      Kanyakumari with Gangtok.
▓     Building an alternative highway to the present 31-A National Highway. This is
      a major task the SDF is contemplating. This proposal has also been endorsed
      by the Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee during his visit to Sikkim.
▓     A new highway linking Melli-Mamring-Rangpo is being constructed.
▓     Number of pedestrian flyovers have been constructed in Gangtok town for
      smooth traffic and to ensure public safety.
▓     Social facilities like – Hospital, School, Community Center, Bank, Post Office,
      Shopping Center and other institution will provide social benefit to the local
      people. The Government will soon complete construction of various guest
      houses, community centres, administrative centres across the state including
      a State Guest House in Kolkata.
▓     A new Panchayat Hostel cum Guest House has been inaugurated at Geyzing
      which will immensely benefit the Panchayats of the state and also the general
      people.

       Hon’ble Members will appreciate that the task of running the government is
Herculean. This is particularly so when you have set a high standard of norms of
governance, political pronouncements and policy interventions. We have upheld all
the democratic values and have respected human rights and dignity of every one
with equal zeal and fervour. We found that development alone is not adequate for
all round development of Sikkimese people. Therefore, to strictly uphold democratic
norms we provided the channels and canon of freedom and justice easily accessible.
We thus actually practiced the slogan of JUSTICE to all at their DOORSTEPS

       We have revamped and restructured the entire canons and institutions of
justice in the State. This is to provide speedy justice at an affordable cost to all.
Therefore, Sikkim today, holds the record of having least number of pending cases
in the entire country.

      To bring justice right at the door of poor people, Lok Adalats or People's
Courts have been constituted in all the nine sub-divisions of Sikkim. To simplify the
system of imparting justice, the following courts have also been constituted:

      Atrocity Court
      Human Rights Court
      Family Court
      Consumers' Court.


                                         23
      The SDF government created history in terms of empowering women in the
society. We have successfully uprooted the unjustified mindset to treat woman folks
as subordinate to male members of the society. This we have been able to do
through consolidating on the tradition of not discriminating on the basis of gender
and giving due respect to both the genders. I would like to place some of our far-
reaching steps to empower them in this august House:
*     Women have been appointed to senior Government positions and are further
      honoured by enforcement of law that makes it mandatory to mention
      mother's name also in all official papers and documents.
*     Gender Related Development Index (GDI) in the State has steadily improved
      over the last few years from 0.445 in 1991 to 0.499 in 1995 and finally to
      0.528 in 1998 as very clearly shown in the Sikkim Human Development
      Report 2001.
*     To enable the women to play a greater role in the Panchayats as well as in the
      Government administration, 33 per cent seats have been reserved in
      Panchayats and 30 per cent seats in Government jobs for women.
*     This Government has earned the distinction of appointing the first woman to
      senior positions like:
      · Speaker of the State Assembly
      · Cabinet Minister
      · Secretaries in the State Administration
      · Zilla Adhakshyas
      ·Upa-adhakshyas
      .Chairperson, Sikkim State Commission for Women
      ·Chairperson, Sikkim Public Service Commission
*     The number of girls at schools has gone up significantly.
*     Women have been assisted in training for employment or self-employment,
      providing special loans, starting their ventures, old age pension schemes,
      widow re-marriage schemes, among other projects.
*     Scores of schemes for the welfare and development of women and children,
      SC/ST/OBC, handicapped and aged people have been launched and in
      operation including:
      · Indira Mahila Yojana
      · Balika Samridhi Yojana
      · Small Family Scheme to delay marriage by offering attractive incentives
      (state-sponsored scheme for school-going girl children)
      · Widow Remarriage Scheme
      ·Pension       to      widows      of     Ex-servicemen,     training     etc.

      The SDF government ever since its formation has very consciously tried to
address the needs and aspirations of every section of the society. In the process, we
have undertaken various social welfare measures for the benefit of the Sikkimese
people.

Old Age Pension of Rs.200 per month is given to senior citizens above the age of 65
years who are below the poverty line.
The government has drastically increased the Ex-gratia payment payable to persons
who meet with fatal injuries and accident


                                         24
Free Rice: The State Government issues ten kilos of rice free of cost per month to
senior citizens above the age of 65 under the Annapurna Scheme.
Old Age Home is being established for the aged citizens left uncared.
The government also provides for free traveling to the senior citizens in the state-
owned buses.
      Child Welfare: The State Government has also prepared "Sikkim State Plan of
      Action for Children". This plan of Action takes care of the children in the
      following areas:
      Rights for Survival - deals with health, reproductive and child health,
      maternity, nutrition, child environment, sanitation, hygiene and water
      supply.
      Rights for development.
      Rights for protection of the children especially in difficult circumstances.
      Children's rights for participation.

   Orphanage home is being established and run by the State taking care of less
fortunate children, providing them with fooding, lodging and education.

      The SDF government has worked with considerable success in promoting the
State as the prominent tourist destination of the country and abroad. Our idea has
been to open up rural Sikkim for tourist so that people from outside could see
Sikkim in its entirety.
      As a result of our sincere effort, the tourist arrivals have recorded an annual
      growth rate of almost 10 percent per annum in the last six years. In 1994
      over 99000 tourists visited Sikkim which significantly increased to over
      154000 in 2001.
      The entire tourism sector policy of the SDF Government is driven by the
      mantra of making Sikkim the “Number 1 eco-friendly tourism Destination in
      India”.
      On our consistent demand, the Ministry of Civil Aviation will shortly be
      introducing a regular flight from Kathmandu to Bagdogra.
      For the high-income visitor, a five-star hotel is coming up at Pangthang in
      East Sikkim
      To promote village tourism, thirty model villages having all the basic and
      modern facilities are being constructed in different parts of the State.
      By maximizing the benefit accruing from booming tourism trade, the
      government has gone all way to make it people-centric and village-centric.

      The Himalayan Centre for Adventure Tourism will be established at
      Chemchey Village.

      The people of Sikkim may recall that there was a time when the press
freedom was totally infringed upon. The media remained gagged, Journalists
remained terrorized. And the entire voice of dissent remained throttled.

      Under the SDF Government, the freedom of press has been fully restored and
the prolonged black chapter of gagging the Press is over. Yellow journalism is,
however, closely watched for legal action. We have strongly followed what Franklin


                                         25
Roosevelt, former American President, once said that security is nothing but “the
freedom from fear”
      The number of registered local newspapers which were around 20 before this
      Government assumed power in 1994 has shot up to more than fifty at the
      moment.
      Over 50 accredited newspapers are functional in Sikkim today.
      The advertisement budget in the last 18 years have recorded a considerable
      increase from a mere Rs 4 lakh in 1985 to Rs 15.7 Lakh in 1998 and to
      Rs 1.30 crores in 2002.
      The SDF Government has also helped to form the Press Club of Sikkim and
      has been granting Rupees One Lakh annually to meet various expenditures of
      the Club.
       Sikkim Herald, the official newsweekly of the Government of Sikkim now
      comes out in thirteen different state languages, viz. English, Nepali, Newar,
      Lepcha, Gurung, Limbu, Tamang, Sunwar, Manger, Sherpa, Bhutia, Rai and
      Tibetan.

      We have made our sincere efforts to pay handsome tribute to our Past Heroes
in scores of areas. The Government has honoured all those Sikkimese who have
brought laurels to the State and also fought for the cause of democratic Sikkim
      On the occasion of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of India's
      Independence, 141 sons and daughters of Sikkim, most of them
      posthumously, were honored with Tamra Patra Award in recognition of their
      outstanding contributions in their chosen fields and the overall development
      of the State.
      A number of distinguished sons of Sikkim who made outstanding
      contributions in shaping up the present society of Sikkim have been
      honoured by naming important roads and schools in the State after their
      names.
      Ravangla - Tarku Road - Late Ganju Lama, V.C. marg
      Soreng - Sombaria Road - Late Dharmadatta Sharma marg
      Nam Nam bifurcation to Dukhit Pan Dokan · Shri Tashi Tshering marg
      Old Tibet Road– Sonam Gyatso marg
      Nam      Nam     to   Deorali    junction    -   Kashiraj    Pradhan     Marg.
      31A        National      Highway        -       Dr.      Ambedkar        Marg.
      Rongli – Chhujachen          Road -       Mahakavi Tulshi Kashyap Marg.
      Namchi      –   Maniram         Road    -    Agam     Singh   Tamang     Marg
      Gangtok-Arithang       Road         -     Rashmi      Prasad    Alley    Marg
      Namchi-Manpur Road- C.D. Rai Marg
      Chakung- Khanisirbong Kamling Road- B.B. Gooroong Marg
      Rangpo-Duga Road- Nahkul Pradhan Marg
      Nayabazar- Sombaria Road- L.D. Kazi Marg
      Zongtempa Hotel- Mangan Bazar- Rinzing Namgyal Kazi Marg
      SPWD-DAC (Mangan)- Dr. Lobzang Tenzing Marg
      Ravangla SSS             - Ganju Lama VC Sr. Secondary School
      Vok Secondary School- Nayan Tshering Lepcha Secondary                   School
      Kabi Tingda SS - Kalzang Gyatso Secondary School
      Daramdin Secondary School- Kripasalyan Sec. School


                                        26
       We do not want Sikkim to lag behind in any area. We want our Sikkimese to
compete with any one in the country and abroad. We want our people to know
everything that we do and the people outside the State through giving them access
to latest mode of communications. Therefore, we made several policy interventions
in this critical area.

      New Information Technology Department has been created in the State
      Tashiling Secretariat is computerized and rest of the departments are being
      connected by computers.
      NEC sanctioned 40 Community Information Centres (CICs) have been set up
      in Sikkim and are manned by IT professionals.
      Sikkim will soon have its own Software Technology Park.
      A web site ‘cm-on-line’ has been designed and launched for common people to
      communicate directly with the Chief Minister.
      Other web sites on SIKKIM GOVERNMENT have been launched enabling
      masses to access various Government notifications including appointment
      and transfer orders and also read the Government publication Sikkim Herald.
      Sikkim is the third state in India besides Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh to
      adopt and implement the SCOSTA (Smart Card Operable in State Transport
      Authority) system.
      Land records in all four districts have been computerized for authentic future
      records

       Culture is so dear to all of us and intellectual activities are a clear reflection
of the societal thinking and progress. We did very many things and substantive
activities in the area of Cultural and Intellectual Progress
       The Government is very active in the conservation and promotion of the
       religious and cultural heritage of Sikkim.
       A 135 feet statue of Guru Padmasambhava is being constructed at
       Samdruptse in South Sikkim.
       Statue of late Chogyal P.T. Namgyal has been installed in the Tibetalogy
       complex at Deorali.
       A 9-feet tall statue of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar has been installed in the Sikkim
       Legislative Assembly complex
       The tallest ever statue of Adi-Kavi Bhanubhakta is being installed at Geyzing
       along with a research centre.
       Swarga-jane-sidi, literally the stairway-to-heaven is being raised at
       Daramden, giving a fresh life to Lepcha legends.
       Sri Junga Mang-him, the religious centre of Limboo communities, has been
       established at Hee Bermiok.
       A statue of Srijunga is being installed at Bermiok
       Limbo Cultural Centre has been constructed at Tharpu
       Limboo Guest House has been constructed at Diesel Power House complex,
       Gangtok
       The monastery-cum-guest house at Bodh Gaya in Bihar for pilgrims from
       Sikkim has started functioning. Similarly, cultural bhawans of different
       communities are being constructed with government funding. To start with
       the Lepcha traditional house at Dzongu and Rodo-khim of the Rais are being
       constructed.
                                           27
 Sikkim Akademi has been established with a view to bring the diverse and
 rich cultural and literary heritage of the State to a single forum for both
 cross-cultural interactions and conservation practices.
 The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology has now been revamped to make the
 study of Tibetology and Himalayan culture more popular
 Mapping of the cultural and natural heritage of Sikkim has now been
 completed by the Indian National Trust for Cultural Heritage (INTACH), New
 Delhi
 The Government is also now preparing grounds for putting some of the most
 precious and prestigious natural and cultural heritage sites and objects of
 Sikkim both in the national and World Heritage List.
 A number of religious places including new temples, new gompas,
 gurudwaras, churches and mosques have been set up in the State thereby
 sustaining the record of communal harmony and secularism in the State.
 Notable Publications to enhance Sikkim's prestige and provide
 authentic information that have been published recently include:
 Sikkim Human Development Report 2001 (in English and Nepali)
 Sikkim: The People’s Vision
 Sikkim: Perspectives and Vision (a collection of Shri Pawan
 Chamling's 125 odd speeches)
  25 Years of Statehood
 Pawan Chamling: Daring to be Different (biography of the Chief Minister)
 Glory of New Sikkim
 Our Natural Resources, Our Responsibility
  “Sikkim Studies Series” (over 5 volumes on various aspects of Sikkim) is
 soon going to be completed.
 Preservation and promotion of Sikkimese culture and tradition is one of the
 the prime concerns of this government. Under these policies, the State
 Government has declared different festivals of different communities as
 government gazetted holidays. Some of them are:
  Lochhar
  Tendong-Lho-Rum-Phat
  Birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava
  Birth anniversary of Srijunga
  May Day
  Sakewa
  Sonam Lochhar
  Birth Anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

Cultural park, commonly named chaar-dham is being developed at Solaphu,
Namchi. The concept is based on the belief that we can attain salvation if we
pay visit to four different pilgrimage centres located in different parts of the
country. The idea has been to localised all these pilgrimage sites at one place
with a 108 feet tall statue of Lord Shiva occupying the centre stage.
The National Planning Commission is also planning to bring out        “Sikkim
Development Report”. I am sure this document will also highlight the work we
have done.



                                    28
    We have succeeded in opening the Nathula Trade route and has convinced the
Prime Minister about the need to have an alternative highway.

      The SDF government is now comprehensively looking into all the aspects of
      this new trade route. This will give a major boost to both economic and
      tourism activities in the State.
      The target is to increase the volume of trade between India and China to $ 10
      billion by 2005 and to $ 15 billion by 2010. Sikkim will play a major role in
      enabling India to reach this target.

      To cut it short, we have achieved so many, SDF government has added many
new chapters in history of Sikkim. We are firmly in place to bring in many new
chronicles of events and achievements in the lives of our people and our State.
Having recorded some of our outstanding achievements in the last ten years, may I
place before this august House, what we have in store for the coming years. Some of
them are:

      A Herbarium will be constructed in the state for promotion and conservation
      of our natural medicinal base.
      Research Institute on Water Resources on Himalayas
      Establishment of Art College at Mangan
      Establishment of Art College at Rhenock
      Establishment of Art College at Gyalshing
      Establishment of Science College at Soreng
      Upgradation of Secondary schools into Senior Secondary Schools
      Upgradation of Jr. High Schools into Secondary Schools
      Upgradation of Primary Schools into Jr. High Schools
      Upgradation of LPS into PS
      Introduction of fifteen vocational courses will be effective from the next
      academic session in 40 Sr. Secondary Schools in the following trades:
      Management of Adventure Sports and Tourism
      Medicinal & Aromatic Plants production
      Local handicraft
      Beekeeping
      Vediography and photography
      Dairing
      Poultry Production Technology
      Floriculture
      Mushroom farming
      Modern Office Management
      Clock and watch repair technology
      Computer hardware maintenance
      PCO and Internet Café Management
      Automobile Repair Technology
      Catering and Hotel Management

Institute of Bio-Diversity and Natural Resources Management:-
      The Government of Sikkim will soon set up an Institute of Bio


                                        29
diversity and Natural Resources Management. This would be primarily set up to
conserve and promote the use of scientific and commercial use of biodiversity and
natural resources in the State including medicinal plants and other herbs. The
Institute will carry out the advanced research on natural resources with the state of
the art technology. Our Government will soon appoint a Committee to draw a
framework and modalities for the setting up of this Institute.

Health Insurance:-
      All of us have noticed that many of the Sikkimese people are not
able to access better heath facilities and medical treatment on account of poor
income. This is, despite the fact, that the Government of Sikkim has been
extending monetary support to all the Sikkimese for their treatment both in and
outside the State. In order to ensure maximum health security to the people of
Sikkim, my Government now announces a Health Insurance Policy for all the
Sikkimese people above 35 years.

        In this regard, Government will go into a contractual arrangement for mass
health insurance with an established National Health Insurance company. This
implies that the government and the individual insured will pay the annual
premium on 60:40 basis. We are very hopeful that it will to a large extent address
to the major grievances of the people of the state regarding access to better health
facilities.

Centre for Career Focus:-
      In order to cater to and match with the increasing hopes and
aspiration of the youths of Sikkim, the Government of Sikkim hereby announces
the setting up of the Centre for Career Focus exclusively for the youths in the age
group of 18-30. This Centre will serve as Career Focus to the youths of Sikkim and
provides career-related work opportunities in Sikkim, India and abroad. This will
help them acquire advanced skills and become leaders in their fields. This Centre
will help young people, particularly those facing barriers to employment, get the
information and gain the skills, work experience and abilities they need to make a
successful transition to the workplace.

      The Centre for Career Focus will offer youth a range of work experience,
learning and skill-building activities to help them choose careers and encourage
them to pursue advanced studies.       This Centre will also work in responding to
needs of the youths and their career development including coaching support and
mentoring opportunities.

       These activities will help Sikkimese youths acquire advanced employment
skills and experience that can respond to emerging opportunities in the national
and international     marketplace. This Centre will also link highly skilled young
people with potential employers to provide both domestic and international career-
related work experience.

      Almost all new jobs require high skill level, and skill requirements are
constantly changing. Therefore, choosing education and training wisely is very
crucial for the youths. The Government departments and agencies will work in
                                         30
partnership with business, labour, industry, voluntary organizations, rural and
remote communities and all levels of government to help young people get the
knowledge, skills, information and work experience they need to prepare for and
participate in the world of work.

      Carpeting and surface improvement works of a total of 936 kms of
road in the state has been completed. The government also constructed a total
stretch of 309 kms of new link roads connecting different villages and centres. A
new 236.50 kms of road construction and 363.75 kms of link roads sanctioned
under different plans will be completed within the next financial year.

In the industrial sector, the government will work out major strategies in
terms of:
      (i)    rehabilitation of sick units
      (ii)   simplification of procedures for opening up industries in Sikkim
      (iii) enrichment of agriculture sector through establishment of appropriate
             linkages between agricultural and agro-based industries
      (iv) promotion of traditional handloom, handicraftrs and artisan sector
      (v)    development of tourism as an industry
      (vi)   development of Sikkim as a major centre ofr manufacture and
             marketing of tea
      (vii) rapid development of basic infrastructure facilities like setting up
             growth centers etc.
      (viii) human resources development
      (ix)   setting up Food Park and Export Processing Zone

▓     A total number of 1402 beneficiaries were benefited under the Swarojgari
      Udyog Yojana upto 2003-04. The government will further extend assistance to
      1500 nos. of beneficiaries under the schemes during 2004-05.
▓     One veterinary hospital will be constructed together with Officer quarter
▓     Stockman centre and staff quarter will be constructed in a number of places
      in the State
▓     Three demonstration farms under the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary
      Service will be set up in three districts.

      All of us are aware that the entire nation is celebrating the “Feel Good Factor”
propelled by the all round development in the country. We call it “India shining”. In
Sikkim we have reached a situation which is more than mere feeling good. We have
happily reached a level where we should be proud of what we have collectively,
genuinely and tirelessly achieved. Every Sikkimese should take credit of our
achievements. Every Sikkimese should take pride in where we have reached today.

      Sikkim is not only shining it is illuminated and dazzling with smiles,
successes and satisfactions all over. Therefore, let us celebrate the “Feel Proud
Factor” in every nook and corner of Sikkim in every hearth and home of Sikkim, in
every organization and institution of Sikkim. We have earned this celebration “Hami
Garva garaon”.



                                         31
Government Announcements – 1
        As the people of Sikkim are fully aware that the Economy of Sikkim has been
doing very well in the last eight years. We took over at a time when the State
exchequer was virtually empty and the debts ran into crores of rupees. Every one in
the State worked hard to change the situation. My Government is very thankful to
all of you.

      Further, we have set a very impressive target in the ongoing Tenth Plan
(2002-2007). We will have to achieve target of annual economic growth rate of 10
percent in the Tenth Plan. If we achieve this, we would have entered into a situation
where we can be counted among the best performing States in the country. It will
be moment of great pride for all of us.

       While making appeal to all the government employees, teachers, farmers,
panchayat members and leaders, investors and businessmen, entrepreneurs, travel
agents, Non-governmental organizations, and civil society members, to work hard to
achieve this Tenth Plan goal of 10 percent growth rate, I am delighted to announce
the following “Feel Proud” incentives.

i)      A one time “Development Dividend” of Rs 5000/- to the selected, committed
        and outstanding government employees including muster roll, casual and
        temporary staff in the State. This will be conducted by Department of
        Planning.
ii)     A one time “You Have Done Well Grant” of Rs 5000/- to the selected and
        registered (as on January 20, 2004) NGOs in the State. This will be conducted
        by Department of Rural Development.
iii)    A one time “Keep it Up Grant” of Rs 5000/- each to the selected and
        registered (as on January 20, 2004) tourism and travel agents in the State.
        This will be conducted by the Department of Tourism.
iv)     A one time “Creative Performance Grant” of Rs 5000/- to selected writers and
        intellectuals to enable them to consult libraries, archives and visit other
        institutions for intellectual exchanges anywhere in India. This will be
        conducted by Sikkim Akademi.
v)      A one time “Positive Journalism Grant” of Rs 5000/- to the selected
        accredited journalists to enable them to consult their counterparts, libraries,
        archives and visit other institutions for professional exchanges anywhere in
        India. This will be conducted by Department of Information and Public
        Relations.
vi)     A one time “we respect you grant” of Rs 5000/- to all those veterans above 70
        years. This will be conducted by Department of Social Welfare.
vii)    A monthly “Sikkim State Appreciation Pension” of Rs 1,000/- to the
        outstanding sportspersons, the Sahitya Akademy Awardees in Nepali
        literature from all over India and Sangeet Natak Akademy and Lalit Kala
        Akademy award winners of Sikkim. This will be conducted by Department of
        Culture.
viii)   A one time “State Laurels Grant” of Rs 10,000/- to all the sportspersons who
        have represented Sikkim and participated in the National games. This will be
        conducted by Department of Youths and Sports.


                                           32
ix)   A one time “Most Progressive Farmer” grant of Rs. 5,000 to the most
      progressive, committed farmer of the State.


Government Announcement – 2
      The Government of Sikkim is constantly monitoring the trend and status of
unemployment in Sikkim. We have worked very hard to generate as many
employment opportunities as possible in the last ten years of our running the
government. As a result, there is a considerable ease in the employment situation in
the State.

       By now at least 42 percent of the 1991 population who were then in the age
group between 10-14 to 25-29 would have entered into the job market. This would
imply that over 1,70,000 younger people would have been looking for employment
in the State.

       However, because of the very good economic performance, diversification of
economic activities and creations of a varieties of opportunities in public, private,
NGOs and self-employment ventures, a large number of our young employment
seekers have been gainfully employed. More importantly the decentralization and
devolution under the Panchayat Acts which we have very consciously advocated
and promoted will now absorb a large number of unemployed youngsters in the
villages and rural areas.

    We have adopted multi-pronged strategy to mitigate the problem of
unemployment. Some of them are mentioned below.

■     For the first time in the State, the Sikkim Democratic Front Government also
      launched the Chief Minister's Self Employment Scheme (CMSE). This scheme
      enables the educated unemployed youth of Sikkim to start their own
      ventures. During the last two years since its inception, the government has
      sanctioned and disbursed loans to 2,293 young entrepreneurs amounting to
      Rs. 14,96 crores.
■     The Skill Development Fund of Rs 2 Crore is also being launched primarily to
      build a range of skills among the youths in the State. Youth can take
      advantage of this fund to undertake a varieties of skill building trainings,
      professional courses and other capacity building exercises anywhere in the
      country.

      While appreciating the patience, dynamism and devotion of our talented
youths in the State, my Government now announces a special scheme of Career
Development Fund (CDF) of Rs 1 crore which can be accessed and used by all the
graduate unemployed students/youths of Sikkim.

      The CDF will be provided as one time assistance for coaching classes and
other counselling services anywhere in the country with an upper limit of Rs 3000/-
per person. It will be conducted by a State Level Committee under the Department
of Personnel which is being soon set up. Students desirous of making use of these
funds could do so from March 2004 onwards.
                                         33
      We are living in a time of great change- in our country, world, in our
economy, in science and technology. People have gone as far as to term it ‘glocal' to
imply that there is no region which is not explored and is not immediately
accessible. We must have a dream, well thought-out programmes, and slogan that
best validate this changed situation.

      We leave it to our warm and dear people of Sikkim to elucidate as to how our
government has given them dignity, democracy and devolution of powers. Every
Sikkimese has regained the self respect they had lost. Every Sikkimese today is
proud of being a Sikkimese and an Indian. In a democracy, people can not be
faulted. After all, ten years back, people had turned a new leaf to give SDF party
their mandate to run the government. Ten years down the line, they know that their
decision was right for the common cause of justice, security, development, for
peace, for human dignity.

      After we took over in 1994, we earmarked seventy percent of state plan
allocation for rural upliftment, for the welfare of the poor. And we have tried to
reach out to the remote corner of the state to deliver the development share to the
poorest of the poor. We want to see every Sikkimese to break free from poverty and
become rich and prosperous.

       Over the years, SDF government has sincerely tried to strengthen our
traditional values, harmonise our ancient heritage with the emerging world. Peace
and tranquility so crucial for the progress of any state and nation has been
maintained. We are not prepared to gamble on this issue at any price any time in
the future as well.

       The people of Sikkim are by nature peace loving and maintain communal
brotherhood and fraternity. These are our inherent strengths. This can be traced to
our state being free of any gender discrimination. Both men and women have equal
rights and walk together. This is the hallmark of our society. No bonded labour
exists. Child labour has also bee prohibited in the state. Child and women rights
have been fully implemented in our government. We will continue to further
strengthen this intimate sense of oneness among the Sikkimese.

      The state government has relentlessly represented the central government to
address all our pending demands including seat reservation for the ethnic Nepalese
of Sikkim. The Sikkimese Nepalese have a distinct social structure which needs to
be protected for historical reasons. The State government has requested the centre
to provide seats in the Legislative Assembly for them as was provided at the time of
Chogyal’s regime.

       Further, special protection of the distinct identity of Sikkim subjects and
their descendents comprising of Bhutia-Lepcha and the Nepalese is necessary. All
these communities have similar life style, way of living, food habit, culture, history,
tradition and social life. The Sikkimese Nepalese are worshippers of nature who
follow traditional healing methods based on animistic tradition similar to the
practices of the Sikkimese of the Bhutia Lepcha origin. Sikkimese of Nepali origin is
                                          34
a distinct group who are yet to reach to civil society status and which needs special
protection. Therefore, Sikkim should be declared as Tribal State which will be taken
up again and again with the central government.

      The SDF government has always remained committed to the cause of women.
We have taken some of the far-reaching decisions to give them a respectable place
in the society. To further the cause of women, our party and government are in
favour of women reservation of 33 percent in state legislature and the Parliament.
We will continue to work towards this end.

       Our government has been successful in securing Scheduled Tribe status for
Limboos and Tamangs of the state which was a long pending demand. Except seat
reservation, the state government has already granted all other entitled facilities to
them in the state as Scheduled Tribes. With the conferment of Scheduled Tribe
status to Limboo and Tamangs, our government has been instrumental in removing
the stigma of immigrant attached to the Sikkimese Nepalese, as these two tribes are
the sub-castes of Nepali community.

      Our government has been able to confer Limboos and Tamangs the tribal
status. Now with time, the question of seat reservation for these two tribes will also
be fulfilled. As we have succeeded in this task, now again we will be successful in
bringing seats for them. We have reason to be proud and people have firm basis to
believe in us. In this context, we have already requested the Prime Minister to
conduct a special census for determining the number of seats that would be
available to the Limboo and Tamang tribes in the state legislature without
disturbing the twelve seats reserved for Sikkimese of Bhutia-Lepcha origin.

       Furthermore, government of India has been requested to increase the Lok
Sabha and Rajya Sabha seats from one each to two, so that the ethnic communities
of the state are appropriately represented in the Parliament. Similarly, request has
been made at the centre to increase the Assembly seats from the existing 32 to 40.

       Our government recognizes the fact that in the changing scenario of
globalization, it is necessary for our people to review their strength and fortify them
further in order to keep up with the fast pace of development. We can not, therefore,
remain complacent and idle. It is necessary to focus our attention while looking
forward and as well as inward so that our deep inner strength and values take us to
the right direction.

      The SDF government is committed to ensure security to the people of Sikkim
as provided under Article 371F of the Constitution. All the old laws, as usual, will
be protected. My government has always functioned within the parameters
enshrined in Article 371F of the Constitution of India, for protecting and promoting
the social, political and economical well being of the people of the State.

      The SDF government has aborted the practice adopted by the earlier
government of taking away all the revenues collected from the erstwhile Monastic
Estate by returning 50% of such revenues for conducting the mandatory prayers


                                          35
and ceremonies of Pemayangtse, Tashiding, Ralong, Rumtek, Phodong and
Phensong Monastries from the financial year 1997-98.

     Sikkim so endowed with bountiful natural resources needs to be pragmatic in
the way it looks at it. We need to continue with our programme to tap the huge
natural resources to our advantage. Our development should be based on our
natural resources, with sustainable development as our basic mantra.

      The SDF government through my own personal example is trying to bring
about what I call the second generation reforms in politics. My firm belief is that we
can not allow sacred institution like democracy to be infested by dynastic overdose.
Hence, I have announced that I would not nominate my family members to become
an MLA, MP or Minister in the government. I am committed to go by these words in
future, and the people would obviously see my sincerity to cleanse politics of all
such elements in the greater context of our country itself.

       The State government has taken upon itself the task of spreading the
essential message to the Sikkimese people- that is to become producer and not only
consumer. We are vigorously trying to promote our state as a producer state. We
are also trying to provide a wide-range of choices to the people, developing their
skills to take up different schemes. In fact, we are encouraging our farming
community to change their trade. We have a long-term vision and programme for
the people. In this context, may I quote an enduring saying-

“Where the vision is one year
Cultivate flowers,
Where the vision is ten years
Cultivate trees,
Where the vision is eternity
Cultivate people”

       To further this campaign, we will encourage and assist people to take up at
least one productive scheme, taking each household as an industrial unit. They say
that one can not build an island of prosperity in the middle of despair. Hence,
prosperity of a state is linked with the prosperity of every single individual living in
it.

      We have groomed Sikkim to be an active and progressive Indian State. It no
longer lives in isolation and has gone on to occupy an honoured place in the general
psyche of the fellow countrymen. Our government has been successful to integrate
the Sikkimese people emotionally into the Indian mainstream. This is one of our
biggest achievements. On 13th April last year, our Prime Minister confessed that
Sikkim remains in his heart. We are thankful for the love so showered.

      Hon’ble Members in the opposition are most of the time found to be bereft of
any meaningful issues. They tend to raise questions for the sake of raising them. In
the treasury bench my colleagues would be happy to face such faceless opposition.
But this is not a good sign for a healthy democracy. We always wanted enlightened


                                          36
opposition who can contribute to the process of governance. Opposition will have to
work equally hard to achieve this status of enlightened and effective opposition.

      The national daily, The Statesman recently said that the opposition in the
state is in disarray. I feel for them. If democracy is made of empty rhetoric,
persistent threat and intimidation, hollow promises, let it be. On the other hand, if
democracy is for liberty, peace, human dignity and human fulfillment, you can
tread the way we have chosen. After all, democracy demands mutual respect and
understanding, we can collectively fight the common enemies of mankind- poverty,
deprivation, suffering and other forms of discrimination. I call upon all political
leaders in the state to engage in constructive politics based on constructive idealism

      Look what has happened today? The leaders themselves have deserted the
party under whose banner they ruled the state for 14 long years. People know that
these leaders have not changed their attitude. They are still artificial in their
sympathy and love of the people. They have no credibility. So wherever they go, and
whichever party they join or form, these leaders will be haunted and hounded by
the same lurking fear of the past.

      How can anyone disown his past? His past itself will defeat him. It remains
our hope that the opposition leaders will be blessed with sufficient reason to realize
that history will not be denied and that a new society cannot be created by
reproducing the same past, however refined or enticingly repackaged.

Madam Speaker
       All of us here in this august presence are the representatives of the people
called to great responsibilities. We must rise up to meet them. We cannot wish away
people’s hardship in cheap jokes and careless mockery. We must attend to them in
all seriousness. Someone has prescribed something very relevant for all of us-

“Our values are our guides
Our job is to serve
Our workplace the future”

       We can not afford to be wayward, and are called upon to lead the masses by
good words as well as good deeds. Knowing well that reputation without character
is meaningless, it is our sacred duty to spread the message of uprightness, integrity
and honesty in the society practicing them ourselves. We have great responsibility.
What we say and do now will have a direct bearing on the quality of the Sikkimese
society in the future. Let me quote some penetrating lines in this august presence,
to reinforce the gravity of my appeal.

“When individuals blunder, it is unfortunate and their families go down. When
rulers fail, it is national tragedy”

      When Pushkar Thapa, a graduate student, comes and asks me for a job, he is
only asking for his fundamental right. When a Lapcheni boju meets with me to
demand for a financial support for her treatment she is not asking for a favour. She
wanted us to uphold her fundamental right to live a healthy life. And when Namgyal
                                         37
Bhutia pays a visit to my office to complain about pest infestations in his
Aduwabari, he is only highlighting the threat to his livelihood. When a teacher
comes and tells me that the School had leaking roof, she is pointing at the hardship
faced by the teachers and students. And when I hear a large scale grievances on a
certain issue I find that there is something wrong in the system only.

      Therefore, I take all of them in my strides. These are the challenges we will
have to confront with every moment, every day and for years to come. Most of them
emanate from deprivation, poverty, and ignorance. These are our biggest living
enemies.

       If we do not address them on a holistic and comprehensive manner, there will
be unending numbers of Pushkar Thapas, Lapcheni bojus, Namgyal Bhutias,
teachers and others raising these problems in an incessant manner. This situation
could be devastating. The system will collapse and we will never be able to progress
and develop. This is the one point resolve we had made when we founded the
Sikkim democratic front party. We must have reasons enough to rejoice now after
all these years. Of course, we are always determined to give a solution to all the
major social, economic, political and other problems.

      On the penultimate day of the last session of the 6th Sikkim State Assembly
let me reassure the people of Sikkim that:
      Our ultimate goal is to make Sikkim one of the most vibrant, robust and
      sought after states in the country.
      We will like to lead and not follow.
      We will always remain committed to fulfill the aspirations of the people.
      The SDF government has a mission- a mission to make Sikkim poverty free,
      illiteracy free, and economically strong.
      By 2015, our vision is one that of establishment of strong Sikkimese society,
      a model state, self-reliant Sikkim and a self-sufficient Sikkimese.
      In economy, we would like to develop Sikkim into another Singapore
      In health, we would like Sikkim to be like Japan and Cuba
      In education, we want Sikkim as good as Netherlands, Norway and Singapore
      In the field of science and technology, we want Sikkim to be like Japan, USA
      and Taiwan
      In Animal Husbandry, Sikkim has to be as productive as Germany, France
      and Australia
      In the area of eco-tourism, Sikkim has to earn reputation as high as that of
      Switzerland, Austria, Fiji, Mauritius and Paraguay
      In civil society, Sikkim has to earn status as high as that of USA, Canada and
      other European nations.
      Our government will continue to make increased efforts in future so that
      Sikkim could be transformed into the best state in the country and other
      states may look at it as a fountain of inspiration.
      SDF government would continue to strive to make every Sikkimese
      intellectually free, spiritually rich and materially fulfilled, and who may be
      plentiful in the enduring human values like courage and compassion,
      reverence and integrity, respect for elders and national patriotism.
      The SDF government would strive on to finish the work we are in
                                        38
Hon’ble Madam Speaker
      It was on Thursday, November 19, 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln
went on to dedicate Gettysburg field as a national cemetery for the dead soldiers.
And in his two-minute speech, he immortalized the very concept of Democracy. I
quote,

“- that we hereby highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that the
nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the
people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth”

       Hon’ble Madam Speaker, we are here in this august house as the custodian
of people’s voice that the institution of democracy may not perish. We are among
the privileged few, the chosen few to act responsibly so that people’s voice and
aspirations may be heard ever after..
       In this sense, it is not so much a question to fight the election or to fight in
the elections. On the other hand, it is basically the question of seeking the mandate
of the people to run people’s government.

       On this day, let us together vow to continue our crusade against all such
political predators whose survival depend on the destruction of the other, and let us
together vow that we shall always fail those usurpers who seek to take power away
from the people, in pursuit of their own ignoble purposes.

      Restoration of democracy in Sikkim was the defining success of our
government. But the long walk continues. We will keep the democratic institution
secure and will further work for democratization of the Sikkimese society in full
measure. Undemocratic attitude, illegal and casteist tendency has no place in our
government. They can not be and will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

       In order to develop Sikkim into a prosperous entity, what we need are
opportunity, resources and development. What we require are peace, security and
dignity. And what is essential are knowledge, science and amity. And, we the
Sikkimese, lack none of them. What we need, indeed, is only a firm resolve to make
things happen. And the SDF government would lead the people towards realizing
their potential to its full bloom.

      We have worked together with the Sikkimese people to face many challenges
in the past. Now in times to come, my respected Sikkimese people would again face
a choice. Certainly, SDF party will go to the people to seek fresh mandate. And
again, I am sure, they can not be at fault.

If the people of Sikkim choose us to lead them again, my dear people of Sikkim will
never have to look back again. Our campaign to empower the people will continue.
In fact, we would genuinely want to transfer power to each person to make the most
of what is within him or her. We will be your custodian, we will be the champions of
your cause and we shall fulfill all the remaining tasks that remain undone.

      Let me end by quoting a famous saying that
                                          39
“If you can put a smile on the face of the poor, remember you are doing God’s work
and you will be repaid manifold in times to come.”

      Dear colleagues, let us keep working hard. People have faith and confidence
on us. If we have measured up to their aspirations in the last ten years, success will
naturally come our way. May the people of Sikkim forever triumph.

      Thank you




                                         40
50    Swearing-in-ceremony of the third consecutive Government, Gangtok, 21 May
      2004

Warm greetings to my respected fellow Sikkimese

      I offer to express my sincere thanks to all the people of Sikkim for reposing
their faith, conviction and responsibility again on me and our party Sikkim
Democratic Front. We have won this election with a record-breaking percentage of
vote polled. This overwhelming support and far reaching gesture of the people of
Sikkim have put added responsibility and formidable challenge on me and my
colleagues in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly.

       Today, as I venture to share some of my feelings with my respected Sikkimese
brothers and sisters, this is not only to celebrate people’s victory but more so to
confer glory and dignity to the institution of democracy, the ideal so conceived and
realized that the people may live with honour and respect and that they may choose
their government of their liking through free choice and collective decision. May I
congratulate fellow Sikkimese for their victory.

      Personally, I want to share this occasion of great joy and satisfaction with all:
Our old revered people
Our young boys and girls
Our farmers, workers and labourers
Our government officials
Our teachers in schools, colleges and other institutions
Our sportsmen, journalists, intellectuals, writers, musicians, painters, doctors,
engineers, architects, social scientists and natural scientists and technologists.
Our associations and institutions representing various professions, tribes and
castes
Our traders, industrialists and entrepreneurs
Our panchayat members
Our political workers both in the ruling and the opposition parties
Our social workers, NGOs and other grass root organizations.

       I would like to take opportunity to profusely thank the office of the Election
Commission of India and all the election functionaries in the State for smoothly,
efficiently and peacefully conducting the election in the state. This is an indicator of
institutional maturity we have gained in the largest democracy of the world.

      Sikkim Democratic Front has been voted to power for the third consecutive
term, in itself, is the positive suggestion of what we accomplished in the past and
what awaits us in the future. While in other parts of the country, the anti-
incumbency factor influenced poll outcome adversely, we, in Sikkim, witnessed a
massive pro-incumbency trend in a much more vibrant and substantive manner. I
am delighted and impressed by the people’s mandate. In a democracy, people can
do wonders. They did it again. I am more overwhelmed by the recognition and
honour extended by the people:


                                          41
to the work we have done;
to the development programmes we have carried out;
to the concerns that we have for the poor, downtrodden and marginalized people;
to the social and distributive justice that we have delivered;
to the act we have done in integrating the Sikkimese people with the mainstream
India
to the institutions we have built
to the national and international recognition and prestige that we have brought to
the state

And more seriously
to the human dignity, democratic freedom and livelihood security we have ensured
to the people of Sikkim.

      At the same time, this unprecedented electoral mandate placed before us a
serious challenge to perform. We shall have to perform. We shall have to win and we
hall have to sustain.

       The Sikkim Democratic Front party is again deeply touched by the fact that
the people of Sikkim have again wholeheartedly declared us as the party of the
people, as the party of the grass root aspirations and as the party that best guide us
into the future.

      At the same time, let me also strongly put the now established fact that there
is no place for the communal, castiest, sectarian, feudal and other destructive
elements and institutions in the state. This is what this election proved and
reassured us. There is no place for both yellow politicians and yellow journalism.
Both of them have perished together. Our effort will be now to uproot them, so that
we are safe, sound and peaceful forever. People have rejected the people
representing fissiparous tendency and attitude. The Sikkimese people have rejected
them for all time to come.

       I, on behalf of the SDF party, would like to assure all the people of Sikkim
that like in the past ten years, we shall leave no stone unturned in order to:

Ω     fulfill the promises made and issues raised in our election manifesto;
Ω     further accelerate the pace of development conceived and initiated in the last
      government;
Ω     address the needs of the poor people on priority, both in terms of immediate
              benefits and long-term planning intervention;
Ω     attend to youth management strategy bringing in indigenous strength areas
      including natural resources into its ambit;
Ω     create stable human resource base in the state;
Ω     transform Sikkim into a fully producer state;
Ω     transform Sikkim into an economically strong state through initiation of both
      short-term and long-term development strategies;
Ω     strengthen the decentralization and devolution mechanism in the state;
Ω     make administration more result-oriented with the grass root people as its
      focus;
                                         42
Ω     maintain the highest tradition of secularism, social justice and democratic
      freedom at all costs.

      Except in the Sangha seat, the people of Sikkim decided in their own wisdom
not to send a single member from the opposition party to the Assembly. There may
be apprehension in the minds of some people that this situation may lead to misuse
of power and unbridled monopoly. Let me assure the people of Sikkim that like in
the past we shall not let it happen.

       In fact, after the election and the formation of the government, we follow the
principle of ‘zero enemies’. This means all are equal in our eyes. As democrats, we
can not afford to and we shall not discriminate on the basis of political affiliations
and some such considerations. These decency, detachment and liberalism are very
well rooted in our party’s political thinking and development philosophy.

       This time around, one of the major election issues that came up during the
election campaign was the unsatisfactory delivery of services by the government
departments. Many raised doubts on the efficiency of government departments in
handling the popular public needs. I have personally been addressing the issues of
decentralization and devolution at the state level and have emphasized on the need
for more transparency and direct accountability in the system of governance. While
we shall very soon put in place various governance performance improving
measures in the state, I would like to appeal to give us as much feed back so that
we can immediately address the problems of service delivery.

      In order to cope with the changing nature of demands and function, our
emphasis will again be re-skilling and reorientation of the government officials. One
of the many measures we would like to immediately introduce is to make training
and deputation as pre-requisites for promotion and career development. Similarly,
we are now introducing a system where a file will be tracked throughout its
movement to ensure that no file remains with any official for more than 72 hours.

       However, we have also felt that the governmental facilities have not been
utilized properly by the people at various levels. There is also a feeling that the
people of Sikkim have become over dependent on the government thereby losing
their creativity, individual initiatives and personal identity. Now we want to
minimize government doles given directly to individual and household. We want to
be more selective. We want people to be self-reliant and least dependent on the
government except on the basic physical and social infrastructure.

       The Sikkim Democratic Front party has been called upon to shoulder the
solemn responsibility of leading the Sikkimese into the future. And I, having the
privilege to lead this party and the government, am also equally obliged to devise
ways and means to lend our development initiatives a greater dynamism and
modern thrust that best complement present world.

      We have been thinking about more effective role by various departments
particularly in the changing context at the regional, national and international level.
Most of the government departments were created when Sikkim had just started the
                                          43
planned development process. These departments were also oriented and catered to
the infant level of democratic aspirations and newly set up institutions.

       Today the situation has changed. People’s aspirations have reached a higher
level. Democracy is matured and deep rooted and the level of thinking of the people
has crossed state boundaries. There are several institutional challenges. We shall
have to understand, assess and go with all these trends and practices.

      Therefore, in order to match with the changing situation, emerging trends of
globalization and reforms and its impact at the grass root and also to meet the
diverse and increasing needs and aspirations of the people, we have now decided to
restructure government departments and reorient them for more effective
governance and delivery of services.

       At the moment, I am announcing the set of restructured departments. The
details about their functional parameters, areas of activities and administrative
reallocations will shortly be worked out and put in place.

      The restructured departments are as follow:

►     Agriculture department shall henceforth be known by the name- Department
      of Food Security and Agriculture Development

►     Culture Department as Department of Heritage, Culture and Creative
      Performance

►     Education Department as Department of Human Resource Development

►     Finance Department as Department of Finance and Resource Mobilization

►     Forest Department as Department of Natural Resources and Environmental
      Management

►     Horticulture Department as Department of Cash Crops Development

►     Health Department as Department of Health Management

►     Industries Department as Department of Industrial and Investment Services

►     Planning and Development Department as Department of Development
      Planning, Economic Reforms and North Eastern Council Affairs

►     Power Department as Department of Energy Security

►     Roads Department as Department of Infrastructure Management

►     Rural Development Department as Department of Rural Management

►     Social Welfare Department as Department of Social Security
                                        44
►     Urban Development Department as Department of Urban Affairs and Disaster
      Management


Besides these restructuring, the following new departments shall be created in the
state.

☼     Department of Trade and Commerce: This department is primarily to deal
      with trade through Nathula and other bordering regions. This will also look
      after all the trading and commercial activities undertaken by the state within
      the country.

☼     The present education department shall be bifurcated into two separate
      departments viz.

     Department of Human Resource Development (it will look after issues of
Secondary, College, University and other Technical and Professional education),
Department of Elementary/Primary education.

☼     Department of Public Grievances Redressal: This department will primarily
      receive all the public grievances and centrally manage the redressal
      mechanism in coordination with the related line departments.

☼     State Monitoring and Evaluation Organization (SMEO): This organization will
      be primarily looking into the entire process of monitoring and evaluation of
      development projects in the state. This will be constituted as per the
      framework recommended by the Report of the Study group on Monitoring and
      Evaluation.

☼     Department of Career and Employment Opportunities: This department will
      exclusively deal with employment and other career option of the students and
      youths in the state. All the durable employment generating schemes
      including the Chief Minister’s Self Employment Programme and Skill
      Development Fund and the recently announced Center for Career Focus will
      be located and managed by this department.


Respected fellow citizens,
       You have collectively given us a more vocal mandate this time. We rest
satisfied that during the last ten years, we have been able to live up to the
expectation of the people. This recognition has added more vigour and steeled our
minds to serve the people even more.

        Let me put in record our sincere thanks with highest sense of appreciation to
the outgoing NDA government at the centre led by respected Shri Atal Bihari
Vajpayee. The NDA government was very generous to the people of Sikkim and
fulfilled most of our major demands.


                                         45
      Let me also welcome and extend our best wishes to the new government at
the centre led by respected Dr. Manmohan Singh. Our MP from Sikkim has also
been warmly integrated into the coalition family to be led by Dr. Singh. We are
confident that given his love for the people of Hills, Sikkim will always be considered
especially by his government and his esteemed colleagues at the centre. We send
our warm Sikkimese greetings for a successful tenure.

       The process of change that we have initiated is destined to last longer. We
know we have to face many hurdles in our quest for the ultimate goal. We are
prepared for the long quest- a quest that seeks to secure people’s prosperity, peace
and progress. Our words and deeds must always complement each other. Fellow
Sikkimese, you will always provide the same high standards of strength and
sacrifice which you may ask of us.

     Together we shall develop a strong and resilient Sikkim, that we may be
proud of and our future generation may have reason to be proud of.

With profound greetings

I remain to serve the people of Sikkim

Jai Sikkim! Jai Bharat




                                          46
51    Budget Speech 2004-2005, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Gangtok, 7
      September 2004

Honourable Speaker Sir
      The resounding voice of the people of Sikkim has yet again reposed their
confidence and faith by re-electing my government for the third consecutive term.
This means something deeper, special and far-reaching. This is indicative of the
people’s appreciation of and respect for the quality of our governance within the
broad framework of the priorities and vision reflected in our Manifesto.

       Let me first express my warm Season’s Greetings to the Hon’ble Members of
the Sikkim Legislative Assembly and the beloved people of Sikkim. We are soon
entering into the autumn season, a time of all festive occasions. The people of
Sikkim are keenly looking forward to an annual budget that would bring greater
warmth, comfort and satisfaction to them all. And on this solemn occasion, I stand
to give them enough cause for peace, progress and prosperity- both in terms of their
individual and collective wellbeing.

      Given the overwhelming support of the people, I would also like to assure the
Sikkimese people that we shall continue to make every effort to honour that
mandate and continue to improve upon our well-charted road map for the state’s
socio-economic development with well-focused objectives and strategies designed to
bring about all-round progress with stability and equity.

      In this context, I would like to inform the people that with the inception of
new Government, all departments had been directed to prepare a 100 days action
plan highlighting specific projects and programs with pre-determined targets in
respect of each sector. This was intended to be a conscious effort on the part of my
government to accelerate the process of development with a difference and lend
them new dynamism and to carry forward and consolidate the investments already
made so far.

      For many people and parties, the budget is just an annual ritual. For us in
the government it has been a very serious exercise that is characterized by a large
scale consultations at all levels. We listen to the farmers, to the entrepreneurs, to
the members of civil societies, to the professionals and NGOs and of course the
media. Our major objective in presenting the State budget has always been to first
introspect on what we have done in the past year, what needed to be refocused and
how we intend to utilize the limited financial resources in the optimum possible
manner.

      The preparation of this year’s budget has taken due consideration of the fact
that a new regime under the United Progressive Alliance has assumed power at the
centre. This necessarily brings in some reorientation and adjustments in our
developmental approach to conform to the socio-economic objectives adopted under
the National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) of the central government.
Among others, the NCMP inter-alia underlines two distinct objectives in the fiscal
front namely that of accelerating fiscal consolidation and reforms and ensuring
higher and more efficient fiscal devolution.
                                         47
      My government has a strong conviction in people’s empowerment and the
need to evolve a mechanism to facilitate the process has been amply demonstrated
in the past. Democratic decentralization entails involvement of the people in the
decision making process which, in turn, would facilitate greater transparency,
accountability, efficiency and responsiveness in governance. In order to bring about
democratic decentralization and a new regime in self-governance, a modest yet
determined beginning had been made last year with devolution of funds being made
to the Zilla Panchayats as also the Gram Panchayats encompassing some selected
sectors such as primary health, primary education and allied activities falling under
the basic minimum programme. A special task force has also been constituted by
the government with the specific mandate to compile a handbook for decentralized
administration which is intended as a simple instrument to guide the Panchayati
Raj institution in the local development administration process. Emphasis will be
laid on further broadening the decentralization process by vesting more powers to
the Panchayats while at the same time making them more accountable. To facilitate
this process of democratic decentralization, I have already proposed to establish
Block Development Offices in each of the thirty administrative blocks and also
develop a Regional Secretariat at Jorethang to cater to the interest of the public of
South and West districts.

       The democratic traditions and practices in our country have been going even
vibrant and stronger. I have had the privilege of working with different Prime
Ministers at the centre coming from different parties over a decade. During my last
two terms, I received full support and help from all the Prime Ministers heading
different governments. Many of our major and long pending issues were resolved by
the central governments. Let me take this opportunity to express our profuse
thanks and gratefulness to our former Prime Ministers and their team for
supporting every cause of Sikkim and the Sikkimese people. We remain highly
benefitted and inspired today.

      The United Progressive Alliance headed by Dr. Manmohan Singh has now
been bestowed with the coveted responsibility of governing the largest democracy in
the world. The new Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is one of the most brilliant
economists, social thinkers and development administrators the country has ever
produced. We have known him for decades now for his people centric policies. He is
the epitome of clean and transparent politics. Dr Manmohan Singh is
internationally and widely known for his global thinking, bold actions and grass
root concerns. We are fortunate to have very great friend of Sikkim in piloting the
entire fate of Indian people. He is well abreast of our development performance and
changing needs. We remain convinced that under his guidance, Sikkim will have a
fresh direction and a range of milestones. We wish his entire team a great success
in transforming the country into status and stature of a developed country in the
comity of nations.

      It is not only the people of Sikkim who have applauded and complemented
our performance. The people outside have their eyes on Sikkim. They have started
putting Sikkim in the brackets of those few performing states in India. The national


                                         48
press is constantly writing about what Sikkim is doing. The experts and
professionals are increasingly moving towards Sikkim for their actions.

      The Business Today, one of the leading national dailies, called our state a
“state of stability”. We have been liberally covered by Times of India, Hindustan
Times, Indian Express, Sahara Times, Telegraph, Statesman and magazines like
India Today, Outlook, Frontline, Force and the Week and foreign publications like
Asahi Simbum of Japan, The Economist from London and Himal from Kathmandu.

      It is heartening to note for the entire people of Sikkim that “State of States in
India” survey report published by the India Today Group declared Sikkim as one of
the leading performing States in the country. In a nation wide survey, Sikkim was
found to be one of the top and leading States among the smaller states. In
education, we were given the best State award. In three other areas including
investment scenario, health and law and order, we stood among the top three.
Survey mentioned that we were among the top five in areas like infrastructure,
budget and prosperity and consumer market. However, I must say that we were
ranked lowly in the agriculture sector.

       We attach much importance to this survey because it was done at the all
India level and also by an independent agency. Interestingly in the category of
smaller states, Delhi was also included. That means our state with a population of
slightly over 5 lakhs was judged along with a state with a population of over 15
million with all up-to-date facilities. Therefore our overall position was marked at
5th position.

       Let me also mention that we scored 3.10. Pondicherry which got the 1st
ranking scored 3.55 and Delhi with a second ranking got 3.40 and Mizoram and
Goa got 3.33. Arunachal Pradesh scored 1.78 and Meghalaya scored 1.18. Score
wise we were better than Punjab which had a score of 2.46 though it was ranked
1st in the category of bigger states.

     However, we take this ranking by India Today Group as a major challenge
and opportunity to steadily improve our position. Therefore, we need the blessings
and support of the people.

      As per the projection made by this Survey, by 2020 Sikkim will have the 8th
highest position in per capita income and 10th highest position in literacy rate in
the country. The year 2020 is full sixteen years from now. Therefore, our effort will
be to drastically improve our position to reach the first five in the country in many
other indicators also.

       In the Chief Ministers’ Conclave held in New Delhi and attended by the
President of India, Ministers of Finance, External Affairs and other eminent people
of India, Sikkim was the only State from the North East and West Bengal which was
invited to make a presentation on the New Development Model it is evolving




                                          49
      It was a great moment of pride when my MLA colleagues and other officials
attended and witnessed the function in large numbers. I quote from a newspaper. It
wrote:
            “the applause in the Ashoka Hotel Convention Hall was deafening and
            lasted a full four minutes, as Sikkim Chief Minister walked up to the
            stage to receive an India Today award…….. It was loudest from the
            corner of the hall where a team of 25 from Sikkim …. had begun
            gathering from early in the morning. This has many in the politically
            sophisticated audience smiling”.

      I was overwhelmed to feel and see some results of our clear thinking and hard
work. Therefore, let us celebrate these moments of achievements with open minds
and clear thinking. Let us also heartily dedicate this award to the people of Sikkim.

      In another interesting survey study recently done by another New Delhi based
organization, Sikkim was given the highest ranking in the Green Protection Index.
In a scale of zero to one, we scored as high as 0.903 as against 0.114 of Haryana,
0.659 of Uttaranchal and 0.590 of West Bengal. The lowest was that of Punjab with
0.010. These are known as Green Indicators 2004 where Sikkim with a score of
0.601 was put 6th position in the Green Wealth index.

      The Government of Sikkim for the first time organized a national level
function to honour all the Nepali speaking Indians who have excelled in their
respective professional fields under the banner of Sikkim Samman Sammilan. It
included a large number of Sikkimese also. We initiated this venture primarily to
encourage our younger generation to have a strong foothold in the professional
services and to give recognition to the people who have single-handedly achieved so
much. This function was graced by a large number of people from all over India. In
the process, the Sikkimese people earned the name and fame for their act of
farsightedness and benevolence. We would like to continue with this initiative.

       Our government initiated a unique project called Sikkim Studies Series
publishing seven volumes in our last term. We decided to publish a series of an
authentic, well researched reference volume on crucial fields of study like
Sikkimese History, Geography and Environment, Economy, Literature and Culture,
Society and Food habits and Political Development. The primary objectives were set
at collecting historical documents and putting them together in a scientific manner
in each field of study; filling the knowledge and information gaps on each field of
study and presenting a cogent and comprehensive analysis of the issues. This also
meant ultimately providing some firm basis for preparing a vision of Naya Sikkim
Sukhi Sikkim based on historico-politico-cultural and social background.

       We commissioned these studies to eminent writers and public figures. The
Hon’ble Members of the House will be delighted to know that three of these volumes
on Literature, Culture and Environment have already been released by three very
eminent Indians namely Shi Kamaleshwar, Dr Kapila Vatsyanan and Sushri Sunita
Narain. Given the importance of these volumes, the authors are now in the process
of revising the same for bringing out the final copies of the volumes. I am sure the


                                         50
Hon’ble Members of the house would find time to go through these volumes and
suggest to the authors if they find any gaps in their writings.

       The Hon’ble Members will be delighted to know that the Government has now
decided to implement the recommendations made by the Council for Social
Development in institutionalizing the Monitoring and Evaluation system in the
State. This will bring about very visible impact on the transparent and efficacy of
the development projects in the State. The computer software developed by the
Council for Social Development and presented to the Government of Sikkim makes
it possible for any one in the State to locate and to assess the development projects
that are going on in any parts of the State.

       As a first step we have asked all the departments to create separate unit for
the same. We would soon start the process of training and capacity building for
smooth implementation of the M & E system. Then we also plan to have a separate
Directorate for the management of the entire monitoring and evaluation operation
in the State. This will be a unique system.

       The Hon’ble Members may kindly note that this operation is being put in
place not as a measure of policing the development projects but to bring in more
efficiency. I am sure the very fact that we have a scientific monitoring and
evaluations system in place will attract a large number of donor and other
development agencies to fund other development projects.

      The Hon’ble Members of the House will also be delighted to know that the
National Planning Commission is preparing the Sikkim Development Report mainly
to analyze what the State has achieved so far and what the State needs to do in
order to meet its goal of becoming one of the fastest growing and most dynamic
States in the country. The team from National Institute of Public Finance and Policy
(NIPFP) and Jawaharlal Nehru University who have been entrusted the task of
preparing this report has already made the presentation of the draft report before
the State Cabinet and other officials.

        Strong economic growth is a pre-requisite for human development as it
provides the required resources for improving the capability of people through
better education, health and other social services as well as improving income
earning opportunity. However, the benefits of economic growth have to be equitably
distributed through progressive public policy initiative to achieve maximum benefit
for all people, irrespective of class, caste or gender.

      In order to empower rural community, my government is ensuring that the
rural development programs focus on a number of inter-related areas, particularly
on human development. Apart from emphasis on education and health, priority is
made towards substantially enhancing the investment in the rural areas and
increase the facilities in the rural areas to a level where the rural poor do not feel
disadvantaged compared to the urban middle class. This is necessary so as to
provide a level playing field and will also have an empowering effect on the poor to
demand more rapid democratization of opportunities.


                                         51
      In order the respond effectively to the needs of vulnerable sections of the
population, the rural development thrust areas have been further broadened so as
to bring a Rural Renaissance. The coming five years we are going to consolidate in
the dent we have made in the rural economy. Our approach would be to undertake
the following measures making the rural economy more vibrant, robust and
sustainable.

  (a) Adoption of Decentralized Participatory and Beneficiary Driven Approaches
      designed to improve the delivery of such rural services as connectivity,
      drinking water and rural sanitation, extension of micro credit, education and
      health to the poorest of the society so as to foster confidence among the
      people.

  (b) Empowerment of Panchayati Raj institution as “institution of self-
      government’ to plan and implement programs of economic development and
      social justice. My government is of the firm opinion that Panchayats can only
      fulfill their responsibilities as ‘institutions of self-government’ after the
      devolution is patterned on a nexus between the 3 Fs- Functions, Functionary
      and Finances. These devolutions will be taken up through a transparent form
      of Activity Mapping so that the two tiers of Panchayati Raj Syatem knows
      which activity relating to which functions has been devolved to that
      particular tier. The entire devolution process will be based on the Principle of
      Subsidiarity. It is also being ensured that devolution made is irreversible.

  (c) My government is also of the firm opinion that the goals of devolution and
      decentralization can only be achieved through empowerment of Gram
      Sabhas. For the meaningful empowerment of the Gram Sabhas, it is being
      ensured that they are entitled to all the information required for transparent
      and good governance. The duties and functions of the panchayats are also
      being redefined so as to make the elected panchayats answerable to the Gram
      Sabhas. For improving the participation of women and disadvantaged and
      vulnerable sections of the society, it is proposed that quorum rules of Gram
      Sabha may be modified to incorporate presence of certain prescribed
      percentage of woman and other vulnerable sections of the society.

  (d) Provide all urban amenities in the rural areas including banking, insurance,
      transport, drinking water, trade and shopping centres, electricity, internet
      cafes, libraries, cinema halls, restaurants, sports facilities and tourist spots.
      Our Hon'ble President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam calls it PURA or providing urban
      amenities in the rural areas. This will largely address to the problem of rural
      to urban migration.

  (e) Consolidate in the devolution of governance, financial management and policy
      planning to the people of rural areas through Panchayats. The entire
      planning process is to be initiated at the village level by the villagers
      themselves.

  (f) Make the villages a hub of eco-tourism


                                         52
   (g) Marketing of agricultural commodities and the processed and value added
       products will be given the highest priority by linking the same through
       Agriculture Export Zones.

   (h) re-skilling and re-training the able bodied rural mass so that their livelihood
       and occupational choices are broadened. This will be supplemented by
       innovative, friendly and cost effective technologies.

Village Mapping
       Our Government would like to do a comprehensive “Village Mapping” where
we would map natural resources, social and economic indicators, population
features, environmental variables and development projects in each and every
village of Sikkim. The information and data emanating from this village mapping
exercise could be used for any development, demographic and topographic
purposes. I have already bestowed the task of determining the detail modalities for
this village mapping to the Planning Commission in a time bound manner.

Power Sector Reforms
      The power sector is going to be the key driver to the entire development
process in the State. So far our thinking was moulded by the fact that we wanted to
reach electricity to each and every village by both improving the generation capacity
and the distribution system. No one really bothered about quality of power. We
have now very clearly decided to have two pronged approach to the energy
development in the State.

      Firstly, we are going to implement the recommendations made by the experts
of the Hyderabad based Centre for Infrastructure Management in Administrative
Staff College of India in bringing about the reforms in power sector. They have
suggested that we should go for unbundling of the present functions of the Energy
Department. They have further suggested that we should corporatise the entire
power sector and operationalise the Sikkim Power Development Corporation
(SPDC).

      Along with this, we are strengthening the other sources of non-conventional
energy. We shall now promote small and mini hydel projects primarily run by the
communities.

      Secondly, we want to sale power to the other load centres in India like what
Bhutan and Nepal are doing. This will fetch us not only revenues but also would
generate a lot of income and employment generating activities. However, we are very
cautious about the fall outs of the hydel power projects. We are using all possible
strategies and means to thwart any kind of environmental and other hazards.

Nathula Trade
      We all know that reopening of Nathula Trade route will bring about a variety
of benefits to the people of Sikkim. At the national level this will strengthen the
national security interest of India as the relationship with the People’s Republic of
China improves. We will be guided by twin principles of “maximum gains to the
Sikkimese people” and “minimum adverse impact on the cultural and physical
                                         53
ecology of Sikkim”. We have rather a long term thinking in the conduct of Nathula
Trade.

      We have again seen some reports in the local media where some sections of
the society have expressed concerns about the adverse impact of reopening of
Nathula Trade. While fully appreciating the democratic rights behind such
expressions of reservations, we would also expect the same section of people to
come up with constructive suggestions. A Chinese proverb mentions that "it is
better to light a candle than curse the darkness".

     Since our policies are still evolving on the issues of conducting the trade, we
would welcome any suggestions from the civil society.

     Its reopening has been delayed for few more months because of the ongoing
preparations on both sides of the border. We should all appreciate that we cannot
open the same with the level of existing facilities. At the same time, once it is
opened it would be irrational on our part to expect a limited exchange of goods.

       The Government has also commissioned a team of experts to examine the
issues related to Nathula Trade and to suggest policy measures to the Government
in order to maximize the gains from the reopening of this trade route. The team is
likely to visit Lhasa after which a full report will be submitted.

        The State’s Industrial Policy is basically investment friendly and along with
the special incentives package available for the North Eastern States under the
auspices of the new Industrial policy of the union government, there is brighter
prospects for a spate of investments flowing into the state. We will, however, ensure
that all industrial ventures have no environmental fall-outs and that these activities
create substantial employment opportunities for the Sikkimese people.
Establishment of a Food Park and an Export Processing Zone has also been
envisaged with the assistance of the Ministries of Food Processing & Commerce,
Government of India. While investments in major infrastructure projects will receive
priority, private sector investment will be welcomed in specific areas encompassing
tourism related ventures, food processing, medicinal and aromatic processing,
amusement centres etc. The Board of Investment will be fully activated as a
facilitator for attracting investment proposals. The sensitivity of the issue
concerning Intellectual Property Rights particularly in respect of endangered
indigenous species of medicinal herbs and plants will also be addressed. These
measures are imperative for safeguarding the interest of the State as well as in
ensuring that exploitation of the natural resources does not jeopardize
sustainability of our fragile eco-system.

       Agriculture and allied activities continue to be the mainstay of the economic
livelihood of our population. Keeping this in mind, our government will continue to
accord overriding priority to this sector. While focus will continue to be on
improvement of farming practices by adoption of scientific and modern technologies
I believe that traditional time-tested practices adopted over many generations will
need to be addressed also. In this context, I specifically refer to the programmes
involving introduction of non-traditional and exotic crop varieties which so far has
                                         54
not yielded tangible results. We need to focus on traditional crops which are
naturally conducive to the prevailing agro-climatic condition of the state. For
example, we can harvest in abundance crops like squash, passion fruit, mushroom,
pear and orange, to name a few. Our strategy needs to be reoriented to consolidate
and specialize in selected crops that are climatically conducive and viable and
ensure that necessary back-up in terms of unhindered marketing support, supply
of inputs and assured price support to growers are adequately in place. The
prospect of establishing food processing units to facilitate value addition also need
to be examined particularly in respect of the selected core commercial crops. All
these efforts will depend on a close and well-coordinated working arrangements
among key departments.

       As already announced, my government will ceaselessly pursue with the policy
to discourage the use of chemical agro-inputs and adopt measures that will
gradually transform Sikkim into a fully organic state by the year 2009. With this
branded image, Sikkim’s crop produce will carve for itself a niche in the consumer
market. I am also please to inform this House that the quality of the Alpine Gouda
Cheese, a product of the Dentam Cheese Plant has been tested for certification by
the US authorities especially in respect of the qualitative content of the product.
This august gathering will indeed be delighted to learn that the Anand Cooperative
Limited of the “Amul” product is negotiating for taking over the marketing
arrangement of the Alpine Cheese product range. The Dentam Cheese Plant is a test
case where farmers’ active participation and spirit of involvement in the day-to-day
management of the business venture is clearly discernible. We must endeavour to
replicate this success story in other spheres of development as well and be
conscious of the fact that people’s participation and spirit of involvement are
instrumental in bringing about sustainable success in any developmental
endeavour.

       As in the case of crop husbandry sector, our strategy and approach in regard
to development of the animal husbandry and dairy sector will also need to be
redefined with a sharper focus on restricting investment in selective range of
programs encompassing activities such as development of cattle, piggery, poultry
and fisheries. The thrust would be to narrow down our activities and specialize in a
few dedicated fields of development by judiciously consolidating our investments
without spreading our limited resources too thinly among other unproductive areas.
By adopting such an approach, the farmers can specialize in specific sphere of
livestock farming. Our objective should be not only to produce adequately to cater
to domestic consumption needs but also to generate surplus for export to
neighbouring states. The present trend of importing a large variety of farm produce
from outside should be reversed over a definite time frame. We have to transform
our state into a producer state from consumer state.

      Our commitment to observing utmost prudence in fiscal management will
continue to be underlined. These stringent measures have been necessitated by the
formidable challenges brought about by the second generation economic reform
process. With the passage of the Fiscal Responsibility & Budget Management Act,
2000, there is even greater urgency in instituting proper fiscal policy framework.
The above legislation primarily envisages the induction of a streamlined fiscal
                                         55
management regime which will be addressed to wiping out the revenue deficit
completely over a pre-determined time frame. In the same fashion, I propose to
reorient our approach and strategy in our overall fiscal administration process by
introducing a package of measures tailored to gradually narrow down the fiscal
deficit, together with efforts to curtail non-plan expenditure in the state.

       My government will also consider ways and means to augment additional
revenue generation by broadening the tax base. Some of the measures that the
state government has envisaged to propose are the introduction of Anti-pollution
levy, Road Cess and Environment Cess.     The level of pollution is day by day
increasing particularly in the urban centres in the State. This is mainly attributed
to the steady increase in the vehicular movements from inside and outside the
State.

Honourable Speaker Sir
      I would like to take this opportunity to announce few policy initiatives in this
august House so that Honourable Members may like to suggest additional means to
develop our state.

1. Technology Induction Fund
      Technology is so vital to any of our effort made towards rural upliftment.
Technology can bring dynamism, generate income and employment. This can inject
sustainability to the livelihood pattern. Look what technology has done to the three
major revolutions in the post independence India the “Green Revolution”, the “White
Revolution” and the “IT Revolution”.

       Therefore, I would like to announce the creation of an exclusive fund for the
rural masses particularly the farmers and other non-farming workers. This will be
known as “Technology Induction Fund” under which I propose to bring in a variety
of newer technologies for the farmers through various development agencies. For
this fiscal year, I announce a package of Rs one crore for this fund which would be
conducted by the Department of Rural Management along with the Department of
Science and Technology.

2. Minimum Wages Act
      We have been witnessing a peculiar situation in the State. You have on the
one hand the highest paid government employees in the State. Sikkimese
government employees draw the highest pay package in the country. On the other
hand, we have the most unregulated labour market in the country. In the process,
some of the people working in many of the private ventures draw the lowest possible
wages. This is despite the fact that many of them are well qualified and possess
relevant skills. This situation has had two serious impacts. Firstly, all the
Sikkimese have been hankering after government jobs. And secondly the private
sector has not been able to grow with full esteem.

      We would like to de-attract the people from the government jobs and make
both organized and unorganized private sector more attractive for the job seekers.
This will also bring about a sense of equitable occupational earnings and partly do
away with the disparity that prevails today in the wage pattern.
                                         56
      For this, one of the measures we are taking is to bring into force the State
Minimum Wages Act which would be applicable to all the units of production,
private ventures including hotels and restaurants, travel agents, shops, business
outlets, petrol pumps, bakeries etc. This will bring about massive changes in the
disparity that prevail in the wage sector in the State. This will be conducted by the
Department of Labour and Department of Industry and Commerce.

      These two departments will also do a comprehensive survey of these kinds of
ventures to immediately implement the decision taken in this regard.

3. Ecology Fund
      Tourism is emerging to be one of our major economic activities. The more
tourists visit Sikkim, the more we gain in terms of both income and employment
generating effects. Besides, this will have far reaching forward and backward
linkages. However, at the same time more tourists inflow into our State means
bigger pressure on the civic facilities and carrying capacity in the State. This means
we need to accordingly strengthen the carrying capacity of the State on a regular
basis. For this we need resources.

4. Jari-Booti Kosh (Herbal Medicine Fund)
      Given our natural resources and related indigenous knowledge in traditional
medicinal practices, we should have by now capitalized on these strengths. We
have the rarest of rare medicinal plants. Other Himalayan regions have already
started harnessing the Cordy Ceps Sinensis (yarcha gompu) locally known as Jiwan
Buty in a commercial manner. We are yet to realize the value of this natural
resource. The Chinese and Americans are capitalizing on this.

       The world is today agog with the introduction of viagra and other stimulating
drugs. The multinationals companies are minting millions of dollars out of it.
Whereas in Sikkim despite the presence of a large number of plants which have
definite aphrodisiac elements, we are sitting on it quietly.

      When do we convert Urtica parviflora (young inflorescence) into Sikkimese
viagra? We have lost opportunities after opportunities. The cost has been
enormous.

       Therefore, I announce the setting up of Jari-Booti Kosh primarily to list the
traditional folk medicine practices in the entire state and also to start commercial
farming of some of the medicinal plants. We shall have to devise an exclusive policy
in this particular area of herbal medicines. I set aside a sum of Rs one crore for this
purpose. This will be conducted by the Department of Forests and Environment
Management and Department of Science and Technology.

5. Physically-Challenged Friendly Amenities
      Our Government has been seriously addressing the problems faced by the
physically challenged people in our State. For us they are special people, they are
as talented and as well informed as we are. We want to strengthen this feeling of
being equal among these special categories of people. Besides the monthly financial
                                          57
support which I have announced during the Independence Day celebration, I would
like to take this valuable opportunity to announce a separate fund for developing
the amenities for the physically challenged people in all the public places.

       We have also seen that many physically challenged tourists who visit our
State find it difficult to move around both because of geography and non-existence
of special amenities for them. Therefore, to create these amenities like special
toilets, steps, rest rooms, pathways in public places, I would like to allocate a sum
of Rs 1 crore for this financial year. This task will be jointly conducted by the
Departments of Tourism and Urban Development.

6. Four-year Fellowship granst
      The state government is aware of the hardship being faced by the Sikkimese
youths for pursuing higher studies for want of University in the state. With our
policy thrust in human resource development, I would like to announce a four-year
higher studies fellowships to our Sikkimese youths who want to pursue higher
studies like PhDs in the reputed Universities of the country. This fellowship award
shall envisage a monthly Rs. 6000/ scholarship and a Contingency grant of Rs.
12,000/ each per annum.

7. Media Development Initiative
      We have always considered the media to be a very vital component of both
democracy and civil society. We have always encouraged the institutions working
on healthy media development. We want the Sikkimese media to reach both
national and international standards through healthy and competitive          media
practices and up gradations of skills of the media professionals. We have even hiked
the advertisement budget by many times in the past one decade.

       In order to complement and further encourage the efforts made by the
institutions related to media in the State, I announce the constitution of a Media
Development Initiative wherein I allocate a sum of Rs 10 lakhs for the current fiscal
year. The MDI will be basically used for the visit of the Sikkimese media
professionals for training, seminar, conferences, workshops anywhere in India and
in the SAARC region. This could also be utilized for organizing any programmes in
any parts of the State on media awareness and development. This allocation will be
conducted by the Department of Information and Public Relations.

8. Green Cess
       People are aware of the fact that the state government has been initiating a
number of schemes to increase the forest cover in the state. Over the decade, we
have introduced innovative concept like the biodiversity park, smriti vans, greens
roads etc. This is part of our conscious endeavour to bring about mass awareness
about our fragile eco-system and to enlist mass participation in our conservation
drive. To supplement this effort, I propose to introduce green cess in the state. The
details of this proposal may be worked out by the concerned department for its
implementation.




                                         58
9. Luxury tax
       Sikkim is steadily emerging as the preferred tourist destination in the
country. And over the decades, our government has been consciously trying to
develop related infrastructural facilities in the state. We have opened up restricted
locations like Gurudongmar for the domestic tourists. All these initiatives have
resulted in the increased number of tourists who visit the state and an increased
activity to cater to this improved situation. In all these exercises, however, the
government has not been able to pool in any resources. Hence, I propose to levy
luxury tax in hotels and other such places, so that the revenue collected would be
utilized for the welfare of the people at large. The concerned department may
deliberate and work out the details as proposed.

      Human Face is Vital in the overall schemes of things. We want to have a
balanced growth in the State. We have achieved a record of 8 percent growth rate
per annum in the Ninth Plan (1998-2002). We are striving to enhance this growth
rate to over 10 percent in the ongoing Tenth Plan period of 2002-2007. While
everyone is proud of the situation at the macro state level, we are little cautious
about whether this high growth performance can be related to the rural
communities. In other words, are the rise in income at the state level reaching the
poorest of the poor. We want to ensure this.

       Though our poverty ratio is highly inflated and unrealistic as it is derived
from the Assam’s ratio, we would still feel that there are very many poor people in
the villages of Sikkim. They are our real faces. We want them to come out of the
shackles of feudal thinking and practices.

      Many of the States in India have paid heavily for undertaking reforms without
considering the human elements in it. We do not want this to happen in Sikkim.
Andhra Pradesh has shown high growth rate in its economic performance. Yet a
large number of farmers are committing suicide because of the debts. In
Maharastra, there are ample numbers of multinationals and other foreign and
Indian investors. Yet this is the State which has recorded the highest number of
starvation death.

      What is the use of having such high growth            rates on the one hand and
deepening poverty and widening disparity? We shall          have to learn a good lesson
from such situations. We have a lot of lessons to be        learnt from our own Andhra
Pradesh and Maharastra and from the experiences of          China and some of the Latin
American countries like Argentina and Mexico.

       For us, the human face is more important than the growth rate. Therefore, we
have to practice principles like “growth with equity”, “reforms with human face” and
“sun rising in the villages”. Our Government would not go by pure statistics and
data. We always go down to the people in the remotest of remote areas to check
what statistics at the state level is providing. We want our statistics also to be
transparent and realistic. Our officials need to be proactive in this respect. Lord
Reith once said “By the time the civil service has finished drafting a document to
give effect to a principle, there may be little of the principle left”. All of us need to be


                                            59
cautious while working for the state so that whatever we do may not lose relevance
vis-à-vis its target and the targeted groups.

      Mr. Speaker Sir, my government is geared to forge ahead with a formidable
growth rate of 10 percent which is no doubt a daunting task ahead of us yet a
mission very well within our means and capacity to realize. We are bestowed with
unique inherent strengths in the pristine environment, natural resources, an
atmosphere characterized by peace and tranquility and above all, a vibrant and
underutilized human resource pool. Compared to the past, we are better-positioned
today for the big leap forward. However, there is no denying the fact that there are
many hurdles in our path- relative poverty, economic disparity, growing
unemployment and the likes. The state government has now increasingly made
way for private and individual initiatives, acting more as a facilitator. Our idea has
been to give to our young people chances and opportunities to hone their
potentialities and also to whet their appetite to excel in life through their own choice
and likings. In other words, we have increasingly begun to subscribe to the age-old
Chinese saying which prescribed that we better teach a man how to fish rather than
give him fish.

       Speaker Sir, our development road map has been so designed that the seeds
of development sown in this tenure of my government shall continue to yield fruits
even beyond this millennium for many generations to come. Our vision is not only
to see Sikkim as being rated the best state in terms of every conceivable socio-
economic parameters but also as one which is recognized as being a unique state
inhabited by a highly enlightened and disciplined civil society characterized by high
values, ethics and with a strong sense of integrity and compassion for the fellow
citizens.

       Before I conclude, I would like to quote Anatole Fravice who said, “To
accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan but
also believe”. Speaker Sir, our very political movement in the early nineties was
born out of a dream backed up by meticulous socio-economic planning. Ten years
down the line, many of our dreams have become a reality. May I say that every act
of ours has been propelled and guided by our dreams to take Sikkim to the
forefront of national mainstream. And all the accolades that we have earned
recently and in the past, go to show that we do what we believe and we believe in
what we do. And in all these, the Sikkimese people have been with us, in our act of
believing and doing and I daresay, we are now well positioned to accomplish great
things that our posterity could be proud of in the future.

      Sir, with these words, I place the budget for the fiscal year 2004-05 for
consideration of the House.

      Thank you




                                          60
52    Budget Speech 2005-2006, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Gangtok, 21
      February 2005

Hon’ble Speaker Sir, Hon’ble Members of the Legislative Assembly,

       Let me first extend my warm season’s greetings to the Hon’ble Speaker,
Hon’ble Members of this august House, the people of Sikkim, the officials and the
distinguished members of the civil society and media present here. This is the first
full budget my government is presenting after we secured the mandate of the people
for the third consecutive term. I am confident that this budget will herald greater
prosperity and all round progress for the people making the State as the most
forward looking, robust and sustainable in the country.

       I would also like to record my sincere appreciation to the people of Sikkim for
their spontaneous show of compassion, support and generous contribution towards
rebuilding the hopes and shattered lives of the hundreds of Tsunami victims in the
coastal regions of the country. May the Almighty give to the affected fellow brothers
and sisters the strength and resilience to overcome the colossal loss and begin life
anew.

       It is delightful to note that the Union Government, pleased with our
development actions and performance, has allocated Rs. 500 crores to the Annual
Plan for the year 2005-06. The August House will also be pleased to note that the
new Planning Commission Members led by Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia remained
very impressed by both our performance and achievements. At the same time, the
new team in Planning Commission has a much greater expectations from us for
further consolidation of our development process. And this is a major challenge for
us in the State.

        The State Government is fully committed towards fulfillment of dream to
make Sikkim model state by creating new development dynamics and initiating
newer and more competent strategies to accomplish our mission. Having
emboldened and enjoyed people’s faith and confidence all these years, let me assure
this august House that we shall spare no effort to rededicate our resources towards
fulfillment of the pledges as enshrined in the party Manifesto. The development
strategy and the policies to be adopted by my Government will be so determined
that the aspirations of the masses are fully addressed.

       Hon’ble Members will be pleased to know that as per inter-state performance
ranking made by the Planning Commission, Sikkim is positioned among the top ten
in the country. With a growth rate of over 8%, which is one of the highest in the
country, we are now looking ahead at a target to achieve a double-digit growth
index by the end of the 10th Plan. Amidst all the accolades and appreciations at the
regional and national level, we cannot afford to remain complacent. It is necessary
to carry forward and consolidate the gains we have accomplished so far and also to
effectively harness our untapped natural resources to our advantage.

     In respect of every sector of development infrastructure- social and economic-
we are already in the process of rolling out distinct road maps that will facilitate
                                         61
implementation of developmental activity with objectivity and a clear sense of
desired direction. We will subscribe to a natural resource-based approach in our
development strategy duly underlining considerations for environmental protection
and developmental sustainability. The efficiency of our development policy
framework should not only be appreciated from the instances of economic progress
in the material sense of the term but also in terms of the level of mental and
emotional well being enjoyed by the people.

       In our development strategy, participative planning and implementation has
been the keynote policy prescription. Efforts are being made to facilitate creation of
an effective and vibrant Panchayati Raj Institution through greater decentralization
and devolution of power at the grass-root level. My Government believes in the
principle of people’s empowerment as an enabling means to bring about a bottoms-
up approach which are localized and reflect the felt needs of the people at the grass
root. The process of decentralization has been institutionalized and sustained
efforts are being made to strengthen the administrative machineries at the grass
root level. To support the institutions of the Panchayati Raj, the entire process of
establishment of 30 Block Development Offices covering the entire State has been
started. Block Development Committees have also been constituted to give direction
to the village level functionaries to effectively participate and function in the
development administration under the decentralized regime.

       As a major initiative in streamlining the Monitoring and Evaluation system,
creation of a separate Directorate is in the offing. This machinery will facilitate
qualitative improvement in the overall planning and implementation process.
Preliminary steps towards implementation of this system have already been
initiated in all departments through creation of a separate cell for Monitoring and
Evaluation within the respective organizational structure.

       My Government is seriously committed to initiating necessary administrative
measures based on the fiscal reforms policy announced by the central government.
As part of our commitment under the Medium Term Fiscal Restructuring Program,
the State Cabinet has affected a total ban on further creation of posts and has also
approved signing of the MOU with the Government of India. The Asian Development
Bank has been enlisted to provide technical assistance to the State in formulating a
comprehensive paper for implementing an effective reforms policy. The ADB-
approved Technical Assistance on Capacity Building for Fiscal Reforms in Sikkim is
aimed at designing effective methods to improve the State’s finances and to build
the necessary capacity to implement and sustain these measures. The National
Institute of Public Finance and Policy have been selected as the Consultant in view
of their past association with the State in the preparation of The People’s Vision
document and the Sikkim Human Development Report. The present assignment
would help in improving the State’s finances and prepare the State to enact the
Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act. I would solicit full cooperation
and active support of the Hon’ble Members on the fiscal reforms front.

     It is time for us to reorient our approach and strategy on our fiscal
management with a clear objective of making Sikkim into a revenue surplus State.
We indeed occupy an enviable position that with the rich natural resources at our
                                         62
command, Sikkim can surely emerge as a model State in the country. We have set a
target of generating internal revenue of Rs. 1800 crores by the year ending 2015.

      I propose to broaden the State’s internal resource base by introducing new
avenues of taxations. In fact, we will make all-out efforts and find out ways and
means to enhance State’s revenue. Apart from some such measures, user charges
for various services will be examined specifically in respect of those categories of
people who have the capacity to pay.

      Besides the huge subsidies that go into the education and food sectors, there
are varieties of other subsidies which have been extended by our government for
long. Subsidies have a deep social and economic philosophy behind it. It has been
evolved over the years as a means to inject egalitarianism in the State through the
state intervention. However, it should not be treated as something that the
government can extend indefinitely. As the state does not have many alternative
sources of resource mobilization, it will make the State highly dependent on the
sources outside the State. Each household in Sikkim should be persistently
sensitized and educated about the need to extend supports only to the people and
household who really deserve it. Hence, we may have to seriously consider the
question of tapering off subsidies and diverting the funds so released to other
productive activities directly benefiting the people.

Unemployment-our prime concern
      Unemployment is one major concern of my Government. The Chief Minister’s
Self Employment Scheme had been launched with a fair degree of success. To
complement this effort, the scheme of Kaushal Vikash Kosh (Skill Development
Fund) had also been commissioned with the basic objective of providing
professional trainings to the educated unemployed youths. With employment
avenues virtually saturated in the government sector, our focus needs to be directed
towards diversifying and creating alternative avenues of employment outside the
government. We are seized of the problem in this regard and facilitating a new
employment alternatives by improving the investment climate in the State and
encouraging the participation of NGOs and private sector development partners to
help generate additional employment opportunities.

Employment Abroad
       We are all aware that there is an employment boom in certain specific sectors
in many developed countries in Europe, Japan and North America. These
employments are created both because of the development pace and also because of
the ageing population in these countries. On the other hand, many of the
developing countries like Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand have really made use
of these employment opportunities. In India, States like Kerala, Punjab and Gujarat
have capitalized on such situations. Sikkim has to exploit this huge employment
market abroad both because we have growing number of skilled people and also it
will bring wealth, exposure and experience to the State.

      Most importantly, the opportunities are there for our women in the profession
of nurses and other health related activities. They are paying handsome salaries to
the qualified people. We have a tradition of caring for old and sick. We therefore,
                                        63
culturally also fit very well in this employment market. At the same time, we are
fully aware of the rackets that characterise these employments abroad. We would
not like to be the victims of such rackets.

      Therefore, our government is setting up a small unit in the Department of
Personnel for the promotion of employment abroad. This unit will bring information
about the possible intake in various sectors of the employment market abroad and
would disseminate the same on a regular basis. This unit will also act as a
consulting unit to help in legal and other formalities for a person who is preparing
to go abroad for such employment. This unit will very closely work with the office
where the Skill Development Fund will be located.

Tourism Development
       It is evident that tourism has emerged as the pivotal economic activity in the
State. Our emphasis will continue to address conservation of ecology and
environment, culture and natural heritage. We have already promoted the concept
of village tourism so that the ethnicity of our rich culture and tradition can be
preserved and promoted as a marketable product. My government has also
announced the policy to facilitate development of one model tourism village each in
all the constituencies. The underlying objective of this policy is to promote ethnic
tourism and mobilize the rural masses particularly targeting the educated
unemployed youths, encouraging them to participate as key stake holders in the
tourism trade. My government has also taken a decision that one tourist spot will
be identified in each Gram Panchayat unit which will be developed as a centre for
tourist interest. Besides, the State Government will identify natural water falls and
hilltops to develop viewpoints and eco-friendly parks and gardens to attract more
tourists in all parts of the State.

       Keeping in mind the tremendous growth projected in the tourism sector, I
have deemed it feasible and worthwhile to propose establishment of an Institute of
Foreign Languages in the State. This facility will enable our youths to acquire added
qualification in securing jobs particularly in tourism related and hospitality sectors.

      Our Government has been focusing on the tourism as a major source of
employment generation. This fiscal year, we would like to focus on some crucial
issues:

       Both natural and cultural heritage of Sikkim are major attractions for the
tourists. They both constitute vital organs of eco-tourism. So heritage conservation
and promotion are our basic thrusts. We have already identified White House the
place once occupied by John Claude White the first political officer in Sikkim after it
fell under British Superintendency in 1887. We are going to renovate the entire
building without disturbing its historical architectural and aesthetic qualities. We
would like to convert it as a heritage home with museum, library, archives and a
discussion room.

      Let us recall, it was late John Claude White who prepared the first budget of
Sikkim in 1889. The first budget showed a revenue surplus of Rs 5367. The total
revenue generated was Rs 20336 and total expenditure was Rs 14969. The land,
                                          64
forest and excise were the major sources of revenues. Public works, allowance to
Raja and Agriculture were the main expenditure heads.

       Tourism is largely a business of networking. Many countries that have really
done well in the tourism sector have very well networking across the globe. They are
rich in disseminating information, fast in communication and efficient in handling
tourists. There are two basic concept of tourism promotion i.e. tourism creation and
tourism diversion. Sikkim has to work on both these counts. We shall have to
create our own attractions to bring tourists exclusively for Sikkim. And the other is
to divert the tourists that are going to other tourist spots. For instance, there are a
large number of tourists who visit Darjeeling district and also keen to visit Sikkim.
But because of various reasons mainly poor information and communications, they
are not able to do so. We would like to harness these potentials.

       Therefore, our government would now open a Tourist Information Centre in
Darjeeling basically to cater to the potential tourists. We expect this to enhance the
level of tourist arrivals in a big way.

      Our major concern has been the seasonality of tourism. That is, we have
peaking seasons of tourists in April and May and our winters are dry. This not only
creates seasonal unemployment but also keeps the hotels, taxis and many other
tourist related activities without any business. In order to attract more domestic
and foreign tourists, we would now give special emphasis on winter tourism. This
includes winter festivals, winter discounts and also promotion abroad.

Agriculture Development
       As the economic livelihood of the people of the State is predominantly agro-
based, it is observed that due to increased developmental activities, there has been
substantial reduction in the net cropped area. Consequently, the contribution of
this sector to the Net State Domestic Product stands at 23% today as compared to
45% in 1990-91. This calls for a reorientation in our development strategy whereby
a comprehensive package of measures will be undertaken in order that the
productivity of the land per unit is substantially enhanced. In fact, the people will
appreciate our step to go for mass cultivation of cash crops and other commercial
crops such as mandarin orange, pear, passion fruits, squash, mushroom,
floriculture including medicinal and aromatic herbs and plants, all of which never
measured up traditionally as principal economic activities in the state.

This year our main emphasis on the agriculture sector would be three fold.
       Firstly, we would like to locate and introduce newer technologies in a number
of agricultural and non-agricultural activities in the rural areas. As stated in the
last interim budget of 2004 an exclusive fund for this purpose is being created. This
will be known as “Technology Induction Fund” under which varieties of newer
technologies will be inducted through various development agencies. For this fiscal
year, I announce a package of Rs 1.25 crore for this fund which would be
conducted by the Department of Rural Management and Development along with
the Department of Science and Technology.



                                          65
      Secondly, we expect the Agriculture Export Zone to be the main marketing
agency of the farmers in Sikkim. Let me frankly state that though the project of
setting up of AEZ has been given a priority by the government because of certain
human and technical reasons, we have not been able to realize the same. This
project has a lot of promise and can really make a difference in the State’s
performance in the agriculture sector. I would firmly appeal to the Department
concerned that this project must be realized physically in the coming fiscal year.
Our Government has always been of the view that for such an important project we
should not have the resource crunch.

      Thirdly, in order to give a fillip to the goal of making Sikkim a Total Organic
State by 2009, we would now create a special fund for this. We plan to do it in a
comprehensive manner with multiple strategies and techniques. The government
plans to hold a range of meetings across the State to make farmers and people
aware about the organic farming. Farmers will be sent for training and other field-
led exposures both in India and abroad to enable them to increasingly and
smoothly shift to organic farming. We would also invite experts and institutions
who have successfully been doing organic farming to our State for both supporting
policy formulations and interactions with the farmers. If we are able to move
towards organic farming we can cater to a specific bourgeoning market both within
and outside the country. This will also make our farm produces competitive in the
era when the WTO related liberalization have led to the removal of restrictions in
the imports of agricultural products.

      Therefore, I propose to allocate Rs 1 crore for the promotion and
implementation of our mission to become the first Total Organic State in the
country. This fund will be jointly conducted by the Food Security and Agriculture
Development and Department of Science and Technology.

Animal Husbandry development
       In the domain of the Animal Husbandry and fisheries sector, thrust will be
given to improving the productivity of livestock with a view to making the State self-
sufficient in so far as livestock products are concerned. Our strategy will be aimed
at concentrating our development efforts in selected areas of livestock development
such as cattle, poultry, piggery and fisheries. Owing to sizeable concentration of
defence establishment in the State and the ever-increasing tourists, efforts will be
made to encourage our farmers, particularly the unemployed youths, to venture in
large scale commercial livestock farming in the State. Apart from the required
training and extension of services, soft credit from financial institutions will also be
arranged for the prospective farmers.

Industrial Scenario
      The contribution of the industrial sector in the State’s economic development
has not been so significant. However, my government has been making efforts to
lure major investors by creating an investment friendly climate supported by a
sound investment policy framework which provide for an enabling legal framework,
congenial environmental condition including attractive fiscal incentives. Certain
areas identified for private sector investment participation include tourism related
industries, transport and trade related services, software development and
                                          66
electronic-based industries, pharmaceuticals industry, health care and education,
hydel power, horticulture, food processing, handicraft and handloom. The basic
infrastructure to woo private sector investment in the State need to be further
strengthened. We are in the process of developing an Industrial Growth Centre at
Marchak covering an area of about 25 acres. So far five investment parties have
been allotted land plots for establishment of industrial units. I have already taken
personal interest and initiatives in organizing a series of meets to interact with
major industrial houses from all over the country with a view to inviting
investments in the State. These efforts have yielded positive result and as of today,
we have project proposals from major business houses for prospective investment
in areas like tourism, hydel power, education, pharmaceutical and food processing
sectors.

Nathula Trade
      The reopening of the cross-border trade through Nathula will unfold new
horizon and opportunities for commerce and trade in Sikkim. We would like to use
the prospective trade with Tibet as an economic instrument to develop our state. All
these developments would entail a sense of preparedness on the part of the
government to take necessary initiatives to develop the required infrastructure. In
this regard, our priority would be the development of an alternative National
Highway to provide better connectivity between Sevoke-Gangtok-Nathula. The other
major consideration will be the completion of the first Airport of Sikkim at Pakyong.
With an investment-friendly industrial policy of the State combined with the
extension of a package of benefits under the dispensation of the North East
Industrial Policy, it is envisaged that investment likely to be generated in the
industrial sector will be of the order of Rs. 400 crores in the Tenth Plan. While
rehabilitation and revival package in respect of the existing public sector
undertakings will be considered, my government will be open to disinvestment of
sick units on the basis of merit.

Hydel power generation
       Under the power sector, my government would work out extensive investment
profile to utilize 100% of our hydro-power potential. We have already initiated
projects in collaboration with reputed Power corporations to develop the stretch
along the Teesta basin. I am happy to inform this House that Detailed Project
Reports (DPR) in respect of the Teesta Stage II, III, IV and VI are already completed
and pre-feasibility reports are ready in respect of various other mini hydel projects.
In fact, seven mini hydel projects will be undertaken by the state government on its
own and completed within three years, generating 40 MW of electricity.

      Simultaneously, massive upgradation and improvement of the Transmission
and Distribution network are being taken up under funding from the DONER and
Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR). The 132 KV transmission line
linking Rongli to Melli and establishment of a 100 MVA/32/66 KV sub-station cum
switch yard at Melli have also been completed. These developments will facilitate
integration of Sikkim with the transmission network in the Eastern Region. The 132
KV transmission line will enable the State to tap its allotted share of Central sector
power from the Eastern Region which is of the order of 73 MW and also enable
export of surplus power from the State. Further progress is underway at Lower
                                         67
Lagyap Power Station where the construction of a 100MVA/132/66 KV sub-station
is being taken up essentially as an infrastructural support for the upcoming
industrial units in the State. We are venturing into development of hydel projects
under private and joint sector and as of today, we have already awarded eight
projects to private sector power developers. We are hopeful that our commitment to
augment power generation of 4000 MW by 2015 under the national hydel capacity
addition programme will be achieved.

Human resource development
        In the sphere of human resource development, our thrust will continue to be
directed at brining about tangible improvement in the quality of education. We
firmly believe that the level of socio-economic progress of a State and the quality of
life of the people primarily depends on the level of literacy prevailing. The literacy
rate which was 51% in 1994 now records about 70% with a sharp decline in the
drop-out rate to 25-30%. In order to make higher education widely and easily
accessible, we are going to establish colleges in Rhenock and Geyzing apart from a
Science College in Soreng. Given the salubrious environment and peaceful
atmosphere prevailing in the State, there is abundant scope for developing
institutions of higher learning in the state. My Government will take necessary
initiatives to facilitate these developments through private sector participation.

      We have a long term vision to set up a Central University in the State with
learning centres basically focusing on hill and mountain studies, eco-tourism, bio-
technology, livestock, natural resources and knowledge-resource management.
Some of these include Himalayan Centre for Adventure Tourism, Mass
Communication, Advanced Centre for Medicinal Plants and Biotechnology, eco-
friendly tourism management centre, Institute of Fashion Designing etc. The
coming up of such institutions will generate sizeable demand in goods and services
besides creating employment opportunities in the State. There is a clear realization
in our mind that next to Hydel Power and Tourism sectors, creation of a network of
educational institutions will have a far-reaching impact in increasing the tempo of
economic development of the State.

       Keeping in view the emerging demand for technical manpower particularly in
the service sectors, due care will also be given in promotion of vocational education.
The two polytechnics which were set up under World Bank assistance have been
running since 1999 and construction of physical infrastructure for these two
institutions is in advance stage of completion.

Sikkim Research Fellowships
       In order to raise the standard of higher education and also to build
intellectual capital in the State, our Government will now sponsor Sikkim Research
Fellowships in seven eminent Universities located in 7 different corners of India.
These will include Calcutta University, Chennai University, Bangalore University,
Jawaharlal Nehru University, Mumbai University, Banaras Hindu University and
North Eastern Hill University. These fellowships will be equivalent to University
Grants Commission’s Junior Research Fellowships. These will be primarily used by
the Sikkimese students to do research preferably on issues related to Sikkim. We
propose to name these Fellowships after the eminent Sikkimese. If we are able to
                                         68
initiate the process in this academic year, by 2010 we expect to have at least seven
PHDs in Sikkim in various streams and after that every year we will have a fresh
crop of scholars and academics. I therefore, invite our young scholars to take note
of this opportunity.

     I propose an allocation of Rs 19 lakhs for the institutions of these fellowships
in coordination with the respective Universities. The Department of Human
Resource Development will carry out this task urgently.

      We have the unique distinction of providing free education to our children in
the country. For children at the elementary level, we have provided everything free
of cost primarily to encourage more enrollment and less drop-outs. To further our
cause, the Government shall henceforth make provision for free supply of school
bags and rain coat to all the primary students in the schools.

Health Security
       In the area of medical and health care, we have taken new initiatives by
launching the scheme of providing Universal Health Insurance Cover for people
below poverty line. For this purpose, the State Illness Assistance Fund has been
established with the Central Government matching 50% of the contribution made
by the State. This corpus fund will be used for providing monetary assistance to
BPL patients in need of specialized treatment. In addition, the Mediclaim scheme for
government employees is also under active consideration of the Government. We
have one of the best rural health care infrastructure in the country and have
achieved the national norm of establishing one PHC for a population of 20,000 and
one PHSC for a population of 3,000. The central facility at the STNM hospital is
already upgraded and linked up with the AIIMS through telemedicine connectivity.
The basic health indices of the State depict an encouraging trend. In respect of
Infant Mortality Rate, it is heartening to note that the IMR has dropped to 34
deaths per 1000 live births as compared to 60 in 1991. The sex ratio in the age
group of 0-6 years stands at 963 as compared to the national average of 927. While
the total fertility rate is 2.7 as against the national average of 2.85, the index for
immunization coverage is 89.7% compared to the national average of 80%. We are
the first state in the country to undertake Hepatitis B vaccination for children free
of cost. We believe that the essential attribute of a healthy human being depends on
a balanced combination of mental alertness and physical fitness. My Government
will carry forward the dialogue with the government of India for construction of a
500-bedded hospital with super specialty treatment facilities. The teaching hospital
under the Manipal Institute of Medical Science is being strengthened under the
management of the Sikkim Manipal University and the long imbroglio with the
Medical Council of India with regard to clearance for the Medical College has since
been resolved.

Value Added Tax
      A policy decision has been taken by the Government of India to introduce
Value Added Tax (VAT) across the country with effect from April 1, 2005. This is in
pursuance of a consensus decision arrived at by the Empowered Committee in
which Finance Ministers of all States and Union territories are represented.
Accordingly, the State is all geared up to implement this scheme from the scheduled
                                         69
date and for this purpose legislation of VAT has also been framed. The rationale
behind the introduction of VAT is very obvious. Firstly, under the existing system of
sales tax, there is multiplicity of tax elements in the form of turnover tax, surcharge
on sale tax, additional surcharge, central sales tax, entry tax octroi, etc. all of which
create a cascading effect on the final cost of goods being sold. Under the VAT
regime, there will be harmonization of sales tax rates through the adoption of floor
rates that will be uniformly applicable throughout the country. This will also
prevent sales tax wars among the States and Union Territories. Secondly, the VAT
system will have an in-built mechanism for self-assessment by dealers without
having to confront tax officials. Under the scheme of things, the dealers will be
entitled to input-credit claim, against purchase of inputs while filing their sales tax
returns. Besides, small business enterprises will be kept outside the purview of VAT
and thereby free from tax hassle. Thirdly, the consumers will also stand to benefit
under the VAT system in term of goods being buyable at lesser cost due to abolition
of multiple taxation. Fourthly, the introduction of VAT will contribute significantly
in reducing leakage and tax evasion thereby improving better revenue collection for
the Government. And lastly the neutrality of the tax factor in the production
process that will be brought about under VAT encourages horizontal expansion of
industries in the form of growth of ancillary units. With the introduction of VAT,
there will be some degree of revenue loss from sales tax in the initial phase. To off-
set this, the government of India has agreed to compensate for three years on a
diminishing basis with 100% on the inception year followed by 75% in the second
year and 50% in the third year. The Union Finance Ministry has released the White
Paper on VAT in January 2005 and with this the path has been cleared for
implementation of VAT.

State Human Rights Commission
       Hon’ble Members will appreciate that the task of running the government is
Herculean. This is particularly so when you have set a high standard of both norms
of governance, political pronouncements and policy interventions. We have upheld
all the democratic values and have respected human rights and dignity of every one
with equal zeal and fervour. In the government also we have been the strongest
votary of rule of law. Every one is equal in the eyes of law.

      Therefore, in continuation of the announcement of the last budget made in
September 2004 we now would like to appoint the Sikkim State Human Rights
Commission and also set aside a separate fund for its functioning. Let me again
repeat that this Commission would examine the cases of human rights violations
including by the government, political parties, social organizations and religious
groups in the State and check the growth of such practices through appropriate
legal means. Our Government has been the harbinger of democracy in Sikkim. This
would further strengthen democratic institutions and promote democratic values in
the state.

Municipal elections
       Preparatory steps for municipalization of urban areas have already been
initiated and Government is being fully geared up to hold elections shortly. This is a
constitutional requirement under the 74th Constitutional Amendment.
Demarcation of the geographical jurisdiction of urban settlements has been carried
                                           70
out. It is proposed to set up local urban bodies in townships with more than 5000
population and with area covering at least 50% non-agricultural land. The
Municipal Act will also be formulated which inter-alia will ensure that the local
agenda for environmental protection is fully addressed. Other aspects that will be
incorporated in this legislation encompass issues such as financial sustainability,
transparency and accountability, local taxes, checks on corruption etc. The Act will
be so designed as to enable the local bodies to function independently and also
ensure that they are people responsive, efficient, effective and financially
sustainable. Further it will be ensured that the local bodies are made in a manner
that they are fully representative of all communities and that provision for one-third
reservation for women is duly ensured.

       Hon’ble Speaker Sir, I am aware of some impending criticism that may be
leveled against us by those who oppose change and reforms and those who are
eternally obsessed with criticizing others. However, we all are aware of the fact that
without laws and regulations human behaviour cannot be regulated evenly to
establish a decent environment to live in. Indeed, one great scholar has once said,
“Laws are made by man for man. Law has not created man but man has created
law for his own happiness”.

Youths: Our Prime Resources
      Youths in the State are our prime resources. They are our future. They would
determine our destiny in the next 20-60 years. My Government fully appreciates the
role and potential of our youth and the contribution they are capable of making in
the nation building process. Our Government has been very extensively and
consistently working for all round development of our youths. We would like to
make them as our development focus. This is why we have declared the year 2005
as the “Youth Revolutionary Year” in Sikkim. We want all our youths to be gainfully
employed. We want to create environment and opportunities for our youths to
harness their talents and latent capabilities. We want our youths to be the leader
both nationally and internationally in various fields. We want our youths to
promote our own culture while learning positive aspects of other cultural practices.

       The potentials and resources of our youths need to be fully mobilized and
channelized in a constructive manner and the government will need to create an
enabling environment for the youths to be enlightened, introspective and
independent citizens who can recognize their predominant role in shaping the
destiny of the country. We want to promote youth force in the State through
different capacity building trainings in areas like tourism and trade related
business, hydel power and biotechnology. It has become increasingly necessary to
do so, lest all opportunities so generated would go untapped and unutilized in the
absence of trained manpower.

      My Government aspires to make Sikkim a human paradise by building a
knowledge-based society so that the State will gradually emerge to be a knowledge
resource capital State. The role of our youths as active and competent partners in
the context of the multiplicity of economic players involved in the state’s socio-
economic development is indisputable. In today’s highly competitive world, our
youths can ill-afford to be dependent on easy handouts from the government. Our
                                         71
youths need to be more proactive and interact with institutions and technology
houses thereby contributing to the nation building process.

      In the past, we have launched various programmes including in education,
sports, health, employment, tourism, intellectual activities, industries and many
other areas that directly impinged upon the youth and their aspirations. We have
created a large number of job opportunities for the youths both in the governmental
and non-governmental sectors.

      We launched Chief Minister's Self Employment Scheme (CMSE), Skill
Development Fund, Incentives to Promising Sportspersons and various other
schemes. We would continue all these programmes with more vigour and speed.

      For the benefit of enterprising and hardworking youths, we are now further
introducing the following specific programmes for the youths

i)    Career Development Fund (CDF) of Rs 2 Crore which can be accessed and
used by all the graduate unemployed students/youths of Sikkim. The CDF will be
provided as a one-time assistance for coaching classes and other counselling
services anywhere in the country with an upper limit of Rs 6000/- per person. It
will be conducted by a State Level Committee under the Department of Personnel
which is being soon set up. Students desirous of making use of these funds could
do so from March 2005 onwards.

ii)   CMSE Programme Phase II will be launched in this fiscal year. Under the
Scheme, the Government would encourage youths to take up all kinds of productive
schemes with three-fold objectives. Firstly, all such schemes would focus on
generation of more employment avenues for our people and secondly they would
also carry forward our mission to develop our state in its entirety. And thirdly,
together with creation of employment the programmes will be a stable source of
additional revenue generation for the State.

iii) Sikkim Youth Technologists (SUTs) Programme with Rs 1 crore is primarily for
those entrepreneurial youths who would like to upgrade their technical and
technological skills in very specific fields.

Sikkim in NEC
       The inclusion of Sikkim in the family of the North Eastern States has opened
a new chapter in the socio-economic development of the entire region. This union
will not only facilitate cross-regional partnership and meaningful cooperation which
will promote mutual benefit among member state but will also enable member state
to achieve a strong sense of solidarity. So far the North East Council has sanctioned
projects involving an investment of about Rs. 25 crores. The State Government is
now taking appropriate measure to formalize all the required institutional linkages
with the Council. We have posed a shelf of projects involving an investment of about
Rs. 235 crores to the Council for consideration. We fully recognize the significance
of the North East region in India’s Look East Policy particularly in the context of the
geographical contiguity of the sub-region with Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan,
Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
                                          72
Sikkim- an oasis of peace
      The stability of a Government provides the right condition to facilitate
economic progress and development of any state. The law and order situation in the
state continues to hold an excellent record. My Government takes pride in the fact
that we have been able to provide a comprehensive security cover for the state and
the entire country in terms of ensuring environmental security, human security and
defense security. Our police force have always displayed a high degree of alertness
and vigil and have been swift in successfully averting any situation of a fall out in
the law and order front. However, being a safe haven, our state is vulnerable to
outlawed outfits. We are fully conscious of these threat perceptions and will
continue to remain on high alert. Apart from militant outfits belonging to the ULFA,
KLO and NDFB, we are also not oblivious of the threat triggered by the political
development in the neighboring country of Nepal. All these developments entail
massive upgradation and improvement in our overall intelligence network and
modernization and strengthening of our border management system. I have posed
these sensitive issues to the Union Home Ministry and during the recent meeting of
the North East Chief Ministers under the Chairmanship of the Union Home Minister
in Guwahati, I had the occasion to reiterate our demand for a ‘peace bonus’ of Rs.
1000 crores for Sikkim which will essentially be utilized to beef up our internal
security system and undertake a comprehensive modernization and upgradation of
our infrastructure.

       Mr. Speaker Sir, we have set a target of growth rate of 10% in the Tenth Plan.
This will entail a great deal of dedication, discipline and hard work on the part of
the Government to consolidate the good investments made so far and rededicate all
our resources to carry forward the pace of progress in every socio-economic spheres
of development. In the inter-state ranking, we have been positioned in the top ten
States in the country in terms of various performances in indexes. Our endeavour
will be aimed at bettering our position to emerge as the Best Performing State in the
entire country. With vision in perspective, I solicit the cooperation, support and
dedicated commitment of all Hon’ble Members in implementing the development
policies adopted by the Government for the upliftment and betterment of the State’s
economy and in improving the well-being of the people.

       Hon’ble Speaker Sir, I hereby conclude my presentation and place the Budget
for the fiscal year 2005-06 for the consideration of this House.

Thank you




                                         73
53    Launching of Sikkim Legislators’ Forum for Human Development,
      Banquet Hall, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Gangtok, 10 August 2005

      Respected Dr. Maxine Olsen, UNDP (United Nations Development Programme)
Resident Representative in India, and her other colleagues, Mr. Daniel Gustafson
from UN Food & Agriculture Organization, Hon’ble Speaker and Deputy Speaker,
Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Hon’ble Members of Sikkim Legislative Assembly,
Chief Secretary, Additional CS-cum-Development Commissioner, Government of
Sikkim, other Heads of departments, friends, ladies and gentlemen,

       Human well-being has remained one of the most intimate concerns of all
human civilizations. Our forefathers, in the early history, with their own limited
means and resources, were trying to defend themselves from hunger, disease and
the wild animals. Oblivious of similar lives existing outside their own territories, life
those days was simple, unhurried and innocent. As knowledge spread, ambition
rose and Darwin’s philosophy became the rule. And what follows was the protracted
stories of wars won and lost, untold human sufferings, the holocaust and the
atomic bomb. Immediately after, the world collectively realized the futility of guns
and gave unto the world the first international forum to advocate that recognition of
the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the
human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. Today, I
am immensely happy to be present among the representatives of the august bodies
like the UNDP to carry forward the collective goal of providing dignity, rights and
opportunity to our generations.

      Human development, by its very definition, is measured not only by the rise
and fall of national incomes but more in terms of creating an environment in which
people can develop their full potential and lead a more productive and creative life.
The Legislators as the representatives of the people, can play a major role to
influence a congenial environment to provoke the best of human potential and
human creativity.

        After we took the mantle of running the government in 1994, the first step we
took was to provide immediate security to the poor and voiceless population of the
State both in terms of lost dignity and roti, kapda aur makan. Simultaneously, we
gave our development direction a more organized form and a more acceptable
target. Today, we have been able to achieve our target of providing basic amenities
of life to our people to a great level.

      After a decade in the government, now we are talking more in terms of
capacity building and professional orientations of the Sikkimese people. In the 21st
century and especially after the liberalization policy adopted by the Country in the
early 90s, we opened ourselves to worldwide challenges and also worldwide
opportunities. Back home in Sikkim, there have been many investments in hydel
power generations, eco-tourism and other trades. The proposed re-opening of
Nathula trade with the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, in all measures, is the
golden goose offered to the Sikkimese people. Again, education is a booming
industry in Sikkim owing to its salubrious climate and prevailing peace and

                                           74
tranquility. With the installation of 135 feet tall statue of Guru Rimpoche together
with the many ancient monasteries, temples and other pilgrimage centers, there are
unprecedented opportunities emerging in the State. But how well are we prepared
to cash on the opportunities to our advantage is our present issue.

       The State Government has successfully laid the foundation of human
development in the State through empowerment of women and the weaker section
of people. We have ensured a dignified environment and a host of opportunities to
all our people by creating an enabling situation. Our government was the first
government in the State to appoint the first woman in the State Cabinet. In fact, the
lists are endless including the first woman Speaker of the Sikkim Legislative
Assembly, Zilla Adhakshyas, Upa-adhakshyas, Chairperson of different government
undertakings. Through all these legislative measures, we have been able to instill in
them a sense of belonging and high self-confidence and faith.

      In the State, we have effectively carried forward decentralization of power
based on the principle of local self-governance under the Constitution (Seventy-
third Amendment) Act, 1992. Earlier, all the government policies adopted were
based on discussion and perceived needs felt at the higher level of the government.
The needs and the requirement of the people at the lower levels and rural areas
were not adequately taken into account. We have decided to change it and adopt a
more people-friendly and pro-poor policy initiatives in the State by incorporating
their feelings, aspirations and longing. As one of the agents of governance, the
panchayats hold regular Gram Sabhas and the proposals passed are sent across to
the government for incorporation in the governments’ programs. They have been
empowered with both administrative and financial power to sanction minor
schemes at the village level. Village level institutions like schools, Health centers,
VLW centers etc, have been put under the direct supervision of the Panchayats of
the Gram Panchayat Unit.

       In social sectors like education and health, we have achieved considerable
success to provide free accessibility to quality education and quality health services.
Education is free upto the college level. From 17% literacy rate in 1971, today the
figure stands at 70 percent. We have quite many regular colleges and also technical
colleges. We are also regularly requesting the central government for establishment
of a Central University in the State with focus on studies of biotechnology.
Compared to the past, we have greatly improved on our health indices some of
which are the best in the country.

      In the environmental front, we have improved our forest cover. We have
launched various environmental programs over the last decade. We have
undertaken to embark on our development schemes on the basis of environmental
sustainability. Sikkim was also voted as the Greenest State in a survey carried out
by the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi. Over the years, we have
consistently upgraded state’s intervention to further improve our environmental
performance with tangible result all around.

      Respected delegates and participants, the essential issue involved in the State
is the lack of adequate land, the cultivable land, and thus the need for
                                          75
diversification of career options and other means of livelihood to our people. As part
of our detailed programs and plans, we have launched the Chief Minister’s Self-
Employment Scheme to provide soft term loans. Our government has also floated
Skill Development Funds and Career Development Fund to train and equip the
youths with modern and professional skills. We would like to sponsor graduate and
undergraduate youths to various regional and national institutions in acquiring
professional degrees and skills in areas like tourism industry, information
technology, rural management, small scale enterprises, science and technology,
media management, software, communications and advertisements.

       Our next priority is also with regard to changing the profession of the people
from traditional to service sectors like eco-tourism and hotel business. Therefore,
we have genuinely promoted the concept of village tourism with one tourist
destination in each Gram Panchayat Unit, and showcasing the rich culture and
tradition of the Sikkimese people. The other areas of our activities are promotion of
or resumption of organic practices in horticultural and floricultural development.
With rich reservoir of bio-diversity, flora and fauna, we are looking forward to
utilizing all our natural resources on a sustainable basis and bolster our mountain
economy.

       As I went through the thematic areas of focus proposed under the domain of
Legislator’s Forum for Human Development, I rest assured that what we are
required of now is to carry forward the many developmental initiatives we have
already taken in Sikkim. The formation of this forum of the Legislators, I am happy
to reflect, will further promote a more intimate sharing on a more organized and
official note. This forum in the State would help in coordinating a more healthy
dialogue between the civil society, government machinery, and the rural folks
making everyone more sensitive to issues of human development.

      I join all the Legislators of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly to thank all the
UN representatives and other dignitaries for launching this Forum in our State. We
also look forward to your continued support and assistance to make this forum
more qualified in addressing many of the human development issues in the context
of the State of Sikkim. With a firm commitment to observe due allegiance to the
democratic principles as envisaged in the UN charter, we will have to carry forward
the international debate on human dignity, human rights and equality to a new
pedestal.

      Issues like poverty and hunger, quality health and education, gender issues,
decentralization and environmental concerns are still largely relevant in the State,
nation and the world. The launching of this Forum is a great occasion for us. We
are among the privileged many to initiate and contribute towards generating
informed discussion amongst policy makers on key human development concerns
globally.

      I thank you all once again and wish all the delegates a very pleasant stay in
our State.

      Thank you
                                         76
54    Presentation of Economic Survey 2005-06, Sikkim Legislative Assembly,
      21 February 2006

Hon’ble Speaker Sir
      It gives me a great pleasure in presenting the first Economic Survey of Sikkim
for the year 2005-06 to the Hon’ble Members of this august House. This has been
one of the serious desires of our Government after we came to power in 1994. The
Economic Survey is a government document. Yet it is so vital for the entire State
and the nation because it is the only State level document that could be referred by
the public, media, civil society and the private sector on a regular basis.

      The tradition of presenting Economic Survey at the national level by the
Finance Minister of India has been an old and well established practice. The Union
Finance Minister informs the people of India about how the country’s economy has
performed. It is through this vital document the Finance Minister of India conveys
to the people of India the constraints and challenges our country has faced in its
development process. Against the backdrop of the findings in Economic Survey, the
Union Finance Minister presents the national budget in the historic budget session
of the Parliament. There is a serious discussion on the Economic Survey of India.
The parties across the political ideologies not only question the policies and
programmes of the government but also suggest positive means to improve the
performance.

      Hon’ble Members, it is against this backdrop of rich national tradition that we
are presenting this first Draft Economic Survey of the State. I call it a draft report
because we are still collating and analyzing the performance of some of the sectors
and departments. This is also because of the fact that we want to incorporate the
valuable comments and suggestions of the Hon’ble Members of the august House
before we finalize the document for publication. Since this is the first Economic
Survey of the State we would like to make it as comprehensive and as accurate as
possible. As the Minister in charge of Finance, I would like to make a pledge that
my Government would henceforth prepare the present the Economic Survey every
year on the eve of the presentation of the budget. Possibly very few States in India
has this practice. We would be very keen to get the comments and suggestion of the
people of Sikkim and outside on the contents of this document so that it becomes a
People’s Document rather than a mere governmental publication.

      It is heartening to note that the draft Economic Survey of Sikkim for the year
2005-2006 is now before us for our perusal. This document makes a very detailed
presentation of what the Government has done in the last decade or so and what it
wants to do both in very near future and in the long run. More than this the draft
Economic Survey provides the people of Sikkim and outside an objective
assessment and analysis of the development process in Sikkim. It very frankly puts
across the weaknesses of the system, gaps in delivery services and inadequacy in
thinking, commitment and dedication. It clearly brings out the magnificent
achievements the Government has been able to make in a diverse fields of public
interest and welfare.


                                         77
      I am personally very delighted to have this document in place as it could give
us fresh directions and newer strategies in achieving our larger development and
societal goals. This is another feather in Sikkim’s intellectual development process
also.

      Hon’ble Members, let me now present before you some of the major findings
that are mentioned in the draft Economic Survey of the state of Sikkim for the year
2005-06.

1      Gross Domestic Product
       The gross domestic product (GDP) of the State increased from Rs.403 crores
in 1993-94 to Rs.1531 crores in 2004-2005. This is almost a four-fold increase. We
have come a long way. Our GDP in 1980-81 was only Rs 49 crore which increased
to Rs 203 crore in 1990-91. The growth rate has been relatively much higher than
the national average. During the last three years of the 10th Plan (2002/03-
2004/05) the State GDP has grown over 10 percent per annum at current prices. If
this is maintained, Sikkim would for the first time achieve a 2-digit growth rate.

      As mentioned in the 10th Five Year Plan draft document of the Union
Government, with a growth rate of 8.3 percent in the 9th Five Year Plan (1997-
2001) Sikkim was second to only Pondicherry, Chandigarh and Delhi. The State
was far ahead of many well performing states. The growth estimates in the last four
years of the 10th Five Year Plan do indicate that Sikkim has not only maintained
growth regime achieved in the Ninth Five Year Plan but also strived to enter into a
higher and double digit growth rate in the 10th Plan.

2      Per Capita Income
       The per capita net domestic product recorded over three fold increase from
Rs.8457 in 1993-94 to Rs. 26851 in 2004-05. Among the 28 States and 7 union
territories in the country Sikkim had the 5th highest growth rate in per capita
income and 14th highest per capita income. Today we have the 11th highest per
capita income.

      Let us recall that our per capita income in Rs 1571 in 1980-81 and Rs 5302
in 1990-91. Looking back we have really criss-crossed a range of valleys.

3     Structure of the Economy
      The sectoral distribution of the State income shows that the primary sector
has either regressed or stagnated. The share of the secondary sector has gone up
steadily.

      The primary sector’s share declined from 39.41 per cent in 1995-96 to a
quickly estimated 20.54 percent in 2004-05 whereas the share of the secondary
sector increased from 18.80 in 1995-96 to 30.22 per cent in 2004-05.

      There has been a pronounced increase in the share of the tertiary sector,
which recorded an increase from 41.79 per cent to 49.24 per cent during the same
period. Within the tertiary sector also, sub-sectors like banking, insurance,


                                        78
communications and public administration are accounting for a much larger share
of the State’s GDP.



4     Plan Allocations
      Plan allocations in different plans have recorded very significant jumps. When
Sikkim became a constituent State of India in 1975, the Fifth Plan (1974-1979)
allocation was Rs 40.10 crore. This increased to Rs 282 crore in the 7th Plan period
(1985-90). The 10th Plan (2002-07) allocation stood at a hopping Rs 1655.74 crore.
This shows the effort put up by our Government in mobilizing and directing plan
resources to our State.

5     End of 10th Plan
The State and the country have now entered into the terminal year of the 10th Plan
(2002-2007).
Let me recollect the last few years.

      A determined effort has been made to substantially alleviate poverty and
reduce unemployment by pursuing the most up-to-date approach and strategy
developed at the national and international levels.

      Measures for bridging the gap       in   income    and other inequalities have
been continued and intensified.

     Effective measures have been taken for the removal of gender bias in
education and access to health services.

      Besides correcting the ills that adversely affect the sex ratio in the State,
protection of the interest of women and children and measures for the
empowerment of women and marginalised sections of the community have been a
principal focus of attention.

      Continued attention has been paid to the better utilisation of existing assets,
improvement in the efficiency of use of resources and reduction in the incremental
capital-output ratio.

       Attentions have been given on development of human resources and the more
efficient utilisation of both human and capital resources. Much greater emphasis
has been placed on the application of science and technology across the sectors of
the economy, particularly in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, transport, power
and tourism.

       Steps have been taken for facilitating increasing participation of the private
sector in different sectors of the economy and fostering partnership between the
private and public sectors. There has been renewed emphasis on major investments
in infrastructure - both physical and social as it constitutes the main constraint to
development in other sectors.


                                         79
       Special attention has been paid to providing effective governance       with
emphasis on decentralisation, empowerment of the people at the gross root level
and the involvement of the civil society in the development process. The State’s
vision of empowering the people economically, socially and politically by democratic
decentralisation and by forging strong partnership with all agents of development
like the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI), Community-Based Organizations (CBOs)
and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) has been implemented.

As a result, the percentage of households below poverty line has gone down
drastically to 20.00 percent.

      Let us remember that the State started with 55.89 percent BPL population in
1977-78. When our Government came to power in 1994, the recorded persons
below poverty line was 41.43 percent. In 12 years we have been able to bring down
the BPL population by almost 23 percentage points. That in a way means that in
the last 12 years almost 1 lakh 24 thousand persons have been brought above the
poverty line. This is a singular achievement of our Government.

   State now has over 75 percent literacy rate (69.80 in 2001) against the all-India
   average of about 65 %. We take pride in giving this data, because we started
   with 17.7 per cent in 1971. Even in 1994 our literacy rate was hardly 56
   percent.
   The infant mortality rate has come down from 51 in 1991 to 33 per thousand in
   2003 as against the national figure of 60.
   The birth rate has come down to 21.9 in 2003 from 22.5 in 1991 per 1000
   population. The national average today is still 24.8.
   Similarly the death rate has gone down from 7.5 in 19991 to 5 per 1000
   population in 2003. The national average is still 8 per 1000.
    Over 90 per cent of the villages have been electrified
   Over 85 per cent of the identified habitations have been provided with drinking
   water supply.
   The human development index recorded a marked improvement from of 0.504 in
   1991 to 0.532 in 1998. We are soon launching the preparation of Second Human
   Development Report of Sikkim.
   In keeping with the policy of private sector participation, a range of educational –
   professional institutions and industrial units are being set up with its support.
   Adequate actions have now been taken for implementing and realizing the
   decentralisation goals as elucidated in the provisions of the 73rd and 74th
   amendments of the Constitution.

   The traditional trade route to Tibet Autonomous Region of China through Nathu
la pass is now being reopened thereby bringing a range of newer opportunities for
the people of Sikkim and the country.

      The State has signed agreements with Independent Power Producers (IPPs) for
generation of 3364 MW of hydel power. The related DPRs are ready as well and
developers are ready for signing more agreements for generating additional 1395
MW of power.


                                          80
6     First Socio-Economic Census
      For the first time since Sikkim joined the Indian Union in 1975, it is now
conducting a comprehensive Economic Census that will provide         block-wise,
ward-wise and household-wise impact assessment of development investment of
last three decades. This is being done to assess the depth and spread of the
interventions we have made.

      Some of these findings are very revealing and could go a long way in both
substantiating the serious developmental efforts put up by the Government and
also pointing out the distortions and gaps in the development policies. Some of the
preliminary findings of the Census are now available which are highlighted below.

i)     Out of the total 1,01,607 houses, 29 percent live in pucca houses, 45 percent
       live in semi-pucca houses and over 26 percent live in kutcha houses.

ii)    Out of the total 1,01,607 households, the East district has the maximum
       percentage share of households i.e. 46 percent and the North district has the
       lowest share i.e. 6.19 percent.

iii)   In the community wise distribution of households Rais with 14 percent share
       has the highest number of households and Dewans with 0.04 share has the
       lowest share. Bhutias have 8.67 percent, Lepchas 8.16 percent, Chettris
       12.22 percent, Limboos 9.86 percent, Tamangs 4.61 percent and Kamis 4.12
       percent.

iv)    Though the sex ratio at the State level is 942 females per 1000 males, the
       best sex ratio of 998 females per 1000 males is found in the 0-4 age group.
       This is a very strong indicator of respect for girl children in the state. It
       confirms that the people in the State does not practice ills like female
       foeticide. This ratio for most of the Indian states will be rather much lower.
v)     The religion wise distribution of population in the State shows that out of the
       total population of 521574, almost 60 percent are Hindus, almost 30 percent
       are Buddhists and almost 8 percent are Christians.

vi)    3.43 percent of the people are physically challenged within which 31 percent
       had speech related problems, 21.3 percent had hearing related problem and
       13.8 has sight related problem.

vii)   There are 16254 unemployed people. North district had the least number of
       635, followed by South 2633 and West 5473. The East district had the
       highest number of unemployed people 7513.

7     Revenue Mobilisation
      Despite the ongoing difficulties in the fiscal management in the State mainly
because of the award by the 12th Finance Commission, Sikkim has started to
generate handsome amount of revenue of its own that will lead the State to a self-
sustainable situation. This has given a lot of confidence to the investors and
donors. Sikkim is likely to attract a lot of resources - both physical and financial -


                                          81
from outside the State. Sikkim will also have a lot of flexibility in using these
resources.

       To start with, the State mobilised hardly Rs 3.77 crores as its own tax
revenue in 1983-84. This increased to Rs 12.77 crores in 1993-94. In 2004-05,
our State mobilised almost 117 crores of tax revenue on its own. In the fiscal year
2004-05 State also mobilised non-tax revenue to the extent of Rs 111.39 crores.
The State Government feels that the present phase of deficit is both temporary and
transitional. It would not take long to over come this phase. Three major newer
sources of revenue which are likely to change the entire composition of revenue
collection in the state are the proposed reopening of Nathu la trade route,
commissioning of a number of small and mega hydel projects and state’s major
foray     into     floriculture,   horticulture     and      tourism     activities.

      The hydel power projects are projected to yield a total revenue of Rs 300
crores by 2010 and Rs 1500 crores by 2020.

8     Projected Nathu la Trade Gains
      The Economic Survey also highlights some of the major findings of the high
level Nathu la Trade Study Group. In its Report submitted to the government of
Sikkim, the Group has estimated some of the likely gains form the Nathu la trade
reopening.

      Besides the direct gains to India, the reopening of this trade route could
generate a whole range of benefits to the otherwise landlocked state of Sikkim

       It is estimated that the total annual revenue generation by Sikkim
Nationalised Transport (SNT) or by private truckers through movement of 100 - 500
trucks daily between Siliguri and Nathu la at the existing rate per ton/km varies
between Rs 13.97 crores to Rs 69.90 crores. Total annual revenue generation by
SNT or by private truckers through movement of 100 - 500 trucks daily between
Siliguri and Nathu la at just the double freight rate (expecting that the freight
charges will be doubled by 2010) of per ton/km varies between Rs 27.94 crores to
Rs 139.80 crores.

      Besides generating a huge revenue for the State in terms of licence fees, toll
taxes etc, this daily movement of 100-500 trucks could lead to direct employment of
4000 to 10000 persons per annum (including drivers, cleaners, mechanics, loaders,
warehouse keepers etc) and other major cascading impacts like income and
employment through opening of restaurants, shops, petrol pumps, telephone
booths, banking, hotels and other civic and administrative amenities on the
roadside.

      There are several other gains in terms of price effect, multiple options for
passengers and freights, boost to tourism, expansion in industrial and tertiary
sector activities, infrastructure development and revenue generation from taxes etc.

     On a very simple assumption also the charges on tourists visiting Sherathang
and Nathu la alone could generate revenue of Rs 1.81 crore in 2006 and Rs 3.47
                                           82
     crore in 2010. The income effects on roadside hotels and restaurants, handicrafts
     and transport and communication and many other backward and forward linkages
     are likely to be immense.

            The composition of revenue generated and mobilized by the State Government
     do indicate that the State is moving on to a direction where the State will have
     efficient collection and allocation of resources to provide a better standard of
     services to the people.


     9     Decentralisation and Devolution
           Besides the timely elections to the Panchayats, the State Government has
     given increased financial and other powers to the rural leaders. These Panchayats
     are now increasingly delegated with the financial power to utilize for the
     development of their respective Panchayats. To minimize the overhead burden faced
     by the grass root level elected representatives, the State Government is paying a
     fixed monthly honorarium to all Zilla and Gram Panchayat members.

     10    Environmental Security
           In the chapter on Environmental Security, the Economic Survey very
     interestingly highlights both the major achievements of the State Government and
     the serious and multi-faceted challenges the State face today in managing its
     environment. The issues related to forest revenue, vanishing species, natural
     disasters, folk medicinal practices intellectual property rights, climate change, role
     of NGOs and Nathu la trade route concerns are discussed as major challenges to
     the State.



11   Agriculture, Horticulture & Floriculture
           Agriculture continues to be the backbone of the Sikkimese economy. More
     than 64 per cent of the population depend upon agriculture and related activities
     for their livelihood. The total food production in the State steadily increased from
     over 61.8 thousand tonnes in 1980-81 to 1.03 lakh tonnes in 1997-98 and 1.07
     lakh tones in 2005-06. For a State which has hardly 64000 hectares of net sown
     area, this range of output is rather very high. Districtwise analysis of food
     production shows that unlike its share in cash crops including vegetables, the
     contribution of North in the total food basket is much less than 10 percent whereas
     the West contributes over 35 percent closely followed by the East with over 30
     percent and South over 25 percent.

           However, Sikkim continues to remain a highly food deficit State. The deficits
     are seen more remarkably in oilseeds and pulses production.
     There has been no evaluation and monitoring of the existing irrigational facilities.

           There is apprehension that the food production in Sikkim as reflected in both
     State and national level data is grossly over estimated. Despite such a level of food
     production, the State has been importing a massive quantity of food grains under
     the Public Distribution System. So the crucial question is that of assessing the
                                               83
magnitude of overestimation and the reasons that can be attributed to this. If it is
really over estimated, what could be the possible ways to bring it to a more realistic
level and what are the possible implications in doing so?



12       Horticulture

On the Horticulture sub-sector, it mentions that Sikkim is traditionally a land of
fruits, vegetables and flowers. Though the State has tremendous potentials for the
development of horticulture sector, the efforts and approach have been piece meal.


       With 59.9 per cent of the global market for large cardamom, India is the
largest producer in the world, followed by Nepal with 33 per cent of the market and
Bhutan with 13 per cent. Of the Indian output, almost 88 per cent comes from
Sikkim, which can safely be presumed to be the largest producer of large cardamom
in the world. Most of Sikkim’s large cardamom output is sold outside the state.


      There has been no replantation in the age-old cardamom growing areas of
Sikkim. The usual economic bearing of cardamom orchard is for about 12 years.
Cardamom yield has also gone down over the years.
      The fledgling state of orange crops in otherwise a traditionally orange growing
State has become a major concern for the State. The basic reason attributed to this
has been the old age of orange orchards and poor replantation rate.

The issues involved in the marketing of these commodities are:
⇒ Inaccessibility and exploitative market channels. The individual producers have
      to sell their products to local middlemen who often are the last link in a long
      chain of intermediaries.
⇒ Inaccessibility implies lack of physical access to markets, high transport costs
      and limited information about markets.
⇒ Small sized and dispersed production units hinder realization of the economies
      of scale in marketing and result in high transaction costs per unit of output.
⇒     Niche-based products have no local market.
⇒     Value addition of almost all the hill products are lacking.

      Sikkim is now a member of the North Eastern Council (NEC). Therefore, the
services of North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited
(NERAMAC) must be fully used.


13    Floriculture
      The vast agro-climatic sweep across three major zones allows the production
of more than 4,000 varieties of plants and shrubs, and 450 species of orchids.
However, in the floriculture sector very little has been done as compared to the
potentiality the State possesses.


                                         84
      The cut flowers, which are considered to be a new and upcoming item in the
commodity basket of Sikkim, will have to be disposed off in the metropolitan cities
in order to fetch a remunerative price. The best possible transport will be the air
link between the nearby airport at Bagdogra and cities like Calcutta, Delhi and
Guwahati and further to the east including Singapore and Thailand.

14    Organic State

The Government has declared to make Sikkim a fully organic State by 2009. This
declaration of the State Government is triggered by four fundamental facts.

       The State has started facing constraints in its drive to become an organic
state. The transition time is very painful as farmers need to keep their lands fallow
for at least three to five years. This involves a lot of high costs. The certification is
the key to marketing and promotion of the organic farming based products.
Besides the high certification cost the process itself is very cumbersome and long.
In India, the certification related institutions themselves are ill equipped to handle
cases expeditiously and scientifically. Under such circumstances these products
may not get access to international market.

       More than this the State itself is not prepared and does not have the
institutional capability to undertake state-wide organic farming. The state
government needs to formulate a comprehensive policy on organic farming. A market
for organic food produce will have to be developed, which in fact is one feature of
the proposed AEZ for large cardamom and ginger.

15    Tourism Sector
      The Economic Survey highlights as why tourism could not pick up for
decades together despite unparallel advantages bestowed by natural beauty and
other endowments.

      It attributes this to poor planning, unscientific management, lack of
imaginative promotional activities and access restrictions tourism could never pick
up. However it was in mid 1990s when the tourism sector really started picking up
in the State both because of a conscious tourism development plan of the State
Government and also the politically disturbing situations in other hills including
Darjeeling and Jammu and Kashmir.

      A number of studies have been conducted to provide dynamism to the
tourism sector in the state. The Tata Economic Consultancy Services also prepared
a Tourism Master Plan for Sikkim in 1998 which has made a projection of 3,71,743
tourists by 2011. On the other hand, the tourist arrivals have already recorded an
annual growth rate of almost over 20 percent in the last couple of years. The total
number of tourists arrivals have increased from a mere 21854 in 1981 and 67547
in 1991 to 2.46 lakhs in 2004.




                                           85
     16    Major Issues:
           The Economic Survey mentions that the most important challenge comes
     from the infrastructure sector.

           The other major challenge is to change the seasonal character of tourist
     arrivals in the state so that the tourists arrivals spread over through out the year.
     Traditionally most of the tourists arrivals are in the months of April – June and
     October. This is because of the both the ‘holiday season’ months and also scorching
     summer in the plains land of India. There are very small number of tourists arrivals
     both during monsoon (July-September) and winter months (December – February).
     To change this clustered seasonality is a daunting task.

            Equally vital issue has been the concentration of tourist in the East district
     that too mainly Gangtok and around. An estimated 70 percent, visit the East
     District; the other most popular district is the West where an estimated 15 per cent
     visit, and only 10 per cent visit the South District. Hardly any tourists go to the
     North district. Though the proportion of people visiting the South is likely to
     increase with Namchi being developed as an important tourist spot, the pressure on
     the amenities in East district would continue to be there.

           Another formidable challenge is to both promote Sikkim as a brand name of
     eco-tourism and find niche for it in both India and abroad. Tourism is an
     increasingly competitive business, and given Sikkim’s low visibility on the ‘tourist
     map’ of India, strong branding and marketing of the state’s attractions is needed.

17   Threshold of the 11th Plan
           In spite of these very impressive achievements, the State still confronts a
     number of problems on the threshold of the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-2011). The
     State is seriously approaching the entire 11th Five Year Plan from a new perspective
     for which it has laid firm grounds in the last few years. Most of the development
     projects in the 11th Plan will be primarily based on the proposals of the people in
     both rural and urban villages. The State Planning Commission and the concerned
     departments have already started consulting the people for a comprehensive
     approach plan.

     The Economic Survey mentions that:
          Despite the very impressive rate of increase in State domestic product and
          per capita income, the percentage of people living below the poverty line is
          still relatively higher. The skewness in the distribution of income continues to
          be a major challenge.
          Again, in spite of the high rate of growth of the GDP, employment
          opportunities have been declining for the last few years. Though this is
          mainly because of the concentration of employment opportunities in the
          Government Sector, the incomes generated in the State are being spent on
          goods and services produced in other parts of the country, thereby leading to
          outflow of productive resources. By now at least 42 percent of the 1991
          population who were then in the age group between 10-14 to 25-29 would

                                              86
      have entered into the job market. This would imply that a significant number
      of able-bodied people are in the job market today.
      The agricultural production has been stagnating for some time for lack of
      modern practices and inadequate inputs like seeds, irrigation, fertilizers and
      marketing infrastructures. The horticulture sector is still struggling to emerge
      as a sector of promise.
        Though the level of literacy can be regarded as satisfactory as compared to
        the levels prevailing in other States, school drop out rates are found to be
        rather high and the quality of education is far from satisfactory.
        People continue to consider the Government as the only development
        agency. The need for diversifying the sources of development by inducting
        non-governmental organizations and the private sector agencies, in the
        development process, particularly in the delivery of basic services, remains
        a major policy challenge.
        Another major task is the consolidation of the economic reforms introduced
        in the later half of the 9th Five Year Plan and during the 10th Plan. This
        process must not be reversed. Therefore the institutional gaps and
        weaknesses are to be looked into.

      While finishing my presentation of the draft Economic Survey of Sikkim
2005-06, I heartily congratulate Prof Mahendra P Lama, Member, Sikkim State
Planning Commission and the Chief Economic Adviser to the Chief Minister’s Office
for writing this first Economic Survey of Sikkim. I am sure given the commitment of
the Sikkim State Planning Commission this document will now be a regular feature.
I extend my sincere thanks and best wishes to Prof Muchkund Dubey, Vice
Chairman and other distinguished members of the Planning Commission for this
commendable work.

      I also put in record my thanks to all the Departmental heads who have
contributed in making this Economic Survey possible.

Thank you for your kind indulgence

Jai Bharat
Jai Sikkim




                                         87
55    Budget Speech 2006-2007, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Gangtok 22
      February 2006

Hon’ble Speaker Sir and Hon’ble Members,

       Let me first extend my warm greetings to all the Hon’ble Members of this
august House, officials of the Sikkim Government and the people of Sikkim for a
happy and prosperous New Year. Our Government has always given the highest
importance to the presentation of annual budget. It is not an annual ritual. It is a
very serious task. In its making and presentation a whole range of people and
institutions are consulted. It is a formidable exercise because it carries in it the
reflections of changing hopes and aspirations of the people. It also projects the
direction and guidance provided by our national leadership. We prepare budget
because we have limited resources but a whole range of activities. We prepare
budget so that this document guides us through out the year in proper, efficient
and effective utilisation of resources.

       As I rise to make the Budget presentation, I am very delighted to announce
that Human Security is the theme of this budget for the fiscal year 2006-2007.
Living in a sensitive border State Sikkim we have much heard about national
security. However, the definition of security itself is fast changing. National security
which is essentially threatened by the agency or power outside the country is now
undergoing a much larger definitional change. It is because in the narrow prism of
national security many of the aspects that directly impinge upon human beings are
not really considered or taken. Security for whom? It is also because of the fact that
all over the world it is the non-war related incidents that have killed more than 100
times the people than by the wars.

       What are these non-war incidents and events? These are famines, natural
disasters like earthquake and Tsunami, ethnic cleansing, political violence, civil
war, terrorism, genocide and epidemics like AIDS. Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen
mentions that the 1943 famine of Bengal alone killed over 15 lakhs people. This
means people’s miseries and insecurities could very often lead to national security
threats. Scholars, experts, politicians and policy makers across the world have now
realized how critical is human security for human survival. The theme of UNDP’s
Human Development Report in 1994 itself was human security.

      The UN Secretary General Kofi Anan once aptly remarked that “Human
security can no longer be understood in purely military terms. Rather, it must
encompass economic development, social justice, environmental protection,
democratization, disarmament, and respect for human rights and the rule of law”.

      In policy terms, human security is an integrated, sustainable, comprehensive
security from fear, conflict, ignorance, poverty, social and cultural deprivations and
hunger. We can achieve human security when and where individuals and
communities have the options necessary to end, mitigate or adapt to threats to their
human, environmental and social rights and have the capacity and freedom to
exercise these options.
                                          88
        It’s human security which involves the qualitative aspects like human dignity
that entail full participation in the community and national life, control over
decisions and ‘democracy at all levels’ as much as quantitative parameters like
‘fulfillment of basic material goods’. A leading thinker once said that “ it is better to
save us from the hail in earth rather than proposing to send us to heaven.”

       In Sikkim we want people to be absolutely secure. Towards this end, we have
already laid a firm foundation in terms of improvement of quality of life, social re-
awakening and capacity building aspect of our people and especially the young
generation. We are looking at development in its comprehensive term wherein
people prosper and can discriminate between good and evil, right and wrong. And
we believe that human security is best attained through mass awakening, good
education, health and a conducive environment facilitating growth of an individual
in a comprehensive term. In Sikkim, we have seen this tangible transformation due
to good governance that we have been pleased to provide to the people of Sikkim
over the decades. In Sikkim, we want people to be largely contented with their
rights, freedom and development aspirations. We are convinced that as a logical
corollary, this would ensure national security as well.

      Our Government has been promoting the critical aspects of human security
in a conscious and substantive manner. We now want to declare it as the theme of
our sustainable development goal. Therefore, within the human security paradigm
of ours we will have a quadrangular approach of livelihood security, energy security,
environmental security and democratic security. These are the four pillars of our
Sikkimese society and polity. One of the most effective ways to ensure human
security is to re-emphasise on human development.

       I have always dreamt of Sikkim as a frontier State in literal sense of the term.
The frontier State should not only mean that we are in the frontline of national
territory. It should also mean that we are in the frontline of development, peace and
tranquility process in the country. We have proved to be so.

      Hon’ble Members, I want to go beyond the bridge. And I want to say that we
should lead the nation in thinking process also. When the State commissioned and
produced the Sikkim Human Development Report in 2001 we became the 3rd State in
the country to do so. Many people wondered and asked how come a frontier state
produced a report on the theme which was discussed in the global scene only for 10
years. We have to produce such wonders to keep us atop the thinking process. That
is why this theme of human security. The world community has been discussing
this concept only in the last ten years. In Sikkim, we have caught up with the
world. We are possibly the first State in the country to have human security as the
budget theme.

       Hon’ble Members will therefore, find a distinct sense of human security
elements in this budget being presented to the august house. I fervently hope that
the issues of human security will increasingly be a dominant theme of our
development. This will help us in making the Indian 21st century to be the century
of the hill region and the hill people.
                                           89
Revenue Surplus State
      The budgetary exercise has been undertaken duly keeping in mind the new
policy initiatives taken by the Government of India which advocates stringent fiscal
discipline on the part of federal States under the Medium Term Fiscal Framework.
The thrust is on eliminating State’s revenue deficits over a definite time frame.
Hon’ble Members are aware of the 12th Finance Commission’s Award of Rs. 188.67
crores which is dismally low when compared to the Award of Rs. 840.58 crores by
the 11th Finance Commission as Non-Plan Revenue deficit grant. This unexpected
development has considerably upset the fiscal position of the State thereby severely
impacting upon the State’s development agenda. The withdrawal of the subsidies in
the power and transport sectors has also added further strain on the States
finances. I have raised this issue with the Hon’ble Prime Minister and Finance
Minister and also the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission. I have been assured
that these discrepancies will be corrected with appropriate remedial measures.

       However, the present phase of deficit is both temporary and transitional. It
would not take us long to over come this phase. We are determined to wipe out the
fiscal deficit by 2015. This confidence of ours is based on the following four factors:-

       i) All the major planned hydel projects will be completed which are likely to give
       us an unprecedented quantum of revenue. The hydel power projects are
       projected to yield a total revenue of Rs 300 crores by 2015 and Rs 1500 crores
       by 2020.

ii)       The reopening of the Nathu la trade route would bring a fresh dynamism to
          our resource mobilisation effort.

iii)      Most of the projects in horticulture, floriculture and agri-business will be in
          place by then thereby leading to a diverse chain of revenue sources. For
          instance, we grow flowers for every occasion. Exotic flowers for export, flowers
          for décor, flowers for weddings, special blooms for special occasions. The
          demand for flowers domestically is growing at a rate of 25 percent annually.
          There is an international market of Rs 90000 crore for flowers alone.

iv)       The investment we are making in tourism sector will start yielding fruits
          within the next couple of years and if tourism is finally integrated with the
          trade route through Nathu la then the revenue position could be drastically
          improved. Buddhist circuit has now been identified as one of the priority
          areas in the tourism development policy of the Government of India. In fact,
          in my recent address to the National Committee set up to commemorate the
          2550th Buddha Jayanti, I have suggested the flagging off of a tourism circuit
          venture from Gangtok connecting all the major Buddhist destinations in India
          and neighbouring countries. This includes Bodh Gaya in Bihar, Rumtek in
          Sikkim, Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, Lumbini in Nepal, Taktsang in
          Bhutan to Jokhang and Potala in Lhasa and Myanmar. This circuit has in it
          very strong element of cross border religious bonds, economic and
          commercial opportunities and regional integration benefits.


                                             90
       Let me also mention that the horizontal and vertical expansion we made in
departmental recruitments immediately after we became a State of India has been
mainly responsible for the huge financial burden on the governance budget of the
State. Hon’ble Members are aware of the unaffordable size of the salary liabilities of
the Government which cannot be sustained at the cost of reduced development
expenditure. Therefore, we are now seriously deliberating on certain measures to
ease the fiscal strain which would include a blanket ban on extension of services of
retiring employees in the State.

       A large number of the governance related personnel will be retiring by 2007-
2008. We would then like to do away with all the vacated posts so that the size of
the government and the expenditure therein would remain tremendously reduced.
We shall have to prepare ourselves for this pruned and slim yet productive
administrative machinery. This would give a significant relief to our revenue
position.

      This would also fulfill our great dream to make every Sikkimese a “Lakhpati”
in terms of per capita income.

Performance Indicators
       Most of the major performances of our Government in the last over one
decade have been mentioned in the Economic Survey of Sikkim 2005-06. I would
like to take this opportunity to highlight at least some of them for the benefit of this
august House.

      Sikkim’s image both at the national and international level has really been
very sprightly and alive. Many newspapers, television and radio channels and
organisations have now declared Sikkim as a happening place. We want this image
to be further consolidated. Whenever I meet the central leadership, professionals
and the media, I find them highly impressed by our economic profile, environmental
management, high growth rate indices and how we have been able to maintain such
an absolute level of peace and tranquility. The people of Sikkim are aware that we
have worked very hard for it and we have earned the distinction. Therefore I express
my deep sense of gratitude to all the people and also take this opportunity to appeal
to them to maintain the tempo in the future.

       In a clear departure from the past, we have now been able to establish a
regular cross cultural, social and intellectual interaction with people from outside
the State and the country. People from outside have judged us more intensively and
critically. We want that people and organisations from outside independently audit
our performance. We also want still a large number of experts, professionals and
policy makers to visit Sikkim and give us the benefit of sharing their knowledge,
experience and expertise. To promote this exercise of exchanging knowledge and
ideas, and as a measure to disseminate our rich socio-cultural and environmental
practices to Indian and international audience, I am pleased to announce a “Sikkim
Performance Audit Fund” which will be managed by the Information and Public
Relations Department.



                                          91
Baudhik Unnati Rashi
      The Socio-Economic Census done in 2005, which is now being finalized,
shows that we have 2697 post graduates in the State. This is a small number. This
shows that not many Sikkimese have really undertaken higher studies. We need a
large number of people with very high educational qualifications to run the affairs of
the State. This will be more so in the years to come when we leap forward in our
economic development.

      Knowledge is supreme. The 21st century is going to be the Century of
knowledge. We have remained the consumer of knowledge procured by others. We
would require that critical mass in the State that can intellectually support a better
and effective governance of the State. So far, for every expertise or knowledge base,
we need to go outside. In the process of this outsourcing of this knowledge we lose
financially, socially and culturally.

      My Government is prepared to do a great deal in strengthening the level of
knowledge in the State. It could be in any field from literature to psychology,
culture to sports, biotechnology to criminology, and economics to anthropology and
mountain ecology to media. A conscious, informed and confident Sikkimese society
is the call of the 21st century. We should better remember that we have a solid
advantage of having a huge reservoir of traditional knowledge and practices. Let us
produce knowledge.

      In order to create a crucial mass of public intellectuals I declare the
establishment of “Baudhik Unnati Rashi” (Intellectual Progress Fund). This can be
used preferably by the younger generation Sikkimese for acquiring advanced
knowledge both within the country and outside. I would also urge the rich and
benevolent people of Sikkim to contribute to this Fund.

      The ultimate idea is to produce well informed, highly knowledgeable and
confident Sikkimese to lead Sikkim. Sikkim should be led by talented people. We
want to break free from this concocted notion of providing leadership of Sikkim in
the name of a community, caste, tribe or class or superficial ideology. Sikkim
should be led by the talented people who have capacity, integrity, high esteem and
confidence and who respect human values and tenets of democracy.

       On the issue of leadership, we do not mean only political leadership. We want
leaders from Sikkim in every other field. We want Sikkimese leaders in economy,
education, science and technology, in the media and bureaucracy so on and so
forth. The latest report on the unemployment situation in the country shows that
there will be shortage of 5 lakh knowledge workers by 2010. This is, despite the fact
that we have 40 million unemployed people and 3.6 million student graduates every
year. In other words, one has to have specialized knowledge in order to be bought in
the job market. Let me take this opportunity to call upon the young educated to
expand their intellectual horizon and provide leadership in certain field globally.

Paryatan Prabhav Addhyan
      Tourism is our major strength. The numbers of tourist arrivals in the State
has increased from 21, 854 in 1981 to 99,323 in 1994 to 2,46,197 in 2004. We are
                                         92
aiming at attracting 10 lakh tourists per annum by 2012. We are also proposing to
integrate the tourism and trade through the Nathu la trade route. However, we are
equally aware of the adverse impact of tourism on our society, culture, environment
and even economy. Our thrust is to minimize any negative impact of tourism. We
do not want to have a situation where the authorities react to adverse situation only
when maximum harm and injuries have already been done. In order to do so, we
need to have a very authentic, first hand and scientific knowledge about nature,
varieties and extent of such impacts. This can be done only through regular
studies, monitoring and evaluation. And this has to be done by experts and
independent institutions. Therefore we would like to initiate this process through a
special window which I would call “Paryatan Prabhav Addhyan” (Tourism Impact
Study).


Pradyogiki Vikash Bhandar
      Technology is so vital to any of our effort made towards people’s upliftment.
Technology can bring dynamism, generate income and employment, inject
sustainability to the livelihood pattern. We know what technology has done to the
three major revolutions in the post-independence India the “Green Revolution”, the
“White Revolution” and the “IT Revolution”. The American President has proposed to
his countrymen to ‘remain a flexible, technologically-based economy.’

      In our region in the North East, the lack and use of technology are
conspicuous. Even if the technology is available, what is lacking is dissemination.
We need more and more agencies and institutions responsible for both development
of new and appropriate technologies and dissemination of the same.

      In order to bring technology to the forefront of our daily life I hereby
announce setting up of a pool of fund namely Pradyogiki Vikash Bhandar
(Technology Development House) which would help individuals and institutions to
explore, find, test and disseminate the technology which are useful for the
Sikkimese development process. This could cover any sectors including health,
agriculture, education, information technology, energy, bio-technology, media and
communication.

       Hon’ble Members are aware that we are hard pressed to introduce certain
fiscal measures to overcome our budget deficit. However, we are not doing anything
which may hit the collective interest of the common man. We would continue to
overcome fiscal constraint through more innovative interventions which includes a
10% deduction in the non-plan expenditure and stringent austerity measures on all
government spending. The other measures would include an increased vigilance to
check economic leakages in various forms and levying of taxes on certain set of
services and commodities.

       As part of a more assertive and positive intervention, we would increase and
broaden our revenue base through judicious utilization of our human resources
and natural resources. The Government would endeavour to improve our fiscal
position through increased production in sectors like animal husbandry and
agriculture. In all our exercises, we would keep the interest of the common man
                                         93
high in our priority. Any fiscal measure that we may introduce in the future will
have an inherent element of safety with regards to protection of interest of the
people of Sikkim.

Decentralization of development administration:
      Our government has effectively institutionalized the process of devolution and
decentralization of the administrative and financial authorities to the Panchayati
Raj Institutions. A number of grass root level activities including development
planning, health and education management and entrusting local development
administration to the people at the Panchayat level have been decentralized and the
feed back in the implementation of this policy shift has been fairly successful. I take
pleasure to inform this august House that in the area of Panchayati Raj
administration Sikkim was ranked third in the country. Capacity building measures
including educative and exposure programmes to equip and acquaint our grass root
developmental functionaries in the domain of local development administration will
be given due attention. We are setting up Block Development Offices in each
Constituency to fully institutionalize the decentralization process. The recently
launched National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme will be placed under
the able management of the village level administration. The essential question
involved is giving power to where it belongs- i.e the people of Sikkim.

       The State Planning Commission has already initiated the exercise of local
level consultations for the XIth Five Year Plan to give effect to the concept of
bottom-up approach in the overall planning process whereby people’s involvement
in the local development administration process can be meaningfully realized.

       In order to ensure an equitable and regionally balanced spread of our plan
investments and to appreciate the socio-economic profile of the State which would
serve as the basis of planning for our future development strategies, we have
initiated the first ever exercise of conducting the socio-economic census which will
provide vital data of the last three decades for each household, block-wise and
ward-wise.

      The findings of this Census operation will serve as a useful guideline in
appreciating the developmental gaps and framing corrective strategies and plans in
our future development agenda.


Urban development
      With the geographical boundary of Gangtok being redefined through
Government Notification, measures need to be taken to systematically demarcate
areas with proper survey and investigation which will form the basis for reviewing
and revising the Master Plan for the city. Our government has made significant
achievement in development of several urban infrastructures in Gangtok including
other townships. Apart from shopping complexes, the deficiencies in civic amenities
with regard to car parking facilities, public latrines, slum improvement, garbage
disposal etc. have been taken care of to a considerable degree. The introduction of
the scheme of National Urban Renewal Mission which is designed to address the
issues of poverty alleviation in urban areas and integrated development of basic
                                          94
urban infrastructure will entail a paradigm shift and some structural reforms in the
strategy for urban planning and development. In pursuance of the 74th Amendment
of the Constitution, necessary preparatory works have been taken to usher in the
new regime of democratic decentralization of administration and devolution of
financial powers to the elected local bodies. The Draft Municipal Bill is being
finalized and the legislation will be in place in the very near future.

      After we took over the reign of governance, we fervently set about addressing
the Basic Minimum Needs of the people of Sikkim. Today, after a span of over 12
years, we have been able to provide them food, dignified shelter and clothing. We
have provided to the people safe drinking water, electricity, housing, education,
health, sanitation without any exception. Today, Sikkim has emerged as the
number one State where people are provided with their basic needs and where they
get adequate security to their life and property. A brief glance at the impressive
socio-economic indices would amply reflect the level of achievements we have made
over the last twelve years:

i)           The gross domestic product of the State increased from Rs.403 crores in
             1993-94 to Rs.1531 crores in 2004-2005.

ii)          The per capita net domestic product recorded a three fold increase from
             Rs.8457 in 1993-94 to Rs. 26851 in 2004-05. Among the 28 States and 7
             union territories in the country Sikkim has the 5th highest Growth rate in per
             capita income and 14th highest per capita income.

iii)         As per the preliminary findings of the Socio-Economic Census 2005, the
             percentage of households below poverty line has gone down drastically to 20
             percent.

iv)          We expect to further improve our national positions in the various indicators
             of our performances. India Today group has already declared our State to be
             the best in education and investment climate among the small state category.

v)            My Government has set up a task force on Environment headed by Ms
             Sunita Narain, Director of the prestigious Centre for Science and
             Environment. This Task Force will not only critically evaluate the actions
             taken by our Government on the environmental front but would also provide
             a road map for the sustainable development project in the State.

vi)     State now has over 75 percent literacy rate (69.80 in 2001) against the all-
        India average of about 65 %.
vii)    The infant mortality rate has come down to 33 per thousand as against the
        national figure of 60.
viii) The birth and death rates have come down to 21.9 and 5 per 1000 population
        as against 24.8 and 8 respectively of all India figures.
ix)     We are soon going to have a task force on youths and self employment.
     x) We have seen a number of noted film makers coming and shooting their films in Sikkim.
       xi)      We will soon have a Central University established in Sikkim

                                               95
   xii)   Under the UNDP assisted project on strengthening State Plans for Human
          Development, a Human Development Research and Coordination Unit has
          been created in the Development Planning, Economic Reforms and NEC
          Affairs Department. This machinery has been created to strengthen the
          capacity and expertise with all key functionaries engaged in activities
          relating to formulation of policies and strategies for the State’s economic
          development.

Nathu La Trade Route reopening
       The Hon’ble Members are aware that the reopening of the traditional trade
route between Sikkim and the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China is very
imminent. This historic milestone is likely to happen anytime this year. This
heralds the meeting of two oldest civilizations in Sikkim. This also gives us a deep
sense of satisfaction as the reopening of this trade route has been a major demand
of our Government. Besides its immense economic, social, historical and political
significance, the reopening of Nathu la trade will convert the present hard border
between India and China into a soft border. We will play the most vital role of peace
builder and sustained peace promoter. The peace dividends will be incessant and
priceless.

      The high level Nathu la Trade Study Group set up by the Government of
Sikkim has submitted the final report. It is a very detailed and comprehensive
document that places the entire perspective of trade and tourism through Nathu la
route for the next 20 years. The Union Government is highly appreciative of the
exposition and findings of the Report.

      The Study Group has presented two scenarios for trade volume projections.
Scenario I of higher projection shows that trade flow through Nathu la will be Rs
206 crores by 2007, Rs 2266 crores by 2010 and Rs 12203 crores by 2015. Under
the Scenario II of lower side projection, trade volume passing through Nathu la
route will be Rs 353 crores in 2010, Rs 450 crores in 2015 and Rs 574 crores in
2020.

       The Study Group has mentioned that on a very simple assumption also the
charges on tourists visiting Sherathang and Nathu la could generate a revenue of
Rs 1.81 crores in 2006 and Rs 3.47 crores in 2010. The income and employment
effects on roadside hotels and restaurants, handicrafts, transport and
communication and many other backward and forward linkages are likely to be
immense.

      Besides many other prospects this trade route is likely to bring to the State,
the Study Group also mentions that annual revenue generation by Sikkim
Nationalised Transport (SNT) or by private truckers through movement of 100 -
500 trucks daily between Siliguri and Nathu la at the existing rate varies between
Rs 13.97 crores to Rs 69.90 crores. If this rate is doubled by 2010, the total annual
revenue generation is likely to be between Rs 27.94 crores to    Rs 139.80 crores.

     The Study gives great details about how China is preparing for the same and
what should be the preparation mode of India. The large scale investment
                                         96
opportunities including making the entire Sikkim a trade mart has been identified
and recommended.

       While congratulating the entire team of the Nathu la Trade Study Group for
preparing a comprehensive report in such a short time, let me mention that there
are very interesting and far-reaching policy suggestions made in the report. This
includes first opportunity to be given exclusively to the people of Sikkim, opening
up of Indian Consulate in Lhasa and infrastructure development package of Rs
1650-1700 crore for Nathu la trade route. I would like the people of Sikkim to read
this report, discuss and deliberate on the same. We shall have to make best out of
the findings and policy suggestions made in this report. I therefore, take this
opportunity to formally present this report before this august House for both
discussion and adoption.

Special Economic Zone
      In the wake of the reopening of the Nathu la trade route and the increasing
interests shown by the investors both in India and abroad we would now like to
make a proposal to the Union Government for setting up of a Special Economic
Zone in Sikkim with all the facilities and amenities for export manufacturing units
and a dry port. This is urgent for us as we are expecting to have a series of Small
and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) set up in and around Sikkim in the coming years.

Look East Policy
      Sikkim’s development avenues lie either towards the north with China
emerging as a huge market for investment, tourism, goods and services or towards
the East with the entire South East Asian and east Asian countries acting as the
harbinger of Asian resurgence. Today every one is talking about the 21st Century
being an Asian century. We are so close to the entire South East and East Asian
countries yet our interaction with them is very inadequate. The Union Government
has been propounding the cause of “Look East Policy” primarily aimed at
integrating the Indian economy more to the east. Our Hon’ble Prime Minister Dr
Manmohan Singh attended the East Asian Summit held a couple of months back in
Kualalumpur. The idea is to create an East Asian Community like the European
Community. This has a great promise for our country and other Asian partners.

       Sikkim is the gateway to India’s Look East Policy. We have been a major
player in this new direction of thinking and actions. The new regionalism primarily
triggered by globalization and flourishing people to people contact is fast influencing
this Look East Policy. We are looking forward to play a crucial role in India's trade,
tourism and other economic cooperation with countries in the eastern fringe
including Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, China and even
Japan. We are also a major partner in the emerging regional initiative known as Bay
of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Techno-Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).

       In our LOOK EAST policy venture we have three major items to offer namely
floriculture, horticulture and tourism. Although not many people in countries like
Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia are aware of our strong natural resource base yet
we have very distinct advantages in most of the produces we have in floriculture
and horticulture sector.
                                          97
       Today Bangalore, Pune, Delhi and Hyderabad are the major exporters of
flowers mainly to Japan, Australia, Russia and Singapore. Companies from
Chennai are even exporting tropical orchids mostly dendrobium. We have all these,
yet we are not able to get a share in this ever flourishing market. The most
fundamental reason as I can see is that we are not outward looking and not been
able to exploit the international markets.

     I therefore, would like to make a very sincere appeal to the people of Sikkim
and the officials at all levels to bring innovative ideas that can inject a series of
dynamism to the vitals of Sikkimese economy and society.

      Hon’ble Members are aware that what we do today is based on our
conscientious planning, backed by professional inputs and expertise. That means it
no longer is the ‘hit in the dark’ syndrome so characteristic of the previous regime.
We have defined our development priorities and set time-bound targets. We have
achieved many. More needs to be done. In order to push our State on the path of
accelerated growth, we have already initiated steps to tap our huge hydro-power
potential and other promising areas like horticulture and floriculture.

       In Sikkim, only 13% land is available for productive cultivation and the rest
comprises of Himalayas, glaciers, water bodies, flora and fauna. This makes Sikkim
an ideal land for promotion of eco-tourism with its broader facets like adventure
tourism, village tourism and pilgrimage tourism. Keeping all these in mind, we have
also set up the State Green Mission plan that provides for a comprehensive
plantation drive along all the road reserves and bye-passes in the State, government
land and in the vicinity of religious institutions. This also includes setting up of
parks and gardens, plantation of flowering plants and trees across the State.
Towards this direction, we have already banned grazing and felling of trees in our
forest and also banned use of plastic and non-biodegradable materials in the State.
This forms part of our greater vision to make Sikkim as the Garden State which
would also mean significant contribution in the conservation of the Himalayan eco-
system. In this great movement, I call upon all the people to join hands with us for
total success of this campaign.

       We have made much of a headway in promotion of horticulture and
floriculture products in the State. Of lately, the State Government is also taking a
new initiative to set up food processing units in the State. When our local produce
is turned into finished products, the sale ability aspect will be very high fetching
competitive prices at the national and international markets. The people are aware
that we have already set target to make Sikkim a total organic State by the year
2009.

      Our government’s solemn commitment is to promote all these sectors into the
people’s profession. People’s choice and priorities the world over have changed. So
we must change our outlook as well. If we are able to successfully promote all these
sectors, Sikkim would easily emerge as the promised land without unemployment,
hunger and discrimination. On this occasion, I would appeal to the people to grow


                                         98
more productive, creative, innovative and hard working to serve the collective
interest of the State.

Importance of being a Producer
      We are virtually a consumer State. From toothpaste to toothpick and petrol
to bidi we buy in the market. From books to greeting cards and from bananas to
cement and movies to computers we depend on import buy from outside. We have
become entirely dependent on products that otherwise could easily be produced in
the State locally.

There are serious disadvantages in remaining a consumer State.
  i)     With the infusion of massive development investments in the State, the
         economic activity has been buoyant with opportunities being created in
         terms of employment in various sectors. However, because of absence of
         professional expertise and adequate talent among our multitude of
         Sikkimese, the emerging opportunities of employments are being grabbed
         by qualified people from outside the State. A typical instance to illustrate
         this point is the case of numerous teaching jobs being snatched away by
         outsiders due to lack of qualified local candidates. Similarly, opportunities
         for investments are immense but due to lack of entrepreneurship amongst
         our people outside investors are fully exploiting this situation to their
         advantage. This dismal scenario is a cause for serious concern.

   ii)    The market is entirely trader/supply driven mainly because Sikkim brings
          most of its daily requirements and other regular provisions from outside
          the State. The omnipotent traders always have an upper hand. At the
          receiving end are the consumers who are generally not conscious of many
          critical things like authentic retail price, expiry date, quality, weight and
          genuineness of the item. They are very often taken for a ride.

   iii)   To consume something is easy but to produce is difficult. This consumer
          culture has made us lethargic, unimaginative, and one track minded. We
          do not realize the hard fact that we are becoming doubly dependent. Our
          habits are getting spoilt and attitudes are getting disoriented. Our societal
          values are getting limited to what and how much we can buy. Our social
          status is now determined by our capacity to buy.

   iv)    This consumer culture is spreading fast. We are importing vegetables and
          fruits. We are importing chicken, pork and mutton also. These things were
          aplenty in Sikkim once. Can you imagine we are now importing water also.
          We let millions of cusecs of water flow to the plain lands through our
          pristine rivers and bring them back as bottled mineral water.

       As one scholar had rightly said, “Standard of living depends on productivity
and productivity, in turn, depends on new technology”. Therefore let us rethink our
position as consumers. On this auspicious occasion, may I call upon all the
Sikkimese people to collectively vow to transform our State from a consumer State
to a producer State.

                                          99
People can produce anything as per their choice, capability and resources at their
command. Markets are expanding and people’s demands and choices are enlarging.
People are willing to pay a better price if what we produce are genuine. We can
produce knowledge, films, food, flowers and water. We can produce even “yoga”
bhajans, kirtans, thangkas, jari-butti and butterflies. We can produce electricity
and sportsmen to rock carvings and trekking routes. We can even sell a reproduced
history like that of Guru Padmasambhava, money minting and Younghusband
Mission. You can produce the ideas and concepts, practices and traditions.


In other words, consumers do not only buy fridge and Toyotas, pen and bread,
Black Label whisky and Rayban glasses.      They also buy ideas, traditions,
knowledge, happiness and contentment.



We have more distinct advantages in being a producer State.

   i)      Money and employment will flow in and not flow out
   ii)     We will command the market and the consumers and not vice-versa
   iii)    We can eat and enjoy our own ‘pure and genuine’ products by being self-
           reliant.
   iv)     We shall become independent individuals and joyful communities
   v)      We shall have major victory and pride of being producers
   vi)     We shall be able to use the beautiful and bountiful gifts of nature we have
           and which others do not have.
   viii) It will sustain our family, society and the State

      With the increased inflow of tourists, we would require more food products,
green vegetables, more handicrafts, more hotels and more public places. With the
proposed reopening of the Nathu la trade route we shall have the largest world
market of India and China (2.6 billion people or 250 crores). The West is coming to
East once again. We are one of the key attractions of the East. Orientalism is once
again reviving. We are an artery of orientalism. The opportunities are galore for
those who want to be producers. Let us open our eyes and refurbish our minds. In
producing something we have all the gains.

      Education and health has remained our top most priority. Nowhere in the
country you find education and health facilities so highly accessible and affordable
than in Sikkim. We have upgraded all our health centers with latest technological
inputs. We have a medical college and also the referral hospital. Education is free
upto the college level. It also gives me a great pleasure to announce the location of
the JNU admission test centre in Gangtok. We all know that Jawaharlal Nehru
University is one of the most premier and prestigious Universities of Asia. A large
number of students write the admission test to get admission into this University.
Our young students are fortunate that the University authority has now decided to
locate one of their admission test centres in Gangtok. This opens another major
opportunity for our young children aspiring to go for higher studies.
                                         100
Respect Freedom and Collective Responsibility
       We all agree that the responsibility of developing Sikkim has been primarily
left to the Government even after it became an integral part of India in 1975.
Everybody expects government to do everything for everybody’s needs. It is
understandable given the socio-economic and geographical profile of the State.
However, government has its own limitations. Government can only go to a
particular extent. After that the responsibility of running various public affairs
actually lie with the people. I feel people and communities can run projects and
establishments more effectively both because of a sense of ownership and collective
responsibility.

        We can take example from any developed countries. Governments create
facilities which are ultimately run by the people. In every aspect of daily life, the
contributions of its citizens are more than the government. Whereas in our case, it
is still a government centric development process. I have personally tried to address
people’s needs and requirements in a scale seldom found anywhere in the world.
We allocated maximum of our resources to provide immediate succour to people’s
suffering and hardship. On the basis of my accumulated experience on governance
for the last twelve years, I am now tempted to feel that making people over
dependent on Government is not a social progress. A totally Government dependent
society is not a healthy society as the people’s creative instincts and innovative
talents never flourish in such societies. This could even lead to the erosion in
individual confidence that may inject some negative complex in one’s personality.
The people of Sikkim, therefore, must rise up to the occasion and become proactive
to attain self-sufficiency. Hard work, innovation and creativity are what is required
of us. On this occasion, I appeal to the people to start their work and become the
master of their own destiny. After all, they say that there is no sweet without sweat.

       We may rightfully wonder as to what extent we are serious about our
Fundamental Duties as provided under Article 51A of the Constitution. Everybody
has something unique in him or her. Every Sikkimese including students, teachers,
businessmen, sportsmen, litterateurs, industrialists, doctors, engineers, academics,
religious heads, media persons therefore should come forward. And they should
contribute whatever they can in terms of social mobilisation, intellectual well-being,
economic progress and environmental conservation. If we have “social policing” led
by the people, half of our problems of governance will be over.

       Having shared with you the broad highlights of the development profile
proposed for the year 2006-07, I would now like to present some specific aspects of
the budget for the coming fiscal year. The total budgeted expenditure for the year
2006-07 of Rs. 2504.61 crores comprises Rs. 879.64 crores under Plan account and
Rs. 1624.97 crores under the Non-Plan. Despite the fiscal limitations, we have been
bold enough to pitch the Annual Plan size at Rs. 550.00 crores for the Annual Plan
2006-07. This outlay includes a one-time Central Assistance of Rs. 20.00 crores
agreed to by the Planning Commission for projects of special interest to the State. In
order to ease the burden of the Non-Plan gap, we have kept an amount of Rs. 20.00
crores from the total plan allocation of Rs. 550.00 crores to meet the Non-Plan
deficit. Allocation falling under the purview of Centrally Sponsored Schemes, North
East Council, Non-Lapsable Pool of resources including provisions made as
                                         101
recoveries which are adjustable as reduction in expenditure subsequently are all
included in the total budgeted expenditure. The financing of the Plan calls for a
strong commitment to implementation of fiscal reforms in terms of exercising a
great sense of discipline in expenditure control and adopting appropriate measures
to improve our collection from tax and non-tax revenue sources. Conscious steps
will be taken to broaden the tax base and streamline the institutional mechanism
for bringing about efficient tax administration. While the element of subsidies under
various sectors will have to be gradually phased out, concurrent measures will be
taken to introduce user charges duly ensuring high standards of quality in the
delivery of services.

      Presentation of budget is a very special occasion for all of us. Hence, I see no
other opportunity as auspicious to reiterate our commitment and strengthen our
former vows. Our idea is to transform the entire society. When the hopes and
aspirations of every member of the society are fulfilled, we see the society as a whole
progressing and enriching. The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair has correctly
said, “When the society is weak, power and rewards go to the few and not the
many”. Hence, our commitment is the upliftment of society as a whole. And today’s
budget is also a way forward towards fulfillment of this dream.

     As I present this Budget for the year 2006-07, I would like to reiterate and
announce:
⇒    To continue to secure full safety and rights to the people of Sikkim
⇒    To continue to address issues like the rural-urban gap by providing urban
     facilities to the rural areas
⇒    To bring about enhancement in the quality of electricity for all, safe drinking
     water to all habitations
⇒    Quality education for all
⇒    More housing for all the left-out poor households
⇒    Total sanitation
⇒    To provide more opportunities and greater avenues for the educated youths
     for self-employment outside government establishment.
⇒    To observe the Year 2006 as the Capacity Building Year with a wide range of
     training programs, orientation camps and professional and technical training
     within and outside the State.

      The State Government has been taking all possible measures to transform
Sikkim into an ideal welfare State. Socio-economic disparity and gender disparity so
prevalent in our traditional society is being dealt with through mass awareness
programs and also certain legislations. As we have entered into the 21st century, we
must lead Sikkim through a pool of human talents ensuring full human security
and dignity to the people. That means ensuring power and opportunity to each
person to make the most of what is within him or her.

      Hon’ble Members will appreciate the fact that we have been able to maintain
an impressive growth rate of 12.95% in the Gross State Domestic product index
(GSDP) at current price over the period 1993-94 to 2004-05 as compared to the all
India GSDP growth rate of 12.48 % during the corresponding period. Sikkim has
been performing very well in several realms of development and is gradually
                                        102
emerging as a hot-spot for prospective economic investment particularly in the
context of the impending opening of the cross-border trade with China. These
conditions need to be seen as opportunities to be seized for the optimum benefit of
the Sikkimese. India, as on today, hosts over 70,000 crorepatis and Sikkim also has
a sizeable population with substantial resource for investment. I appeal to all such
resourceful Sikkimese to invest their idle capital in various emerging spheres of
business in the State. Such local participation in industrial investment would
significantly contribute to the growth of the economy of the State apart from
generating employment and containing resource drain from the State. I seek the
continued support and full cooperation of the Hon’ble Members of this august
House, the State’s bureaucracy, government employees, youths, students and the
general people at large to carry forward our Government’s dedicated commitment to
make Sikkim as a model State of the country in terms of every socio-economic
parameters of performance.

     With these words, Hon’ble Speaker Sir, I now commend the Budget to this
august House for approval.

      Jai Hind




                                        103
XII Agriculture and Rural Development
   77 Launching of Alpine Cheese ‘Spread’, White Hall, 13 March 2003

      Hon’ble cabinet colleagues, MLAs, Chairmen, Secretaries of government of
Sikkim, respected officials from Indo-Swiss, ladies and gentlemen

       In October, 1996, I had the privilege of laying the foundation stone of the
Dentam Cheese Plant. Six years down the line, I am given to understand that a sum
of over Rs. 70 lakhs have gone into the pockets of rural farmers. Apart from this
figure itself, what is more impressive is the increased level of farmers’ participation
in the productive activities that the Cheese Plant envisages. We also know that the
Alpine Cheese as a product has now become a household name in the domestic
market and many parts of the world. As we launch another cheese product today,
we know as well that it will once again engage the attention of the people worldwide.
We are, I daresay, thinking globally and acting locally.

       The establishment of the Cheese Plant at a lesser-known location like Dentam
has a special meaning to it. The state government has been trying to spread out
into the interior parts of the state whereby the dual objectives to meet the basic
needs of poor farmers and also to generate gainful economic activity in the rural
areas are met. We are aiming at economic freedom and social justice of the rural
farming community through a steady process of judicious exploitation of the local
resources and natural environment and by tapping the available local talent and
utilizing the wisdom of the local growers. The steady growth of the Cheese Plant is
an indication of the shape of things that awaits all of us.

       When the country decided to shed off its traditional licence raj regime and
opted for liberalization, this calls for an attitudinal shift to re-align ourselves with
the new globalized world order. The tenor of trade and business clearly has a new
calling- compete or sink. You know that as a policy shift, the state government has
decided to welcome foreign investment especially in the service sectors. We have
already hosted Investors’ Forum in New Delhi where many internationally reputed
private investors evinced keen interest to turn towards Sikkim. Similar meeting was
held at Kolkota with the CII to discuss and thrash out areas where prospective
industrialists could possibly explore and invest. The state government has decided
to scale down its role to that of a facilitator and instead encourage NGOs and
private entrepreneurs actively in the developmental activities. The production of
cheese product as this, in active collaboration with the Indo-Swiss Project, amply
compliment our change perception based on greater participation and
empowerment of rural farmers.

      The most menacing of threats that the world is facing is the problem of
unemployment. The number of unemployed even in developed nations like Japan
has increased. In fact, the one worry that economic pundits constantly express is
about ‘jobless growth’. I am happy that small-industrial venture like the cheese
plant need not worry, as majority of population is playing a participatory role in this
business sharing the benefit and pooling in their resources. In fact, the people
                                        104
stand to gain immensely out of this exercise through value addition where milk is
processed resulting in production of different finished products which are sold
worldwide.

      We, at the state government, are sitting with open mind to explore all possible
avenues to better the life of the common man in Sikkim. Over the years, we have
learnt to cross hurdles which come in our strides. Let us emphasize on our strength
and our competitive advantages in terms of rich natural resources, clean air,
environmental stability, peace and tranquility to set up similar industrial units. We
want to encourage low volume and high value ventures in the state. We want to
usher in an era of prospective entrepreneurship to set up small venture like this
cheese plant, without adverse effect on our environment and the peaceful
atmosphere prevalent.

      Every human effort counts. In our scheme of things, no one is insignificant.
We believe in the drop that ultimately add up to the volume of an ocean. In the
same refrains, may I congratulate the Indo-Swiss officials for spearheading this
cheese project through their technical know-how. May I also congratulate the Chief
Secretary for his cooperation and all other officials of related departments for their
constant support. This could not have been possible without the support of our
valued retailers for reaching the product to a large spectrum of customers
everywhere. This project, likewise, would have carried little meaning without the
involvement and the commitment of the rural farmers. Their contribution is
invaluable.

      May all present continue with the same zeal, sincerity and involvement as the
future of Sikkim, the aspirations of the man on the street, lies with you.

      Wishing you all great success

      Thank you




                                         105
   78 NE Chief Ministers & Rural Development Ministers Conference on Rural
      Development, Gangtok, 5 September 2003

       Shri Kanshiram Ranaji, Hon’ble Union Minister, Rural Development &
Panchayati Raj, Hon’ble Chief Ministers of Assam, Meghalaya & Mizoram; Minister
in-charge of Rural Development from the North Eastern states, Secretary RD,
Government of India Secretary, Rural Development from North/East States Senior
Officials from Government of India, Chief Secretary, Development Commissioner,
Commissioner, State Finance, officials of the state governments, ladies and
gentlemen.

      With more than 80 % of our country’s population dwelling in rural areas,
rural development occupies an important place in our economic development.

       Today, we are poised on making transition from traditional technology to the
space age laser based technology. Conversely, the spectre of grim poverty continues
to stalk our country with more than one third of its population still living below the
poverty line.

       Even after years of liberalisation era, economic reforms and supportive
legislation, the overriding concern in the government is about how to create
infrastructure and environment for poverty alleviation.

      It is undeniably true that there has been marked improvement in the living
conditions of the poor over the years of planning and initiatives of the government.
Moreover, states like Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Haryana
& Punjab are fortunate enough to reap the harvest of development initiatives of the
government. We at the same time are a cluster of states which have made some
progress.
      The geographical and socio-economic conditions of Sikkim bear close
resemblance to northeast states in many respect and above all our developmental
strategy also remains the same. Hence, the people of Sikkim are overjoyed over the
issue of inclusion of Sikkim into the North Development Council.
      At the outset, being the Chief Minister of the host state, let me extend my
overwhelming gratitude to the Government of India for deciding to convene this
conference of North Eastern states on rural development programmes in Sikkim.
My sincere & hearty welcome to the delegates who have traversed all the way to
share their experience on rural development in our state.

      I hope that the deliberations of this Conference will certainly churn policy
decisions to start a new development era in the north eastern states that have been
lagging behind in the mainstream development pace.

Decades of unrest that prevailed in the North Eastern states culminated into
missed opportunities on several development fronts. On the contrary, our state
being a late entrant, equally missed several best opportunities and are trailing
behind on several fronts. Like the rest of the country, we are also trying to set
ourselves in the fast track of development.

                                         106
       Despite odds, I am indeed proud to inform the august house that the peace
& tranquil environment of Sikkim have placed our state into an advantageous
position and because of which our state could take rapid strides in several
development spheres within a short span of time.
       A brief overview on the provision of basic amenities in Sikkim exhibit the
significant achievements made in the field of social sector.
       Agriculture is the mainstay of state’s economy with 79% of the population
dwelling in the villages.
       The completion of IXth Five-Year Plan witnessed the multi- dimensional
transformation of the state. It recorded major achievements in all sectors of the
economy and the gap between the rest of the country and Sikkim as regards
economic development has been to a very considerable extent narrowed. The
standards of living in terms of per capita income, production of primary and
secondary goods, spreads of health and education services, widening of road and
electricity network, etc. have significantly increased during this period.

       Today, more than 85 % of households enjoy safe and potable drinking water.
The programme covers almost all declared towns. Even the 1679 habitations
identified (1980-81) 985 habitations are fully covered and the rest are partially
covered under the Rural Water Supply Programmes of the Government. Our effort is
on to augment the existing capacity to cope with the growing demand resulting from
population growth.

      Similarly, 73 percent of households have safe and hygienic sanitation facility.
In the rural areas, the state government through direct intervention or IEC
networks, Workshops & seminars launched statewide rural sanitation campaign.
Since the unit cost of toilets approved by the Government of India is practically low,
our state government is bearing the additional cost. We also provide assistance for
construction of Community Bathing Cubicles in the villages.

     An impressive achievement is the electrification of all the villages in Sikkim
and more than 95% households in Sikkim have electricity.

      The road mileage in the state has recorded consistent increases. We have a
vision to narrow the accessibility distance through the recently launched Pradhan
Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). In this context, I would like to record my
sincere thanks to the Central Government for granting road sanction of 105 kms, to
the tune of Rs. 35.30 crores for the state of Sikkim. This, I am sure, would be
dedicated to the interest of the rural populace.

       Villages in Sikkim inter act on daily basis and are bound socially or
economically. Unlike the plains, the terrain of the state makes it difficult to cover
every village by vehicular roads. Since most villages still need inter village
connection, a large arterial network of inter-village and inter–hamlet footpaths and
footbridges are being constructed under Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana. These
infrastructure are really helping the up-coming tourism industry in Sikkim.
Considering the recent tourism boom in the state and preference shown by the
tourists, it was resolved in the recently concluded State Level Panchayat Sammellan
to focus on village & eco-tourism.
                                         107
      Children of all habitations in Sikkim have access to primary education within
the proximity of two Kms and enrolments have increased to 1, 65,000 from hardly
20000 in 1975-76. The literacy rate of 7 % (1951) and 17.7 % (1971) is way behind
with the present 70 % in 2001. Approximately 83 % of children in the age group 6-
17 attend school. Education is free up to Senior Secondary level. Besides, text
Books & School uniforms are provided free of cost to schoolchildren upto Class V.

       We have well-established network of Primary Health Sub-Centres for every
3000 persons and Primary Health Centres for every 20000 persons backed by
district level hospitals and a state referral hospital. Trained doctors and nurses
operate these infrastructures. Sikkim has the lowest percentage of malnourished
children below 3 years only at 21 while against the national average of 47 (1989-
99).

      The Per Capita Net State Domestic Product has shown a dramatic rise from
Rs. 1571/- in 1980-81 to Rs.18500/- today. The State Domestic Product at current
prices has escalated from 50 crores (1980-81) to Rs. 350.00 crores (2001-2002).

      We have a dream to provide housing to all citizens of the state and I am
proud to announce our commendable achievement in this field. With schemes like
Indira Awaas Yojana, Rural Housing, I am sure the day is not far to achieve our
desired goal.

      The present government has already resolved to convert each dwelling
household into a productive unit. Apart from this, village based industries being
given impetus through Gramin Udhyog Yojana, Chief Ministers Self Employment
Schemes for educated Youth, Khadi & Village Industries including infrastructural
support from the so far successful Government Institute of Cottage Industries.

       The people of Sikkim are fortunate enough to have schemes like Sampoorna
Grameen Rozgar Yojana, Annapurna Yojana. Over and above this, the Chief
Minister on 15th August 2003 launched another state programme Annapurna
Annadan Yojana under which each household in rural areas are entitled to receive
35 Kilograms of rice at BPL rates. Hence, we no longer experience hunger in our
village community.

       I am happy to announce that there is increased role of women of Sikkim
arising from reservation of seats in employment, representation in Panchayati Raj
Institution, etc. It is mandatory in the state to issue all welfare assistance benefits
like Rural Housing Schemes in favour of eldest female member of the household.

       Our government has taken the initiative to set up Model Villages in all the
Assembly constituencies. Initially, 25 model houses with traditional Nepali, Lepcha
and Bhutia design, each costing of Rs.3.00 lacs are coming up in different parts of
the state. The main objective behind this is to inculcate the habit of desired civic
living and organise them into productive unit through either cooperative or Self
Help Group approach as well as to preserve, promote the age-old tradition & culture
of Sikkim that will indirectly assist in promoting village tourism.
                                         108
      Certainly, Sikkim did not experience the Community Development movement
of the fifties but local governance through Village Panchayats and Mondals (Village
Head) remained the hallmark of administrative machinery.

       The Sikkim Panchayat Act, 1993 evolved in the wake of the Constitution 73rd
& 74th Amendment Act provided appropriate framework for involvement of people
in the formulation, planning and execution of programmes of economic involvement
and social justice. It is primarily aimed at restructuring our society towards
participatory democracy as well as laying the foundation for democratic
decentralisation in Sikkim by transferring all functions listed in XIth Schedule of
the Constitution Amendment Act.

      We now have two tiers Panchayati Raj system. Subsequent legislation
delimited the State into 100 Zilla Panchayat Territorial Constituencies and 166
Gram Panchayat Units represented by members from 905 Panchayat Wards, which
includes two traditional local self-government, called Dzumsas at Lachen &
Lachung in north Sikkim.

       Women Panchayats in Sikkim enjoy greater role & responsibility. 33.1/3 % of
total Panchayat strength constitutes women. The seats of Zilla Adhyaksha & Up
Zilla Adhyakshas are reserved for women in every Panchayat term.

      The effort of the government is to devolve more & more responsibilities &
powers of planning and administration to the grassroots level institutions. It is
equally important to ensure that agencies involved in handling responsibilities do
not exploit powers for personal gains of individuals or groups. To guarantee flow of
real benefit to the genuine and needy people and area, the State & District Level
Vigilance & Monitoring Committees already constituted in the past. The same is
again being reconstituted.

       We have designs to make devolution of powers more pragmatic for which Zilla
Panchayat Bhavans and Gram Panchayat Bhavans were constructed at different
villages. The existing Gram Panchayat Bhavans were already converted as Gram
Level Administrative Centre accommodating offices of all village level government
functionaries.

      Besides, government sponsored village libraries are already functioning here
since last year. These libraries are providing access of information to the village
population on government programmes & policies. It is hoped that this initiative will
generate a pool of social auditors that will in time to come help monitor the
progress of schemes being implemented in the villages.

      Computer centres have been set up in some of the Panchayat Bhavans.
Training of elected Panchayats is being held to equip them to meet the requirements
under the new dispensation.

      Before I conclude, let me once extend our heartiest welcome to all the
delegates. I hope our arrangements & hospitability designed for this conference will
                                        109
meet the satisfaction of delegates present here. And I also hope that your entire
stay in our capital city Gangtok, face to face with Mount Kanchenjunga and
beautiful green hills will freshen the moods like freshly bloomed flowers.

     Thank You.




                                       110
   79 Conference of the Chief Ministers and State Ministers on Rural Alleviation
      and Rural Prosperity through Panchayati Raj, Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi,
      29-30 June, 2004

      Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Hon’ble Union Minister for Rural
Development and Panchayati Raj Institutions, Minister of State for Rural
Development, my colleagues Hon’ble Chief Ministers of other States, Hon’ble
Ministers of Rural Development from States, Secretaries and officials from Ministry
of Rural Development & Panchyati Raj Institutions, Government of India,
distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

      I bring with me the warmest regards of the Sikkimese people to the Hon’ble
Prime Minister Dr Man Mohan Singh, Hon’ble Union Ministers, Hon’ble Deputy
Chairman of the Planning Commission and Hon’ble Chief Ministers and Ministers
and officials of various States present in this august gathering.

       I am deeply delighted to be present here and share my views on “Poverty
Alleviation and Rural Prosperity through Panchayati Raj” with the members and
participants in this august gathering.

      In Sikkim, we are overwhelmingly rural in our physiography, topography,
demography and socio-economic structures. Our strength lies in deep rooted rural
foundation, our core competence is based on rural resources and our sustenance is
driven by rural folks and their traditional practices.

      Ours is the State historically marked by total communal harmony, peace,
tranquility and political stability. Ours social and economic indicators have steadily
reached within the brackets of top 10-15 states in the country.

      We started with a literacy rate of 7 % in 1951 and have reached over 70 %
today. Today, approximately 83 % of children in the age group 6-17 attend school.
More than 85 % of households enjoy safe and potable drinking water. An impressive
achievement is the electrification of all the villages in Sikkim.

      Our State is going to be the first total organic state in the country. We were
also the first to effectively ban the use of plastic bags in the country. Sikkim
maintained one of the highest annual economic growth rates of 8.3 percent in the
country during the Ninth Plan. This has been eloquently mentioned in the 10th Five
Year Plan (2002-2007) published by National Planning Commission.

       We have well-established network of Primary Health Sub-Centres and has the
lowest percentage of malnourished children in the country. We have provided
justice at door step for each Sikkimese. We have Lok Adalats in all the nine sub-
divisions and even Atrocity and Human Rights Court have been established. Sikkim
traditionally has a sound track record of maintaining gender equality.

     Our State has conducted two rounds of Panchayat elections and seriously
implemented the provision of the 73rd amendment of the constitution. In order to

                                         111
empower the Panchayats at the grass root level, the Government has delegated
more and more administrative and financial power to the Panchayats. We have just
taken a policy decision to increase the allocations made to the rural economy from
70 to 80 percent of the total development fund.

       The State Government has now given the administrative control of all
government institutions like Primary Schools, Primary Health Sub-centres, VLO
Centres, Libraries, Community Information Centres, Rural Tourism, Minor
Irrigation Works, Community Centres, grounds for sports etc. falling under a Gram
Panchayat Unit to the President of the particular Gram Panchayat.

      Gram Panchayat Units will now have the power to prepare, sanction,
supervise and implement various schemes in their own areas. To enable them to
exercise these powers each Gram Panchayat Unit in the State is being provided with
an amount of Rs. 10 lakhs and four Zilla Panchayats are being allotted with an
amount of Rs. 50 lakhs each. This will benefit all 166 Gram Panchayat Units and
four Zilla Panchayats in the State.

       In order to integrate the village district and state level planning the Zilla
Parishad Chairmen formally attend and effectively participate in all the meetings of
Sikkim State Planning Commission. We are finding a remarkable change in the
minds and perception of rural communities today. Our efforts to devolve power in
real sense have started fostering confidence amongst the rural people, reviving the
traditional institutions and enabling them to undertake various programmes.

       Tourism is our major economic activity in the State. Sikkim Tourism bagged
the national award for the best performing State in the North Eastern for the fourth
consecutive year. In order to create more and more off farm and non traditional
activities, we have taken tourism to the villages. Thirty model villages having all the
basic and modern facilities are being constructed in different parts of the State. All
these will enable the visitors to enjoy a first-hand experience of the rich heritage
and lifestyle of Sikkim.

Next five years we plan to take science and technology upfront to the villages and
rural areas of Sikkim. We feel our rural communities with their rich traditional
wisdom, experiences and practices are in fact the custodians of all the intellectual
properties. Unfortunately in the absence of any serious move to institutionalize
these heritage , we have tended to lose in all fronts. More injection of scientific
temper and new scientific and technological inputs in simple manner would only
help us in bringing out the best from the village communities. This is what the
multinational companies do for their private gains. We are doing so for societal
gains and national power.

       I only wish to mention that our core intent is to make each village unit in the
state a self sustainable entity and bring about rural renaissance. This we are doing
by devolving the financial and institutional powers, empowering, reskilling and
retraining the able bodied rural mass and by broadening their choices. These
choices naturally include all the elements of human development paradigm widely


                                         112
debated in the world today. These choices include political freedom to capacity
building and affirmative actions to collective accountability.

       What we are trying to do is to have a balanced development. A development
that would integrate each geographical unit in the State, each segment of socio-
political life, each aspect of economic activities and all spectrum of human beings.
The primary idea is to create a well dispersed and equitable opportunities every
where in the State. If all the states in India follow this principle of what I call “grass
root integration” within its own political economy, the emerging India will be robust,
resurgent and powerful. This is what Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru and other
towering personalities had in their visions about India.

      Our focus is now on “de-crowding” the state Secretariat by redeploying as
many staff and officials to the villages and districts. We want them to really work at
the grass root to get the real sense of development needs of the rural mass and
strengthen the delivery systems.

      We have vigorously implemented the reform measures in all the critical
sectors. We all firmly believe and have also witnessed that these reforms will bring
about a better productivity, higher efficiency and higher growth in the State. But
how to transmit this high growth to the poorest of the poor is the most critical
question and daunting task. We have to translate this growth into people’s welfare
and more equitable distribution of income.


       We have two clear options. Either we follow the same route that we followed
for last 58 years where the entire delivery mechanism remained dependent on
bureaucracy, or, we set up a new and supplementary range of delivery mechanism
backed by non-governmental agencies. The real challenge is that of transforming
the present state of governance and governance reforms as so elaborately
mentioned in the National 10th Plan document and the very recent address to the
Nation by our Hon’ble Prime Minister Dr Man Mohan Singh. This can be done only
by harnessing people’s power, strengthening the institutions and making the
governmental agencies directly relevant and accountable.


       At the same time, let me also very emphatically state that though the
percentage of population below poverty line in Sikkim has steadily gone down from
56 percent in 1977-78 to about 34 today, we strongly feel that our poverty ratio is
actually much lower that what it is given in the documents of both National
Planning Commission and Central Statistical Organisation. We are intrigued by this
high figure of poverty which does not go well with our major social indicators
including literacy rate, access to drinking water and electricity, health, housing and
economic indicators like per capita income. We have performed rather exceedingly
well in all these indicators.

      We think that this ratio is high because there has been no comprehensive
independent survey done by any national organisation after Sikkim merged with
India in 1975. Since then determination of poverty ratio of Sikkim has been based

                                           113
on the ratio of Assam. It could be highly erroneous to do so as Sikkim differs in
more than one way with Assam in terms of socio-cultural realities, topographical
exigencies and living conditions. Therefore I would like to repeat my appeal made to
the National Development Council and National Planning Commission time and
again that there must be a fresh and comprehensive base line survey on the nature,
extent and spatial distribution of poverty in Sikkim.

      We have been in the helm of affairs in the State for last ten years now. Only a
couple of weeks back, we got the unprecedented mandate of the Sikkimese people
for the third time. We are today facing five major challenges which call for both
constant introspection and determined will to make best out of these challenges.

      Firstly, the increasing urge and trend to migrate from the rural to urban
areas particularly among the youths. This has serious implications ranging from
slowing down of the economic activities in the rural areas to undue pressure on the
urban infrastructures. A natural rural-urban migration is acceptable. However, if
there is an abnormal spurt in such phenomenon then we shall have to examine the
reasons and assess the implications. We shall have to put forward a sustainable
solution. We have realised that the attractions in the urban areas are primarily the
better facilities and infrastructures and most importantly wider job opportunities.

     Secondly, we are striving hard to tackle this massive expectations and
demand in the rural areas about what our Hon’ble President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam
has been advocating i.e. the concept of Providing Urban Facilities in Rural Areas
(PURA). This is very vital to meet the changing aspirations and needs of the rural
communities and also to re-juvenate the rural economies.

       Despite severe financial constraints, our endeavour has been to increasingly
provide all the urban facilities in the rural area (PURA) to make each rural segment
self-contained. These include better infrastructure like roads, electricity,
communications, drinking water and shelter and social and community amenities
like hospitals, schools, bank, post office, shopping center. We have already
established Agriculture Export Zone for better marketing facilities to the farmers.
The rural communities are willing to pay the user charges. They want qualitative,
timely and durable services.

       Therefore, in the difficult rural terrain like ours, the provision of institutional
credits and finance should be more based on community rather than individual. It
should be more in the areas like micro and mini hydel projects and community
forestry. We are now envisaging setting up a range of mini and small hydel projects
that will be run by the local communities and panchayats.

      This will cater to another crucial area of rural energy which has never been
our development priority in the past. I am sure this Conference will address the
issues of rural energy in a more forthright manner and come out with concrete
suggestions.

    Thirdly, a fast emerging challenge is how to consolidate and sustain the
empowerment and devolution we have made to the Panchayats and other village
                                           114
communities.   This includes the building of capacities among the village
communities to handle the administrative and financial powers and to plan the
development programmes. This also involves monitoring and evaluation of the
projects and of course ensuring the equitable distribution of benefits. Skill
development remains the key issue in rural employment programmes.

      The final challenge is that of growing pressure on natural resources including
land and water located in the villages and rural areas. It’s more likely to increase as
the globalization process and related liberal market structures. The question of
environmental security is both pertinent and critical. For a State like Sikkim,
where more then 83% area is under forestry land use, forestry can never be
practiced in isolation from the general rural development.              It’s the rural
communities who have remained custodians of forests and hence forest should be
made a sustainable source of income and employment.

      We will have to, therefore, have multiple approach to face these multi-faceted
challenges that our rural society face today. The development strategies and policy
instruments which we used in the past five decades will not be effective any longer
as the rural India is undergoing massive transformation.

      I would, therefore, fervently urge the Hon’ble Prime Minister to take following
long term and urgent actions:

i)       Make an exclusive programme for the development of rural areas located
         in the hill and mountain regions.

ii)      Create a time bound national fund for rural reconstruction primarily
         aimed at building rural infrastructures.

iii)     Make substantive long term programme on rural environment to be
         exclusively handled by the Panchayats and other rural communities

iv)      Create parallel institutions outside the government to improve the delivery
         systems. Make a very clear policy with regard to the involvement of NGOs
         in the delivery of services.

v)       Set up a number of regional and state organizations primarily aimed at
         imparting skill development training and building the capacity of the
         Panchayat members and other villagers in the management and
         governance techniques in their new roles as development managers
         including in monitoring and evaluation.

vi)      Floating of a community credit to create income and employment
         generating assets must be seriously considered. For instance on hydel
         projects and community forestry. Trees can be good investment. Tree
         insurance schemes for farmers to encourage the agro-forestry on the
         pattern of crop insurance scheme may be considered positively.



                                         115
vii)    Constitute a Technology Mission to examine and promote the idea of rural
        bio-    diversity management in the context of implementation of WTO
        provisions.

viii)   Promote village tourism in a selective manner in areas having distinct
        comparative advantages in tourism sector.

      The challenges brought forward by the agents of globalisation including the
World Trade Organisation (WTO) are immense. The North East region is rich in bio-
diversity. We have the distinct advantage of having a huge reservoir of traditional
knowledge and practices. But where is the consciousness and awareness among
our policy makers and village societies about the impending threat and
opportunities of trade and investment related intellectual property rights?
Therefore, I appeal to all the distinguished leaders and officials present here to
make an upfront discussion on the issues of technology.

Thank you so much for your patience and attention

Jai Bharat




                                       116
   80 Indian Council of Agricultural Research, 17th Meeting of Regional
      Committee No. III, Chintan Bhawan, Gangtok, 25 November 2004


      Hon’ble Ministers from Arunachal Pradesh, Shri Tsering Gyurme, Shri NM
Singh and Hon’ble Minister from Nagaland Shri Thenucho, my cabinet colleages,
Shri Somnath Poudyal and Smt. Kalawati Subba, respected Dr. Mangala Rai, Dr
KM Bujarbaruah, Chief Secretary, Sikkim, distinguished academicians, agricultural
scientists, professionals, esteemed guests, ladies and gentlemen

      I take it as a special privilege to take part in the 17th Regional Committee
Meeting with the galaxy of eminent scientists and other key officials from the centre
and the regional state governments. This meeting is special also because we are
addressing the essential issue of food security in the country. As you are aware,
the geo-physical feature of our state comprises mainly of inaccessible mountain
ranges and arid fallow terrain making our development maneuvering quite limited
and constricted. All the participants here, besides, taking stock of the progress
made so far shall also deliberate on all possible researchable and developmental
issues in the coming years.

       India has emerged as a food surplus country, thanks to the contributions of
millions of farmers, scientists and other workers in the sphere of agriculture sector.
However, owing to our geographical constraint, we can well understand regional
imbalance in food production. And especially the North-Eastern region has to bear
an overall deficiency in the food grains production of about 1.68 million tones.
Sikkimese economy traditionally has been agrarian one. However, you will note
that, in Sikkim, we have only 12 per cent cultivable land, and this may require a
most scientific and regulated farming culture in the state to further augment our
agricultural products thereby contribute towards bridging the regional food
deficiency gap. I am sure that my officers would discuss the issue during the 2-day
deliberation and develop a road map for achieving the target.

      Considering the fact that India is one of the signatories to World Trade
Organization, we have to shape our agricultural production system to be globally
competitive. We are all blessed by our rich natural resources and agro-biodiversity,
which if explored and exploited through conservation and molecular technique
could place the entire region in the world map.

       Given the geographical limitation, Sikkim should preferably go for low volume
and high value produce. Since the demand for organically-produced food products
has sharply gone up, our government has decided to make Sikkim a total organic
state in the near future.

      The other aspect affecting the prospect of local economy of the state and I
think the whole of North-eastern economy is the concern with regard to         ‘value
addition’. For the most part, the north-eastern states are selling raw materials and
low value-added intermediate products like logs, minerals, unpackaged tea, ginger,
cardamom, pineapples, oranges and so on which are turned into finished high
value-added products elsewhere. On the other hand the goods that the people of
                                         117
this region buy from outside are, for the most part, finished high value-added
goods.

       I would request the ICAR and also the state officials to discuss threadbare the
scientific intricacies related to organic food production, processing and marketing
etc. We would perhaps need foolproof organic package of production and also an
agency exclusively for the region which can assist the state and the region in
certification of organic products and its forward and backward linkages to ensure
proper marketing of the produce. Today, we have the gracious presence of the
Hon’ble Ministers from other North East States. In their presence, I am tempted to
propose for a collaborative endeavour to opt for organic farming in the whole of the
North East region. In this globalized market, we may have to project and promote
the North East as a composite market, to gain better foothold in the liberalized
economy. If we succeed in creating a brand name for the whole of North East region
as a organic producer of agricultural and horticultural products, we can attract
much better price and also earn a respectable place among the food growers all over
the world.

       In the same context, I feel happy to mention that Sikkim has also been
designated as Agriculture Export Zone to primarily promote three products at the
initial phase namely, cardamom, cherry pepper, locally known as daley khorsani,
notorious for its acknowledged pungency yet loved widely, and thirdly ginger. We
are trying to encourage our farmers to cultivate these products widely with
adequate market support and technical back-up.

       Floriculture is another promising area through which our farmers can reap
considerable economic benefit. I feel happy to mention that we have some
outstanding farmers engaged in domestic marketing and export of different varieties
of flowers including orchids, of which we have a total of 448 species in Sikkim
alone. On the other hand, we are concerned and engaged in finding some such
technologies which would rejuvenate the dwindling citrus orchards in the state. The
ICAR may like to consider for some programme to addres this problem.

       Unlike in some of the North East states, our farmers do not practice shifting
cultivation. We have mostly settled cultivation system on terraced lands which
could be utilized for augmentaing our food production if adequate water
conservation and irrigation system are developed. Large scale demonstration of
watershed development programme and other minor irrigation projects through
sprinkler and drip irrigation would increase the food production efficiency of our
farming community.

      Since average landholding in the entire northeastern states including Sikkim
is by and large small, I find it pertinent to believe that intensive integrated farming
system approach involving agriculture and horticulture, animal husbandry and
fishery, would serve the twin objectives of conservation and augmentation of food
production at household level. Tuart fish farming could be a viable economic
proposition for our state. I would like to request ICAR to screen a suitable crop-
animal-fish variety, particularly the varieties of cold water fish farming.


                                         118
       As in the case of green revolution belt of the country, I would like to
emphasize on the need for massive transfer of technology drive in our region as
well. In addition, the proposal and process for setting of college of engineering and
institute of post harvesting technology in Sikkim, would be further accelerated due
to the presence of the respected Vice-Chancellor of Central Agricultural University
here today.

      Agriculture is the number one industry in the world given the very issue of
survival of mankind on the earth. The immediate concern with all of us, therefore,
should be to make agriculture sector more attractive by injecting new technologies
evolved worldwide. There is need that the young educated people be initiated and
encouraged more to take agriculture as an industry and make it people’s number
one profession in the twenty first century.

      The common challenge, among us I think, is that technology at the laboratory
very often does not transfer into land. Hence, we have to collectively commit
ourselves to translate technology from lab to land, to enhance the productivity of
our farmers and encourage them towards modern farming techniques. Let us come
together, in thought as well as in deed, to make Agriculture more attractive and the
Agriculture sector as the dedicated industry of the 21st century.

       The other key element in the success of agro-initiative, indeed, is public
participation. May I request you all to appreciate that without mass participation,
we can not transfer or implement the best technology for augmenting our food
production. Hence, general public should be taken into confidence in all the
initiatives from formulation to implementation stages.

      On the part of our Government, we have aleady taken many crucial policy
decisions to diversify the options available with our farmers. You may find it
interesting to note that, of lately, we have also decided to grow squash, passion fruit
and pears on a large scale. And all-inclusive support and facilities have been
extended to our farmers in the state. In this context, I would solicit and highly value
your support and constructive suggestions, directly or indirectly, so that we could
further discover newer and competent methodology for increased production of
agricultural, horticultural and floricultural products.

      Before I conclude, I thank the Director General, ICAR, for having opted for
Sikkim as the venue of this important meeting. I am also grateful to the visiting
Ministers for their participation and valuable inputs to this deliberation.

      They say that the easiest way to man’s heart is through his stomach! This
meeting through the cooperative two days of positive deliberation would fill your
stomach and also win over your heart. I rest in my firm conviction thus. Let me
congratulate and thank you for your kind presence. I wish you all a very fruitful
deliberation.

      Thank you



                                         119
   81 Workshop & Honey Festival on development of Apiculture in North East,
      Chintan Bhawan, Gangtok, 16 June 2006


      At the outset, let me extend my warm greetings to all delegates from the
Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, delegates from other northeastern
states, researchers, scientists and other participants from all over the country. This
meeting is significant, as we have all gathered here to inspire a new dynamism to
the development of apiculture industry in this part of the country.

       I am equally pleased to be present in the inaugural function of the 2-day
Workshop and Honey Festival. As a region highly blessed by abundant Nature, this
region could be a natural cradle for development of apiculture industry. And this 2-
day workshop and related functions, I am confident, would immensely help in
realizing the immense potential of the North East region.

       Sikkim, as you are aware, is a tiny State nestled in the lap of the mighty
Himalayas with physiographic features similar to most of the north eastern states.
Mount Kangchendzonga, the third highest peak of the world, with a towering height
of 8,595 m is the guardian deity, the symbol of strength and inspiration for all
Sikkimese. The State shares international border adjoining the vast stretches of
Tibetan plateau of People’s Republic of China in the North, Bhutan and the Chumbi
Valley of People’s Republic of China in the East, Darjeeling district of West Bengal
in the South and Nepal in the West.

      For development and progress of the State, the State government has
formulated several policies with an overwhelming emphasis on the judicious use of
our natural resources. In fact, we have decided to base all our development
strategies on our natural wealth. Efforts are being intensified to make Sikkim a
model state. Determined efforts will continue to carry forward this development
process adopting most modern approaches and strategies developed at the national
and international level.

       For achieving the goal of total progress, we would require competent pool of
manpower who can cope up with all the emerging opportunities in the State.
Therefore, we have declared this year as the Capacity Building Year, involving all
the young educated Sikkimese to acquire basic skills and technical knowhow in
different diverse disciplines including service sectors and computer applications.

       Sikkim is basically an agrarian state with subsistence agriculture being the
mainstay of the people. Land topography, elevation, precipitation and other climatic
factors determine the cropping pattern of a given region within the State.
Traditionally, agricultural farming has been the profession of nearly 80 percent of
the total population who live in the villages. However, to juxtapose this popular
statistic is the fact that only 13 percent land is available for productive farming in
the State. This essential truth in Sikkim has made us think both in terms of
augmenting the agricultural output and also in the diversification of people’s
options and choice.
                                         120
       Sikkim nurtures a natural environment for nourishment of flowers, orchids,
and various other species of cash crops. We need no artificial allowances to enrich
our environmental fortune. In that sense, we can well compete with others in
delivering cheap and quality production of floricultural items. Sikkim is the land of
orchids which has always mesmerized outsiders with its rich diversity. Together
with other species of flowering plants, rhododendrons, species of ferns etc., Sikkim
is the treasure trove of rich biodiversity.

      We have ideal climate for cultivation of Cymbidium orchids with immense
possibility to monopolise cut flower industry. In order to project Sikkim as the
ultimate destination for floriculture investment, we are, in fact, hosting the
International Flower Show in 2008-2009.

       Of lately, we have also diversified the activity in terms of production of seeds
and seedling of our species of flowers on a commercial scale. We are increasingly
trying to involve the young generation to take up this sector providing them with an
alternative means of livelihood, and developing and promoting Floriculture as the
new profession of the people of Sikkim. Capacity building aspect with regard to
training and empowering our young population to take up this new profession is
also being looked into. Floriculture as the new profession is possible only when we
are able to make it more attractive and commercially more viable as a venture.

      Sikkim is the number one producer of big cardamom in the country and our
produce is hundred percent organic. Similarly, ginger is one of our major cash crop
items where ninety percent of the production is organic. We are also promoting
organic farming of passion fruit and cherry pepper in a big way. Cherry pepper that
we produce in Sikkim and its bi-products has already engaged the imagination of
the people for its pungency and its palatable disposition. Production of off-season
vegetables also deserves greater attention for tangible impacts.

       We are now firmly deliberating on the value addition aspect of our products.
We want to open many other Food Processing Units in the State so that our growers
can fetch more price for their produces. Considering the topography and conducive
environment, we want to promote Sikkim as the seeds producing centre of the
country. Equally relevant is setting up of various Tissue Culture centers in the
State. Flower seeds, vegetables seeds and seeds and saplings of different varieties of
floricultural and horticultural items could be produced in Sikkim on bulk to fulfill
the overall demands in the country. If Sikkim could be adequately promoted
towards this line, I would like to feel that India need not import seeds for domestic
demands. We would like the Centre to support us in our endeavour both in terms of
providing technological inputs and matching financial grants.

      Sikkim is also a rich repository of medicinal plants. We have, in fact, inherent
potential to feed the needs of many herbal industries in the country. To generate
more awareness among the people, we have created herbal gardens across the state
and we also encourage our panchayat members to maintain information on
medicinal herbs and plants found in each of the Gram Panchayat Units.


                                         121
       Besides, there are certain areas where we need support from the centre
especially in the arena of marketing and technical facilities. In order to transport
flowers, flower bulbs and seeds from Sikkim to the nearest airport, we would
require cooler vans. Similarly, cold storages should be set up at different vantage
locations across the State. For effective marketing strategy, the centre may
negotiate supply of all our local produces to the Airlines, Railways and the Army
establishment. With the proposed reopening of Nathula trade with China, all our
efforts in these sectors will receive further fillip and the central support becomes
more imminent and all the more essential. Through this meeting, I would also seek
a close coordination among the eight states of the region with the active support of
the centre.

       Land topography, hostile terrain, marginal land holdings and non-access to
easy credit are some of the adversities that make hill farming difficult. Horticulture
diversification incorporating non-traditional crop-based micro enterprises can
substantially absorb rural workforce available in the State. With the kind of
initiatives being undertaken to promote development at village level to augment
rural economy, sourcing alternative livelihood activities is essential. Day-to-day
fragmentation of land and diversion into other non-agricultural uses has increased
pressure on land manifold. In this context, apiculture seems to fit well as one of the
livelihood options, since it is a non-land based activity.

        Furthermore, Sikkim offers great biodiversity harbouring almost 26 percent of
the total reported flowering plants of the country. The forests of the State exhibit
diversified variety of flora and fauna presenting a bio-geographical region unique in
India and perhaps in the whole world. There are approximately 4,500 species of
flowering plants found in Sikkim. Our emphasis on organic farming will also greatly
facilitate promotion of apiculture, as this would provide conducive environment in
the production of organic honey.

       The many other green incentives undertaken by the State Government during
the last one decade will, quite obviously, prove very helpful in the development of
apiculture. We have banned felling of trees and banned grazing in the reserved
forest. The comprehensive afforestation drive we have introduced over the years has
already improved our forest cover. We have also introduced innovative conservation
measures including the Smriti Van and the on-going State Green Mission plan. I am
happy to state here that the State Government is environment-friendly which will
induce a sense of conservation ethics among the people, thereby ultimately helping
the development of apiculture in the State.

       Traditional beekeeping has been a practice in the State since time
immemorial. Like in many other states, the people of Sikkim have had their fair
share of association with bee and bee products. Honey hunting was a common
practice with some of the tribal population. Rearing of bees in traditional
containers, mainly tree hollows, drums, boxes is still in vogue in some of the remote
villages. Bees and honey is being associated with good fortune. In fact, in local
custom, swarming of bees and colonizing at homestead is regarded as a harbinger
of good times ahead.

                                         122
      Against the backdrop of this traditional bee keeping in the State, modern
techniques of bee keeping and some of the finer nuances of apiculture practice have
been introduced in the state. However, the progress in this sector is slow probably
due to lack of wider dissemination and larger dose of encouragement to our
farmers. And now we need to infuse more life and urgency into this.

      As I understand, apiculture in the whole country itself is yet to receive greater
thrust. Perhaps the reason for this could be our perspective towards honey, which
we view more as a medicine than as food, as done by the Europeans. This is the
reason for great export potential of honey to these countries and to Japan. We need
to capitalize on our strength of natural climate and manpower to reap the harvest of
export market.

      With a very rich forest cover and an ever increasing orchard area, the scope
for apiculture in Sikkim is tremendous. Besides yielding honey and other by-
products, the contribution of bees as pollinators helping to increase fruit and seed
set manifold is a great boon to the farmers. All these aspects need to be considered
deeply and serious thought need to be given to view apiculture as an important area
to provide self-employment opportunities and additional farm returns. Honey is one
of the thrust areas prioritized by the Department of Industries, Government of
Sikkim.

      I am extremely happy to note that such a Workshop is being organized in our
State to create general awareness to our farmers and potential entrepreneurs. I am
sure this forum will lead to some serious deliberations in providing relevant
answers to some pertinent issues benefiting not only our State but all the states of
the north east. It is our good luck to have policy makers, eminent scientists,
researchers, development workers and entrepreneurs alike in a common forum to
seek solutions to some common problems.

      I would like to once again express my greetings and thanks to the organizers,
especially to the Secretary Agriculture, Government of India and her team, the
delegates from other north eastern states and other dignitaries alike.

      In one of the Shakespearean comedies, one of the enlightened fools
philosophizes about the glorious grapes falling unto your mouths, and therefore,
the grapes are meant to be eaten and that the mouth to eat it. In a relative term,
what is more important is ensuring greater participation of the grassroot people in
this all-important campaign on promotion of apiculture in Sikkim and the North
Eastern region. As they say, honey must always fall where the mouth is! By mouth,
I mean the toiling farmers. Let our farming community reap the benefit always.

      Wishing you all great success.

Thank you




                                         123
XIII        Visits to Asian and European Countries
   82 Singapore Business Meeting and reception hosted by His Excellency Shri
      Alok Prasad, the High Commissioner of India, 31 Grange Road, Singapore
      January 13, 2006

      Your Excellency the High Commissioner of India, Shri Alok Prasad, President
of the Singapore Business Federation, Chief Mentor of CII Shri Tarun Das, ladies
and gentlemen

      At the outset, I wish to thank His Excellency the High Commissioner of India
for hosting this meeting. I am also thankful to the Chief Mentor, CII and other
distinguished guests from the Singapore Business community for being with me
here today. I bring with me warm New Year greetings to all of you from the people of
Sikkim. Sikkim is a small, beautiful and prosperous Himalayan State in the north
eastern region of India. It has become a major centre of attraction in the eastern
fringes of India both because of its expanding economic horizons and the significant
strides it has made in the development process. Sikkim recorded one of the highest
growth rates of 10 percent in the last Ninth Five Year Plan. We are likely to
consolidate this further in the ongoing Tenth Plan period.

      Sikkim is famous for its lush green vegetation, verdant forests, scenic valleys
and majectic mountains. It has a range of rich and magnificent cultural heritage. It
has been a safe haven for tourists. With over 4000 species of different plants and
shrubs, around 700 species of rare orchids and rhododendrons and flowers of
myriad hues and shapes, Sikkim’s bio-diversity is found to be unparalleled in the
country. We have followed a growth pattern that is sustainable, both economically
and ecologically.

      Sikkim’s track record in the reforms process both in economic system and
governance and public management has been highly commended by both the
governmental agencies and private sector. Our social sector indicators are one of
the best in the country. We have managed our environment well. We remain the
most peaceful and politically very stable state in the country today.

      This is my first visit to Singapore. However, we are aware of the significant
and very commendable strides Singapore has made. We keep giving examples of
Singapore both as a leading member of now famous “flying geese” and also a nation
which symbolizes an epitome of efficiency, discipline and patriotism. We remain
deeply impressed by the indomitable and ever inspiring leadership of Hon’ble Shri
Lee Kuan of Singapore.

      India has been refocusing on Singapore as a vital economic partner. My visit
is a part of this larger and deeper engagement process initiated by our national
leadership led by our intellectual-statesman Hon’ble Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan
Singh.


                                        124
       Sikkim is the gateway to India’s Look East Policy. We have been a major
player in this new direction of thinking and actions. The new regionalism primarily
triggered by globalization and flourishing people to people contact is fast influencing
this Look East Policy. We are looking forward to play a crucial role in India’s trade,
tourism and other economic cooperation with countries in the eastern fringe
including Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malasia, Singapore, China and even
Japan. We are also a major partner in the emerging regional initiative known as Bay
of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Techno-economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).

       The Nathu La Pass trade route is being reopened. This trade route used to be
a thriving link between India and China before it was closed down in 1962. This is
the shortest viable land route to Tiber Autonomous Region of China from any of the
South Asian countries. The reopening of this trade route is likely to bring about
significant economic opportunities both in the eastern region of India and its
neighbouring countries and also in western Chinese provinces.

      The Route has in them the core economic and commercial contents of trade,
investment and tourism activities. This is where we see a major role and
opportunity for the investors from a country like Singapore.

       Sikkim is a investor friendly state. We have designed very conducive
investment policies. We have comprehensive enabling legal framework,
environmental conditions and fiscal incentives. The labour laws in the state are
most liberal. The law and order situation ha sbeen at it sbesy. The risk of policial
incertainty and instability has ben minimum. The climatic conditions are conducive
for trade. The state government has now set up the Board of Investment under my
Chairmanship to implement a SINGLE WINDOW POLICY.

      Sikkim was given the best state award among the 10 smaller states (including
Delhi) for the most favourable investment climate by India Today media group in
2005. Sikkim has also been adjudged as an investor-friendly state by a leading
national magazine Business Today. We have had a series of “Investors Forum
Meetings” in New Delhi and other cities of India where a large number of investors
and business houses like CII and FICCI participated.

       The Government of India’s industrial policy for the North Eastern states
provides ample provisions of fiscal and othe relief and incentives to all new
industries for at least ten years from the date of commencement of commercial
production. The Union Government has also notified Sikkim for investment subsidy
in infrastructural projects. The State Government has, in turn, declared some areas
of the State as Industrial Belt. We have set up an Agricultural Export Zone (AEZ)
with full support of the Ministry of Commerce.

      Sikkim already has the presence of eminent national and international public
and private organizations including UNIDO, UNDP, World Bank, USAID,, SIDA,
Asian Development Bank and AUSaid. Sikkim is also a member of the North
Eastern Council (NEC), a regional planning bocy exclusively meant for the eight
north eastern states of India.


                                         125
      Sikkim being a landlocked State, we know, our greatest sstrengths are not
the huge and gigantic factories to produce goods in mass scale but those products
which are high value in content.

      Our biggest forte is bio-diversity and other natural resources based eco-
commercial activities. This includes medicinal plants, horticulture, floriculture,
agriculture and eco-tourism. We have tremendous potential in certain specific
areas. For example, we are the highest producer of large sized cardamom in the
country. Our ginger, passion fruits, orange and orchids have very few parallels.
These are all cultivated organically. We are committed to become a fully organic
state by the year 2009.

       Sikkim has the unparallel distinction of having both rich practices of
traditional medicines and availability of a rich variety of medicinal plants. The world
today is enamoured by herbal charm. Sikkim is the most congenial place to cater to
this huge and flourishing world herbal products markets. Our Hon’ble President Dr.
APJ Abdul Kalam ha soften mentioned about this unique strength of Sikkim.
Tourism is our core competence and we have won several awards in the promotion
and management of tourism.

      The hydel power with a potential of 8000 MW and service oriented sectors
including health, education, tourism and information technology are our other
strengths. By harnessing each bit of huge hydel power potential, we aim at making
Sikkim the “Clean Energy Capital of India”.

      We want the private sector to be part of Sikkimese ethos, culture and
development goals. We have very shinning examples of Sikkim Distilleries, Sikkim
Time Corporation and Sikkim Jewels. They have been there for long contributing
immensely to the growth process.

       Besides, we provide very distinct avanteages for investors to invest in areas
like educational, professional and technical institutions, organic farming, trading
activities across the border, transport and communication, biotechnology, health,
mountaineering and trekking and small and medium enterprises.

       One of the areas we are looking forward is the setting up of small and
medium enterprises (SMEs) mainly triggered by the huge multinational and multi-
product companies. We have seen how these SMEs have transformed the conomies
like that of Korea, Malaysia and even China into robust centres of economic growth.

      It would be a perfect match between the superb technology, quality finance
and efficient management that Singapore has so assiduously built and ample
natural resources, human capital and congenial investment environment we readily
provide in Sikkim. Singapore and Sikkim could together make a major
breakthrough in the consolidation of great dreasm like East Asian Community.
Sikkim, its officials and its people are very keen to invite and work with a range of
Singaporean investors and entrepreneurs. Let us start this mutually beneficial
process that harnesses the opportunities we have so far ignored.


                                         126
      I shall be here in Singapore for next three days. My delegation will be very
keen to discuss some of the potential projects in Sikkim with the prospective
investors and entrepreneurs in Singapore. Please feel free to contact and discuss
with us any projects that you have in mind or our in your pipeline.

      We remain deeply touched by the hospitality and warmth we have received
here in Singapore. Once again, I thank you all for your presence here today.

Jai Bharat.




                                       127
   83 International Tourism Bourse, Berlin on 09 March 2006

Distinguished participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me first extend very warm greetings to all of you present here from the people of
my state Sikkim and India.I am personally very delighted to be here in this very
important, interesting and diverse gathering.

       It had always been my dream to visit your great country, Germany and this
magnificent city, Berlin, to see and learn from huge and deep development strides
that have taken place here. We know the leading role Germany plays in influencing
the Global policies. We vividly remember the historic unification process in
Germany in 1989.We remain deeply impressed with the ever flourishing relations
between our country and Germany. My main objective to visit Berlin and Germany
this time of course, is to attend and participate in this world famous ITB in Berlin.
We very keenly participate in the ITB because our state Sikkim is emerging as one
of the most attractive tourism destinations in the country. We have very unique
features in our entire tourism development and management.

      We are deeply aware that there are several tourism related practices in
various part of the world which are worth replicating in our State Sikkim and in
India at large.There cannot be two opinions about the fact that the ITB brings
together the World’s best tourism practices to a single and very friendly forum. The
ITB is also now a comprehensive meeting ground for professionals, businessmen,
investors, policy makers, development partners, Media, Tourists and others
stakeholders.

       At the same time, we also have quite a few things to offer to this great
emergence of what I call “World Tourism movement” Sikkim is dotted with pristine
natural glory and magnificent varieties of resources. We have sustained peace and
tranquility quite rarely found in many of the tourism destinations. Our concept of
peace is not only absence of violence, instability and uncertainty. Our peace is
individual centric, society wide and sustainably built. We have unpolluted and
plastic-less Town and Villages.

       We have scores of serene and calm lakes and water falls strewn around with
an unparallel bio-diversity. We are the link State for two greatest civilizations of
India and China. We are the custodian of environmental security and the Buddhist
relics in the entire Eastern Himalayas. This is why our State has bagged a large
number of top National Award in India

      All these are there against the backdrop of the Mt. Kanchenjonga, the third
highest peak in the World and most beautiful gift of mother Earth.

      Today the World tourism business is like a movement which brings gains,
benefits, happiness, understanding and solidarity to the entire global societies.
Every human being is touched directly and indirectly by this movement. Every
region will get the benefits of the forward and backward linkage of tourism. The
world is long hankering for peace. Tourism is one way to mobilize forces of peace

                                        128
and tranquility. Therefore, this World tourism movement is the most beautiful
aspect of ongoing globalization process.

       Ladies and Gentlemen, this is why we are here amongst all of you. To share,
to learn and to disseminate the message of world tourism movement. We give very
high importance to our participation in the prestigious ITB. This is amply reflected
in the composition of our Sikkimese delegation from India.I have with me a very
high level team consisting of Hon’nble Minister of Tourism, Hon’ble Minister of
Agriculture, two senior lady Hon’ble Members of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly
and senior advisor and officials.

       Let me confess, my visit to ITB Berlin has been really an eye opener.I remain
deeply impressed by the strides the tourism industry has made in the world. It is a
serious business. In a way it is much more serious a business than dealing with
commodities and products. Because in tourism business, we are mainly dealing
with human beings and their likes and dislikes. we are talking about the movement
of people from one place to another and giving them choice of their maximum
utility. More importantly unlike the tradable products, the varieties of people in the
movement of tourist constantly change. They are dynamic in both demand and
attitudes. In Economics we call it maximization of utility. This maximization of
satisfaction of tourist is very formidably task. A massive challenge to the entire
tourism industry.

      Sikkim has a range of rich and magnificent cultural heritage, with over 4000
species of different plants and shrubs, around 700 species of rare orchids and
rhododendrons, Sikkim’s bio-diversity is found to be unparallel in the country.

       Sikkim is the gateway to India’s look East policy. The new regionalism
primarily triggered by globalization and flourishing people to people contact is fast
influencing this Look East Policy.We are looking forward to play a crucial role in
India’s trade, tourism and other economic cooperation with countries in the eastern
fringe including Bangladesh Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia Singapore, China and
even Japan.

       The Nathula pass Trade route is being reopened. This trade route used to be
a thriving link between India and China before it was closed down in 1962.This is
the shortest viable land route to Tibet Autonomous region of China from any of the
South Asia Countries reopening of this trade route is likely to bring about
significant economic opportunities.

       Against this back drop and the background of India’s effort to refocusing on
European Union as a vital economic partner under the leadership of our
intellectual-statesman Hon’ble Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh, I would like to
put across two points before this very distinguished gathering.

      Firstly, we would like to make Sikkim a very dear and friendly destination for
the people of Germany and Europe. We do get a number of tourist for the European
countries however, we want to attract more and more we have everything and
European tourist would like to take advantage of the warm and smiling people,
                                         129
trekking and mountaineering facilities, varieties of foods, traditional medicinal
practices, hot springs and placid lakes.we have beautiful tourist cottage spread over
in highly exotic areas and strewn with sacred monasteries and temples. The holy
seat of the Karmapa is located in Rumtek amonastry in Sikkim.Our next door
neighbour is the World famous tea producing region Darjeeling.We have very
friendly tourism promotion and support systems.we have tourism all around the
year in spring, Summer, fall and winter.And most importantly we ensure absolute
security.

       Sikkim has the unparallel distinction of having both rich practices of
traditional medicines and availability of a rich variety of medicinal plants. The world
today is enamoured by herbal charm. Sikkim is the most congenial place to cater to
this huge and flourishing world herbal products market. Our Hon’ble President
Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam has often mentioned about this unique strength of Sikkim.

      Sikkim’s track record in the reforms process both in economic system and
Governance and public management has been highly commended by both the
governmental agencies and private sector. Our social sector indicators are one of
the best in the country. We have managed our environment well. We remain the
most peaceful and politically very stable state in the country today.

      And secondly we would like to invite as many investors as possible from
Germany and Europe. Sikkim is an investor friendly State. We have designed very
conducive investment policies. We have comprehensive enabling legal framework,
environmental conditions and fiscal incentives. The labour laws in the state are
most liberal. The State government has now set up the board of investment under
my Chairmanship to implement a SINGLE WINDOW POLICY.

      Sikkim was given the best State award among the 10 smaller States
(including Delhi) for the most favourable investment climate by India Today media
group in 2005.Sikkim has also been adjudged as an investor-friendly State by a
leading national magazine Business Today. We have had a series of “Investors
Forum Meeting” in New Delhi and other cities of India where a large number of
investors and business houses like CII and FICCI participated.

      Government of India’s industrial policy for the North Eastern States provide
ample provisions of fiscal and other relief and incentives to all new industries for at
least ten years from the date of commencement of commercial production. The
union Government has also notified Sikkim for investment in subsidy in
infrastructural projects. The State Government has in turn declared some areas of
the State as industrial belt. We have set up an Agricultural export Zone (AEZ).

       Sikkim already has the presence of imminent national and international
public and private organizations including UNIDO, UNDP, World Bank, USAID,
SIDA, Asian Developmen Bank and AUSaid.Our greatest strength are not the huge
and Gigantic factories to produce goods in mass scale but those products which are
high value in content. Our biggest forte is bio-diversity and other natural resources
based eco-commercial activities. This includes medicinal plants Horticulture
floriculture Agriculture and Eco-tourism.We have tremendous potential in certain
                                         130
specific areas. For example, we are the highest producer of large sized cardamom in
the country. Our Ginger, Orange and Orchids are all grown in organic condition.

      The hydel power with a potential of 8000 mw and service oriented secters
including health, education, tourism and information technology are our other
strength. By harnessing each bit of huge hydel power potential, we aim at making
Sikkim the “Clean energy capital of India”.

      We want the private sector to be a part of Sikkimese ethos, Culture and
Development goals. We have very shining examples of Sikkim Distilleries, Sikkim
Time Corporation and Sikkim Jewels. They have been there for long, contributing
immensely to the growth process.

       Besides, we provide very distinct advantages for investors to invest in areas
like Educational, professional and technical institutions, organic farming, trading
activities across the border, transport and communication, bio-technology; health;
mountaineering and trekking and small and medium enterprises

      The reopening of Nathula Trade Ruote has in them the core economic and
commercial contents of trade, investment and tourism activities. This is where we
see a major role and opportunity for the German and European investors.

       It would be a perfect match between superb technology, quality finance and
efficient management that Germany, and Europe have assiduously built and ample
natural resources, human capital and congenial investment environment we readily
provide in Sikkim.

       I am also very keen to utilize this visit of mine to reach an understanding
with the potential investors businessmen an development partners for their
participations in Sikkim.Please do discuss all your interest with our officials and
me.

      Let us sign memorandum of understanding to initiate and concretize your
interest in Sikkim and our commitment to host you. We have a very dynamic
embassy of our country here in Berlin let by her Excellency Madam Meera Shankar
who is one our most experienced and knowledgeable diplomats.

      Let me conclude by again extending our warm invitations to all of you to our
State Sikkim in India. Let us work together to make Sikkim the Eco-tourism
destinations for the very distinguished German and European tourists. Let me
assure you of the highest comfort level and warmest hospitality.


Jai ITB
Jai Sikkim
Jai Bharat




                                        131
   84 Head Office of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Berlin, 10 March 2006

Madame Marie John
Prof Christian Wangner.

      Let me first extend warm greetings to you and your colleagues in both
Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the SWP from the people of my State Sikkim and
our country India. I remain deeply delighted to visit both these internationally
acclaimed institutions located in the historic city to Berlin.

      My delegation is here in Germany mainly to attend the International Tourism
Bourse and to study the development strides made by Germany. Our objectives are
two fold. Firstly, to get to first hand knowledge of the strategies, agents and impact
of development. And secondly, to explore the possibility of learning and takings
some of these development practices to my landlocked state of Sikkim.That is why I
am personally interacting with a variety of institutions and people concerned.

       It is in this context, I take this great pleasure in visiting and discussing with
the officials of your organization. I have three proposals to make here.

      Firstly, we would like to get a birds eye view of the activities, composition and
functioning of your organization.

      Secondly, we would like to invite you to work in our State of Sikkim in the
areas of your expertise.

       And thirdly through your august organization, we would like to invite other
institutions of Germany to our state.
The areas where we want development partners, private sector participation, NGOs
involvement and engagement of research institutions are mainly eco-tourism, agri-
business, horticulture, floriculture, trading and service sector activities including
health and education, small and medium enterprises, medicinal plants and herbal
medicines, hydel power and sustainable development.

      Let me also mention here that Sikkim in one of the top three fastest growing
states of India. Besides being endowed with Mt Kanchenjunga, the third highest
peak in the world, we have the most diverse and rich bio-diversity in the country.
Our State is widely acclaimed for environmental conservation and devolution and
decentralization of governance.

      Our gender development index is one of the best in the country. Our social
indicators are relatively much higher and richer than majority of the States in India.
We are the most peaceful State in the country. Our State is a part of the eight north
east states of India and is a major actor in India’s “Look East Policy”. A major
development opportunity emerging with the imminent reopening of Nathu la Trade
route via Sikkim to China in very near future.

                                          132
       To initiate the process of this multi-partner engagement, I would therefore,
like to invite both the FEF and the SWP to Sikkim and start their projects both in
the development and research aspects there .I am sure the people and the
government of Sikkim will be able to give you the highest possible professional
satisfactions to your august in institution and the people go Germany.
I thank you once again for presenting us this opportunity to visit your august
institutions and interaction with us.

Thank you,




                                       133
   85 Officials of the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC) and
      Intercooperation at Bern, 13 March 2006

Mr Elmar Ledergerber, Persident of Intercoopeartion
His Excellency Mr Amitava Tripathi, Ambassador of India
Mr Christoph Graf, Head of South Asia Section, SDC
Mrs Rupa Mukherji, Delegate of Intercooperation India
Mr Felix von Sury, Director Intercooperation.

       I have carried with me the warmest greetings of the people of Sikkim and
India for the people of Berne and Switzerland. Your beloved country is so much like
Sikkim. The harsh winter in just fading away. The spring has started setting in.
Greeneries are reappearing and flowers are starting bloom. Fragrance of spring is
all in atmosphere. More importantly people are keenly looking forward to enjoying
the pleasant and magnificent spring season. This forenoon when I was traveling
from Geneva to Berne, I felt I was in the countryside of Sikkim. However, we have
striking differences also that are caused by variation in the nature and the degree o
development interventions, historico-political backgrounds and socio- cultural
issues.

       First of all let me on behalf of the people of Sikkim extend our profuse thanks
to the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC) and Intercooperation for
inviting me and my delegation to the country which is akin to the “Queen of
Beauty”. My poetic intuition always makes me imagine the more beautiful than
beauty itself. Today I feel my imagination is a reality. In Switzerland, I have found in
it and impeccably beautiful nation state. I am personally so very grateful to you all.

       This is my first visit to Switzerland. We remain highly impressed by
significant and very commendable strides Switzerland has made in last many
decades. We keep giving examples of Switzerland both as a leading example of
sustainable development and as the flag bearer of world peace. We discuss the
Swiss people for their efficiency, discipline and patriotism.

      Sikkim’s association with Switzerland is not new. Swiss missionaries from the
Canton of Valais went to Sikkim long back primarily to initiate projects relate to
education. They along with the Scottish missionaries played a very vital role in
introducing modern education system in Sikkim.

       There are striking similarities between Sikkim and Switzerland.
Geographically both Sikkim and Switzerland are dotted with hills, mountains and
lakes. This makes the livelihood pattern both difficult and limited. Our mountain
profile includes Mount Kanchenjunga the third highest peak in the world. Hill
farming is common feature. Organic farming has been our traditional strength.
Even after the famous Green Revolutions of 1960s in India, Sikkim is one State
which has the least influence of it particularly in the use of chemical fertilizers and
pesticides.



                                          134
       Both Switzerland and Sikkim are the epitome of peace, tranquility and
stability. Switzerland does it at the global level and we in Sikkim do it at the
national level.

      We have the most diverse and rich bio-diversity in the country. The scope for
interventions in areas like medicinal plants, water resources and heritage
management are huge and largely unharnessed.

       This is where the role of SDC and Intercooperation have proved to be so
critical and crucial in the entire question of development interventions in our State
in India. The SDC has consistently supported us since 1993 in areas that are so
vital to the functioning of economic and social system in our State. The areas so far
covered by the SDC are animal husbandry, diary, horticulture and the
decentralization process in the state.Sikkim is landlocked and primarily and
agrarian State. Our rural population is still over 80 percent. Our infrastructure
linkages are gradually developing.

      All the SDC projects have really and solidly helped us in gradually
transforming the State into vibrant, forward looking and high growth economy.
Today Sikkim is one of the top three fastest growing states of India. Our state
widely acclaimed for environmental conservation and devolution and
decentralization of governance.

      Our human development and gender development indices are one of the best
in the country. We were the third among the 28 States of India to prepare the
Sikkim Human Development Report in 2001. Our social indicators are relatively
much higher richer than majority of the States in India.

       It is not that we do not have other development partners in Sikkim. In the
last one decade we have been able to attract a variety of development partners. As a
result, we have quite a few donor agencies, NGOs and INGOs working in the state.
However, we find the SDC’s participation to be very effective and far reaching. There
are strong reasons for this. Sir, your development participation has been in the
most crucial areas that directly influence the livelihood pattern in the State. Your
interventions are friendly, accessible and affordable to the most common man in
the State. Your strategies are innovative and your instruments are simple. The most
vital aspect of course is the fact that your projects generate a sense of ownership
and accountability which I think is the key to sustainability.

      A symbol of our partnership is the Sikkim Alpine Cheese. You gave us
technology, techniques of management and gesture of humanity.
And we blended the same with our natural endowments and people’s skill and
societal commitment. The flourishing India and the neighborhood gave us the
market. It is a solid and substantive epitome of Indo-Swiss cooperation and
partnership. Let this Cheese catch the market like the proverbial “wild fire”. We
stand to gain a lot.

     There are very serious structural changes that are likely to happen within
next couple of years. A major development opportunity is emerging with the
                                        135
imminent reopening of Nathu la Trade route via Sikkim to China in very near
future. Government of India’s “Look East Policy” may ultimately open the entire
eastern region of India to the huge and ever expanding markets of Myanmar,
Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, China and ever Japan.Sikkim is the gateway to
India’s “Look East Policy”. We are looking forward to play a crucial role in India’s
trade, tourism and other economic cooperation with all these countries. Sikkim
cannot remain outside the process of globalization. We shall have to prepare
ourselves to maximize the gains from this process and minimize the negative fall
outs.

       We want to strengthen the delivery systems both within and outside the
government. This is because we think that the best deliveries are done only in a
situation of competitiveness and accountability. We want to have a parallel system
of development management. People should have choices so that they can make full
use of the development system and benefits. Ours development process is still
largely driven by the State. This has very serious demerits and limitations. We have
realized that people tend to become dependent and the State loses as we are not
able to sustain such development measure based on doles and subsides. More than
that, we are not able to effectively utilize the human resources and the related
social capital in the State.

      Therefore, we have rather strongly felt that the participation such that of the
SDC is the key to realize the ultimate goals of making our State a robust economy,
environmentally sustainable society with a strong content of human security. It is
against this background, I take this opportunity to propose the following three way
forwards in the Sikkiim-SDC cooperation activities in the next one decade.

      Firstly, we would request the SDC to adopt Sikkim the model State in India in
the arena of development interventions and governance management. This can
happen only if we get a long term commitment from the SDC. The present talk of
withdrawal and phasing out of the SDC projects in our State have cause us both
unhappiness and concerns. This is because we think that next few years will be the
most crucial period of time for us to transit to a new development regime. I have
already written to our Hon’ble Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to help us in
retaining the development support extended by the SDC.

       Secondly, we would urge the SDC to diversify its activities in other crucial
areas like eco-tourism, organic farming, community based mini and micro hydel
projects, agri-business including horticulture and floriculture. We propose to
integrate all these with the likely development in the small and marginal enterprises
and other private sector projects in the State. These SMEs are likely to be triggered
off in the immediate aftermath of the reopening of the traditional trade route of
India with China through Nathu la in Sikkim. This is why we are interacting with a
number of investors, traders and tourism relate agencies in Switzerland and in
other countries in Europe during this visit of ours. What we are proposing here is a
Comprehensive Economic Partnership (CEP) with Switzerland. I think given our
long standing understanding and proven commitment this CEP is both highly
desirable and imminently possible.


                                        136
       And thirdly, we have increasingly realized that the governance is one very
crucial factor in the entire ongoing process of economic reforms, change of
development strategies and harnessing of our human and natural resources in the
State. The State on its own has been very keenly implementing the reforms in
governance in the State. Our focus is on decentralization and devolution. Since this
is for the first time we are embarking on governance reforms, the issue of the
capacity building is emerging to be the most vital aspect in the entire process. In
the last few years, we have seen that the efforts in this direction by the SDC have
really yielded fruitful results. I would therefore, urge the SDC and Intercooperation
to put together a more focused and substantive intervention on this project of
governance reforms and capacity building in Sikkim.

      As the Head of the Government and also the leader of the people centric party
let   me     assure      the  SDC    and      Intercooperation    our  unflinching
physical,intellectlual,legal and budgetary support in all the development
interventions your august organizations will carry out in Sikkim.

      Besides the profuse blessings of the Mother Earth in Sikkim, our biggest
strength in the State is our simple, smiling, essily adaptable and quick learning
people. Ours is a young state with a very young populatin.This gives both the State
and the SDC an unparallel opportunity to work together for greater cause of
bringing the mountain and highland people to the development mainstream.

       We want to learn more and more from the development experience of your
august country. We would like to take maximum advantage of the presence of the
SDC and Intercooperation in our State. We would like to understand your
institutional settings and le4gal framework in the arena of sustainable
development. Most importantly we would like to get the best of management
practices and technological inputs in this consolidation of partnership. Our vision is
to make Sikkim the Switzerland of the East. I fervently hope that this is possible
and achievable.

      Let me again extend our thanks and gratitude to both the Swiss Government
and the SDC for their support and encouragement which we really value most and
cherish for years to come. I am convinced that our partnership will be both fare
reaching and widely beneficial.

I thank you once again.




                                         137
   86 India Institute of Federalism, University of Fribourg, Switzerland, 14 March
      2006

Prof Thomas Fleiner, Director,

Ladies & Gentlemen

      Let me first extend warmest greetings from the people of Sikkim and India to
the faculty members, students and other officials of the Institute for Federalism and
the University of Fribourg.I thank you for giving us this opportunity to visit this
renowned Centre of Excellence and also to listen to your very erudite and
enlightening presentation.

      After listening to this very interesting presentation, I feel we have strong
similarities in the area of development needs and governance norms. Switzerland is
a small country yet it is so diverse.

      Our country India has 28 states with varieties of people, languages, culture,
natural resources and social systems all these states vary in terms of level of
development, political orientation and social monbilisation.What keeps us so united
and integrated is democracy, federalism, and secularism and deep sense of pride in
being an Indian.

       More interestingly, each constituent state has its own identity and socio-
economic development ethos. Our State Sikkim is again a small, mountainous state
of hardly 600 thousand people. Surrounded by three countries Bhutan, Nepal and
China, we are yet another mini India with diverse languages, religions, social
practices and political aspirations. Though we have the people from plain lands of
India, our State essentially inhabited by hill people.

       You are aware, in India we have a strong Centre. The States are given
adequate functioning autonomy, financial resources and legislative powers. We call
ourselves quasi-federalism. Yet given the immense diversity of history, geography,
people and development aspiration we sometimes have problems even violent
conflicts. There are commissions appointed by the government from time to time to
reexamine the issues of federalism. The last Commission known as Sarkaria
Commission was appointed in the mid 1980s.

       Both the Union and the State governments have increasingly realized that the
best way to inject comprehensive development in the country is to increasingly
decentralize and devolve the functioning of the government to the people at the
grass root. The idea is to give a sense of ownership, introduce transparency and
make people accountable. This is why the two historic 73rd and 74th amendments of
our Constitution were initiated in early 1990s.These two amendments very clearly
give us the parameters of decentralization and devolution. For instance, besides
identifying the 29 areas for devolution, it also provides for gender equality and
women empowerment.


                                        138
      Our State Sikkim has been in the forefront of decentralization and devolution
in India. In fact, we were declared as the third best state in the country in this
respect. Given the fact that we became a part of Indian federal system only in 1975,
we feel proud in saying that our State is the most vibrant example of democracy,
secularism and federal practices.

      We have four districts in Sikkim .We have now given the administrative
control of all government institutions like Primary Schools, Primary Health Sub-
centers, Village level offices, Libraires, Community Information Centers, Rural
tourism, Minor Irrigation Works, Community Centers, grounds for sports etc.falling
under a Village Panchayat Unit to the President of the particular Village Panchayat.

      Village Panchayat Units will now have the power to prepare, sanction,
supervise and implement various schemes in their respective areas. To enable them
to exercise these powers each Village Panchayat Unit in the State is being provide
with an amount of Rs.1 million and four District Panchayat are being allotted with
an amount of Rs.5 million each. This will benefit all 166 village Panchayat Units
and four district Panchayats in the State.

     After listening to presentation on aspects of Swiss Federalism, I am tempted
to make following two proposals to this noted Institute in Fribourg University.

       Firstly, while undertaking the decentralization and evolution we have
increasingly found that the key element in the entire process is the capacity of the
village and district functionaries. Besides the larger political commitment and will
to implement the measures of decentralization, it is actually the capacity,
commitment and determination of the people which in the long run would
determine the sustainability of this new practice of local governance. It is actually
capacity that gives the stakeholders confidence and power.
In Sikkim therefore, capacity building is the key issue. I would request the Institute
of Federalism to advise us on how these capacities can be built for a multiplicity of
responsibility and activities.

      Secondly, Sikkim provides a very fertile ground for an inter-country study on
federal practices. To start with if we can think of a collaborative project among the
academics and policy makers of Sikkim and this august Institute, it would have
been of tremendous importance to our Sikkim Government and our national
government. This would have also generated not only cross-fertilization of ideas but
also exchange of best practices, experiences and instruments. I would like to take
this opportunity to invite this august Institute and the University of Fribourg to
Sikkim in near future and explore these possibilities of collaborations.

       Sikkim will soon have a University of its own which could very closely work
with the University of Fribourg in very many aspects of federalism and other
development issues. I am sure this would be of tremendous mutual benefit.
I once again thank you for organizing this meeting. It was a beautiful orientation
Prof Thomas Fleiner gave us .As a politician it was a great learning experience for
me personally. My delegation joins me in applauding the work you have been doing
tin the Institute and the University.
                                         139
   87 Sierre-Anniviers Tourism (SAT), Vissoie (Canton of Valais), Switzerland, 15
      March 2006

   Mr. Manu Borccard, Director of Sierre-Aniviers Tourism (SAT), Vissoie,
Distinguished officials of the Sierri-Anniviers Tourism (SAT)

   Our very warm greetings to you and distinguished officials of the Sierre-
Anniviers Tourism (SAT) from the people of Sikkim and India. I thank you very
much for the lovely and informative presentation on the tourism activities of the
SAT. We are amazes to see that how decentralized and scientifically organized are
the tourism activities in a relatively small country of Switzerland. This gives us a
definite way forward in the management practices of tourism in the both India and
our State Sikkim.

   Sikkim is a small landlocked mountain state of India surrounded by Nepal,
Bhutan and China. We have been promoting state as the eco-tourism destination of
India. We are a beautiful state in every respect of the term. Our people are happy
and smiling. Our mountains are calm and enlightening. Our lakes are placid and
our country side is fertile and productive. One will find peace and tranquility in
every nook and corner of Sikkim.This is why everyone wants to come to Sikkim

   The total numbers of tourist arrivals have increased from a mere 21,854 in 1981
to 240 thousands in 2004.Out of this over 12000 are foreign tourists. We expect
these numbers to increase rapidly as we reopen the traditional trade route to China
via Nathu la Pass in Sikkim.We plan to integrate the entire Buddhist tourism circuit
from Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Tibet Autonomous Region of China to Sikkim
and surroundings areas. We are an upcoming tourism centre of India. We have
faced quit a few problems including that of infrastructure, publicity and
advertisement and quality tourism. Given your rich experience of managing a
variety of tourist, we will be very keen to get your support and also collaborate with
you in a number of areas.

   Our tourism is primarily summer tourism. We have hardly 2-3 percent of the
total number of tourist coming of Sikkim in winter.Wheras I gather that your
tourism is essentially a winter tourism.Therfore, there is a high potential for us to
collaborate on understanding and promoting tourism in such a way so that
seasonality elements is minimized. In other words, we want balanced spread of
tourism activities through out the year.

   Similarly, on an average of tourist stays in Sikkim for 2-5 days whereas I gather
that the length of stay is rather much higher here in your country. We would be
very keen to know as to what make this tourist stay here for much longer time.

   In my delegation we have the top representatives of the tourist management in
Sikkim am asking them to have more intimate interactions with you and your
distinguished officials. It would be of great benefit for the State of Sikkim if we get
sustained support from your organization on issues of infrastructure, amenities
and other management aspects of tourism.

                                         140
    I thank you once again for giving us time to interact with you. I also very warmly
extend our invitation to you to visit Sikkim in very near future. This exchange of
visits will definitely concretize some of the potential joint projects between the
Canton of Valais and Sikkim.
Thank you.




                                         141
   88 Municipality of Vissoie, Sierre (Canton of Valais), Switzerland, 15 March
      2006

Mr.Rene Massay, President of Municipality of Vassoie
Distinguished officials of Municipality of Vissoie.

       We extend our warm greetings to the distinguished official of your
municipality and the people of Vissoie and Sierre from the people of Sikkim and
India. We are deeply impressed by your presentation on the functioning of
municipality. What is more impressive is the fact that how you mobilize resources
for the running and management of the municipality. The people’s cooperation in
the running of a municipality is so very vital. While you were presenting the
politico-administrative aspects of the municipality, I was immediately struck by own
system of elections for the municipality.

      India is a big country with thousands of municipalities across. Some of the
municipalities are doing extremely well while some of them are languishing on
account of poor resources, over politicization, over staffing and more importantly
lack of any new ideas and initiatives. It is rather mandatory in our country to have
an elected municipality. This is so, after the 74th amendment of the Constitution in
the early 1990s.

      In Sikkim our urban bodies are doing well. We have full fledged Departments
of Urban Development and Housing and Public Health Engineering which have
been managing and addressing the issues of urban affairs. We have 9 urban
centers. As per the last census of 2001, our urban population is about 11 percent
of our total population of 600 thousands people.

        The rapid expansion of urban areas has put a lot of pressure on our urban
bodies in terms of resources, manpower, technology, maintenance of existing
facilities and improvement in service delivery. There are pollution and congestion,
unauthorized high-rise construction and declining urban service networks. All
these are putting an unsustainable pressure on urban environments.
We have three major issues that have really kept us engaged for last many years
now. And in all these three issues your municipalities have done very
well.Therefore,we would request you to help us in overcoming these difficulties by
extending your knowledge base, experience an management practices and more
importantly technologies.

       Firstly, the issues of urban planning. We face serious problems of buildings,
hostels and shops coming up in the town areas. Many of them are illegal. We also
face the problem of increasing number of motor vehicles. Despite our strict
regulations we have not been able to prevent and stop it .The pressure of tourism is
largely responsible for it. At the same time, since tourism is emerging to be our
major economic activity, we have to promote tourism in a big way. We would like to
know how your municipality and other urban bodies have dealt with such
situations. We would be very keen to get your support in areas like devising of legal
framework of urban management, developing master plans and land use and
management practices.
                                         142
      Secondly, Sikkim is environmentally very sensitive. We have been able to do a
lot in the management of environment both in the urban areas and the high
mountain regions. We have banned the use of plastic bags, grazing in the upland
areas and the felling of trees. We have been able to convince to remove the firing
ranges of army in the high mountain areas. We have involved people in the entire
process of environmental management. However, we have faces a serious problem
of waste management. Our Urban Development Department uses’ “disperse and
dilute techniques” in the garbage disposal. Our department is able to cover only 6
percent of the total population. Majority of the households dump their waste into
what we locally call jhoras or the main drains.
These over dumped jhoras and sewerage overflows are becoming a major source of
environmental degradation.

      As in all hill towns, proper drainage is critical in our towns primarily to
maintain the stability of its fragile slopes. We would be very keen to understand
your techniques of solid waste management and also see in what way we can
collaborate in resolving our longstanding problem.

      And thirdly, the issue of mobilization of resources is very critical to us. In
India, for long the government provided water, electricity and many of the urban
amenities at highly subsidized rates. Over the last decade or so however, the
economic reforms have injected the concept o fuser charges and cost recovery. This
is because the government can no longer provide all these services with such high
subsidies. We have seen resistance from the people in paying the market led tariffs.

      We would therefore, like to know how your municipality deals with the issues
of user charges? We would also like to understand the other different ways of
mobilizing resources for the smooth functioning of urban bodies? Again we would
be very keen to get your support on all these issues. I am sure we will also have
quite a few things to share.

      We have gathered a good stock of knowledge and practices out of our
experience of managing a mountain State.

      Let me concluded this brief intervention by extending our warm invitation to
you to visit Sikkim and enjoy our hospitality. I must tell you, Sikkim is wonderful
State of India with very many similarities with your magnificently beautiful country
Switzerland.

       I thank you all for giving us this great opportunity and time to interact with
you.


Thank you.




                                         143
   89 Dinner hosted by Mr. Amitabh Tripathi, Ambassador of India to
      Switzerland, Bern, 16 March 2006

His Excellency Mr. Amitava Tripathi,
Madame Tripathi
Distinguished Officials of our Embassy
Distinguished Members of the Sikkimese Delegation
Ladies and Gentlemen,

      I on behalf of the Government and the people of Sikkim would like to extend
our warmest greetings to Your Excellency, Madame Tripathi and distinguished
members of our august mission in Switzerland. We have now almost completed our
very engrossing and fruitful visit to Switzerland. This was our first visit to this
enchantingly beautiful country.

       We have had very serious and far reaching interactions with various
institutions and people here in Switzerland. Our State Sikkim has had a long
cooperation with the Government of Switzerland. It has tremendously helped our
landlocked mountainous State in achieving the third highest growth rate in the
country. By all indications we are now a performing State in India. We have a vision
to make our State as one of most robust states in the country.

      We are very keen that the Government of Switzerland continues to extend this
support in some specific areas where they have proven expertise. This includes
areas like tourism, animal husbandry, high tech industries, hydel power and
environment management. In the process of acquiring this development cooperation
support from the Government of Switzerland, I am convinced that our august
Embassy here in Bern has a very critical role to play. I would therefore, request
Your Excellency to extend full support and cooperation to the projects we do jointly
with the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation.


      Your Excellency, we remain deeply impressed by our Country’s image here.
The respect we have earned in a far off country like Switzerland is both because of
the performance of our country in both the fields of democracy and development
and also the superb performance consistently put up by our august mission here.

      Your Excellency, we are very thankful to you and the distinguished officials of
our august mission here for your warm hospitality and all the logistical support. We
are very grateful to Your Excellency.

       I am sure Your Excellency will give us an opportunity to reciprocate the same
with equal warmth by visiting our State in very near future. I extend our warm
invitation to Your Excellency and Madame Tripathi to visit our State where peace,
tranquility and progress are the hall mark.

Thank you once again.

Jai Hind.
                                        144
   90 Lunch hosted by Mr. Chappatte, Head of Multilateral Cooperaiton of SDC, Bern,
      17 March 2006

Mr. Chappatte
Distinguished Officials of the SDC
Distinguished Members of the Sikkimese Delegation
Ladies and Gentlemen,

       I on behalf of the Government and the people of Sikkim would like to extend
our warmest thanks to you and the very distinguished officials of the SDC for
inviting and hosting us in Switzerland. At the end of this visit, I must say that my
delegation and me remain overwhelmed by the warm hospitality and strong
fragrance of friendship extended by your organization and the people of
Switzerland.

      This country’s beauty is bewildering and penetrating. You have both the
custodian of matured democracy and world peace.

      When famous author Malcolm Mugeridge wrote the best selling book on
Mother Teresa in 1970s he named it as “Something beautiful for God”. After visiting
your great country, my poetic vibration encourages me to say that this country is
“something beautiful by God”. It is amazingly and impeccably charming.

       Had it not been the SDC’s development cooperation support in Sikkim
perhaps we would not have come to Switzerland. It would have only remained a
dream. Our presence here therefore, shows how valuable and pertinent is the SDC’s
development partnership with Sikkim. We attach greatest importance and
significance to the development actions of SDC in Sikkim.

       The people of India and in particular people of Sikkim have greatly benefited
from the longstanding association with the Government of Switzerland through the
SDC. Our partnership today has helped in gradually transforming a landlocked and
mountainous state into a robust, dynamic and performing state of India. We have
still much to do. We think this is just the beginning. We have a long way to go in
learning from the development experience of your august country, professional and
technical expertise and technological progress.

       That is why in all my propositions for future cooperation as submitted to
Ambassador Fust and also to Mr. Elmar Ledergerber, I have talked about new
framework of cooperation that will lead to comprehensive economic partnership.
Since we have one of the most liberal and friendly foreign investment policies in the
country, this will naturally include more and more Swiss private sector
participation in our State.

       We have had very serious and far reaching interactions with various
institutions and people here in Switzerland. I have also made an appeal to make

                                        145
Sikkim as the model State for the SDC’s India programme. Therefore, we are very
keen that the Government of Switzerland continues to extend this support for at
least next one decade.

       We would once again like to thank you for longstanding development
cooperation and support to Sikkim. Many of you have visited Sikkim. I extend our
warm invitation once again to all of you to visit Sikkim both to enjoy the pure air
and natural beauty and also assess what SDC cooperation has done to Sikkim and
its ever smiling people.

   Thank you once again.




                                       146
   91 Dinner hosted by Mr Elmar Lederberger, Mayor of Zurich & President of
      Intercooperation at Zurich, 17 March 2006

      We started with a very warm welcome by you Sir in Bern and today we re
ending our visit with another warm and friendly gesture of your at Zurich. Both
these towns are a symbol of great strides Switzerland land has made in multi-
dimensional fields. They have in them the greatest virtues of democracy, peace,
tranquility and brotherhood.

      We remain deeply impressed by the magnificent beauty of this country. We
are overwhelmed by the warmth and hospitality extended by you and the people of
Switzerland. More striking was the astonishing similarity between your way of living
in the country side and their approaches to the Mother Nature with that of
Sikkimes people in India.

      I am reminded of what the famous poet Wordsworth said “the things of
beauty are joy for ever”. It is rather a joy that would drown us for many many years
to come.

      The collaboration in development cooperation between the people of Sikkim
and the SDC and the Intercooperatin as I expressed in my opening address in Bern
is a historic event. We have gained trememdously.The impact of this 13 years of
cooperation could be so easily fond in any area. Our economic performance,
governance system, human capacities, women empowerment, orientation of
decision makers and civil society are all deeply touched by the very friendly and
people centric cooperation devices of the SDC and the Intercooperation.

      As I have side we shall have to expand the framework of cooperation in
include eco-tourism, small and mini hydel projects, capacity building, floriculture
and horticulture. We have a vision to make this endeavor into a comprehensive
economic partnership. There are several opportunities coming up including the
reopening of trade route to China via Nathu la in Sikkim and the opening of India
more towards the East to include the entire South East and East Asian countries.

       Sir you are a leading public figure and a man of versatile qualities. We would
like to harness your rich experience of managing private sector and professional
organization to bring Swiss private sector companies in Sikkim.There are wide and
diverse opportunities. We have one of the most liberal investment policies. We shall
be very delighted to host them.

      We have had a very fruitful visit and engrossing interactions with a large
number of institutions and people in the course of last five days. We are going back
with a highly enhanced knowledge base and a first hand experience of rich
development and governance practices in your august country. This will only
strengthen our conviction that Swiss and the Sikkimese people together can bring
major difference in the perspectives of mountain area management.

     The great town of Zurich shows both your leadership quality and the vision of
your national leadership. It is an example to all of us as to how small could be
                                       147
beautiful, resourceful and well managed. It is a superb combination of human
qualities and technologies.

       I once again thank you for your invitation, warmth and highly symbolic
gesture of friendship. We extend our hearty thanks to all the distinguished officials
of the Intercooperation. I am very hopeful that you would give us an opportunity to
reciprocate the same with equal warmth by visiting our State in very near future. I
therefore, extend our warm invitation to you to visit another land of beauty, peace
and tranquility that is our State of Sikkim.

   Thank you




                                        148
   92 Dinner hosted by His Excellency Mr. Rajiv Dogra, Ambassador of India to Italy,
      Rome, 18 March 2006

His Excellency Mr. Rajiv Dogra,
Madame Dogra
Very Distinguished Guests
Distinguished Officials of our Embassy
Distinguished Members of the Sikkimese Delegation
Ladies and Gentlemen,

       I on behalf of the Government and the people of Sikkim would like to extend
our warmest greetings to Your Excellency, Madame Dogra, people of the historic
city of Rome and distinguished members of our august mission in Italy. This is our
11th day in Europe. We started with our participation in the International Tourism
Bourse in Berlin. Last full one week we have been extensively touring Cantons and
towns of Switzerland. Your Excellency we are here in Europe mainly to introduce
the immense opportunities a small, beautiful and peaceful mountain State of
Sikkim in India provides to the investors and other development partners.

      Let me rather delightfully mention here that Sikkim is one of the top three
fastest growing states of India. Besides being endowed with Mt Kanchenjunga, the
third highest peak in the world, we have the most diverse and rich bio-diversity in
the country. We have very high hydro power potentials. Our State is widely
acclaimed for environmental conservation and devolution and decentralization of
governance.

      Our social indicators are relatively much higher and richer than majority of
the States in India. We are the most peaceful State in the country. Our State is a
part of the eight north east states of India and is a major actor in India’s “Look East
Policy”. A major development opportunity is emerging with the imminent reopening
of Nathula Trade route via Sikkim to China in very near future.

       To initiate the process of this multi-partner engagement, I would therefore,
like to invite the investors, traders, tourism agencies, technocrats and other
development partners to Sikkim. We have one of the most liberal and friendly
foreign and domestic investment policies and packages. The areas where we want
the private sector participation are mainly eco-tourism, agri-business, horticulture,
floriculture, trading and service sector activities including health and education,
small and medium enterprises, medicinal plants and herbal medicines, hydel power
and sustainable development.

       We are very keen that the Government of Italy and the private sector here
participate in the development process in our State. In the respect, I am convinced
that our august Embassy here in Rome has a very critical role to play. I would
therefore, request Your Excellency to extend full support and cooperation in
fructifying these potential ventures.



                                         149
      Your Excellency, we remain deeply impressed by our Country’s image here.
The respect we have earned in a far off country like Italy is and indicator of the
superb performance consistently put up by our august mission here.

      Your Excellency, we are very thankful to you and the distinguished officials of
our august mission here for your warm hospitality and all the logistical support. We
are very grateful to Your Excellency.

       I am sure Your Excellency will give us an opportunity to reciprocate the same
with equal warmth by visiting our State in very near future. I extend our warm
invitation to Your Excellency and Madame Dogra to visit our State where peace,
tranquility and progress are the hall mark.
Thank you once again.

Jai Hind.




                                        150
   93 Tourism Agencies and Media in Paris, 21 March 2006

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

       Let me first extend very warm greetings to all of you present here from the
people of my state Sikkim and India. I am personally very delighted to be here in
this very important, interesting and diverse gathering.

      When we were in School there was a popular Hindi song based on “an
evening in Paris”. In history we read so much about France. There was this famous
saying that “when France catches cold, all Europe sneezes”. Since then it had
always a dream to visit your great country, France and this magnificent city, Paris.

      My delegation is here mainly to sale Sikkim as a brand name in the eco-
tourism destination in India. We have been participating in various international
tourism events including in Milan and ITB in Berlin. Everywhere we have been
projecting Sikkim as the emerging destination of Eco-tourism. This is because we
have unparallel features in both the location and natural endowments.

      Sikkim is dotted with pristine natural glory and magnificent varieties of
resources. We are one of the bio-diversity hotspots in the world. We have sustained
peace and tranquility quite rarely found in many of the tourism destinations. Our
concept of peace is not only absence of violence, instability and uncertainty. Our
peace is individual centric, society wide and sustainably built. We have unpolluted
and plastic bags free towns and villages.

       We have scores of serene and calm lakes, scintillating water falls strewn
around with unparallel cultural contrasts. We are the link state for two greatest
civilizations of India and China. Our is the land which has been visited and blessed
by the most revered Buddhist teachers and leaders including the Guru Padma
Sambhav and His Holiness Dalai Lama. Well known botanists like JD Hooker and
Lloyd did extensive surveys of our biodiversity in the 19th century. We are located in
the sensitive border area surrounded by Bhutan, Nepal and China. And we have
been the custodian of both human environmental securities in the whole of eastern
Himalayan region.

       We are also blessed with Mt Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the
world and the most beautiful gift of mother earth. With over 4000 species of
different plants and shrubs, around 700 species of rare orchids and
rhododendrons, Sikkim’s bio-diversity is found to be unparallel in the country.
Sikkim provides the grounds for intellectual pursuits, scientific research and
technological innovations. We have a pool of traditional medicinal practices and a
rich variety of medicinal plants.

       Sikkim is the gateway to India’s Look East Policy. The new regionalism
primarily triggered by globalization and flourishing people to people contact is fast
influencing this Look East Policy. We are looking forward to play a crucial role in
India’s trade, tourism and other economic cooperation with countries in the eastern

                                         151
fringe including Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, China and
even Japan.

       The Nathula pass Trade route is being reopened. This trade route used to be
a thriving link between India and China before it was closed down in 1962. This is
the shortest viable land route to Tibet Autonomous Region of China from any of the
South Asian countries. It was through this route the first British military mission
was sent to Tibet under Col Young husband in 1903. The reopening of this trade
route is likely to bring about significant economic opportunities.

      In fact only this morning we made a plea to the UNESCO office here in Paris
to consider our bids for including the Dupdi Monastery built in 1642 and the most
sacred Khechipalri Lake in the World Heritage list.

      In other words, we provide comprehensive attractions which very few tourism
destinations in the world can think of.

      I see the tourism today as a world level movement. There are conflicts and
instability everywhere. There are violence and killings resulting into dismal people
to people contact. Despite all these, it is partly the tourism which has kept the
world connected, united and friendly.

      The world tourism business brings gains, benefits, happiness, understanding
and solidarity to the entire global societies. Tourism is actually the way to peace
and stability. The more tourist movement we have, the wider will be the economic
opportunities and development prospects. Therefore, in the discontentment and
concerns of globalizations, it is tourism which stands as the safest bet for
international cooperation and development,

      It is in this very context we are trying hard to propagate the message of how
peace and stability are correlated so intimately with tourism.

       Ladies and Gentlemen, this is why we are here amongst all of you. To share,
to learn and to disseminate the message of world tourism movement. We give a very
high importance to our being here for this meeting with so distinguished people and
agencies like you.

     At the same time tourism is a serious business. To make every tourist
comfortable, happy and secure is not an easy task. We have to deal with a variety of
human beings. They are dynamic in both demand and attitudes.

      More than this, to reassure a tourist and convince him to revisit a place is
Herculean task. We are deeply aware that there are several tourism related
practices in various parts of the world which are worth replicating in our State
Sikkim and in India at large. We know that France and in particular Paris has been
a major tourism destination in Europe.




                                        152
      It provides a comprehensive meeting ground for professionals, businessmen,
investors, policy makers, development partners, media, tourists and other
stakeholders. We are therefore, here to learn from your experience.

      Against this back drop and the background of India’s effort to refocusing on
European Union as a vital economic partner, I would like to put across two points
before this very distinguished gathering.

      Firstly, we would like to make Sikkim a very dear and friendly destination for
the people of France and Europe. We do get a number of tourists from the
European countries. However, we want to attract more and more. We have
everything an European tourist would like to take advantage of. The warm and
smiling people. Trekking and mountaineering facilities, varieties of foods, traditional
medicinal practices, hot springs and placid lakes. We have beautiful tourist
cottages spread over in highly exotic areas. They remain strewn with the
monasteries and temples. The holy seat of the Karmapa is located in Rumtek
monastery in Sikkim.

     Our next door neighbor is the world famous tea producing region Darjeeling.
We have very friendly tourism promotion and support systems. We have tourism all
around the year in spring, summer, fall and winter. And most importantly we
ensure absolute security.

      We are one of the top three fastest growing state economies of India. We have
done rather well in reforms process both in economic system and governance and
public management. Our social sector indicators are one of the best in the country.

      Therefore we would like to introduce Sikkim as a tourism hotspot through a
distinguished forum like this to the people of France and Europe.

      And secondly we would like to invite as many investors as possible from
France and Europe. Sikkim is an investor friendly state. We have designed very
conducive investment policies. We have comprehensive enabling legal framework,
environmental conditions and fiscal incentives. The labour laws in the State are
most liberal. The State Government has now set up the Board of Investment under
my Chairmanship to implement a SINGLE WINDOW POLICY. This is why Sikkim
was given the award on most favorable investment climate by India Today media
group in 2005.

      Sikkim already has the presence of eminent national and international public
and private organizations including UNIDO, UNDP, World Bank, USAID, SIDA,
Asian Development Bank and AUSaid.

      Our biggest forte is bio-diversity and other natural resources based eco-
commercial activities. This includes medicinal plants, horticulture, floriculture,
hydel power, agriculture and eco-tourism.

     We provide very distinct advantages for investors to invest in areas like
educational, professional and technical institution, organic farming; trading
                                         153
activities across the border; transport and communication; biotechnology; health;
mountaineering and trekking and small and medium enterprises.

      We want the private sector to be a part of Sikkimese ethos, culture and
development goals. We want the private sector to take advantages of various fiscal,
land energy and other incentives we are offering.

      We therefore request the tourism agencies, media and private sector here in
Paris and Europe to see Sikkim in India as a new area of tourism and investment
destination.

      I thank you once again for your presence here. I would also like to extend our
warm invitations to you all to visit Sikkim and enjoy the warmth of ever smiling
Sikkimese people and the charm of ever soothing Mt Kanchenjunga.

Thank you




                                        154
   94 MAI and OFIT meeting, Paris, 22 March 2006

Mr Max Salomon, Head of International Affairs Unit, Ministry of Transports,
Infrastructure, Tourism and Sea, Republic of France

Madame Diana Beaulieu- Milisavljevic,

      Thank you very much for your invitation and very educative presentation.
France is so highly experienced and knowledgeable in the tourism management
that we in Sikkim have much to learn. This is why we are here in Paris.

      Through we are relatively a very recent entrant into the tourism business; we
have the immense potentiality to be one of the most versatile and attractive tourism
destinations in India. We have natural beauty, mountains and lakes, natural
resources including rare flora and fauna and rich biodiversity. We have a string of
cultural heritage. Kanchenjunga the third highest, mountain in the world is located
in our State in India.

       We lack in four major areas of our tourism development and management.
Firstly, we still have problems with our infrastructures mainly because of the
geographical features. Ours is a hill state. We would like to develop the
infrastructures that suit our natural endowments and cultural values.

      Secondly, we have not been able to integrate the tourism activities with our
major economic activities like agriculture and forest. As a result, the benefits of
tourism have not percolated down to the villages and rural areas. This is very vital
as over 80 percent of our people still live in rural area. Unless we do so, we feel that
the tourism will be an isolated activity which may not be good for the society in the
long run.

      Thirdly, we have the serious challenge of promoting tourism without
disturbing our cultural assets, natural heritage and social system. We would
therefore, like to inject such technologies and practices that will conserve all these
aspects of our society of our society while at the time promoting tourism.

      And finally, we would like to de-concentrate the tourism activities far away
from the towns and its surroundings. In other words, we would like to disperse
these activities so that our carrying capacity matches the needs and the demands of
tourism industry. This means our planning process has to be strong. We require
strong and varied capacity building for this purpose. Given what France has been
doing, I am sure the great country can extend its support forthrightly.

      Last week we made extensive tour of various cantons in Switerzland.The
Canton of Valais provides comprehensive package to tourist based on local their
strength. We would like to use all our local strengths. We have several wider
opportunities coming up. For instance, the imminent reopening of the old silk trade
route to China via Nathu la pass in Sikkim could ultimately integrate trade, tourism
and investment linking almost half the total global population.

                                          155
      I therefore, request your august Ministry in extending these supports to us on
a regular basis. From our side, my government, the Union Government of India and
the people of Sikkim will be very delighted to extend all facilities and incentives for
your participation.

       I once again thank you for your invitation and presentation. I would like to
invite you and your esteemed expert colleagues to Sikkim to concretize some of
these ventures which I have just mentioned.

   Thank you




                                         156
   95 Signing of MOU between the Government of Sikkim and the Dutch
      Consortium for Development of Horticulture Business in Sikkim,
      Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 24 March 2006

Her Excellency Madam Leela Ponappa, Ambassadpr of India in the Netherlands Our
Guest of Honour today Shri A van der Wind, Vin Rijn Group very Distinguished
Dutch Associates
Madame Lucy Maarse
Ladies and Gentlemen

      On behalf of the people of Sikkim and India we extend our warm greetings to
you and the people of this beautiful city. We are really struck by the magnificent
beauty, vast development strides and rich socio-cultural profile of this country. I am
sure we will have a series of occasions to interact and quite a few things to learn
and take home during the course of our stay here for next couple of days.

      Our major objective of visiting this great country is to explore the possibilities
of acquiring expertise, getting technology and to attract the Dutch investors to
Sikkim mainly in the horticulture and floriculture sub-sectors. This is because in
Sikkim, We have immense potentials in these two sub-sectors. This is because in
Sikkim located in the Eastern Himalayas possesses a tremendous biological
diversity. More than 5000 species of angiosperm are found in the State. This is
nearly 1/3 of the total species of angiosperm found in the country. We are declared
as one of the 26 bio-diversity hotpots in the world.

      Our main forte of course is sustainable development. For Sikkim, Sustainable
development means building on its traditions, rich cultural heritage and diverse
natural resources while integrating into the broader development process of our
country India.

      Our main driving vehicles are horticulture, floriculture, agriculture, medicinal
plants and eco-tourism. We are the highest producer of large cardamom in the
Country. We produce very good quality of ginger, mandarin orange and passion
fruits in large quantities. We have 600 varieties of orchids, 36 species of
rhododendrons, 60 varieties of Primulas and large varietes of other exclusive flowers
and fruits. We have a wide range of agro-climates from sub-tropical to alpine
conditions. In the harnessing of all these strengths we have however, been facing
three major difficulties.

      Firstly, We have not been able to produce many of these items in a
commercial scale both because of lack of training and capacity, technical koow-how
and technological inputs

      Secondly, the market access is limited

      Finally, there has been a lack of any substantive investment in all these
sectors.


                                          157
        On our part, we have set up one of the first Agriculture Export Zones in the
country. Most of our production is based on organic farming practices. Our prime
focus is on development of cymbidium orchids, exclusive roses and bulbous flowers
including lilium, iris, tulip and amaryllis which command a huge international
market. We have explored the massive market that prevails both within India and in
the South East, East and Middle East Asian and European countries. In fact, I
personally made a tour of Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand very recently and
interacted with a large number of institutions that work in areas of horticulture and
floriculture.

       We have made our investment policies very attractive and friendly. We are
now looking into the opportunities that are likely to be brought forth by the
reopening of our traditional trade route to China via Nathula. This will be the
shortest land route to China. We are also hoping to reap early harvest from India’s
Look East Policy. Therefore, We are seeking the support of the institutions and
investors of the Netherlands to come and work with us as development partners.
There are tremendous opportunities in production, processing and marketing and
marketing. A huge scope remains in developing our Agriculture Export Zone itself. I
am sure if will go a long way in both transforming Sikkim into a robust State and
also in consolidating the traditional Politico-economic bonds between India and the
Netherlands.

       Let me State few basic features of our State. Besides being one of the fastest
growing States, We are the most peaceful State in the country. We have no records
of industrial strikes and labour unrest. Our People are very friendly, warm and
hospitable. Our social indicators are relatively much higher than many other
States. We are the custodian of environmental security to an overwhelming portion
of the Eastern Himalayas.

      We have adopted economic and governance reforms in a systematic and
steady manner. Recently we were declared as the third best State in the country in
the arena of decentralization and devolution through Panchayati raj System. We
were also declared as the most investment friendly small State by the prominent
media group India Today.

       One of the major aspects of floriculture and horticulture development in
Sikkim is the extensive involvement of educated youths, women and small,
marginal and landless farmers in this particular sector. We would like them to
further take it up as the core means of livelihood rather as a central profession.
This would bring massive social mobilization and help us in alleviating the existing
level of poverty in the State.

       We would also like to integrate the entire horticulture and floriculture related
activities with our eco-tourism ventures and biotechnology related research and
development projects. We are working hard to make our state the eco-tourism
destination of India. In this regard, we already have support from non-governmental
organizations at local, national and international level.



                                         158
      I remain deeply impressed by the gesture and decision of the Dutch
companies led by very well Known Van Rijn Trading to initiate ventures in Sikkim. I
am told that the Associates like Flora Holland, Onings Holland, Matrin Bore, Leon
Van Rijn and Total Fruit have consented to join hands in this far reaching initiative.
I on behalf of the people of Sikkim and India extend our warm congratulations and
best wishes to all of you.

      I am confident that this signing of Memorandum of Intent between of Sikkim
and the Dutch Consortium is just the beginning of the very fruitful process of
development partnership. I personally feel that this Memorandum of Intent will
open a new frontier of cooperation and comprehensive partnership between India
and the Netherlands.

      Let me also take this occasion to pledge for providing all admissible
assistance from the Government of Sikkim and Government of India, in terms of
basic infrastructural facilities, fiscal incentives and other amenities that are
extended to a venture of this nature.

       We have a very dynamic and eminent diplomat Her Excellency Madam
Ponappa as our country’s representative here. Our country‘s mission here has been
seriously working on making the bilateral relations much more diverse and
resilient. Let me assure you of all the support by our mission here in The Hague in
bringing the Dutch expertise, investment and technology to Sikkim.

       I would also like to extend our warm invitation to the august members of this
consortium to visit Sikkim and see for themselves what we can offer and how
opportune is the moment for such joint ventures. This will also pave the way for an
early implementation of this Memorandum of Intent. We give very high importance
to this visit. Our Agriculture Minister, Secretary of the Department and top officials
of my government are here with me. Let us make a beginning to this mutually
gainful and rewarding venture.

   I thank you all once again for your time and indulgence.




                                         159
76 Tourism Agencies and the Media in London, UK, 30 March 2006

Sri Ranjan, Deputy High Commissioner of India
Esteemed members of my Delegation
Sri Jagdeeshan, Minister in India High Commission
Sir Vivek Angra
Very Distinguished members of the tourism and travel agencies and media
representatives;
Ladies and Gentlemen,

       Very warm Sikkimies greetings to all of you.Sikkim are a small, beautiful and
multicultural state located in the Eastern Himalayas in India. We have three
unparallel advantages. We are the richest in biodiversity, the most peaceful in social
fabric and the fastest growing mountain state in the country. Within India, ours is a
vibrant and matured democracy with rich social indicators and strong participation
at the grass root level. Our human development indices are relatively much higher.
We remain an example of gender equality and women empowerment in the
country.Sikkim is one of the most gorgeously beautiful gifts of God to magnificently
diverse India.

      This is the final leg of our six countries and one month tour of Europe. In
doing so, our core objective has been to spread the message of galore of
opportunities that Sikkim provides to the investors, development partners, traders
and tourism agencies in Europe. Our main forte is eco-tourism, floriculture,
horticulture, hydel power and services sector like health, education, information
technology.

       We host unending opportunities in the fields of bio-technology, medicinal
plants and traditional faith healing practices and other scientific researches and
intellectual writings.

      The traditional trade route to China via Nathu la pass in Sikkim is now being
reopened. This provides an altogether a new vista of opportunities. We would
ultimately like to integrate trade and tourism particularly the Buddhist pilgrimage
of Bhutan, Nepal, India and Tibet Autonomous Region of China through this new
trade route.

       We have had very fruitful discussions and forthcoming responses in Europe.
Many of the top institutions, industrial groups and development agencies are soon
visiting Sikkim to initiate their ventures. We already have the presence of a range of
international agencies in the State.

      Our relation with the British people is very old. The first political officer of the
then British India government Late JC White actually presented the first budget of
Sikkim in 1889. The first British military mission to Tibet was made through
Sikkim by Col Younghusband in 1903. Scientists like Hooker and Lloyd and
travelers like Doughlas Freshfield and Major General Newall all made Sikkim their
playgrounds for long.


                                           160
      Therefore, this visit of ours is aimed at both recollecting historical linkages
and also promotes future linkages in the new framework of development, tourism,
commerce and investment. To enable you to rediscover this incredible part of India
is our mission today. This is the key to realize the goal of strategic and
comprehensive partnerships between India and United Kingdom. Our Hon’ble Prime
Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has this vision clearly laid down in all his policy
enunciations.

      We have very friendly and attractive investment policies. We want to show our
vast reservoir of cultural and natural heritage to more and more people. We want
tourists from the UK and Europe to breathe our pure and fresh air drink our
mineral rich water. Besides the Mt Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the
world, and amazingly beautiful trekking sites covered with untouched forest covers,
we have very recently opened three mountain peaks below 20000 ft heights. The
concept of village tourism is fast spreading. Sikkim is steadily shaping to become
the eco-tourism destination of India by 2015.

        Therefore I stand here to inspire and invite the tourism agencies, investors,
traders and other development partners to visit Sikkim and see for themselves what
facilities, opportunities and enabling environment we offer. Every visitor gets the
most favoured visitor treatment. I have led a very high level delegation to this very
important Europe tour of ours mainly to assure you of all our support and
cooperation in your interest in rediscovering Sikkim.

      We have one of our largest, busiest and most efficient high commissions in
London. Our High Commissioner to this great country His Excellency Kamlesh
Sharma is one of the brightest diplomats and an eminent public figure of our
country. I would like to assure you of the full support and warm cooperation of our
mission here in London.

      Let me profusely thank you all once again for your time, indulgence and your
interest on Sikkim.
Thank you




                                        161
XIV         National Conclaves
78.   Chief Minister’s Conclave, India Today Group, Convention Hall, Hotel
      Ashok, New Delhi, 6 August 2004

      Your Excellency, the President of India, Hon’ble Finance Minister, fellow Chief
Ministers, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

     Let me express my profuse thanks to the India Today Group for inviting me to
speak in this Conclave. I also express my gratitude to the Group for giving my state
an Award for impressive performance. The theme I am going to speak in is “New
and North Eastern States: Do they need a new Development Model?”

       I am delighted to note that the Conclave has chosen such a relevant theme.
We have been discussing it in a practical and operational manner in my state for
sometime. What we have witnessed is somewhat a disoriented development,
dislocated priorities not very relevant to the socio-economic profile of the region. We
have, no doubt, invested resources, implemented projects and created viable
institutions. Yet, a majority of the people have not reached the threshold from
where we can take off for a sustainable performance in key sectors.

       We are small, landlocked and strategically located State. While the forces of
globalization have broadened the outlook of people, their aspirations are becoming
localized. While the instruments of economic reforms have reached the villages, the
choices available to the people are shrinking. At one end of spectrum the nation
appears rich, at the other, the villagers seem poorer. In my humble opinion, there is
something wrong, somewhere. We have realized in Sikkim that the most crucial
thing is to reach the people at the shortest possible time through friendly
institutions.

       For this we require a localized development model primarily driven by socio-
cultural practices, local demography and proper harnessing of natural endowments.
The bottom line, of course, is the existence of vibrant, political and other
institutions of governance.

       Ladies and gentlemen, as you are aware, we became the 22nd State of India in
1975 by a Referendum. What we inherited was a different political culture, semi-
feudal development practices and an inward looking society. Upon being exposed to
democracy and planned development, we did try to follow the development model
common to all the other States, regardless of geographical, demographic and socio-
cultural differences. Expectedly, we became dependent on the Union Government
for everything we needed. We could hardly use our natural and human resources in
the way we liked. Our people also gradually shifted from the traditional, voluntary
and self-dependent situation to the dependency mode.

      Being a child of democracy, we were drifting towards the same old situation
wherein inaccessibility, inequality and deprivations increasingly showed their ugly
faces. Mass participation was not possible. Distributive justice was a farfetched
                                         162
goal. People were gradually losing confidence in authority. Their ability to
independent actions remained eroded.

      Mid-1990s, therefore, became decisive turning point when the fruits of
reforms and globalization began filtering into our closed economic system. We
decided to change the course. We consciously deviated from the traditional model
and rededicated ourselves to democratic institutions, more so, at grass root levels.
Last decades has been very challenging to us. Each morning, we have fought
against our own system. Each day, we have vowed to directly reach the people.
Each year we have looked back to discover that we have, perhaps, not moved much.
We continue to have a notable experience in negotiating the new development
discourses.

      Our sincerity has given us some positive results, nonetheless, as indicated in
the 10th Five Year Plan document. Our growth rate of 8.3 percent, was one of the
highest in the counry during the Ninth Plan. Besides, our per capita income is 10th
highest in the counry, per capita plan outlay in the 3rd highest, literacy rate is the
16th highest, infant mortality rate is the 13th lowest, fertility rate is the 12th lowest,
index of social and economic infrastructure is the 9th highest, access to sage
drinking water is the 6th highest, plan expenditure on social sector is the 4th highest
and gross fiscal deficit is the 4th lowest.

      Last but not the least, Human Developement Index has improved from 0.454
in 1991 to 0.532 in 1998. This is, I am sure, significantly higher than many other
states.

       Friends, we were one of the first few states to prepare the Vision Document
and the third state to prepare a Human Development Report. National interest is of
paramount importance in our model of developmet. At the same time local interest
is the core intent of our actions. We believe in providing a comprehensive security to
the nation. At this juncture, let me inform you that I was voted as the Greenest
Chief Minister in the nation wide poll conducted by the Centre for Science and
Environment. Such an honour speaks of my commitment to sustainable
development without disturbing ecological balance.

       We have realized that the peoeple are becoming conscious. They are able to
relate what is happening elsewhere vis-à-vis their surroundings. They are literally
forcing the politicians to be politically accountable, socially responsible and
administratively transparent.

      Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, our development model is simple, eco-
friendly and effective. Our instruments are transparent, cost effective and have a
belndgin of tration and modentity. In other words, we see our people as our goal, as
our instruments as our resource. This means, our thinking, actions and reactions
are people-centric. Our idea is to create a layer of leaders in the entire spectrum of
Sikkimese society.

     Our plan emanate from the villages and the district. We have the Panchayats
running the primary schools, health centres, collecting revenues and deciding the
                                           163
devolution of resources. The strategic intent of our development model is to give
people a range of choices and skills for harnessing these choices. Such choices are
again a combination of livelihood and rights, sustainability and freedom and self
reliance and individual dignity.

       What we are actually doing is to bank upon our own indigeneous strength.
We have reviewed our agricultural policy and are proceeding towards organic
farming. We are tapping the vast ec-tourism potential, highlighting the values of
traditional folk medicines and our rich bio-diversity. We are the best performing
state of the North East as far as tourism is concerned. We are going to restore trade
link with China via Nathula very soon.

       We have solid societal strength as we maintain the wholesome peace and
unquestioned communal harmony. We are still trying to evolve the institutions that
will carry forward the development model already designed. These will sustain the
political ethos we are trying to imbibe and nurture.

       I must admit, nevertheless, that we have faced several constraints. We do not
have a vibrant civil socity. Our bureaucracy is still struggling to come out of the old
practices. Our media, perhaps, does not work in a competitive atmosphere. The
Union Government continues to treat us within the tight mind set of “annual plan”
model. Our Panchayats lack skills and experience to conduct the devolved duties
and actions. Though they are forward-looking, they are in danger of reverting back
to the old system.

       We, therefore, urge the Union Government to treat the performing states with
a different yardstick than the non-performing ones. We have a misplaced concept of
integrating with the mainstream India. For us, mainstream India is not New Delhi
or Mumbai. It is small town of Sikkim known as Namchi or Tawang of Arunachal
Pradesh, Anand of Gujarat and Nellore of Andra Pradesh. Bharat or New Delhi must
come to these smaller towns and villages and not vice versa. We will have to go for
reverse integration if we really want the country to be a leader in the 21st century. I
have always believed that the development model originating from New Delhi needs
to be reexamined, reviewed and reconsidered if we wish to see the trickle down
effect on the vast expanse of rural India.

       What we have been also trying to do is to inject some sense of political
reforms along with the second generation economic reforms. Our government’s
mantra of governing is also based in four string principles of democracy,
development, devolution and dignity. Let us talk about constructive politics and
constructive idealism at the same time. We have only indulged in competitive
politics so far. To win the election and be in the government is not politics for me.
To hit someone below the belt and bring the standard of debate to the lowest
possible level, I am afraid, is not politics. To play one against the other to reman in
power is not politics. To mislead the people by making hollow promises is again not
politics. To use communalism as the last straw is also not politics. A true politician
has a vision. A seasoned politicians has the will and determination to face all the
odds. An experienced politician has a strong sense of sacrifice and is above the oft-
repeated game of communalism, factionalism and horse trading.
                                         164
      Friends, our Development Model is evolving. It is under rigorous test. We are
sincerely working for its success. We need both intellectual and physical support.
There are some other states who are trying to tread this path of localized
development model. Since the people’s acceptability is high, we have the firm belief
that this could be an order of the day in years to come.

      Thank you




                                        165
XV Educational Events and Convocations
   79 Convocation of Sikkim Manipal University on the occasion of conferring the
      Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa), Rangpo Mining, 11 October 2003


      Your Excellency, Shri V. Rama Raoji, respected Member of Union Planning
Commission Dr. K. Venkata Subramanian, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Dr Pai, Mr. D.A.
Prasana, my cabinet colleagues, Chief Secretary and other government officials,
distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

       It’s a festive season for the nation as a whole. It’s an occasion that marks
victory, peace and prosperity for the entire human race. This is a joyous moment.
Let me first extend my warm personal greetings to all the distinguished guests
present here and their families. I especially extend good wishes to the young
students here. Let this light of joy always be with us in both time of happiness and
sorrows.

       For me personally, this is a special, great and rare occasion. I have been
awarded Doctor of Philosophy by such a prestigious institution on the basis of the
cause I have been propounding and the work I have been doing for the welfare of
the people, State and the nation as a whole. When I received a note from the Pro-
Vice Chancellor conferring this degree on me, my immediate reaction was one that
of a pleasant surprise.

      Surprised because I am a simple politician who possibly never thought of
earning a degree of such highest order. As I always thought that I am yet to give my
best to our people, the State of Sikkim and to my motherland India.

      However, I have accepted this Doctor of Philosophy with all humility and
respect at my command for two fundamental reasons. Because I firmly believe that
this act of acceptance will ennoble the entire Sikkimese society and the work done
by the peoples’ government. And secondly, this degree will encourage many other
young Sikkimese to come forward and rededicate themselves to building both their
beloved State and the country.

       It is my privilege to attend this convocation involving our young and bright
students from Sikkim and other parts of the country. It’s a convocation organised
by a flourishing and promising institution in our State.

       I have always believed that it is the institution which links families, villages,
societies and states into a nation. It is the institution that acts as a bond and a link
between the past and the present. Institutions also bridge the future and any other
forms of transition. I always give emphasis on institutions because institutions are
the core elements of our national heritage and civilization. We are firm believer in
strengthening traditional institutions and establishing new ones because
institutions are the representatives of continuity amidst change.

                                          166
       Therefore, we deeply admire the founder of Manipal Group of Institutions
both for the vision and dedication. We highly commend your determination and
action to serve the well being of our nation and its citizens. And I am sure like in
the past there will be a number of individuals and community leaders who would be
following the glowing path shown by you to serve the nation.

      Our great nation is at cross roads today. Our nation requires non-political
leaders and actors all across the country to initiate policies and actions dear to the
heart of people. This is where Manipal Group of Institutions would be looked upon
as an example.

       But institutions are established in the prevailing socio-cultural and
contemporary politico-economic context of the society and a country. They are built
to cater to the needs of the people. Therefore, institutions are expected to be fully
aware of the challenges faced by the people and potentials that people have.
Institutions and their programmes, therefore, need to be people-centric and people
driven.

       In this context, let me say that there are three major challenges to us in
Sikkim today. In tackling all these three challenges of globalization, political
reforms and youth management, we need to get total institutional support. This is
also the concern I find among the top intellectuals, senior media people and other
civil society members in the country today.

      In Sikkim, our government has been taking all these three formidable
challenges as the best opportunities to bring about peace, progress and
sustainability in the State. In the heart of every problem of globalization, we find
opportunities galore to make our state more divergent and robust. In the core of
every political complicacy, we see a very bright light to eliminate inequalities and
deprivation brought about by the political practices in the past.

      And in the sub-conscious, we see a burning desire among our youth to be
more outward looking and self-sustainable. These are the fundamental differences
in our thinking, approaches and goals. We are different in all these and we would
always like to be innovative, novel and far reaching.

      You are aware that we have already had the Agriculture Export Zone in the
State and will soon have the first WTO Centre of Excellence in India set up by the
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

       The other area of focus with our government now is how to reform the
political thinking and system in the State? In this context, we have already made
few significant contributions towards bringing about political reforms in the state.
As part of my political ideology, I have refrained from nominating family members to
become MLAs and Ministers and so on. I do not encourage them in the politics of
the state. Secondly, there is no difference in between our sayings and doings. We
have won elections on the basis of our manifesto and are working sincerely to fulfill
the visions as contained in our manifesto. Thirdly, I have observed honesty to stick
to the principle of our regional party ever since its formation in 1993. Our slogan
                                         167
has not changed, our programs have not changed, our policy and ideology has
remained unchanged. Ours is not the politics of convenience, but politics with the
highest of goals in terms of granting equality and opportunity to our people and
especially the poor and the deprived sections of the society.

      As I stand to address the learned gathering in this institution, I would like to
maintain that political party itself is an institution. Institution has to have basic
principles, ideologies, goals and instruments. Political parties have to have
programmes, sound knowledge about the demands it is asking for and equally
sound strategies to fulfill them.

      In this context, I would like to feel that we require reforms among the political
parties and in the political system in the State and the country. Parallel to the
economic reforms we require second generation reforms in politics and political
systems also. We know, after all, that “politics is the mother of all ideologies”.

      The other major challenge to our State is: how do we fulfill the aspirations of
our youth. Whenever, we think about youths we only talk about the so-called
educated unemployment problem. Unemployment is only a small fraction of the
problems that youths face today. They want political rights and voices. They want to
be the torchbearers in the society. They want institutions and organisations where
they can contribute by harnessing their talents, abilities and employment where
they can prove their worth and skills. They want the society to be vibrant and
reoriented and want to go out and compete with others.

      Our youths today are well informed, knowledgeable and dynamic. Their
problems are non-conventional. Therefore, they require non-conventional solutions.
By showing them only the government jobs in the past, we made them too narrowly
focused in their horizon. In the process we ignored and destroyed all their abilities
and capabilities. Their innovative spirits and talents were crushed by political
mishandling.

      Today we are relieved and delighted that our youths are reorienting their
thinking and harnessing their potentialities in positive activities. There are some
distortions and they will continue to remain in a changing society.

      It was not easy for us to reach this situation. We had to think, grapple with
the problem and make some major policy interventions. On the one hand we have
now in place popular schemes like Chief Ministers’ Self Employment programme
and Skill Development Fund for both disengaging the youths from typical
government jobs mentality and giving them opportunities for self-employment in
varied fields. And on the other hand, we have the presence of NGOs, private
organisation and donor communities actively working in the State. This has
provided diverse employment avenues to the youths. We expect to consolidate these
areas in the next few years.

      My appeal to the youths therefore is four fold.



                                         168
Firstly, never forget your roots. The more attached you are to your roots, the more
strength you will have.

Secondly, there is no short cut to success. You may get one or two quick successes
but they will not last. Therefore hard work, consistency and perseverance are the
key to success.

Thirdly, nothing is greater and richer than knowledge. The difference you can make
anywhere is only through your knowledge and wisdom.

And fourthly, simple living and respect to elders are our brand identity. Maintain
this wherever you go. You will be known for this.

      I am sure the graduates of Sikkim Manipal University are already practicing
these four modest suggestions of mine. I only look forward to see you all come out
of the University with new vision, unconventional outlook and a firm conviction to
serve the State and the nation.

       I do not know how deserving I am to be honoured with the highest degree
such as Doctor of Philosophy. I do not know whether I will be able to fulfill the
expectation this degree places on me. However, this honour bestowed on me will
encourage me to consolidate the work I have been doing for the State and the
Nation. May I take this opportunity to record my deep sense of gratitude to my
parents, wife and family members for their continued support and inspiration to me
all these years.

      Let me also assure this august gathering that as usual I will remain fully
dedicated to the service of the people in the country in general and to the people of
Sikkim in particular. I draw inspiration from the people who are deprived yet
determined and honest to endorse my line of thinking to serve the state and the
nation all time to come.

      Let me also pledge my full cooperation and support to the Sikkim Manipal
University of Health, Medical and Technological Sciences. We are keenly looking
forward to making the Sikkim Manipal University a harbinger of professional,
technical and intellectual progress in the State. We all want this Institute to be
developed as a Centre of Excellence in the whole of Eastern and North Eastern
India and also for the neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar
and Nepal. This will bring pride to the State and the country.

      While ending this expression of personal views of mine, let me once again
express my sincere thanks to the authorities for bestowing this honour on me. In
this august gathering, let me dedicate this Doctor of Philosophy honour to the
people of Sikkim without whose support, blessings and good wishes I would not
have been able to contribute my bit to the making of modern Sikkim and thereby
the nation building process.

      Let me once again congratulate all the graduating students and extend my
best wishes to all of you in what you do for your career and for the nation. May you
                                        169
climb from peak to peak, to scale the highest of obstacles and the greatest of
hurdles. With best of wishes, I end here

     Thank you




                                     170
   80 Inauguration of School Auditorium, Don Bosco School, Malbasay, West
      Sikkim, 15 November 2003

       The road to the good is the roughest and steepest in the universe. And it is
education in its holistic sense that help the common mass of people to equip
themselves for the struggle of life, help them bring out strength of character, spirit
of philanthropy and the unfathomable courage to scale the roughest and the
steepest road ahead and establish the balance of character through a thousand
stumbles.


       Reverend Stephen Lepcha, Reverend Father John Berger, Reverend Sister
Teresa Rai, Reverend Father Felix Baretto, Hon’ble Cabinet colleagues, respected
local gentry, parents, government officials, beloved students, ladies and gentlemen.


      As we inaugurated this School Auditorium today, we have not only added a
physical infrastructure to this prestigious institution but also launched a thousand
dreams and hopes for the students, parents, local gentry to burn down the
incidence of ignorance and spread knowledge, as it would, across the horizons. I
thank everyone in this School for making this day happen for all of us.

      It is said that the earliest known educational system was devoted to the
development of military skills, accorded particularly to the privileged few. Over the
centuries, this concept has acquired a greater meaning with a wide-range of scope
as a process that begins at birth of an individual and ends with his death.

      In India, we probably started with the gurukul tradition and today it has
again acquired a far greater dimension in terms of general application and utilities.
With globalization and more particularly after India embraced the liberalization
policy, the contents and substance of our education policies have been put under
sharper focus. We are equally seized of the urgency to address the question of how
best we can adapt to this changes in the context of Sikkim.

      Firstly is our policy to open up to greater world outside and take the
maximum benefit arising out of the globalization process. Like in other sectors, we
have invited prospective investors to invest in the education sector in Sikkim. The
idea has been to give them participatory role in the development of State. And this
School has gained a very respectable place as a centre of excellence in educating
our children.

       Education has always been our number one priority for state’s prosperity, to
give to every child in the State the chance to make the most of his/her potential. As
the world demands, we are constantly on the look out for innovation and enrich our
educational system. This we want to achieve through the twin approaches of
investment and reforms.

      You are aware that the State Government is investing heavily on
infrastructure development thereby creating an array of physical assets that best
                                          171
suit modern educational requirements. Sikkim could well be the only state in the
country where the government has given maximum incentives under elementary
education in the forms of free uniforms, textbooks, exercise books. We have also
launched Small Family scheme and Prerna Yojana for girl school children to
encourage more enrolment and zero dropouts for the girls in school. The first one
provides for facilitating bank balance for girl students and the latter provides for
scholarship for the meritorious girl students.

      In all these schemes, we have been primarily driven by the principle of
equality- to smooth out economic disparity and also to provide maximum
encouragement to the children. As a result we have steadily improved our
indicators in the educational fronts. We know education is the key to individuals
making the most of themselves. In the modern knowledge economy, we cannot
forever compete on the basis of our labour force alone. The brains of our people are
our number one asset.

      Reforms in the educational system in the context of Sikkim will have to be
viewed in terms of inducting a more local spirit and flavour into the national
curricula. The question here is how we are able to master change without losing
continuity. With this idea uppermost in our mind, we have introduced subjects like
Environment and local history in elementary and junior grade levels in schools. The
other is introduction of subjects in ethnic dialects and recruitment of teachers
accordingly. The three ethnic languages of Bhutia, Lepcha and Limboo are, indeed,
taught upto the college level. The most daunting task we have today, I feel, is
assimilating the modern with the traditional into our educational values, especially
with us in India, with an enduring history of rich cultural and traditional heritage.

        No doubt, we cannot afford to act like the proverbial Ostrich remained buried
in the sands of time. The diversity offered and the opportunity presented before us
by the modern world must also be utilized to our best advantage. This explains as
why we have consistently talked about providing the best modern educational
facilities and development instruments in the state.

       We cannot lose sight of the fact that the IT revolution has clearly
revolutionized the way we look at the world today. The concept of global village is
firmly established where interconnectivity among people to people and nations to
nations rest with the mouse! That means, in a broader sense, borderline has ceased
to exist between states, flowing human resources and brains in and out of a given
State on a regular basis.

       In this context, may I call upon the students here to understand that with a
borderless world, you are now poised to play a global role. Your horizon has
expanded without limit. May you expand your outlook, vision and goal. This
accounts for making of and being a Millennium man- materially fulfilled,
intellectually sound and spiritually rich.

      We have taken a sweeping decision to teach Computer in all schools in the
State. We have been making massive investment to fully equip our schools with


                                        172
modern tools. We will continue to invest on even a larger scale in the future to
further expand the infrastructure base in the state.

      The world is now debating on the three principles of (i) standards, (ii)
bahaviour and (iii) choice, to define education in its entirety. We are, indeed,
working more or less on these three strands to bring about a more life-oriented and
practical spirit to education.

      Standards are important because they are the final measure of whether our
schools are delivering. At the State Government level, we are offering every possible
assistance to Schools in their quest to bring quality of education to a new high. We
have increased our activities in terms of imparting vocational trainings to our in-
service teachers. In fact, professional trainings have been made mandatory to new
recruits in schools right from the primary stage.

       Behaviour is essential because improving discipline is critical to making all
our schools excellent. This aspect of general behaviour in school environment has
provoked the whole world into a range of activities to address this problem. Moral
education, we feel, can help matter improve. Here the aspect of teacher-parent-
student coordination comes into prominence. Combination of moral guidance,
parents’ cooperation and students’ commitment would certainly improve the
situation.

      The essentials of greater choice between schools and also greater choices
within schools have been made more pronounced because of the diversities brought
about by the globalization-led forces. To keep ourselves abreast, we need to infuse
new sense of responsibility among ourselves while also injecting new concept and
discipline in our curricula. I am happy to note that this School has given wide-
range of options for self-development of students through co-curricular activities,
through group seminars and group movements such as Scouts and Guides,
Leadership Training Service Group, Computer Club, Science Club, Games Club and
etc.

       While we talk of concept like education, it is time now that we shed off some
obsolete ideas linked with it. What we have been stressing more, till date, is on the
development of person and not personality as such. True education need to
inculcate human values in the individuals, make them wise, forbearing, tolerant
and above all a good human being. In this context, I call upon the teaching
fraternity to ponder over this issue of value education and bring in more vibrancy
into it.

      In the present context, we are advocating change in our outlook and in our
trade. What our forefathers followed in the past may not be adequately competent
to cope up with the present. Our people need to opt for more diversified and
challenging profession producing thereby master scientists, philosophers and of
course a millionaire.


                                         173
       The students of this school, I am sure, would think in terms of shifting their
priority from the easy to difficult while choosing their prospective career. Before
hard work, perseverance, and untiring effort, there is no hurdle which cannot be
overcome and no promise which cannot be fulfilled. Someone has said that men do
not fail, but they only give up. Let me recount here, for the benefit of the students, a
simple yet an inspiring story of how one great man distilled the great secret of his
leadership and success in his life.
            The story is one that of a man called Winston Churchill who was the
            Prime Minister of Britain during World War II. He was invited by his
            school to preside over the function of its 150th anniversary. Churchill
            accepted the invitation. There was a great expectation among all sections
            of society to listen to the views on leadership from one of the most
            outstanding leaders of the twentieth century.

           On the appointed day, the hall of the school was full. Churchill got up
           from his chair, walked slowly to the podium, took out his small
           rectangular glasses, wore them and looked at the audience. There was
           pin drop silence. He then pulled out a small piece of paper from his
           pocket and placed it on the podium and spoke thus- “NEVER, NEVER,
           NEVER. NEVER, GIVE UP.” Having spoken these five words, he ambled
           to his seat. There was total silence still. However, this message soon
           sank home, and he received a long standing ovation.

        We can think of the story of Robert Bruce and the spider, and more closely
indeed Abraham Lincoln. They are all testimonies of the fact that a great
achievement involves hard work, consistency and the courage to stay on in the face
of initial setbacks. They say that excellence is not an act, it is a habit. I am
confident that the Don Bosco School would impart sound education by forming in
the children habits of piety, virtue, discipline and self-reliance and of course the
habit of excellence.


       I am grateful to the Don Bosco family, parents, teachers, local gentry for
delivering on what was, is and will always remain our number one priority in our
schemes of things. That is making quality education not only the preserve of the few
but a privilege for all and especially the deprived and disadvantaged children in the
state. I am also thankful for giving me this opportunity to share my views with the
learned gathering here today.


       As for the students, may you realize that you are the force that can unravel
all the mysteries, a promise that can fulfill many a dreams and a divine presence
that can inspire an unending kinship, peace and brotherhood among mankind. In
you rest the latent potential to discover, invent and create a new order in the world.


     Robert Frost, the great American poet, in his animated moment put down the
immortal ‘miles to go before I sleep’- dream before the entire humanity. Today, I
would like to conclude my address by quoting the same poet in another poem
                                          174
entitled “The Road not taken”, who indeed prescribed novelty in our effort,
differences in uniformity and uniqueness in multitudes.


Thus go the lines:
"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

   Thank you




                                         175
   81 Fourth Convocation of Sikkim Manipal University, Rongpo Mining, 4
      December 2004

       Your Excellency, Shri Rama Raoji, Chancellor of this University, esteemed Dr.
Bob Hoekstra, dintinguished pro-Chancellor, Dr. Ramdas Pai, my Cabinet
Colleagues, respected Vice Chancellor, Chief Secretary and other government
officials, members of the Governing Council of the University, dear parents,
graduates, ladies and gentlemen

      I take it as my special privilege to attend this fourth Convocation of Sikkim
Manipal University. And last year the act of conferring upon me the honour by this
prestigous institution has had an enabling impression upon me to further
consolidate on the higher educational environment in the State.

        At present I am further encouraged to see 281 fine young people graduating
from this Institute to go out for a noble engagement in the interest of the society
and the nation. I congratulate all the graduating students and extend to them my
good wishes for a successful career and contented life. On April 21, 1993, the
Hofstra University in New York put up a slogan which read- “We Teach Success”. As
all of you go out of this University, I am confident that you are all set to create more
and more success stories to make us proud of our association with every one of
you.

       The concept of higher education today is being considered from varied angles
from wider access, equity, relevance, expansion, and academic productivity to self-
regulation or the ethical role of the institution. Contemporary problems like that of
environment, universal peace and international co-operation have added new
dimensions and we are required to promote, through education, harmonious
relationship between the individual, environment and the cosmos. From our own
national perspective, we have been called upon to also nourish ancient wisdoms
come down from our sages and integrate them with the ever-expanding horizons of
modern educational system.

      Higher education systems have been moving from elite to mass to universal
access and on our part we have been making considerable investment in
educational enterprises. And the setting up of this University has been part of our
endeavour to provide quality education to our people at an affordable cost.

      India is emerging as a global player in every field and we have the best pool of
manpower spread across the globe. Our state, as a constituent part of the great
nation, has been moving steadily in terms of both human development indices and
economic self-sufficiency. The number of schools and colleges in the state has gone
up considerably in the last decade. However, given the uniqueness that Sikkim
represents in terms of culture, environment and people’s lifestyle, we are preparing
to view education, especially the elementary education, from the view point of local
perception. Accordingly, we have integrated some of the local concerns into regional
curriculum to be followed in the state. For example, study of local Environment has
been incorporated into the elementary curriculum, which would educate our
children about the environmental richness and the hazards thereof.
                                          176
       India holds a premier position in advanced technologies. Software technology
is our core competence area and India alone churns out 8 billion dollars worth of
software business annually. Our reservoir of talents has given us a pre-eminent
position in many of the multi-national companies operating across the globe. India
also holds an internationally recognized status in nuclear technology and space
technology. Satellite launching capability is acknowledged worldwide. Perhaps we
are now heading for a similar premier status in areas like drug designing and
manufacturing, bio-technology, automobile industry etc. There is, however, a long
way to go still, to catch up with advanced countries of the world. In clear terms, we
need to motivate young people to aim higher and achieve the extraordinary.

      We have to well recognize the emerging global scenario demanding a whole
range of skills from the graduates of humanities, social sciences, natural sciences
and commerce, as well as from the various professional disciplines such as
agriculture, law, management, medicine or engineering. The thrust today is having
adequate field based experience to enhance knowledge with skills, more career-
oriented courses and response to local needs for human resource in specific work-
related opportunities with a new emphasis on community based programmes and
work on social issues.

       On this occasion, I seek to quote a brief reference to our President Dr. Kalam
who has drawn a roadmap for Inida involving integrated action in five areas under
the title National Mission of PURA. They are:

   1.   Agriculture and Food processing for a second green revolution;
   2.   Reliable and quality electric power;
   3.   Educaiton and health care;
   4.   Information and Communication technology
   5.   Growth in strategic sectors like Atomic, Space and Defence.

      These now stand converted into mission for accelerated growth. All
   the graduating scholars today can deliberate on contributing their expertise in
   any of the missions set as above. Obviously, these generated activities throws
   open a large-scale employment opportunities for the youths of the country. The
   Universities, on their part, are creating a pool of talented and motivated young
   men to sustain these missions.

      I am an optimist and recommend similar attitude towards every body present
   here. We need to dream and dream big, indeed. We have to set higher goals.
   Education is key to human development. We, at the state level, are looking at
   education from a wider perspective, from deprivation to unhindered access to
   quality education.

      The Education Commission (1966) said in its report: "While the fundamental
   values to which the universities owe their allegiance are largely unrelated to time
   and circumstances, their functions change from time to time. Their tasks are no
   longer confined to the two traditional functions of teaching and advancement of


                                          177
   knowledge. They are assuming new functions and the older ones are increasing
   in range, depth and complexity."

   The Commission, further, set out the following functions of the universities in
the modern world:

      To seek and cultivate new knowledge, to engage vigorously and fearlessly in
      the pursuit of truth and to interpret old knowledge and beliefs in the light of
      new needs and discoveries;

      To provide the right kind of leadership in all walks of life by helping the
      individuals develop their potential;

      To provide society with competent men and women trained in all professions
      who, as cultivated individuals, are inclined with a sense of social purpose;

      To strive to promote equality and social justice and to reduce social and
      cultural differences through diffusion of education;

      To foster in the teachers and students, and through them in the society
      generally, the attitudes and values needed for developing the ‘good life’ in
      individuals and society;
      To bring the universities closer to the community through extension of
      knowledge and its applications for problem-solving.

      The inherent meaning of the term ‘University’ does not limit itself to earning a
degree or a certificate. To remain in any University should more be a gradual
process of maturing into higher thought processes, where we can conceive higher
goals and greater purpose in life. I have always maintained that those who pass out
from any educational centre should never fail in his life too. Let me quote Mahatma
Gandhi who said,

“Man is neither mere intellect, nor the gross animal body, nor the heart or soul
alone. A proper and harmonious combination of all the three is required for the
making of the whole man and constitutes the true economics of education.”

       As we honour the many scholars today, may all of you go out of this institute
with the harmonious combination to be a whole man who are tough and also gentle,
intelligent and also forebearing, rational and also compassionate.

       Education, we know, is a continuous process. They say that education is a
dialogue between the past, present and the future, so that the coming generations
receive the accumulated lessons of the heritage and carry it forward. I am confident
that all the graduating scholars today would prove to be a good messenger to carry
the educational heritage of the present into the future. As we go away, I rest in my
faith that this University would have given the liberating notion to you all that you
could teach yourself in the future to prepare yourself for the many opportunities
that unfold in the days to come.


                                         178
     Before I end, let me congratule the graduates once again and wish them all
success and good luck in the future.

     Thank you all




                                      179
XVI            State Functions

   81.      Suraksha Rally, Gangtok, 15 March 2003

      Hon’ble cabinet colleagues, MLAs, Chief Secretary and Secretaries to
government of Sikkim, respected officials from SSB, ladies and gentlemen

       I am happy to be part of this suraksha rally among all of you. While the world
simmers with uncertainties and gathering dangers, the time has come for each one
of us to view our security aspect with greater concern and commitment. From
Kargil to Parliament House, the story was one that of great sacrifice made by our
jawans. This incident also threw up vital question on our security environment.
This rally will surely address many of these questions when our men will cross
different states following their tracts.

       We know that in India, the term peace is understood in a wider scope and
context and not the absence of war alone. I believe that Sikkim is the epitome of
peace in its totality that encompass physical, mental as well as spiritual domain.
And I find it particularly appropriate to say that the rally is beginning from our
state, which will reflect our peaceful characters all across the other states.

      Albert Einstein once said, “Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be
achieved by understanding”. The rally as it begins today, I am sure, will promote
deep understanding among our people living in different parts of the states to live in
peace, health and prosperity.

      I congratulate the SSB team in Sikkim for organizing this rally, which forms
part of their continued effort to sensitize our people in the areas of security. I also
congratulate all other agencies and officials involved in this noble endeavour.

     Lastly, let me pray to the Almighty to give to our brave men who are
undertaking the rally good luck and sound health all along. All of you will kindly
convey my warm greetings to all people with whom you would interact on your way.

         Wishing you peace and suraksha, I declare this rally open

         Thank you




                                          180
   82.   State level Sensitization Programme, 11 October 2004

      Hon’ble Members of Parliament, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Hon’ble
Speaker and Deputy Speaker, Hon’ble Members of Legislative Assembly, Cabinet
colleagues, former Chief Ministers present here, Professor A.S. Arya, Seismic
Advisor to the Ministry of Home Affairs, other members from UNDP, Chief
Secretary, Additional Chief Secretaries, Secretaries of various departments, press
and media persons, other officials, ladies and gentlemen

      On behalf of the state government, I welcome you all and thank the
government of India and UNDP for the support given to us to host this sensitization
programme on earthquake and landslides risk reduction which is very vital for
sustainable development of our state.

       You are aware that Sikkim is very vulnerable to natural disasters like
landslides, cloudburst, flash floods, high wind speed and earthquake because of the
geo-morphological climatic and seismic conditions. Flash flood and landslides occur
every year in different parts of the state bringing untold hardships to the lives of the
people, in spite of all preparedness. The economic and social cost on account of the
loss in these disasters has been mounting every year in our hilly state. The most
effected in such calamities are the poor and the socially disadvantaged groups
because they are less equipped and most of them live in unsafe zones. The disasters
rob them off whatever little they gain through various development projects
provided by various governmental and non-governmental organizations. Thus the
disaster prevention and mitigation works are most important to retain the gains
from different development projects. It is time that disaster management plan found
its place in the development plans with long term objectives so that the wraths of
nature that bring disasters would not vitiate the development process in the state.

      The high-powered committee constituted by the government of India has also
recommended for a comprehensive disaster management plan at the national, state
and district level. It may be mention that the Land Revenue and Disaster
Management Department of the state is moving beyond crisis management, namely
from just relief to preparedness and mitigation measures.

      There in ample evidence to show that disaster risk is part of the dynamic
forces that constituted the process of development. Thus disaster plans and
development planning, in effect, share common goals. No development plan can be
complete and meaningful unless a clear understanding of the risk element is there
and that it is translated into practical interventions. In our hilly state, development
works done without disaster mitigation provision is causing considerable losses.
Besides natural calamities, different forms of man-promoted disasters are taking
place with the increase of population, like wars, armed conflict, terrorist activities,
epidemics, factory explosions, gas leakage etc.,

      I am extremely happy that Sikkim is the first state to organize sensitization
programme for the Legislators as well as senior government officials because they
are the policy makers and the implementing forces of all the activities in the state. I
am confident that our state will be able to reduce the vulnerability to disasters to a
                                         181
great extent with all-out efforts of the government officials and the people of Sikkim
at every level and thereby minimizing the risk factor in the future.

       Today we are here to gain knowledge from various experts about the
vulnerability of our state to earthquakes and landslides and what we need to do
and how should we act. I would request all participants to attend all the session as
it is not possible for our eminent experts to visit our state always. In my humble
opinion, knowledge is a weapon which will help us in minimizing disaster if
practically used in our task.

       I hope that this sensitization programme will help us to a great extent in
identifying issues which need to be addressed especially in the disaster risk
reduction and management front in our state. We need to identify issues that need
to be addressed and would help us to enact act, policy and code that not only looks
after the relief needs of the people but also addresses the response mechanism.
“Knowledge is power” this proverb proves true in our daily life. Therefore, mitigation
measures like proper building codes, town planning code etc. are very vital for
maintaining the pace of development and for gainfully implementing various
projects in the state. I wish you a very fruitful deliberation.

      Thank you




                                         182
   83.   Commonwealth Day 2005, Banquet Hall, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, 14
         March 2005


      Hon’ble Speaker and Deputy Speaker, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, respected
Dr. M. Nara Singh, Hon’ble members of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly,
distinguished guests, officials, ladies and gentlemen

       Throughout history, we have witnessed human catastrophes of varied forms
and degrees basically impelled by imperialist tendency and mutual rivalry. In the
process, tens of thousands of people have perished while trying to defend their right
to self determination and freedom. As we sit together and speak to each other
today, we are, in fact, strengthening the very spirit of Democracy and reinforcing
the basic creed that all men are created equal. And I have great pleasure in
participating on this Commonwealth Day as one of the representatives of the people
and to commit myself further to the ideals and principles of freedom and liberty.

       Sikkim as the constituent state of the Indian Union has seen many ups and
down while nurturing democratic institutions. Although Sikkimese people joined
the Indian mainstream out of collective choice and free will, yet true democratic
values started taking roots much later in the State. In fact, the mass public
uprising that we spearheaded in the late 90s, was basically to restore democratic
institution in the State. Today, as we observe second Commonwealth Day in the
State, I am happy to feel that we have been able to function under the broad
democratic framework, ensuring people’s freedom and liberty and their
constitutional rights.

       This year’s theme for the Commonwealth Day celebration is not only relevant
for overall human development but also highly provoking to both the policy makers,
NGOs and general people. We are aware that education traditionally was viewed as
a form of information without any thrust on individual development. Consequently,
the content, scope and overall application of the term education were very limited
and narrow. However, as time passed and the world changed, knowledge became
power. Today, we know Education is a vital factor to secure the well being of the
people every where.

      We, at the government, are genuinely seized of the urgency to give education
the utmost attention as our priority sector. Over the decade, we have initiated many
path-breaking provisions basically to attend to and smooth out social and economic
disparities among the different sections of the people in the society. Our basic idea
has been to provide quality education to people as part of the basic human rights
making education the privilege of every single child in the State.

       People are aware that education in Sikkim is free upto the College level. In
addition, there are many incentives like free distribution of books, exercise books,
school uniforms, free school bags and rain coats to school children upto primary
level. There also is provision for state scholarship including the small family scheme
and Prerna Yojana for the girl students.

                                         183
      Education, by its very definition is not a static entity. It is a living entity
subject to continuous process of refinement in terms of its contents, scope and
application. But the goal of education, as always, will be to make life virtuous and
wholesome by implanting essential human values in the individual.

       As we have advanced in age, education has undergone major transformation
both in its intrinsic import and its diversified applications. In other words,
education today is perceived as a holistic tool in the development of an individual
both mental, physical and spiritual. However, we still tend to restrict the noble goal
of education as earning some degrees or certificate from a given institution. This
notion must be dislodged for all time to come. Our ideal should be to see that the
society benefit from education and the educated. Education should be life-
nourishing and not degree oriented. Our action should be to ensure that every
individual who passes out from an institution with flying colour should equally
stand the vicissitudes of life and sail through the many hurdles that life presents in
different modes and colours. The call of the hour, therefore, is that education must
be pragmatic, realistic and that which contributes towards the enrichment of life on
earth.

       Education is the sum total of experiences gathered in the act of living. In this
context, the responsibility of public representatives like ourselves is very crucial.
Our politics must rise above narrow considerations and petty domestic issues and
address the essential questions of greater peace, liberty, human dignity, equal
rights and democracy which are also the core beliefs of the Commonwealth.
Securing power should not be the end all and the be all of political objective. In fact,
as a higher goal, politics must always address the issue of securing the overall
interest of life and the living world. The reason is simple. If Universe ceases to exist,
politics will not sustain on its own. At the core of all politics should remain the
basic issues of human welfare and regard for human existence across the globe

       As I read the theme of this Commonwealth Day, i.e. Education- Creating
opportunity, realizing potential, I feel we have already covered extra miles to
appreciate the issue by creating a range of physical infrastructure backed by a
consistent program to inject quality education among our students. Apart from the
increase in the number of regular colleges in the State, we have also established
Medical College, Engineering College, making specialized courses easily accessible
and highly affordable to our people. We are soon going to establish a Central
University in the State to cater to the growing number of students in the state. In
fact, the per capita investment on education in Sikkim is the highest in the country,
which sufficiently vindicates our commitment towards creation of world class
educational opportunities.

       We have declared the year 2005 as the Youth Revolutionary Year with focus
on youth activities to provoke their latent potential. We feel that Youths as the
architect of the future, needs special care in terms of chanelizing their energy and
creativity on the right path and in the right way and in the right time. Effective
youth-oriented programs shall be held to motivate them towards new thinking and
new areas of activities. The world has already made distinction between the
information-related society and knowkedge-related society. And effective youth force
                                          184
shall surely establish a knowledge-based society enriching both the national and
global world.

       I have been greatly enriched by the thoughtful talks delivered by the former
speakers on themes like Motivation and on general theme like Education. As all the
brothers and sisters in the Commonwealth nations have deliberated on the common
theme, I am sure, we will come out with a more innovative instrument to create
greater opportunities in the education sector and realize the potential of the
students in a more comprehensise terms. I thank the speakers for making
significant contribution towards the thought processes across the world.

        After Independence, India opted to sever its constitutional ties with the
British monarchy while staying within the Commonwealth. Jawarhalal Nehru, was
much moved to say at the time that the Commonwealth could bring “a touch of
healing” to the management of contemporary world problems. As we observe this
Day with its attending theme, I am also much concerned to know that every day, 75
million children in the Commonwealth do not go to school, because they have no
school to go to or no teacher to teach them. It is a tragic fact that 'education for all'
still remains a privilege for the few. If we are serious about fighting global poverty,
we must provide people with the skills and knowledge that will enable them to
improve their job prospects and contribute to the growth of their country's
economy. No society has ever achieved economic development without investing in
education.

      For all of us, this is a big challenge. We can not but be positive and act
decisively to tackle this problem collectively. No matter how small we are, we can
well provide that ‘healing touch’ in the greater context of the global effort to
eradicate illiteracy from the world.

      Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous Dreams on the steps at the
Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. We no longer suffer
similar situation today, but the condition that plagued Martin Luther King and his
time, will better help us realize what freedom and democracy actually mean. May I
have your permission to quote few lines here,

 “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves
and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of
brotherhood. …. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation
where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their
character.”

      Hon’ble Members and friends, if we look back thus, we are fortunate that we
were not part of those unfortunate past. As we stand today, we are, in fact,
observing what Kennedy called it the “Celebration of freedom”. May all the ideals
and principles that nurtured the formation of Commonwealth nations stand tall
because of the collective presence of all of us and like ourselves here in Sikkim, in
India and across the world.



                                          185
       I thank Dr. Singh for his indepth presentation, Hon’ble Speaker and all other
speakers for their thoughtfull presentations. With these words, I thank you all once
again.

      Thank you




                                        186
   84.   Inauguration of Sankalang-Dikchu Bridge, North Sikkim, 17 April 2005


      Your Excellency Shri V. Rama Raoji, respected GOC, Awadesh Prasad saheb,
Shri Bhatnagar saheb, cabinet colleagues, MLAs, Chairmen, ladies and gentlemen

      I take it as my special privilege to be present today on the occasion of
inauguration of this Sankalang-Dikchu bridge. The issue of infrastructural
development in remote areas like this part of the State has been successfully
addressed by the Border Roads Organization. Let me congratulate and thank the
Chief Engineer Col. Harpal Singh, Commandant A.K. Bhatnagar and their dedicated
team of Engineers, Officers and Jawans. It has been said that bridges are not only
the superstars of the engineering world, they influence the development of cultures,
environments and lives in many more ways. As His Excellency has inaugurated this
bridge today, it will usher in greater instances of regional prosperity, social order
and overall contentment among the people of Sikkim.

       Sikkim as you are all aware is a landlocked state both in terms of outside
connectivity and lack of adequate physical networks within the State. However, over
the decades the state government has initiated major interventions to connect
villages with the town areas. We are still going one step ahead to adopt what is
called PURA, i.e. providing urban facilities in rural areas which is inclusive of
providing all modern facilities like roads, drinking water, electricity, better
education so on and so forth. To bridge urban-rural disparities, more seriously after
the setting of digital divide, is what concerns many developing nations in the world.
We are on our job and I am hopeful that we will be successful to smooth out the
urban-rural gap sooner than better.

      The Sikkimese people are aware that the State Government has undertaken a
number of programs and schemes keeping the interest of the people uppermost in
our mind. One of them has been judicious utilization of our natural resources to
make our people self-reliant and self-sufficient. You are aware that we are very rich
in water resources which flowed down and is being wasted for generations together.
If we utilize our available water resource properly, we can take care of our state’s
needs and requirement without any outside assistance. We are also not oblivious of
the sacred responsibility on our part to protect and preserve the indigenous wealth
for posterity- both human and natural. The essential question involved, therefore,
is whether we push ourselves backward in time or move ahead and emerge as
competent and resourceful on the strength of our immense natural resources.

      You are all fortunate that this area is blessed with rich natural resources.
How you use these resources influences your health, security and well being. You
have to adopt a proper course of conservation model and also use these blessings
prudently. Whatever your demands and problems, you can bring it to the notice of
the Government through your MLA. We will not spare any effort to redress them.
You also have to move according to the changing needs of time and make an effort
to become self-reliant by making proper use of these natural resources.


                                        187
       We are living in a small State in the lap of Himalayas, where we always have
to shoulder the noble responsibility of protecting the fragile eco-system of the entire
Himalayan region. The very rich biodiversity that we host hinges on a very delicate
balance. Any excesses in terms of exploiting the natural resources, would spell a
doom over the entire mankind. We have to be extra conscious to use our natural
resources with sustainability as the keynote factor. Therefore, we have decided to
go for a natural resource-based development model with maximum care to maintain
our eco-system.

      We have the glorious presence of the national institutions like the Border
Roads Organization working shoulder to shoulder with the people of Sikkim for
creating physical assets for the state. You are aware that Sikkim has been able to
occupy centrestage at the national and international discourses. Soon, Sikkim
would act as a gateway to two great civilizations and markets when the traditional
Nathula trade will be resumed between India and China. This will obviously entail
some massive development intervention to augment the carrying capacity of the
State after the border trade is made fully operational. However, in the kind presence
of His Excellency, I would like to reiterate the State Government’s unflinching
commitment to preserve the environment and the sanctity of the Himalayan eco-
system. In this great task at hand, I am confident that the Border Roads
Organization will also fully appreciate the need as outlined above, and protect the
environment and the interest of mankind- for now, for tomorrow and for the days to
come hereafter.

       I thank His Excellency for his kind presence, and also thank the General
Officer Commanding 17 Mt. Div., respected Awadesh Prasad saheb. I would also
like to thank all officials and workers of Border Roads Organization for being the
steady friends of the Sikkimese people. We solicit similar gesture in the future, so
that many of the region’s problems and hindrances are smoothly overcome.

Thank you all




                                         188
   85.   Training Course on Professional Certification for the Security Personnel,
         Gangtok, 8 June 2005


       Security, both in terms of personal life and personal property, has been part
of the ancient consideration since the beginning of human civilization. Our
forefathers are said to have raised bonfires in their dwellings to frighten away wild
animals and also prospective intruders. With the passing of time, the concept has
remained while the security consideration has become more complex demanding a
more qualified and professional handling of the whole safety and security
management. Respected Shri R.K. Sinha, respected Shri D.C. Nath, respected
Lieutenant General (Retd.) Prem Sagar, Hon’ble cabinet colleagues, MPs. MLAs,
Chief Secretary, I am happy to be amidst a group of professionals representing
premiere institutions of the country. I thank each one of you for having chosen our
State for this important professional programme.

      You are aware that Sikkim is a State surrounded by three international
borders. This means that the State is always liable to be harmed by negative
elements from across the borders. The Sikkimese society is characterized by
harmonious peace and security over the decades. We are, however, conscious of the
possibility of Sikkim being used as a safe haven by some anti-national elements.
Therefore, when we talk and discuss about the security parameters in Sikkim, we
are also in a way addressing the crucial issue of national security.

      With the development and increased application of information technology,
the world has been condensed into a global village. At the click of a mouse, we can
scan and have a microscopic view of the entire Universe. In this context, private
security agencies as a whole can also play a complimentary role to government’s
law-enforcing agencies especially in the area of regulatory functions. I feel that with
increasing professionalism in private security industry, more and more
responsibility can be placed on them. This is one of the reasons for the Centre to
pass a bill recently for regulation of private security agencies in the country. It is
high time that this industry is fully organized and regulated to further enable them
to grow professionally and discharge its functions more successfully.

      In the context of the greater world today, terrorism of the worst kind is
making our future highly unpredictable. We have to necessarily extend our frontiers
of knowledge in the professional, technological and intellectual as well as moral
commitment spheres. The much-discussed September 11 terror attack redefined
and introduced a qualitative change in the character of international and national
security atmosphere. It has certainly given a new dimension to the security
problems of the world and the humanity itself. This global problem invites
worldwide effort. Private security industry will have to play a more significant and
crucial role in combating this global menace.

       Terrorism today has different hues, colours like narco terrorism, arms
running, aerial attacks, suicide squad utilization, biological, chemical and nuclear
assault. Taking innocent civilians as hostage is another form of terrorism affecting
the lives of peaceful citizens. Threats of commercial espionage, sabotage, subversion
                                            189
as well as cyber-crime are other forms of terrorism that the world is today exposed
to. Even worst is the justifications subscribed to all such terrorist activities.
Violence is being inflicted in the name of religious fundamentalism, political justice,
social equity, so on and so forth.

      Once we have assessed and evaluated these threats, we know the kind of
trained personnels we require who would deal with these threats more successfully.
Apart from the usual procedure in the selection process, we have also to assess the
emotional well being of the prospective candidates who would make an ideal
security operators. The private security system has to be multi-disciplinary in
nature with harmonious integration of all its systems and the sub-systems.

       A close look at the detailed course design is a proof of how professionally the
IISSM is going about imparting this training. This speaks of its vast expertise and
internatinal exposure. May I take the liberty to propose that the IISSM may
consider setting up a Branch in our State to organize more such professional
training programs. Such exercise would arouse security consciousness and
awareness. It should also bring about a kind of attitudinal orientation for senior
executives of the government. They should get an exposure to the state-of-art
technology in security and safety management, especially in the present security
ambience in the country as a whole and in particular in this very sensitive border
State of ours.

       Security is presently the fastest growing industry in the world. Tens of
thousands of rupees are being invested in it globally. Security apparatus apart,
what is more vital is the people themselves. The real change, the fundamental one,
has to occur from within us. We have to develop a real global outlook for safety and
security for the entire human race. Sikkim, as I have represented earlier, do lack
adequate intelligent infrastructure. However, the Sikkimese people have that
traditional temperament to shun violence as part of ancient legacy, the firm
commitment to contain violence with peace, fundamentalism with religious
tolerance and mutual brotherhood. I am confident that our visiting guests and all
other security professionals would lend greater confidence and charm in the
security atmosphere in the State and enough professionalism to prepare for any
eventuality in the future.

       I thank everyone at the International Institute of Security and Safety
Management (IISSM) for holding this program in our state. I again thank all the
visiting guests for being with us today. This program is the first of its kind in the
State and my thanks also goes to all the concerned departments and officials of the
State of Sikkim for this successful program.

      Thank you




                                         190
   86.   Commemoration of 5th Year of successful ascent of Mt. Kanchenjunga,
         Gangtok, 17 September 2005

      Respected General TPS Rawat, Hon’ble Minister for Tourism, Government of
Uttaranchal, His Excellency Mr. V. Trubnikov, Russian Ambassador to India, His
Excellency Mr. Keth Bloomfield, British Ambassador to Nepal, Maj. Gen. K.T.
Patnaik, GOC 17 Mtn. Div., Respected Mr. George Band, respected Mr. Norman
Hardie, respected Colonel N. Kumar and his team members, Mr. Alan Blackshaw,
President World Mountenaineering Association, Shri Ang Tshering, President of
Nepal Mountaineering Association, Hon’ble Cabinet colleagues distinguished
guests, mountaineers, friends, ladies and gentlemen

      It is a great feeling today welcoming the great Mountaineers who were able to
establish a holy communion with our guardian deity fifty years back. More than
anything else, the mighty Kanchenjunga has inspired the generations of Sikkimese
to induce continuity amidst change in terms of basic temperament, peace and
tranquility. It is a very important and memorable day for all of us in Sikkim. We are
indeed honoured to witness the convergence of great personalities under one roof.
All of them have illuminated the mountaineering world by their own feats. Mt.
Kanchenjunga is sacred and important for Sikkim because it is the abode of our
guardian deity. And in those days, the esteemed mountaineers had been kind
enough to honour the expressed beliefs of the people of Sikkim and all the sentient
being to keep the holy peak sacred and untrodden by stopping six feet short of the
actual summit.

       Ladies and gentlemen, mountaineering is a sport where one’s level of physical
and mental endurance is tested in full measure under intensely hostile conditions.
Only one’s grit and determination backed by divine blessings can ensure success in
such a dizzy heights uncommon to a common man. Under such extreme
circumstances, the respect shown by the Kanchenjunga summiteers towards the
spiritual sentiments of the people of Sikkim is really commendable. And today it is
my belief that the guardian diety has willed upon me to perform the act of
thanksgiving in the presence of the very great mountaineers themselves. And I say
to you all- Thank You.

       Sikkim is a land blessed by bountiful nature and is being protected by its
guardian deity - the Kanchenjunga. The people of Sikkim are naturally god fearing
and view all elements of nature with due reverence and regards. We are, therefore,
naturally inclined towards what they now call it the Environmental Conservation.
Sikkim is the rich reservoir of bio-diversity, flora and fauna. When the threat of
global warming and environmental pollution are looming large globally, our
spiritual longing as cultivated over the many centuries for conservation and
preservation of our natural bounties will prove to be visionary, scientific and will
greatly fulfill the call of the hours.

       Unlike fifty years back, our land mass has considerably shrunk leaving less
scope for mass farming as a means of sustenance. We can not run away from the
fact that as time has passed Sikkim has been influenced by many global changes
taking place worldwide. Having realized this, we have tried to identify the
                                         191
competitive strengths of our State. Respected mountaineers and fellow participants,
we are now fairly settled that our competitive strengths lies in the mighty
Kanchenjunga and our natural resources manifested in various forms- in its lakes,
caves, waters and the red panda. Without much ado, we have swung into action to
design progress and prosperity of the State based on our rich natural resources on
a sustainable basis. Hence, eco-friendly tourism, development of horticultre and
floriculture and other hospitality business is what Sikkim is well suited for.

       Sikkim is making a mark all over after having done well in the core sectors
with its renewed emphasis on service sector. We are an eco-friendly State dedicated
to the cause of Mother Nature. This marks shifting of our focus from traditional
occupation to emerging areas of service sectors which has been further bolstered by
promoting adventure tourism, village tourism, and pilgrimage tourism on a more
professional manner. At the same time, we have also seen a great scope in
educational and health tourism.

       Our ultimate aim is to project Sikkim further in the overall tourism scenario
in the whole world- with the basic mission to transform Sikkim into another
Switzerland in the years to come. Present concerted and sincere efforts shall make
us the best tourism oriented State in the country in the near future. I must inform
this august gathering that Sikkim was declared as the best tourism State in the
entire North East by the Ministry of Tourism for four years in a row.

       While responding to the increasing demands of tourism trade, we are not
making any compromise on ecology and environment front. As I said earlier, we
remain committed to the spirit and philosophy of the sustainable development. We
are working in such a way that we shall leave enough for the future generations as
well. To achieve our objective, we have given priority to infrastructural support for
the tourism industry. It has come not only from the government but also from the
important layers and stakeholders from the private sector.

       In view of the peaceful situation prevailing in our State and emerging
professionalism, the number of tourists about three lakh at present, has increased
by almost 20% in the domestic segment and by 15 % in the international segment
over the last two years. Thus, the projections made by the Master Plan for these
positive years have been already exceeded.

       We have realized that if we lose whatever treasures we have in our wilderness,
we will greatly harm our interest. Hence, we have taken many precautionary
measures to protect our environment. Accordingly, we effectively banned the use of
Plastic and all non-biodegradable materials in the State way back in 1999, grazing
has been banned in reserved Forest areas, all biotic interference in forest areas is
being effectively checked. Door to door collection of garbage is taking place in
Gangtok town and the capital city has been already declared as Spit and Litter free
zone. With a sense of pride, I would like to inform this August gathering that His
Excellency the President of India, while inaugurating the fifth Global Tourism Meet
at New Delhi on 8th April 2005, not only appreciated our eco-tourism initiatives but
also called upon other States to follow the example of Sikkim. On this occasion, I


                                        192
also thank the Sikkimese people for their continued support to all our conservation
measure in the past and the present.

      Apart from favorably responding to the needs of the tourists, the travel
Associations of our state have also made a significant headway in teaching do’s and
don’ts to the tourists, protection of environment and carrying out regular cleaning
operations along the tourist routes and at famous tourist spots. Based on our
personal commitment and the present level of activities, I have no hesitation in
stating that Sikkim will be number one State of the country by 2015 and that all
basic amenities will be made available to our people by then.

        I have great pleasure in informing our guests today that the year 2005 has
been declared as the Youth Revolutionary Year with the basic objective to bring
about change in the mindset of our youth. Secondly is the aim of diversifying their
career options from the traditional to service sectors. We have so far remained in
our constricted mindset without any creative exercises. We want the youths now to
open up to opportunities in the whole world and invite great risk to achieve success
in life. And the presence of great mountaineers with us today, will further fuel their
determination to aim high and take great risk in life. We are organizing capacity
building training, refresher and orientation programmes on a regular basis for all
the stakeholders such as travel agents, hoteliers, transports operators and other
youths who show enterpreneural skills and interest.

      After having drawn your attention to our performance level, capacity and
potential, I wish to make certain announcements which will directly benefit this
distinguished assembly. The State Government has decided to open the following
three peaks below 20,000 feet for Alpine Expeditions:

Frey’s peak in West Dikkim – height 5830 metres
Lama Wangden peak in North Sikkim – height 5868 metres
Brumkhangse peak in North Sikkim – height 5635 metres

A total of ten expeditions, six foreign and four domestic will be permitted every year.

      The visiting mountaineers would be happy to know that the State
Government, with a view to honour the spirit of mountaineers, has named the
Gangtok Tibet Road as Sonam Gyatso Marg after the first son of Sikkim to scale
Mount Everest. This gesture of ours, we hope, will inspire the future generation and
our youths will emulate the great son to achieve success in life. Today, the
Sikkimese youths will derive due inspirations from the mighty presence of the great
mountaineers and with your blessings, our youths will also take to mountaineering
sports with a passion equal to yours.

      As the Romantic poet would say that the respected mountaineers while
scaling the mighty Kanchenjunga fifty years ago might have experienced an aching
joy and a dizzy rupture on the mountain top. After revisiting this land of
Kanchenjunga after all these years, you must have been experiencing the joy of
elevated thought and a sense sublime. I suppose, our esteemed mountaineers were
honoured similarly in Kathmandu and Mumbai recently. But I daresay, it is nothing
                                          193
like visiting the very land and its people whose lives have been highly permeated by
the spiritual endowments filtering through our guardian deity. And we feel equally
honoured to be able to welcome you to this land.

      I thank you all for visiting our small, beautiful and promising State and for
showing your enthusiastic participation in this gala celebration. I hope that the
deliberations during the later part of the day will be meaningful and fruitful in our
soothing surrounding and will make a definite contribution to the sustainable
development of the entire Himalayan region.




                                        194
   87.   Inauguration of Ashirvad Bhawanm Ran Bhawan Complex, Gangtok, 20
         September, 2005

      Your Excellency Governor of Sikkim, Shri V. Rama Rao ji, Madam Raoji,
Hon’ble Speaker and Deputy Speaker, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Hon’ble Cabinet
Colleagues, MLAs, Chief Secretary and other HODs, Government of Sikkim, friends,
ladies and gentlemen

       I take it as my special privilege to attend this inaugural ceremony of the
Asirbad Bhawan both for its historical attachment and its present requirements
prompted by democractic system. You are all aware that this complex was once the
British Residency occupied by the first Political Officer of British India. As we have
added a new infrastructure to this Raj Bhawan complex, we realize that we are
actively involved in the democratic exercises to enlist the participation of greatest
number of people in exercising democratic ideals and principles in the country. I
also join everyone here to welcome our Excellency and Madam Rao to own up this
new structure and invest it for the future of the Nation.

      This complex and the old structures developed some centuries earlier have
boldly withstood the many twists and turns of the last centuries. However, the
infrastructures increasingly showed signs of wear and tear as induced by the
natural process, exposed to the vagaries of nature continously for over many many
decades. Furthermore, a need was felt to expand the existing facilities including
housing and office accommodations to accommodate increased activities in the
interest of the people, state and the nation. I take this opportunity to thank His
Excellency for the guidance provided from the concept development to the
implementation of this project.

      Until few years ago, we had no physical infrastructure worth the name for
holding Seminar and other Officials meetings. We had to constantly hunt for some
accommodation in some city Hotels for some prospective meetings. Our
Government took note of this unattended requirement and initiated various projects
to overcome this obstacle. As a result, today we have Chintan Bhawan, Samman
Bhawan and a number of other Community bhawans spread across the state.

      Today, Sikkim is known all over India and outside for all the good reasons.
We have earned many accolades in different fields and Sikkim is frontrunner in
many of the crucial areas in the country. Recently, Sikkim was adjudged as the
Best State in education and investment environment by the premiere media house
in New Delhi. Sikkim was also awarded as the Best Tourism State for four years in
a row. On the environmental front, we are the leader in the entire country. As the
image of the State goes higher, we will see a host of tourists, professionals, political
leaders, spiritual leaders and business tycoons visiting our State quite often. The
Raj Bhawan, beginning with the historical Claude White has hosted many towering
personalities of the country like the President, Vice-President, Prime Ministers, and
Union Ministers. With the commissioning of all these infrastructures, we will be
better placed to serve our hosts in a way fully befitting the legendary Sikkimese
hospitality.

                                          195
      After we took the reign of Government in 1994, we took to the cause of
infrastructure development on an evangelical scale. We realized that we lacked the
minimum of physical requirement to further push our state on the path of
accelerated growth regime. After eleven years, we can claim, with a sincere pride,
that we have been able to provide many world-class infrastructures to the people of
Sikkim. In two days, the President of India will honour us with his gracious
presence and will inaugurate the modernized Paljor Stadium. We have constructed
helipads in a number of places across the state. Construction of airports at
Pakyong, Ropeways at different places in the State including in Gangtok and
Namchi, statue of Guru Rimpoche, more cultural bhawans, traditional houses etc.
only reflect our resolve to provide as many and as best infrastructural networks
across the state for the benefit of the people of Sikkim.

      Your Excellency and the distinguished gathering, I have only explained the
obvious. However, the purpose lies in our greater cause in providing more facilities
in Raj Bhawan like anywhere else. The first Supplementray Budget has the
provision for an additional 3 crores to meet up the expenditure for the on-going
work in the complex. The State Government will further made provision for
additional funds as per the requirement of the project in the future as well.

      As we dedicate this Bhawan today to the people of Sikkim, this hall will also
record and bear witness to the pledges made by us and all our successors
henceforth. I heartily thank and congratulate His Excellency for this solid
achievement. I also record my thanks to the Buildings & Housing Department for
executing the work ably and I also look forward to the completion of the whole
project as per the scheduled timeframe.

      Lastly, I thank His Excellency for his guidance and blessings

      Thank you




                                        196
   88.   Workshop on Right to Information Act 2005, Chintan Bhawan, 14
         December 2005

       Hon’ble Cabinet colleagues, MLAs, chairmen, chairpersons, Justice Patro,
Chief Secretary, Additional CS, Principal Secretaries, all Heads of Department,
officials, other guests, ladies and gentlemen

       I am highly pleased to participate in this workshop on Right to Information
Act 2005 being organized to highlight the various aspects of the Act. The Act would
basically recognize people’s right to information and would empower them to a great
deal to support and monitor all the projects and programs designed to serve their
collective cause and interest. It has been widely held that the new Right to
Information Act is probably one of the important laws to be passed since
independence. And as one of the representatives of the people, I rest assured that
this Act would reinforce greater responsibility and accountability on the part of the
implementaing agencies.

        In a democratic country, the will of the people and the rule of law is the
ultimate guiding force behind the success of the administration. The government
represented by elected members of legislature as well as the bureaucracy consisting
of officials ultimately implements the policy decisions of the State in an attempt to
fulfill the cherished goal or will of the people. The democratic form of government
allows transparency in its functioning. All modern government both at the state
level requires strong and purposeful orientation to achieve the desired goal.

       You are all aware that we have set up different institutions over the decades
to bring about transparency and ensure quick redressal of public grievances. The
social and economic imperatives require government to have a broad perspective to
determine its orientation with inbuilt mechanism for critical evaluation or self-
assessment of the government’s functioning. Wide spread complaint or project goal
not being up to the mark are, often the repeated allegations which has become part
of democratic process. Therefore, it is very important that we find ways and effective
method to enable that our government functions in a most efficient, purposeful and
effective manner and that the responsibilities cast upon it could be carried out to
the best of our ability and resources.

      The Right to Information Act, 2005 is a mechanism, which imbibes the
inherent principle contained in Article 19 of the Constitution. Way back in the year
1975 the Hon’ble Supreme Court had held that the people of this county have a
right to know every public act, everything that is done in a public way by their
public functionaries. They are entitled to know every public transaction.

      Our Government has always honoured people as the fountainhead of all
power. I have also always maintained that I am the first servant of the people and
the present enactment of Law to empower the people will prove a significant
milepost to fulfill the aspiration of the people to know as to what is being done.

     The scheme of the Act is exhaustive which provides for or creates obligations
with regard to Right to Information, responsibilities of public authorities,
                                      197
information which cannot be disclosed so on and so forth. Although aspects like ‘file
notings’ were originally kept outside the definition of information in the new law,
the Hon’ble Prime Minister has subsequently intervened to add substantive file
notings on plans, schemes, programmes and projects of the government that relate
to development and social issues also within the purview of the RTI Act.

       Except the State of Jammu & Kashmir, the process of implementation of the
Act is on in our State also. Since this is a new legislation the initial implementation
certainly has to be done with due care and diligence so that the authority can act
convincingly and without confusion and to achieve this purpose it has been decided
that all the concerned authorities can have a free and fair discussion in an
interactive workshop. We can enlighten ourself by embarking on a comprehensive
discussion to remove any doubt or confusion with regard to the stated objectives of
the RTI Act and their implementations.

       It is imperative on our part to understand that this Act has been framed in
the interest of the public in general and for the benefit and ensuring due justice to
the people. Therefore, we have to implement this Act as an instrument to protect
and uphold the rights and interests of the people duly addressing the wider issues
of upliftment and development in the multi-dimensional areas.

      However, as we go ahead in implementing the various provisions of the Act,
we cannot rule out blatant misuse of this Act to further the vested interest of any
groups and parties. In such event, we will upset the very purpose of this Act. Hence,
we have to be extra cautious to ensure a correct and efficient implementation to
achieve the stated goals and objectives of the Act. I would like to take this
opportunity to call upon the administrative machinery and particularly the Public
Information Officers entrusted with the role of implementing this Act to ensure that
this Act does not serve the interest of an individual or a group of individuals. I
would say that the people have also equal right to responsibility to avert any such
move from any quarter to misuse this Act. All of us, let us remain vigilant and
conscious to guarantee that the basic purpose of this Act to serve the collective
interests of all the citizens are regularly fulfilled unhampered.

       The implementation process, therefore, has to be all-inclusive and that works
in collaboration with multiple stakeholders, including state nodal agencies, other
key departments like the Panchayati Raj, Finance, Law, civil society, media etc.

     I am confident that the workshop would prepare our officials for efficient
implementation of the RTI Act and benefit the people at large. Let me also
congratulate the organizer for this important workshop.

I wish you all a very fruitfull interactions ahead

Thank you




                                          198
   89.   Inauguration of Advanced Technical Training Centre (ATTC) Complex,
         Bardang, East Sikkim, 6 May 2006

Hon’ble Cabinet colleagues, MLAs, chairmen, chairpersons, respected World Bank
representatives, Chief Secretary, Secretaries, dear students, distinguished guests,
friends, ladies and gentlemen

      I feel highly privileged today to inaugurate this Advanced Technical Training
Centre complex here at Bardang. Besides providing the necessary physical
infrastructure, the establishment of this complex will fully institutionalize and
enable our dream to better administer local skills and talents for better professional
enterprises. In the days to come, this polytechnics would further grow to become
one of the premiere vocational institutions attracting more students from across the
country.

       Education, as a tool of human development, has always remained our
number one priority. In fact, during the last one decade, we have fully concentrated
to provide maximum of institutional support for imparting quality education to
children in the State. On the other hand, we have also successfully tried to address
issue of economic disparity among the school-going children by making provision
for free distribution of textbooks, exercise books, school bags etc. Today, we have
schools in every village within walking distance and education is now widely
accessible to the poorest of the poor.

       This distinguished gathering may be happy to know that we have invested
eighteen percent of our plan budget for development of education in the State,
which to my mind is the highest budget allocation in this sector in the whole
country. As a result, we have recorded a marked improvement in the basic
infrastructural facilities and an impressive rise in the literacy rate of the State. The
literacy rate which was only 56 percent in 1994 has now gone up to 75 percent.

       With the advent of globalization and liberalization, it is time that we redefine
or reorient the basic objective of education in this changed world. It is time that we
rethink on our system with excessive emphasis on set of curriculum and instead
treat education as an agent with a more solid bearing on real life situation.

      The world is fast changing, traditional value systems are being replaced by
newer thrusts. Social values and family integrity, in the traditional sense, are fast
dwindling giving way to a more complex set of behaviour and practices. Globally
speaking, after the breakdown of Soviet Union cold war has subsided with only one
super power playing the role of global policing. In this changed context, one western
scholar has rightly said, “The questions to be asked here are …. about how we
should live after the decline of tradition and custom, how to recreate social
solidarity and how to react to ecological problems.” On all accounts, therefore, we
all must have a sophisticated understanding of all these complex situations
obtaining in today’s world.

      In an absorbing debate, intellectuals today are increasingly talking about the
five dilemmas facing the present day world with regard to the future of social
                                        199
democracy. They are globalization, individualism, left and right, political agency and
ecological problems.

      Today, I am trying to refer to these areas of debate primarily to encourage our
students to keep themselves abreast with the world order and how best we could
sustain the impact of this world-wide changes taking place. Are we ready to face
them all? Is not our society inflicted with individualism and what fate will befall us
in the event of ecological mismanagement and lack of conservation ethics? Is the
hypothesis of left and right any more relevant, or does our avowed non-alignment
policy stand to gain anyway, anymore? Therefore, what might have been logically
correct in the world yesterday may have lost their relevance today. Before the World
War II, people would talked about extreme left and extreme right. As we progressed
in age, this concept mellowed down to centre left and centre right. Now WE witness
a highly engaging debate on Third Way policy proposing values like equality,
protection of the vulnerable, freedom as autonomy, no rights without
responsibilities, no authority without democracy etc.

       At a more local level, we can see that globalization and liberalization has
opened up new areas of opportunities and also fresh challenges. The hopes and
aspirations of people in Sikkim have also changed in multiple ways. Priorities have
changed and therefore we have to make education a critical force to serve the
collective interest of the people of the State. All our students should be able to take
advantage of opportunities and potentials brought about by the IT revolution and
other technology boom across the world. We are increasingly talking about a
competitive world where competition between man to man is understandable.
However, I can see a more complex form of competition between man and machine
in the days to come. This means that apart from formal certificate, we must
enhance the capacity and capability of our people to work in multiple trades and
cope up with multiple situations.

       Especially in Sikkim, we have tended to make education very narrow in
concept, scope and content. Traditionally, we have viewed education only as a
licence to entering into some jobs and some posts in government establishment
without exploring greater space and avenues available outside the government. We
still suffer from the same syndrome and very often we come across people who are
unemployable despite their certificates and academic performance report. That
means, our classroom situation is far removed from the real life situation outside
the classroom. Therefore, I would emphasize that education must be life-oriented
and we have to prepare students with practical knowledge and pragmatic approach.
This much-deserved emphasis today on wide range of education and training
programme stands out as a bold relief.

      Today, I would also like to throw some light on the popular concept of
unemployment worldwide and disengage the prevailing notion about it in our State.
Our people generally link unemployment with government service and they are
programmed to think that to give education to their children is to get some
government employment at later years. This has made the higher goals and
objectives of education highly constricted and discredited. I feel that we have to
correct this notion first and understand it in the light of the global perspective. I
                                         200
would like to place here that by unemployment, people of the developed Nations
view this as absence of opportunity and avenues to work and an opportunity to
earn their livelihood. That means, it is the creation of a situation where people have
no work to perform for their essential living. Based on this global definition, I am
content to say that in Sikkim we do not have any unemployment problem. We have
created hosts of opportunities in diverse areas like industries, eco-tourism,
hospitality service, tours and travels, hydel power, agriculture, horticulture and
floriculture. Our people must come forward to enter into productive participation in
these ventures and become self-sufficient. In the developed nations, people are
unemployed because they do not have any work to do. In Sikkim, if we have
unemployment problem at all, it is because of the people who do not want to work.
Therefore, allow me to conclude that in Sikkim we have no unemployment problem
as yet.

       When the globalization-led forces are sweeping across the continents, when
multi-national companies like the coca cola and uncle chips have entered the
remotest part of the world, Sikkim can not remain aloof from this global
phenomenon. As a result, our society has been influenced by certain elements
whereby our society has begun to lose some of that traditional innocence slowly. We
now talk and discuss about drugs and narcotics, HIV/AIDS in our society. Of lately,
we have witnessed an increasing trend of suicide cases in Sikkim. In the global
context, people are discussing more about breakdown of family and the need for a
socially integrated family. According to one estimate, 32 percent of births in the UK
have occurred outside marriage, 47 percent in Sweden and 50 percent in Denmark.

       We all know that these are not a desirable change. What could possibly be
done to make Sikkim immune to these elements is everybody’s responsibility. All
my fellow colleagues, friends and the students in the State will have to deliberate in
details to find out concrete solutions to these malaises and induce social cohesion
in Sikkim.

       In Sikkim, we are running the people’s government. Over the last one decade,
we have meticulously tried to address people’s needs and aspirations on a regular
basis. As a result, people are highly encouraged to seek their rights and not all too
willing to shoulder responsibility in equal measure. When an individual are less
inclined to shoulder his/her responsibility as a responsible member of the
household, the society, government establishment, it gives rise to a situation which
I call the ‘democratic deficit’. To overcome this deficit, I can see only one solution
and that is to demand responsibility and accountability on the part of each and
every member of the society. May I call upon you to be sincere, honest, responsible
and accountable to your action and contribute richly towards the nation building
process.

      As part of higher goals, education must build and enrich the overall
personality of an individual. But at present we see more emphasis being given to
persons who have to earn higher degrees without any contribution to the overall
well being of the State and its citizens. I would call upon all the students of this
polytechnics to enhance their capacity and measure your worth in terms of how


                                         201
much you all can deliver for the betterment of your family, your society and the
State.

      I am happy to note that this polytechnic with its sister establishment at
Chisopani in South Sikkim will serve the interest of the Sikkimese people with a
renewed focus on capacity expansion, efficiency improvement and quality
improvement. Although, historically polytechnics would basically focus on
vocational and practical education programme preparing students for industry.
Today polytechnics courses are widely diversified to include a range of subjects
including administration to nursing, computing to midwifery. I am also happy to
know that a total of ten diploma courses are offered in the two polytechnics located
here at Bardang and Chisopani. I only feel that today Polytechnics with its Greek
roots of ‘polu’ meaning many and ‘tekhnikos’ meaning arts have now acquired its
original meaning and substance.

      Towards the end, I would like to re-emphasize on our ancient wisdom that
there is no short cut to success. We must work harder and longer to achieve
progress and prosperity- in our individual life and in the interest of the State and
country.

       The State Government would come all way to support future programme in
this polytechnics. As a policy prescription, we have defined our priority areas
outside government establishment to engage as many educated Sikkimese and
grant them opportunities and avenues to harness their full potentials. As part of
our greater vision, we have also declared the year 2006 as ‘Capacity Building Year’
to train and prepare our young work force into capable and efficient citizens. The
collective endeavour of the teaching faculty, students and all other agencies at this
polytechnics would greatly help in the final realization of our mission to educate the
leaders of tomorrow for technologically based careers. With our concerted efforts,
we are all set to create a pool of knowledge and prosperity at the local, national and
global levels.

       I also feel happy to know that the State Project Implementation Unit has
successfully coordinated with agencies for ensuring 100 percent placement
opportunity for our students at the national and international levels. I would like to
congratulate the Project Director and all his able team for nurturing and
spearheading the two polytechnics into a promising centre of excellence. I also
thank the Principal, faculty members and students for making this polytechnic as a
significant provider of continuing education and skill-oriented education in the
State.

Thank you




                                         202
   90.   Laying of Foundation Stone by Vice-President of India, for new Raj
         Bhawan Building, Gangtok, 19 August 2006

       Hon’ble Shri Shekhawat ji, Your Excellency Shri V. Rama Raoji, Hon’ble Shri
Rajvi, Hon’ble Shri Singh, my Cabinet colleagues, MLAs, Chairmen, Chairpersons,
distinguished officials from the central government, officials from the State, ladies
and gentlemen

      It is great pleasure for all of us here in Sikkim to have Hon’ble Shri
Shekhawat ji for the foundation stone laying ceremony of the proposed new Raj
Bhawan Building. Hon’ble Sir, as you have laid the foundation of this new bhawan
today, this augurs well for the overall democratic exercise to guarantee greater
consolidation of democratic principles as enshrined in our Constitution.

      The Raj Bhawan, as it stands today, has endured and lived through thought-
provoking historical events that unfolded in Sikkim during the last over four
centuries. The Residency which later became the India House, finally became Raj
Bhawan where all subsequent Governors stayed. Historically, this Raj Bhawan was
built during the period May 1889 to 1890 and was inaugurated on the Christmas
day of 1890 by the first Political Officer of British India to Sikkim, Mr. J. Claude
White, basically for his residential purpose.

      The double storeyed stone masonry structure suffered serious damage when
Sikkim was rocked by an earthquake in 1897. Subsequent earthquakes further
destabilized the structure until the technical team recently declared the Bhawan
unsafe to live in any further.

      The Hon’ble Vice President Sir will kindly appreciate that building of
infrastructure in Sikkim will have to be carried out very carefully because of the
unique topography. In an environmentally-delicate State, we have to be cautious
while carrying out such projects. However, over the years, we have created certain
infrastructural buildings to cater to the increased activities of the State including
the Chintan Bhawan, Samman Bhawan and Janata Bhawan taking full care that
our landscape and environment remain unhampered.

       Today, we have added a new feature in our hill landscaping by proposing to
build an imposing Bhawan for His Excellency. I, on behalf of the people of Sikkim
and the State Government thank your Honour for sparing your valuable time for us
to lay the foundation stone and bless us with your kind presence. We will continue
to look forward to your kind blessings in our endeavour to further develop our State
and bring it at par with other developed States of the country.

       I once again thank His Honour and also the Governor for their kind presence.
I am confident that with everybody’s assistance, this new Raj Bhawan will be ready
for occupation as per the scheduled date.

Thank you


                                        203
XVII Economic Reforms, Industrial Progress and
Urban Development
   91 Consultative workshop for drafting of a new Municipal Law for Sikkim,
      Chintan Bhawan, Gangtok, 5 February 2005

         Mr. Speaker, my cabinet colleagues, sabhapatis, distinghished guests from
India and abroad, government officials, ladies and gentlemen

Strengthening local democracy
        I feel highly honoured to be present here today in this Consultative
Workshop to give a formal shape to the draft of a new Municipal Law in Sikkim.
Under the Panchayati Raj Institution, we have already transferred power to the
village people with substantial autonomy both in the planning and implementation
level. And now after elections are held for the Minicipality, we would come full circle
in our quest for transferring complete power in the only place where power
rightfully belongs in a democracy, i.e. in the hands of the people.

       The State Government has taken initiative to fully establish the ideals of local
self governance, this time with a focus on the urban areas of Sikkim. This is being
done keeping in view the urbanization trends which have gained momentum ever
since Sikkim became a self- governing State. The Greek philosopher, Aristotle once
said, “If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in
democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the
government to the utmost”. And as we come together to deliberate on the drafting of
Municipal Law today, we know this means ensuring greater sharing and a wider
public participation in Sikkim.

Urbanization, Municipalization and the Quality of Life issues:
      It is well known that urbanization is taking place on a large scale across the
world. As a matter of fact, the developing countries are urbanizing at faster rates.

        In India, besides other factors, urbanization is taking place because the rural-
urban migration has established the fact that people do care for the quality of life
issues and since many of the urban amenities are missing in the rural areas.
Taking note of this, in Sikkim, we are initiating positive steps to provide urban
facilities to the rural areas.

        The cities contribute substantially to economic growth of any country or any
of its regions. The provision of urban infrastructure and services plays an important
role in the performance of the urban economy.

       As is well-known, cities and towns not only represent the centers for exercise
of political and economic powers but are also places where highly professionalized
health and educational facilities become available. They also become the cultural
and social hubs and venues for important sports events which attract worldwide
attention.

                                          204
       Municipalization is a direct consequence of urbanization and involves
institutional arrangements which are capable of ensuring the supply of civic and
urban services. Thus, setting up of Municipalities in Sikkim needs to be viewed as a
step forward for enhancing the quality of life of the citizens at large in Sikkim.

       It is having regard to all these considerations that the SDF Government has
now decided in favourr of setting up of Municipalities in all urban areas in Sikkim
having a population of 5,000 and a non-agricultural population of fifty per cent, or
more. It would be our Government’s intention to assign high priority for meeting the
deficits in the available civic services, enhance the supply of civic and urban
infrastructure and also add to the social and cultural infrastructure in all urban
areas of the State.

      In doing so, we have to keep in view the twin roles which local governments,
particularly in urban areas, play, namely, of “governance” and as “utility
organizations”. We have also to remember that in Local governments, the citizens at
large are at once the electors as well as the beneficiaries of the services which such
governments provide.

       To ensure that the impact of the constitutional reforms may be experienced
in real life situations, the reforms package which we propose to introduce in Sikkim
would aim at influencing the arrangements for local self government in five critical
areas, namely, the political context, the functional domain of local governments, a
new framework for urban planning, the fiscal arrangement, and a new role for local
government in urban environment management which is of critical importance to a
State where tourism occupies a dominant place in the State’s economy.

Power to the People
       In the reform package that we wish to introduce, our objective is to ensure
that, at all times, people’s representatives would be at the helm of civic affairs and
that the elected local government would be duly honoured. To ensure free and fair
elections to such governments, we have already made provisions for setting up of
the State Election Commission.

       Furthermore, in the proposed municipal law we propose to provide for
political executives constituted at all levels of urban local governments from among
the elected representatives of such local governments and executive and financial
powers would be vested in such political executives.
       Our vision is to constitute municipal bodies in Sikkim which are efficient,
effective, equitable, citizen responsive, financially sustainable, transparent and
which deliver quality services to all their citizens.

Accountability
       Recalling the words of Surendranath Banerjee, a pioneer in the 1921
movement for local self-government in India, we take note of the fact that the divine
gift of self-government has in it the seeds of its own preservation and self-
correction. Thus, we aim to enhance accountability


                                         205
Municipal Accounts Committee.
      Keeping in view the well established Parliamentary traditions of appointment
of Public Accounts committees, we further propose to include provisions for setting
up of Municipal accounts Committees which would aim to keep an eye on how the
Municipalities manage their funds and finances.


Reservations
      In view of the predominance of the weaker sections in our society, including
the scheduled castes, the scheduled tribes, the backward classes and the most
backward classes as also to provide appropriate representation to women in the
management of civic affairs, we propose to provide for proportional reservations in
the duly elected bodies.

       We also propose to ensure that reservations are made in the post of Mayors in
cities, Municipal Chairpersons in town, and Municipal presidents in Nagar
Panchayats.

Ward Committees
      In order to further decentralize the functions of Urban Local Government, we
propose that Ward Committees shall be constituted in the Municipal Area of each
local body which would provide scope for involvement of NGOs, CBOs, and local
experts who may also serve as the eyes and ears of the local body.

Functional Domain
      Conventionally, the Municipal laws list the functions of the Municipalities in
terms of “obligatory” and “discretionary “functions

      However, considering the mismatches between the functions and finance of
most urban local government, we propose to identify “Core Municipal functions
“which a Municipality at any level would have to perform, either by itself, or
through others, including Government Departments. In addition, the municipalities
would have to perform the community Health functions as also local planning,
issue of building permits and licensing for purposes of regulation of building uses,
and for maintenance of birth and death records.

Planning
      The 74th Constitution Amendment makes a new beginning in the Area of
Planning. Firstly, through the provisions of the District Planning Committees, it has
been ensured that the People’s representatives would have a say in all Planning
matters. Further more, in terms of the provisions of Article 243W of the amended
Constitution, the concept of Planning has been changed from “land use planning” to
“development planning” involving preparation of plans and programmes for socio-
economic development and Poverty alleviation. Thirdly, it is proposed to integrate
the planning exercises for Urban and Rural Areas so that our endeavour to provide
urban amenities in the rural areas would gain further momentum.

       Environmental issue has also emerged as an important area of concern in the
21st century. In case of Sikkim, we rely to a great extent on a large volume of tourist
                                         206
traffic for augmenting local economy. The environmental issues merit urgent
consideration and adequate provisions are proposed to be made in the municipal
law for the local agenda for Urban Environment Management.


Public-Private Sector Partnership
      In the area of functional domain, our aim is to provide in the law that the
core municipal functions may be performed by the local body at its own cost.
However, keeping in view the new trends for commercilisation of urban and civic
services, enabling provisions are made in the law so that even commercially-
oriented public sector organizations may play the relevant roles and even public-
private partnership may be possible.

Taxation and Exemptions
       A concern in the citizens’ mind is that any local government would involve
payment of taxes. In this regard, it must be noted that more important than any
responsibility which may be envisioned for payment of local taxes, our central
concern would revolve around the quality of life issues and supply of civic services
to all cross-sections of the society.

        Keeping in view, however, the interest of those who do not have the capacity
to pay at all, the policy of the State Government shall be flexible enough to give
relief to all such citizens from the burdens of local taxation.

Loans and Municipal Bonds
       Giving statutory organizational machinery, the next question is as to how to
finance the deficits in urban infrastructure for the supply of civic and urban
services. In this regard, it is noteworthy that many urban local governments are
now accessing funds from the capital markets as well as from bilateral and
multilateral financing institutions as the large amounts as are required are beyond
the fiscal capacity of any government – local, state or national.

      However, to access such funds, it is necessary to establish the fiscal health
and well being of the local governments. It is for this purpose that there is a need to
ensure that certain fiscal instruments are made available to the local governments
to ensure that they have an internal resource generation capacity, too.

      However, being conscious of its responsibility towards the weaker sections of
the society, I wish to reiterate that my government has taken a policy decision that
no burden of local taxes, charges or fees shall be placed on those who do not have
the requisite capacity to pay. Our intention is that even the lower and middle class
sections of the society have only a marginal burden of local taxes.

Union Ministry’s incentives for financing infrastructure in States
       I am given to understand that Government of India, through the concurrence
of its Ministries of Urban Development, Poverty Alleviation and Finance, has drawn
up incentive schemes for those State Governments which implement urban sector
and municipal reforms.


                                         207
      We are fortunate that the Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Urban
Development is present among us this morning to actually witness the launch of
this important initiative for implementing the provisions of the 74th Constitution
Amendment Act. Also, present among us is a former Joint Secretary of the Ministry
who played a key role when this amendment was being drafted. We also have
among us the Commissioner of Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the Chairman of
Barrackpore Municipality from our neighboring State of West Bengal both of whom
have made great comtributions in implementing the Constitutional mandates.

      Moreover, the Gangtok Water Supply and Sanitation Project under the Aus-
Aid Programme together with our own Urban Development and Housing
Department and other concerned Departments of the Government of Sikkim have
enabled this process of legislative reforms in this sector in our State.

       They are ably assisted by the Times Research Foundation, which undertook,
behind the scenes, work for drafting the Model Municipal Law, now under the
ownership of the Urban Ministry of Urban Development and which is providing the
policy analysis and legislative expertise for drafting the Sikkim Municipal Law.

      Quite obviously, we are on the right track for ushering in municipal reforms
in Sikkim to meet the challenges of urbanization and urban development in our tiny
State which is determined to demonstrate the vigour of its multi-ethnic society to
establish its unique place in the Republic of India.

      Gandhiji said, “The spirit of democracy can not be imposed from without. It
has to come from within.” The State Government, over the decades, has been trying
to bring about that revolution from within. And I am sure, with exercises like this,
we would be able to strengthen people’s faith in Democracy as an institution that
not only entails rights but also a compelling responsibility on every one of us.

     Once again expressing my sincere thanks to all the professionals and experts,
I commit my Government’s full support to their endeavours.

      Thank you




                                        208
   92 Seminar on VAT, Chintan Bhawan, Gangtok, 8 March 2005

       Respected Dr. Govind Rao, respected Shri Prem Chand, distinguished guests,
officials, ladies and gentlemen

       Consequent upon the decision of the Empowered Committee, the Value
Added Tax (VAT) will replace the existing sales tax system on all commodities with
few exceptions. History recounts that new changes and new challenges are always
viewed with some amount of skepticism and fear initially before they are integrated
into the living system of the people. Likewise, we know it requires some time and a
sustained effort before the new fiscal policy is fully understood and absorbed by the
people at large. I feel delighted to inaugurate this Seminar on VAT in this crucial
period where we are all set to implement it with effect from 1st April 2005. This
Seminar, through all the intellectual inputs and professional counseling shall
enlighten all the dealers and the general public about the working of VAT in the
context of Sikkim as well as in the greater context of the country as a whole.

      With liberalization in the early 90s, India discarded the traditional License
Raj system. That period was a giant leap forward for the country in terms of fiscal
reforms. During the last one and a half decade, we have witnessed fiscal dynamism
from basic policy shift to major fiscal interventions. The present Sales Tax System is
flawed with many problems leading to poor compliance by the dealers and weak
enforcement on the part of tax administrators. Consequently, Sikkim has also
prepared itself to change over to VAT from the given date. Accordingly, the VAT Bill
was also passed by the House in the recently concluded Legislative Assembly
session.

      VAT is beneficial to a Consumer State since all the inputs do not have tax
component. For the time being, 4% CST will remain but when this is phased out,
Consumers in Sikkim should be able to get the benefit of zero-rated inputs and
input tax credit given as the purchase. Dealers can also look forward to less
harassment from tax officials under VAT as the emphasis is on self-assessment.
Further they can claim input tax credit on the sales made by them. This is also
beneficial to the manufacturing units since the cost of production will go down.

      For the Government, the VAT system will ensure better revenue realization as
all VAT dealers will have to transact their business through proper documents in
order to claim input tax credits.

       After VAT is enforced in the State, there are many benefits that come with it
especially in terms of regularization of the taxation system. Besides, small business
enterprises will be kept outside the purview of VAT and thereby free from tax
hassle. The consumers will also stand to benefit under the VAT system in terms of
goods being buyable at lesser cost due to abolition of multiple taxation. Equally
significant is that the introduction of VAT will contribute significantly in reducing
leakages and tax evasion thereby improving better revenue collection for the
Government. And lastly the neutrality of the tax factor in the production process
that will be brought about under VAT encourages horizontal expansion of industries
in the form of growth of ancillary units.
                                         209
      With the introduction of VAT, there will be some degree of revenue loss from
sales tax in the initial phase. To off-set this, the government of India has agreed to
compensate for three years on a diminishing basis with 100% on the inception year
followed by 75% in the second year and 50% in the third year. In this context, I
would like to record my sincere gratitude to the Central Government for the
generous provision made to compensate the fragility of the States like Sikkim while
attaining fiscal adjustment.

      The VAT once implemented in Sikkim, I am sure, would induce dealer
responsiveness and encourage the principle of voluntary compliance. The State
Government would like to commit all possible assistance to the enforcing
authorities in the proper implementation of Value Added Tax in the State. This is a
good fiscal provision and Sikkim as the national and global entity can not afford to
remain in isolation.

      I thank Dr. Rao and all other officials for their presence to unravel the
possible apprehensions among our people about the good things happening in this
part of the world. Let me also congratulate the Department concerned, all officials
who have laboured hard to give us an ultimate sense of preparedness to implement
the new fiscal system in the state.

      I wish you all a fruitful discussion and interactions and best wishes for the
future

      Thank you all




                                         210
   93 Inauguration of SICPA Plant, Mamring, Rangpo, 14 May 2005

      Respected Shri P. Chidambaram saheb, Hon’ble Union Finance Minister, my
Cabinet colleagues, Hon’ble MPs, Hon’ble MLAs, Mr. Philip Amon, Chairman,
SICPA, Shri Sudhir Jalan and other representatives from the company, officials
from the Central and the State Government, friends, ladies and gentlemen

      I, on behalf of the people of Sikkim, State Government and on my personal
behalf, take it as great privilege to extend a very warm welcome to Shri
Chidambaram ji to Sikkim. This day is very special to us as setting up of this SICPA
plant marks an important day in the industrial history of the state. It is a matter of
great satisfaction that Shri Chidambaram is here with us today to bestow his
blessings on this new unit which is only second of its kind in the country.

      In Sikkim, it is a matter of pride for us that the State is amply blessed with all
the bounty of nature. We share global concerns about depleting eco-system and
excessive human encroachment into the otherwise wild domains. Humans are
exerting increasing impact on the integrity of ecosystem that provides essential
resources and services for human well-being and economic activities.

       We have, therefore, decided to subscribe to a natural resource-based
approach in our development strategy duly underlining considerations for
environmental protection and developmental sustainability. Generation of hydel
power, developing eco-friendly and village tourism, establishment of environment-
friendly industrial units, horticulture, floriculture, social sectors like education and
health, bio-technology-based units and trade-related services are some of our
priority areas.

      Sikkim has a unique history of its own. Sikkim probably is the only State in
the country where the people, through a Referendum, expressed their free choice
and collective will to become the citizens of India in 1975. After its merger with the
Indian union, the Sikkimese people have been integrated into the mainstream and
have gained considerably both in terms of broad development directions and
economic advancement. And quite reasonably, the Sikkimese people have a very
high hope and aspirations with regard to the safeguard and protection of their
interest and special rights in the State.

      My government is following a policy to encourage private investment in the
State. We are conscious of the fact that industrial activities in our State have not
been very encouraging in the past due to physical constraints, infrastructure
problems, and poor access to markets. We are equally conscious of the fact that we
have to strike a balance between environmental considerations and industrial
investment so that we are able to give better life and job opportunities to our people
while protecting our environment. Today, we are looking forward to increased
investment to provide boost to economic activity in the state.

      The Central government has already extended the new industrial policy for
the state of Sikkim on the lines of the existing North-East Industrial Policy. This
includes excise and income tax exemptions to all new industrial as well as
                                          211
expansion of the existing units for a period of 10 years. The policy entails granting
of financial concessions to 12 identified thrust areas in industries irrespective of
where they are located in the State. These thrust areas include eco-tourism,
handicrafts and handloom, floriculture, mineral based industries, agro based
industries and pharma- products.

      Sikkim has now moved up in the rankings of investor friendly States due to
improvement on parameters like social infrastructure, quality of power and state
government support to the industries. The state has taken concrete steps to
harness the 8000 MW power potential available in the state. We have now set up
the Board of Investment under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister to          provide
single window clearance to the potential investors. A new investor friendly policy is
already in place with enabling laws and procedural manuals. The state has declared
some areas as Industrial Belt and requisite facilities are being developed for
increased industrial activity in the state.

       You are all aware that Sikkim shares three international borders with China,
Nepal and Bhutan. And we have witnessed frequent disturbances across the
international borders of Bhutan and Nepal more seriously due to Maoist
insurgency. Extremist outfits in the bordering North Eastern states and the North
Bengal area and the Darjeeling district are creating lot of disorder in the region. In
spite of the widespread turmoil all around, Sikkim has remained immune to all
such disturbed elements and that we have been able to maintain complete peace
and amity in the State. Sikkim is free from all insurgency-related problems. We
have proved that peace and tranquility can well characterize a border state. This,
we believe, is not any chanced happening or a negligible experience. Over the
decades, we have set an example in the country in maintaining peace and order
which we feel is our great achievement in the interest of the State and the country
as a whole. We have already requested the centre for a peace bonus to us in the
past. We feel that it will be a positive gesture to foster peace in the country and it
will encourage other states to follow Sikkim’s unique example.

       The state government has been working sincerely to deliver the maximum in
terms of development performance, building of social capital and further
consolidating on our tradition of peace, tranquility and stability in the State. And as
we have moved ahead with the active support of the Union Government, we have
been able to occupy prominent position in many of the crucial areas at the national
level. The recent “State of the States survey’ put Sikkim as the top-ranking State in
the education sector among the smaller states which was hosted by the India Today
group.

       In Sikkim, the year 2005 is being observed as the Youth Revolutionary Year
with focus on the huge potentialities of the youth force. The idea has been to break
free from the constricted mindset and open up to opportunities emerging across the
continents. We are aiming at chanelising the youth power towards more positive
and productive ventures through career diversification, private entrepreneurship
and encouraging them towards service sectors like eco-tourism trade and other
hospitality business. Further, the central government has reached an agreement
with the Chinese government to open trade through the traditional silk route via
                                         212
Nathula in Sikkim. Once the route is made fully operational, Sikkimese youths can
be gainfully engaged and can immensely contribute towards smooth passage of the
prospective transaction between the two Asian giants. The inauguration of this
SICPA plant has laid seeds of new inspiration, greater hope and greater
accomplishment for the people of the State.

      Sikkim has been identified and recognized as one of the most progressive
states of India and we hope to make Sikkim as a model state in the country. Sikkim
has moved ahead successfully, and now we require continued support and
assistance from the central government to maintain its momentum in the future.
As I address the gathering in the presence of Hon’ble Union Finance Minister, I rest
assured that Sikkim and the Sikkimese people would continue to receive due
patronage and support from the central government in all their efforts to further
contribute towards emotional integration and the nation building process and the
overall development, peace and progress of our great nation.

      It has been so kind of you Sir to give us your precious time here with us. At
the same time, I may add that here you will experience a unique kinship with the
benign Nature in terms of realizing inner harmony in man. I am sure that Hon’ble
Union Minister shall give us the privilege to welcome him again and look forward to
his continued support and guidance in the future. I thank Hon’ble Union Minister
and his officials from the Central Government once again for being with us. I also
wish you all a very pleasant experience and good health in Sikkim.

      Thank you




                                        213
   94 National Policy on Urban Transport, Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, 29 June
      2005

      Respected Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad ji, Hon’ble Union Minister for
Parliamentary Affairs and Urban Development, respected fellow Chief Ministers,
other dignitaries and officials


       On the outset, I convey warm greetings of the Sikkimese people to the Hon’ble
Union Minister, Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad ji, other central cabinet Ministers, fellow
Chief Ministers and all other dignitaries present. Personally, I deem it a great
privilege to be invited to attend this conference which will give us an opportunity to
voice our possible areas of concerns regarding urban transport. Besides the
pressure of increasing urban population, urban transport planning assumes
importance in the light of our policy to increasingly substitute traditional
occupation with service sectors like eco-tourism. And as may be the case with other
hilly states, our geography and topography limits our choices and options and
Sikkim will have to find its own area specific solution to urban transport.


   I highly appreciate the effort of the Urban Department, Union Government for
the early realization to formulate a policy framework for future action. We, broadly
speaking, subscribe to the proposed transport policy with few other suggestions and
demands aimed primarily to address the requirement of hilly states like Sikkim.


   1. I would like to request the Hon’ble Union Minister to introduce special
      provisions in the draft policy document to address special constraints and
      limitations faced by all the Hill States;
   2. Sikkim, as you are aware, is a landlocked mountainous state. The absence of
      any rail link or commercial air services leaves us with only the motor
      transport for sustainable flow of goods and people. As the pressure on urban
      settlement mounts, we have the basic idea to earmark particular region (as
      against a particular town or city) as the urban stretch and bring it under the
      urban transport planning;

   3. Trade along the traditional route of Nathula with the Tibet Autonomous
      Region of China is all set to resume. Once it is operational, there will be a
      resurgence of economic activities in terms of flow of goods and sudden
      increase in the vehicular traffic. Hence, it is requested that the Urban
      Department, Union Government provide all amenities for the city of Gangtok
      and also sanction adequate funds for all initiatives from planning to
      implementation of various transport and parking facilities along the route.

   4. Gangtok, erstwhile a hilly resort is now a sprawling town and where we have
      increasingly felt constraint in terms of further extension of services as
      detailed in the policy documents. To ease congestion in the city, a Satellite
      township is proposed to be created in the adjoining village. But the
                                         214
      implementation could not be taken up for want of fund and pending
      finalization of funding sources. It is requested that the Union Urban
      Department take initiative on priority for an early commencement of the
      proposed township.

   5. For efficient management of urban transport, we want to introduce minibuses
      with seating capacity of 15-20 persons to ply within designated locations.
      This will ease load on existing urban infrastructure, emit lesser fumes and
      occupy less road space. The State Government has also represented the
      Ministry of Surface Transport for 4-laning of the existing National Highway
      and an alternative Highway. Feeder roads and arterial roads connecting to
      the main road and bypass are our requirement to ease urban traffic.

   6. For cities and towns like in Sikkim, we have very limited space. This is the
      situation in all hill states. Hence, it may be necessary to determine the
      density of vehicles admissible in each of the town and city in the hilly states.
      For the same, a study may be conducted to determine the whole issue. I
      would like to appeal the Hon’ble Union Minister to assist us to undertake the
      study for the benefit of all hill states where land is a high premium.

   7. For an environmentally delicate state like ours, we have found the policy
      prescription for greater use of public transport and non-motorized modes as
      highly relevant. While addressing the safety concern of the pedestrians, more
      of flyovers and segregated paths need to be designed and constructed in
      major towns of Sikkim including in the capital city of Gangtok.


   8. In order to diversify the modes of transportations, construction of ropeways
      could be highly feasible for towns and cities in Hill States. Ropeways, besides
      discouraging use of personal motor vehicles as the stated objective of this
      policy document, would also help in preserving the integrity of Himalayan
      ecology which has become so crucial today. In Sikkim, we have commenced
      local ropeway services in Gangtok where the bi-cable literally runs above the
      busy township. Hence, it is suggested that provision for construction of more
      ropeways under urban transport may be incorporated into the policy
      document through active public-private investment.

   9. The draft policy once implemented should have a blanket provision to cover
      all smaller towns and cities in States like Sikkim. If parameters like size of
      population and size of cities and towns are taken into account, then states
      like Sikkim are likely to be left behind in the overall development target.
      Hence, I request the Hon’ble Union Minister to cover all smaller towns and
      cities in Sikkim under the National Urban Transport policy.

      While we have been given the privilege to deliberate on the policy document,
we have discovered that we have already adopted some of the policies envisaged in
the document. One such policy is with regard to freight traffic. We have identified
                                         215
certain by-passes in the periphery of the city of Gangtok for the movement of freight
and earmarked time tables for movement of some categorized vehicles.


       On the other hand, the draft policy has also encouraged us to go for certain
areas of intervention to improve and maintain urban transport at the standard
level. The provision for levying of users charges for public infrastructure is
appropriate for financing the transit system. In Sikkim, facilities in most public
amenities do not come at a cost. Accessibility is almost always free and regular.
Based on this document, we hope to instill a sense of responsibility among our
people to pay for the basic services for the operational cost and rolling stock.


      Growth in transport means increased vehicular emissions leading to pollution
of environment and other health hazards. In this respect, we have made certain
technological interventions to regulate strict emission norms. However, we are yet to
frame policies for determining the age of vehicles on roads which are largely
responsible for the increased emission levels.


       Having briefly dwelt on State-specific general views, I would like to invite the
attention of the Hon’ble Union Minister towards some of the new projects submitted
to the Ministry for approval for the financial year 2005-06. Some of them are:
   a) Construction of five-storied Shopping Complex at Namchi, South Sikkim at
      the estimated cost of Rs. 2000.00 lakhs;
   b) Construction of District Library cum Museum at Namchi at an estimate cost
      of Rs. 1500.00 lakhs
   c) Construction of Parking Plaza at Namchi, South Sikkim at an estimated cost
      of Rs. 2000.00 lakhs
   d) Construction of Parking Plaza and allied facilities at Jorethang at an estimate
      to Rs. 2000.00 lakhs;
   e) Infrastructure development at Naya Bazar, West Sikkim at an estimated cost
      of Rs. 1500.00 lakhs.
   f) In addition, DPR for sanction of two projects namely Phase- II of Lall Bazar
      Shopping Complex and construction of Athletic Stadium Complex at
      Pangthang, have been submitted to the concerned Ministry.

      The projects once completed, would serve the twin purpose of providing
additional urban infrastructure and also regulating the urban transport in a more
organized and institutionalized manner. In the interest of the Sikkimese people, I
would request the Hon’ble Union Minister to be kind enough to expedite the
sanction of projects at the earliest date.


      The increasing use of motor vehicles in cities has altered land use patterns
from compact to more dispersed, which in turn, reinforces the use of personalized
motor vehicles. Motorization has brought a higher level of mobility to the urban
economy and to the high-income segments of the urban populations. But its
adverse effect are also substantial- the most worrying of these impacts being road
                                          216
congestion, air pollution and traffic accidents. While some of these impacts are
inherent to motorization, the excessively high level of impacts experienced in many
cities has lot to do with the lack of effective public actions, public awareness and
cooperation to mitigate them.


       Urban transport is a crucial component of urban infrastructure. It provides
access to opportunities, supports urban economic activities, and facilitates social
interactions. Poor transport not only constraints urban economic growth but also
degrade quality of life in general. The extent to which cities contributes to macro-
economic performance and poverty reduction will be closely linked to how efficiently
their transport systems move people and goods upon which their socio-economic
sustainability depend.


       With the increased economic activities and policy thrust on promotion of
service sectors, Sikkim is also bound to witness increased vehicular traffic in the
near future. The growing number of cities and the resulting demand for new and
improved urban transport services poses an increasingly tough challenge to many
state governments. The finalization of the draft policy and its proper enforcement
would go a long way to address the problems and issues related to urban transport
in the country.


       Lastly, I express my deep sense of gratitude to the Hon’ble Union Minister for
Urban Development for giving me this opportunity to participate in this conference.
I have, on behalf of the Sikkimese people, offered certain suggestions and opinions
to suit Sikkimese environment in particular. Hope these would form part of
intensive discussion while giving final shape to the proposed urban transport policy
to serve the interest of all cities in the hill states of the country.
      Thank you




                                        217
   95 Power sector Reformation & Restructuring, Chintan Bhawan, Gangtok, 26
      October 2005

      I take it as my special privilege to participate in this interactive meeting on
the power sector reformation and restructuring. Driven by the forces of globalization
and liberalization, we are increasingly talking about reforms process in every sphere
of human development. This has become necessary to realign and reorient our
developmental initiatives to cater to the changing nature and growing expectations
of the people. This is a global phenomenon and we cannot afford to remain
detached from this sweeping changes taking place worldwide. Sikkim is rich in its
natural resources and the hydel power potential in the State alone is estimated to
be a whopping 8000 MW. This meeting will greatly bolster our effort to fully realize
the hydel potential in the State and will fully satisfy some no-changers and people
opposed to change for their own selfish motives.

      What is significant is to understand that the Electricity Act 2003 has
mandated all States to undertake power reforms and go for corporatization. This
will do good for all the people and it will also make power sector as a sustainable
industry. And when power industry will become sustainable this will benefit the
Government, the people and the workers alike.

       I also take this opportunity to invite attention to our policy decision to base
all our development programmes on our natural resources. Accordingly, we have
identified certain sectors as our priority areas for the overall progress and
prosperity of the people of Sikkim. They include hydropower, eco-tourism,
horticulture, floriculture. Compared to the past, we have been able to give a very
focused policy prescription in terms of utilizing our natural resources on a
sustainable basis.

      The State Government has made long-term program to generate surplus
power in the State. In our effort to usher Sikkim into a new era of self-sustenance
and prosperity, power generation is going to be our major input by utilizing its
water resources to contribute about 5000 MW of hydel power to National
programme to enhance hydel capacity by the end of eleventh five-year plan. The
State Government has already allotted 22 such hydel projects to 16 private
developers and public sector utilities for implementation under joint sector, private
sector and public sector alike in the best interest of the state and its people.

       Thus the future of Sikkim lies in the Power sector. As such, we cannot afford
to lose any more time in en-cashing these vast resources. Side by side, we have now
got a master plan ready for evacuation of this power through EHV transmission
network to power deficit areas like the Northern and Western region.

      The Cabinet Sub-Committee, under the Chairmanship of Minister-in-charge
of Power, already exists in Sikkim since October 2000 and after series of
deliberations and consultations with the experts in the last five years, the
Government is now contemplating the corporatization of this sector in line with the
policy recommendation of the Central Government. Of course, anyone who views
this reform process with skeptism should realize that this is part of the central
                                     218
directive to the state Government to corporatize the power sector for the greater
interest of the people of Sikkim and all its consumers. As part of the Indian union,
we are bound to implement such central directives.

       We all know, electricity is an essential requirement for all facets of our life,
which is now recognized as a basic human need. It is, no doubt, a critical
infrastructure on which the socio-economic development of the country depends.
We are aware that the power supply industry in Sikkim is under the control of the
State Government and the Energy & Power Department is entrusted with all the
activities of generation, transmission and distribution of Electricity in the State of
Sikkim.

      However, today the Power Sector is inflicted with high Transmission &
Distribution (T&D) and commercial losses. As against the high operational cost,
there is poor revenue realization which would require rational deliberation for
timely turn around to avoid total collapse of the system.

       Therefore, the need of the hour is to consolidate all our efforts for a common
goal to reform and restructure this sector from a loss making organization to a
profit making commercial organization.

      The apprehensions and fear expressed by many people and employees in
respect of various aspects of service conditions, job security and pension benefits
are genuine. I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that there would be no
retrenchment of any Mustor Roll, Work Charge and regular staff. All employees
would enjoy their rightful facilities like medical, leave and pension benefits as they
had been availing of so far.

      The Government has realized that power distribution sector in the State does
have the potential of major revenue earner. The demand within the State will always
be limited because of the hilly terrain as against the huge potential. Moreover, the
scattered household in the villages make the distribution system a costly affairs.
Therefore, the distribution sector may take some time in becoming a self sustaining
industry in the state. This aspect will have to be properly addressed by evolving a
system, where the sector can become self sustaining despite costly distribution in
the far flung areas. The Government shall support this critical area and evolve a
formula wherein the corporation gets some modest share in the free power so that it
not only becomes self sustainable but can also grow fast as a successful
organization.

      We are also looking at some autonomy aspect with regard to selling of surplus
power to the neighbouring countries like the Tibet Autonomous Region, Nepal and
Bhutan at a more competitive price. With the proposed opening of trade via
Nathula, we are willing to export hydel energy as our products to our neighbours.
To this end in mind, we will deliberate with the central government in the future.

   In everybody’s mind there is a question – Why “Reform in Power Sector?” The
simple answer is that the state is unable to generate internal resources necessary to
meet its fresh investment requirements in view of:
                                         219
   •   The persisting deficit of power sector and the pressure on its own financial
       constraints make it impossible for the State Government to continue funding
       power sector or provide budgetary support to new investments in the power
       sector.
   •   Pumping huge amounts to meet the deficit in power sector is affecting other
       developmental activities of the State Government particularly social sector.
   •   Huge losses caused by imbalance of the power sector are seriously affecting
       the resources of the State Government and development of the State.
   •   Financial institutions are not too willing to provide funds for investment in
       the present scenario.
   •   It is in the interest of survival, sustainable development and growth of power
       sector, the restructuring is undertaken.
   •   Consequent to liberalization steps by the Central Government, the changes
       on Electricity Legislation (Electricity Act 2003) in line with the policy of
       Central Government, several States in the country has already gone ahead
       with the reforms in the power sector.

Inevitably, the objectives of reforms are:
   • Providing operational, managerial and functional autonomy to the proposed
      corporation to operate in commercial lines as financially viable and sustained
      entity.
   • Regulatory functions are entrusted to an independent authority, management
      to be entrusted to the functional entity i.e. the corporation and the policy
      making will remain with the State Government.
   • Reduce burden on the State Government.

   While creation of a separate corporation to manage the power sector has the
   advantages:

   •   To give more flexibility in the operation
   •   It is a more accepted form of business worldwide
   •   It enables the company to raise resources from public financial institutions
       and other sources.
   •   It gives more confidence to the lenders, bankers and financial institutions.
   •   It becomes accountable under corporate governance.

      The State Government will continue to provide the financial support to this
sector during the transition till it attains turns round. At the same time, the
employees shall make all out efforts to improve the performance of the power sector
by reducing Transmission and Distribution losses, improving metering, billing and
revenue realization and cutting down costs wherever possible.

      While implementing power reforms in the State, we will have to take the
interest of the working class in Sikkim uppermost in mind. Likewise, the interest of
the employees in the government department and other organization under power
sector will be addressed thoroughly to give to them full justice. The interest of the

                                         220
consumers will be greatly served as power will come to them not only in cheap rate
but quality power will be provided to them.


       While we are undertaking such a good work, our effort is being impeded by
different propaganda by the vested interest to mislead our people and workers vis-
à-vis power reforms. Everyone has to understand that this is being done in the
interest of the people under the Central Electricity Act, 2003.


      Sikkim’s potential lies in the hydel power which is also one of our competitive
advantages. We want to explore and tap the immense hydel power potential in the
interest of our State. This will not only make our State sustainable but will
transform Sikkim into an economically stable state in the country.


      We are engaged in a noble mission to make our power sector sustainable
thereby making our local economy strong and resilient. In this noble campaign, I
call upon all the people, be it the working people, employees, members of the civil
society, engineers, politicians to be equally committed towards this reforms process
and support us in implementing it both in spirit and letters.


      We have with us today the experts from Administrative Staff College of India
from Hyderabad and also eminent professionals from the Ministry of Power,
Government of India and the Power Finance Corporation of India Limited, who have
helped us in drafting the roadmap for organization and implementation of
reformation and restructuring of Power Sector in Sikkim State. In their presentation
now, we will get to know more details on this subject. I hope all of you will interact
with the faculty and enrich yourselves on the various aspects of power reforms in
the context of Sikkim.


      Thank you




                                         221
   96 Visiting Singaporean team meeting, Samman Bhawan, Gangtok, 23 July
      2006


      Respected Mr. Ten Yong Kay, respected Mr. Christopher Khoo, respected Mr.
A.C.S. Jayapaul, respected Mr. Leon Yea Mun, respected Dr. Chandika Prasad
Bhatt, Hon’ble Speaker, Hon’ble Deputy Speaker, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, my
Cabinet colleagues, Chief Secretary, Secretaries and other government officials

       Firstly, let me extend a very warm welcome to Members of foreign delegates
visiting our State. We view this visit of yours as a milepost that would significantly
impress upon the process and quality of urban planning and other projects in our
State.

       I had the privilege of visiting Singapore last January to see how and what
many institutions and processes have helped transform the Country into one of the
most throbbing and vibrant economic entities in the world. I was highly enriched
and overwhelmed by the work ethic and some of the best technologies adopted
there to bring about overall progress and prosperity of the country. As a sequel to
our very fruitful meetings with many of you in Singapore, I am today highly grateful
for the concern shown by you to join our endeavour to further develop our State.

      During your short stay in Sikkim, you have been kind enough to attend
marathon meetings and consultative sessions with our officials. You will appreciate
that we are in a hurry to use our time optimally with you to enrich ourselves with
your expertise. Similarly, we are highly anxious and committed to work with you in
areas and other projects where we have mutually agreed to work jointly.

       I am given to understand that you have been also kind to visit a number of
locations and market places in Sikkim in the last few days. We are sure that we
would soon get your recommendation with regard to upgradation, improvement and
remodeling of these locations on a more scientific line.

      Development of Ranka Satellite Township has been one of our dedicated
projects for quite some time now, which has not materialized for some reasons.
Similar services could be conceived at the adjoining Lingdum areas. You have
similarly seen our Zoo at Bulbuley and the water storage tank at Salep. In all these
projects, we would seek your professional suggestions both in terms of further
technological inputs and resource aspect.

      Namchi, the Headquarter of South District of Sikkim is an ever-expanding
town both in terms of human habitation and institutional expansion. We have
conceived a number of schemes there which includes creation of Recreation Parks,
a permanent Flower Pavilion, more tourist spots, new township at Khichudumra,
cultural village at Yangang, further improvement of Rock Garden. We will be highly
blessed to receive your recommendation and other assistance to bring about further
improvement in the town planning management of our State.


                                         222
      You have noticed that Sikkim as a Himalayan State has high potential for
development of eco-tourism in the State. In fact, we have decided to base all our
development strategies on our natural resources and human resources. Therefore,
development of tourism as an economic activity is our priority sector. We have, for a
decade or so, worked consciously to develop Sikkim as a premiere eco-tourism
destination of the country. Various facets of tourism trade including culture
tourism, pilgrimage tourism, adventure tourism and village tourism have been
incorporated into the overall tourism drive in the State.

       I understand that you have had meetings with our Tourism Department
officials and other stakeholders to further promote this sector on a more organized
and professional manner. The proposal for plying of Toy Train from Tashi View
point to Ganesh Tok located on the hill top will not only add to the aesthetic of the
town but will be of immense tourist attractions.

      Horticulture and Floriculture is also our priority sector. With your kind
assistance, we would like to introduce best of the technologies in this sector. Sikkim
has been designated as the Agriculture Export Zone with special focus on export of
cherry pepper, ginger, large cardamom and cymbidium orchids grown organically in
Sikkim.

       I am thankful to every member of the delegation for coming to Sikkim. As a
relatively backward State, Sikkim will get the much-needed impetus, thrust and
upward mobility in its effort. I would take it my privilege to mention that Sikkim
has already earned distinction in areas like education, environmental management,
investment, eco-tourism and Panchayati Raj institution.

       I would also like to commit full support from the State Government in every
proposal and recommendation made by your team. We would also solicit full
assistance and support from you in our mission to promote Sikkim in the right
direction.

       I hope that your stay was all pleasant and memorable and the hospitality
extended was satisfying. I thank you all once again and look forward to a long and
fruitful engagement with you and your Country.

Wish you a very pleasant stay

   Thank you




                                         223
   97 Visiting Dutch Consortium team meeting, Samman Bhawan, 27 July 2006


      Respected Mr. Peter Van Ouwerkerk, respected Mr. Aric Van Der Windt,
respected Miss Judith Van Der Windt, respected Mr. Leonardo Van Rijn, respected
Mr. Martinus Boers, Hon’ble Speaker, Hon’ble Deputy Speaker, Sikkim Legislative
Assembly, my Cabinet Colleagues, other Members of the Sikkim Legislative
Assembly, Chief Secretary, Secretaries and other government officials, ladies and
gentlemen

      Let me welcome all the members of the foreign delegates to this interactive
meeting this evening. We are highly privileged and fortunate to meet you all and
thank you immensely for granting us this moment of coming together and for the
expression of care and consideration shown by you for a small State like Sikkim in
the Indian Union.

      Sikkim, as you have noticed, is a small Himalayan State which is rich in
natural resources. In fact, Sikkim which accounts for only .05 percent of landmass
of India hosts over 26 percent of the country’s biodiversity. Over the last one
decade, we have consistently moved ahead to harness our rich natural endowment
with sustainability as the key policy prescription. Under this, we have put
development of Horticulture and Floriculture as our priority sector. Among others,
hydro-power generation and promotion of Sikkim as an eco-friendly tourist
destination are some such sectors where we have immense potential.

       One noteworthy characteristic strength of Sikkim State lies in the fact that
there is no need to develop and create artificial environment for cultivation of
flowers and other horticultural produces. In fact, since time immemorial, different
varieties of wild orchids estimated to be of 500 varieties and other varieties of
flowers have blossomed in the wilderness and adorned the Sikkimese landscape
being bred and nurtured by mother Nature. However, in spite of Sikkim being a
treasure trove of rich biodiversity, our people have remained primarily ignorant
about this national wealth and the local advantages. Now that the Sikkim
Government has entered into a significant tie-up with the Dutch Consortium,
Sikkim, I am confident, will overcome this recurring syndrome.

      I understand that you have visited a number of farms and other places of
similar interest in the State. You have noticed that we have put in our simple and
modest efforts to improve the horticultural and floricultural prospect within our
limited resources. Many private growers have now joined hands with us for its
development and the future looks promising.
Sikkim has been designated as the Agriculture Export Zone with special focus on
export of ginger, cherry pepper, large cardamom and cymbidium orchids.

        Sikkim is a landlocked State surrounded by three international borders and
accessibility has remained a cause of concern. Lack of easy accessibility to market
facilities, international pricing and ready technological inputs will have to be
overcome. Further, more emphasis should be given to skill development and
capacity building aspect of our people. Under this, people will have to be
                                         224
increasingly made conscious of the huge commercial prospects offered by the sector
which will significantly improve the economy of the State. Under your guidance and
with your cooperation, we are sure that all these bottlenecks will be addressed and
smooth out soon. I hope the potential spots you have visited have interested you
and our future action will be highly enriched through your recommendation and
counseling.

      Development of horticulture sector could receive a major boost once the
aspect of value addition is introduced more vigorously and professionally in our
State. The visiting team would suggest and assist us in setting up of units like
Ginger Processing unit, Fruit and vegetables processing unit and also the marketing
of these products.

      The Dutch Consortium, as the global trader, can well introduce us with the
most impressive technological advancement in horticulture and floriculture sector
worldwide. You have all the knowledge and technical knowhow to guide our destiny
as far as agri-business and other related trades are concerned. We realize that
unless technological interventions are introduced, it would not be possible to
improve our yield both qualitatively and quantitatively. Hence, this is the most
important aspect where the Dutch Consortium partnering the Sikkim Consortium
could play a pivotal role.

        We are looking for a vibrant partnership in production of some important low
volume and high value crops especially in segments like floriculture, off-season
vegetables and spices. Technological intervention in post-harvest and value addition
facilitating marketing of any produce is of paramount importance at the moment.
We strongly feel that the Sikkim Dutch Horticulture Development Consortium
(SDHDC) is the most appropriate agency in facilitating market identification and
establishing forward linkage for all horticulture produce that have good market
value. Exploration of potential export markets in and around the South East Asian
countries especially Singapore for large cardamom and ginger, and gulf markets for
Cymbidium orchids and other flower must feature in the agenda while looking for
opportunities.

      I would like to mention here that the State Government has decided to go for
organic farming of all our products thereby phasing out use of chemical fertilizers.
Exploring markets for organic vegetables and other organically produced food items
needs to be emphasized. By 2009, we have envisioned to make Sikkim a total
organic State and all our collaborative endeavors must be based on this overall
vision set by our Government.

      As the environment is highly conducive for development of this sector, all the
produces available in Sikkim could well compete world market both in terms of
quality and price. In this mission of ours, we would look forward to a very healthy
cooperation with the Dutch team backed by overall public participation. In this
area, we are surely going to set a benchmark in the entire world communities.




                                        225
      The official re-opening of border trade with China through Nathula recently
has also opened up new vistas of opportunities and is the most significant
milestone in trade expansion, which will directly benefit the State.

       We also look upon this visit of yours as a new opening for us where we could
grow, learn and discover newer horizon in the development of horticultural and
floricultural sectors. On behalf of the State Government, I would like to spell out a
firm commitment and determination to work jointly with you as per the terms of
Memorandum drawn between your team and the State Government in Netherlands
and in the future course of action.

       I hope that your stay was all pleasant and memorable and the hospitality
extended was satisfying. I thank you all once again and look forward to a long and
fruitful engagement with you and your Country.

      Wish you a very pleasant stay

Thank you




                                        226
XVIII        Visits by Dignitaries

   98 Public felicitation in honour of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Hon’ble Prime
      Minister, TNA ground, Gangtok, 13 April 2003

      Great leader of our Country Honourable Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji, Prime
Minister of India, His Excellency Governor of Sikkim Shri V. Rama Rao ji, Madam
Speaker, Sikkim Legislative Assembly Smt. Kalawati Subba, my cabinet colleagues,
dinguiguished guests, my respected people come from rural Sikkim. I express my
warm greetings to all of you and would seek your kind permission to place my
words in this historical meeting.

      Firstly, I take it as my proud privilege to greet and welcome our beloved Prime
Minister to Sikkim, on my personal behalf and on behalf of the people of Sikkim.

       Sikkim became part of Indian Union in 1975 through a Referendum
expressing the collective will of the people of Sikkim. Since then, the people of
Sikkim have been assimilated into the Indian mainstream culturally and
emotionally together with political and geographical integration. Therefore, we have
peace, tranquility, communal harmony and brotherhood and that Sikkim is on a
progressive march ahead. And this we believe is Sikkim’s contribution towards the
nation as no progress and development is possible unless there is peace, stability
and emotional integration. If other parts of the country emulate the example set by
Sikkim in promotion of peace, unity and brotherhood, the nation on the whole
would achieve much more in the future. Having achieved such a height in all
developmental parameters as part of India, if there is still some individual or some
force who opine that Sikkim is not the part of India, he or she is under false
illusion. The people of Sikkim always oppose such nefarious statement and have
always fought tooth and nail against such an element and condemn in no uncertain
term such an anti-national elements. Personnally, I have always opposed and
fought with people with such a temperament and I will continue to do so forever.

      Sometimes I feel that Sikkim was created by the Almighty during his leisure
hours. That is why it is so beautiful and absorbing. Nature has given everything to
Sikkim- the third highest mountain peak in the world, Mt. Kanchenjunga lies in
Sikkim which is the highest mountain peak in India and is highly revered by the
people of Sikkim as their guardian deity. That is why I would prefer to call Sikkim
as the roof of the country. The fact that the people of Sikkim still continue to
worship Kanchenjunga as their guardian diety goes to show that they are
essentially nature worshippers and their lifestyles and thinking do not adequately
complememt emerging national and global trends. Hence, I would like to request
Hon’ble Prime Minister for special initiation and safeguard for the people of Sikkim
and positive steps towards assimilating them into the national mainstream.

      Hon’ble Prime Minister Sir, people are aware that Sikkim is a peaceful and
beautiful State. However, this is a very sensitive State being surrounded by three
international borders of China, Nepal and Bhutan. Despite its locational

                                        227
vulnerability, our people and my government have contributed immensely in the
preservation of unity and integrity of the Nation. Sikkim is peaceful and the people
of Sikkim are leading other people in the nation building process. As a result,
Sikkim is now politically, socially and emotionally integrated into the mainstream.
And I would like to say that the prevalent peace, unity and mutual brotherhood are
the precious gift of the people of Sikkim to the countrymen at large.

       The present national government of the National Democratic Alliance is highly
appreciative of the hopes and aspirations of the people of Sikkim. I always call my
fellow people in Sikkim that our Prime Minister does feel the basic impulse of the
people, their sorrows and problems. Besides being a revered politician, he is also a
sensitive poet. Our long-pending demands of making Sikkim as the member of NEC
and tribal recognition to Limboo and Tamang have been fulfilled. This, in itlsef, is
historical achievement. I on behalf of my government and the people record my
sincere thanks to the Prime Minister and the Union Government.

       The three ethnic communities of Nepalis, Bhutia and Lepchas are the makers
of the Sikkimese history and also the present Sikkim. It becomes impossible to
ignore the contribution made by all the three communities. Therefore, in order to
protect the Sikkiese society, it is imperative to protect the interest of every
community and recognize these communities as equals. The Nepalis of Sikkim had
played crucial role in integrating Sikkim into the mainstream, yet the seat
reservation for the Sikkimese Nepalis as provided under the erstwhile Chogyal
regime prior to 1975 have now been done away with. Hence, I request the Hon’ble
Prime Minister to restore their seats in Sikkim Legislative Assembly and giving due
recognition to the sacrifices made by Indian Nepali community during the freedom
struggle, they should be recognizecd as Minority Community with similar provision
in the Lok Sabha as well. I feel that ignoring their contribution means doing grave
injustice to the history of our freedom struggle.

        The Sikkimese Bhutias and Lepchas, although tribals have been given seats
reservation of 12 seats as BL. I request the Hon’ble Prime Minister to maintain
status quo with regard to their seat protection in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly in
the future. The seat reservation for the Bhutia, Lepcha and Sangha in the Assembly
has been done to honour the history and tradition of the Sikkimese people. The
Limboo and Tamang communities have been accorded the tribal status recently and
all other facilities and privileges as provided under the Constitution should also be
granted to them. I request the Prime Minister to conduct a special census for these
two communities and grant them seat reservation accordingly in the Sikkim
Legislative Assembly. I would specially request Hon’ble Prime Minsiter to increase
the number of seats in the SLA from existing 32 to 40 so that tribals like Limboo
and Tamang communities, and other Nepali communities could be adequately
represented in the Assembly. The backward classes of Rai, Gurung, Mangar,
Sunuwar, Bhujel, Jogi, Thami, Dewans should be recognized as tribal as all of them
fulfill all the basic criteria of being a tribal in terms of their lifestyles, tribal traits
and behaviour. I would also request the Hon’ble Prime Minister to accord OBC
status to Bahuns, Chettri, Newar and Sanyasi communities at the national level.



                                            228
       Hon’ble Prime Minister Sir, I also fervently request you to declare Sikkim as
the tribal State. Trade between China and India through Nathula pass should be
commenced at the early where we can derive immense development gains for not
only the people of Sikkim but the entire countrymen. Ever since we assumed office
in the government, we have been raising this demand with the centre. Today I once
again request for the early opening of trade through Nathula pass in Sikkim.

      Besides our political demands, I seek the kind permission to place our
development-related demands before the Hon’ble Prime Minister.

A matching financial support for construction of an alternative Highway 31A
National Highway from Siliguri to Gangtok for better connectivity of Sikkim with the
ourside world.

A 100 crore grant for construction of new Raj Bhawan and Secretariate Annexe may
be sanctioned at the early date

A 300 crore grant for construction, expansion and repairs of the 1000 long kms
rural roads to connect all rural roads

A 120 crore grant for construction of Gangtok Hospital

Establishment of a separate telecom and Postal circle for the State of Sikkm.
Hon’ble Prime Minister Sir, in spite of Sikkim being a separate State, these facilities
are still being monitored by the neighbouring State of West Bengal.

A comprehensive networking of telephone facilities in all villages to make Sikkim as
a model State

Establishment of Central University in Sikkim

A matching financial support to establish one College each in every four district

       Establishment of National Institute of Himalayan Research and Development
to facilitate study, research and policy initiatives towards protection of the entire
Himalayan eco-system. The objectives of this national-level Institute would include
research on sustainable utilization of rich biodiversity, medicinal plants, herbs;
comprehensive development of the State to transform Sikkim into a total organic
state; to reorient Himalayan economy in the context of second generation reforms
and to make eco-tourism as the sustainable means of livelihood for the people of
Sikkim.

       All these form part of our important demands which I am privilieged to
present before our revered Prime Minister. I would solict special blessings from our
great leader for the people of Sikkim. We not only seek fulfillment of our demands,
we stand firmly to protect the interest of our great nation. By maintaining peace,
tranquility and brotherhood, the people of Sikkim have set a unique example in the
entire country. Every Sikkimese today is integrated into the Indian mainstream and
is proud to be an Indian. They call Sikkim as their home and India as their country.
                                         229
They are willing to sacrifice anything in the interest of the country. And the centre
should be equally appreciative of all the sacrifices made by the Sikkimese people.
And I tell you all that the central government has all been highly considerate. I
would like to place before the Hon’ble Prime Minister that Sikkim is prepared to
make sacrifice and is committed to the progress and prosperity of our great nation.
We want to make Sikkim as the Switzerland of India.

      We are all highly blessed today. We will all go back to our respective village
taking with us the compassionate words and the blessings of the Prime Minister.
We will follow his guidelines and the future direction shown by him and work
accordingly. We will help further promote a sense of well being in Sikkim and work
hand in hand with fellow Indians for greater progress and prosperity of the nation.

      Jai Sikkim
      Jai Bharat




                                        230
   99 Courtesy Address of Chief Minister on the occasion of Dinner hosted by
      Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, 01 August 2006, Hyderabad

      Hon’ble Chief Minister Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, Madam Reddy, His
Excellency Shri Rama Raoji, dignitaries, guests, ladies and gentlemen

      I bring with me warm greetings from the people of Sikkim to Hon’ble Chief
Minister, Madam Chief Minister, to all other dignitaries and to the people of Andhra
Pradesh. While we have been in this magnificent State for the last four days, we
have clearly felt your mighty presence in very many spheres including in
Information Technology and how strongly you have served the interest of the
common man with the help of IT and the IT Enabled Services. This evening, as we
are privileged to join you in this Dinner, we also feel the warmth of your hospitality
and the passion of your pulsating heart. We are convinced that you are leaders in
matters both relating to your heart as well as your head!

       Dear Sirs and Madams, we come from one of the north-eastern States of India
where we share three international borders with Tibet Autonomous Region of
China, Nepal and Bhutan. As the 22nd State of the Indian Union, Sikkim with a
total area of 7096 square km. undertakes the sacred obligation of ensuring national
security, environmental security and human security.

       You may well appreciate the fact that because of the fragile ecology, Sikkim
as the Himalayan State, can not afford to embark on big industrial venture and all
our developmental strategies will have to be fined tune with the best of conservation
practices. Accordingly, our development priorities are basically determined by our
natural wealth that you find in our flora and fauna, mountain range, rivers,
glaciers, natural lakes, orchids and rhododendrons. We have, in fact, taken policy
decision to base all our development projects on the basis of our natural strength
found in the State. We have applied our wisdom to define our priority sectors which
include generation of hydro-power, promotion of eco-tourism, and development of
horticulture and floriculture sectors in the State.

       We have entered into MOU with sixteen different Power Developers to harness
the immense volume of water resources that is available in our State. Twenty two
thousand crores worth of investment in hydro-power generation by 2012 is on the
pipeline with an installed capacity of 5000 MW. These projects, once commissioned,
will make Sikkim economically more stable and secure. We are expecting to
generate additional revenue of Rs. 1000 to 1200 crores through sale of surplus
power to the power deficit region in the country. We are trying to make sure that
these ambitious projects are completed in time giving ample benefit to the Power
Developers as well as the State.

      Over a decade or so, the State Government in Sikkim, has made major strides
in the development of horticulture and floriculture sectors earning considerable
dividend to the people of the State. To give further boost to this sector, we have also
entered into Memorandum of Intention of Association between the Government of
Sikkim and the Dutch Consortium of Netherlands. More recently, the overseas
group paid a visit to our State and the respected Members were much impressed by
                                          231
the huge potential of horticulture and floriculture business in Sikkim. With this
association, we are confident to overcome some of our problems relating to crop
quality, improved techniques and technology, value addition and better access to
competitive markets etc.

      You may also be pleased to know that we are seeking to carve a niche for
Sikkim as an Organic State. All our produces, at present, are ninety percent organic
and we have set about making our State as the Total Organic State by the year
2009. One of the primary businesses on the joint venture with the Dutch
Consortium also includes production and marketing/export of organic vegetables
and other horticultural produce.

       One noteworthy characteristic strength of Sikkim State lies in the fact that
there is no need to develop and create artificial environment for cultivation of
flowers and other horticultural produces. In fact, since time immemorial, different
varieties of wild orchids estimated to be of 500 varieties and other varieties of
flowers have blossomed in the wilderness and adorned the Sikkimese landscape
being bred and nurtured by mother Nature.

      Sikkim is a small Himalayan State which is rich in natural resources. In fact,
Sikkim which accounts for only 0.5 percent of landmass of India hosts over 26
percent of the country’s biodiversity. Over the last one decade, we have consistently
moved ahead to harness our rich natural endowment with sustainability as the key
policy prescription. The State of Sikkim has high potential for development of eco-
tourism in the State. Development of tourism as an economic activity is our priority
sector. We have, for a decade or so, worked consciously to develop Sikkim as a
premiere eco-tourism destination of the country. Various facets of tourism trade
including culture tourism, pilgrimage tourism, adventure tourism and village
tourism have been incorporated into the overall tourism drive in the State. The idea
has been to make tourism village-centric and to ensure that each member of rural
household is a stakeholder in this sector. We have succeeded in great measure as
we were adjudged Best Tourism State for three consecutive years in 2001, 2002 and
2003.

      In the absence of airport and railway, easy accessibility has remained a
crucial problem in Sikkim. However, we are richly compensated by our comparative
strengths like peace and tranquility, our natural resources, neat and clean
environment, friendly people and an investor-friendly government. We realize that
we can learn much more from bigger States like Andhra Pradesh and replicate their
ways to suit our own ends and our own environment.

       Between the small and the big, I would venture to imagine some areas of
cooperation where we can work together to further consolidate on our priorities and
our corresponding strengths. Tourism is one such area where Sikkim and Andhra
Pradesh can jointly promote to represent a composite Indian Culture and Heritage
in all its glory. Similar to the numerous lakes, hills and dales found in Sikkim,
Andhra Pradesh has hills and forests, wildlife centres with large biological diversity
centers like Satyadri hill range in the northern portion. It has forts, temples,
Buddhist sites, national parks & bird sanctuaries and much more. In Sikkim too,
                                         232
we have a huge depository of natural resources. We are one of the bio-diversity hot
spots. We have developed herbal gardens, butterfly parks and embarked upon
many innovative conservation measures like the Smriti Van concept and State
Green Mission which provides for comprehensive plantation drive in both sides of
the highways, around government institutions so on and so forth. We have banned
use of non-biodegradable materials like poly bags, and banned grazing in forest and
felling of green trees in the State. Therefore, there is an enormous scope for
cooperation in sustainable management of natural resources between our State and
Andhra Pradesh.

      In Sikkim, we have the great vision of developing our State as a centre of
Buddhist circuit tourism. Because we think that we are point of central tendency in
the entire panorama of Buddhist circuit tourism among Bhutan, Nepal, Lhasa,
Myanmar and Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar and Sikkim in India. This is undoubtedly
going to be the most fascinating tourism hub and heritage sites in the world. In this
area, we can think of long-term cooperation between the two states.

       Promotion of Bio-Technology in Sikkim has been the subject of major
academic discussion with the State Government machinery and the academia. Both
the States are blessed with rich natural resources, abundant and diverse
agricultural and forest wealth that offer tremendous opportunities in the multi
billion dollar biotech industry in the country and globally. I am happy to
understand that Andhra Pradesh already has several agri-biotech companies doing
multi-billion dollar business. In spite of the huge biotech resources in Sikkim, the
people of Sikkim are not adequately sensitized to harness the huge commercial
potential of the natural resources. Hence, I would look forward to a long and fruitful
association with Andhra Pradesh’s premier research institutions like the Centre for
Cellular and Molecular Biology, the National Institute of Nutrition, the International
Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), etc. We would also be
privileged to be associated with the Genome Valley developed by the Andhra
Pradesh Government for all biotech activities and would be happy to contribute to
the overall output of the biotech research and products.

       We are realizing that Andhra Pradesh under your leadership is all set to
become the most industrialized and hi-tech State of the Country. The    Hi-tech city
in the State, in itself, is a landmark to demonstrate the inherent strength of the
State and its people. Development of concept and establishment of infrastructures
like Fab city and Hardware Park is highly noteworthy. I am highly impressed to
learn that the State is taking major leaps forward in areas like pharmaceutical
industry, textiles and apparel promotion and food processing leading the country in
their production and marketing.

       We had the privilege of visiting the E-Seva centres and see how public
services could be delivered at the shortest possible time. We want to replicate the
services on similar lines in all the forty five Community Information Centres (CICs)
set up across the State in Sikkim. We are much encouraged to see the Ramogi Film
City, the largest film complex in Asia. The authority there can well plan a shooting
session in Sikkim where we offer the elegant experience of glacial movement, setting


                                         233
of sun, hooting of red pheasant, the innocence of red panda and the warmth of shy
mountain yaks.

       Recently, our Government in Sikkim has earned the distinction of     having
re-established the historical-cultural-commercial linkages between the two great
civilizations of India and China. The Nathula pass in Sikkim has been thrown open
for trade between India and China. Besides an increased trade activity in Sikkim,
this route will trigger a much comprehensive trade activities in other parts of the
States also. And the people of Andhra Pradesh representing one of the most
progressive States of India can play a participatory role in the entire trade
transaction.

        I am highly overwhelmed by the intimate company and a dear cordiality
extended by the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. Between the two states
of Sikkim and the Andhra Pradesh, methods may differ but the mission always
concurs. We are both working to secure the brighter future of the people of both the
States and to fight a decisive battle against social disparity, ignorance, poverty and
illiteracy et al. As a respectable son of Andhra Pradesh and physician by initial
training, Dr. Reddy will, I am sure, help us to cure certain illnesses that Sikkim is
plagued with. I am given to understand that Dr. Reddy is fond of reading English
fiction. I myself, coming from a family of farmers, is hooked unto writing and
reading poetry. And I daresay, poetry and fiction in their inherent substance is the
longing for an ideal world, a utopia where people would live happily ever after. One
day, I pray, that all of us will wake up to find that facts, in fact, is sometime
stranger than fiction.

      Lastly, I take this opportunity to invite the Hon’ble Chief Minister, Dr. Reddy
to visit Sikkim where we could further this dialogue for a mutually beneficial
conclusion.

       I thank all the officials from this State for the care and attention extended to
members of our delegation. It was great experience to visit your State and may the
Almighty continue to bless the people of this State for a more prosperous and happy
life ahead.

   Thank you all




                                         234
   100     Public Reception in honour of the visiting Vice President of India, Shri
      Bhairon Sigh Shekhawat, Chintan Bhawan, 18 August 2006

      Hon’ble Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawatji Vice-President of India, His
Excellency Governor of Sikkim, Shri V. Rama Raoji, Hon’ble Speaker, Deputy
Speaker, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Hon’ble Cabinet colleagues, MLAs,
Chairmen, Chairpersons, respected representatives from different social
organizations, respected local gentries, friends, ladies and gentlemen

      It is my great pleasure and proud privilege to welcome your Honour to Sikkim
on behalf of the people of Sikkim, the State Government and on my personal behalf.
Today, the people of Sikkim are highly blessed by the visit of a noble soul and a
great statesman of your stature. Respected Sir, with your long experience in
Parliamentary Democracy on different capacities, I am confident that the 31 years
of democratic tradition in Sikkim is bound to be further strengthened and
consolidated to attain greater maturity and perfection.

       Your Honour is kindly aware that Sikkim is a unique example where the free
choice and the collective will of the people of Sikkim made it a constituent State of
the Indian Union in 1975. Today, it gives me immense joy to inform you that since
then, the people of Sikkim have relatively prospered under the democratic tradition
and under the broad framework of our Constitution. As you have been enjoined
upon to preside over our collective destiny, we are but the progeny of your long
sacrifice and your sacred commitment to uphold the sanctity of the Indian tradition
and democratic principles under all circumstances.

       In your long, eventful and transparent political career, you have created many
benchmarks in addressing issues like poverty alleviation, social evils, rural
upliftment, economy and arts and literature among others. You are a pioneer in
launching landmark programme of the Antyodaya Scheme during your tenure as
Chief Minister of Rajasthan in late 1970s, which was later adopted by the central
government for the whole of country as a poverty alleviation measure for the
villagers. You have been a doyen of arts and literature promoting classical learning
like Urdu, Arabic and Persian in the country and setting up scores of institutions
for promotion and development of similar cultures in the State of Rajasthan.

      Your Honour, located on the lap of Mount Kanchenjunga (world’s third
highest mountain), Sikkim is known for its lush green vegetation, verdant forests,
scenic valleys and majestic mountains and a range of rich and magnificent cultural
heritage which add to the aura of mystery surrounding the State of Sikkim.

       Sikkim hosts over 26 percent of bio-diversity found in the entire country.
Over 4000 species of different plants and shrubs, around 700 species of rare
orchids and rhododendrons and other rich reservoir of flora and fauna have
transformed Sikkim into a nature lover’s paradise. Most of the area of the State is of
mountainous terrain, interspersed with ravines and green valleys. Your Excellency
will be interested to know that only 13 percent of our total landscape is available for
productive cultivation in the State. The two main rivers are Teesta and Rangit both
of which originate in the serene glaciers of the Himalayas. The unparallel beauty of
                                         235
the State and very friendly and hospitable people are its competitive and
comparative advantages

      As you are aware Sir, the people of Sikkim are fortunate to preside over a rich
reservoir of natural resources and natural wealth, we have decided to base all our
development strategies on our natural resources with due care given to our
environmental protection and sustainability. Generation of hydro-power, promotion
of eco-tourism, horticulture and floriculture development and other service sectors
are our priorities.

       As the Vice-President of our great nation, His Honour is a towering
personality inspiring ethical values in public life, inspiring deep respect for the
resilience of India’s democracy, inspiring keen interest in the buoyancy of India’s
economy, inspiring keen interest in the vibrancy of our ancient culture and
inspiring an intimate concern for the trials and tribulation of the poor and the
deprived. You are a generous personality coming from the ancestry of farmers and
agriculturists, the nation of one billion plus citizens and in you Sikkim have found
a great son, friend and compatriot, who have consistently worked to ensure that
people’s voices are heard, their conscience purged and that justice is done to them
without any exception.

       Hon’ble Sir, our government has been at the helm of state’s affairs for the last
12 years and we have derived great inspiration and strength from your steady
presence all these years. As we continue to conduct ourselves in the best of the
democratic tradition, the very high standard set by you in the field of public service
will be our beacon light in our mission to transform India into a Developed Nation
by 2020 as widely called upon by our President, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.

      I once again welcome you, Madam Shekhawat ji, your family members and
other members of your distinguished entourage to Sikkim and express my sincere
thanks for blessing our State with your visit. Wishing you Hon’ble Sir a very
pleasant time ahead-

Thank you Sir




                                         236
XIX Democracy, Panchayat and Participation
   101      India-Bangladesh Workshop on “Democracy, Development and
      Participation”, Tashi Delek, Gangtok, 13 October 2003

      Ambassador L.L. Mehrotra, Dr HJ Kiderlen, Prof DD Khanna, Mr Joerg Wolff,
Prof Muchkund Dubey, Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, Prof Balveer Arora, Prof BG
Verghese, Prof. Lama, very distinguished delegates and participants and Ladies and
Gentlemen.

       Let me first extend my warm welcome to all of you to this Himalayan State in
this festive season of victory, peace and prosperity. The peak rainy season is just
over. Sikkim is now at its most beautiful attire and charm and I daresay that your
kind presence has added grandeur to its natural fascination.

      The theme of the workshop “Democracy, Development and Participation” to
discuss and deliberate on which all of you have gathered here is both critical and
relevant. Critical because all the three elements are inter-dependent. They are very
fundamental to the political economy of sustainability of human beings. It is
relevant because all the three elements are under constant threat and challenges.
All these three elements of democracy, development and participation are
undergoing massive changes in their direction, composition and content. They need
constant deliberations and discussions in order to make maximum use of the
matrix and linkages that are inherent in them.

      The crux of the debate in our country and I suppose in many neighbouring
countries also, are three fold -- deprivation vs empowerment, development vs
marginalisation and freedom vs dependence. Both India and Bangladesh are rural
in our physiography, topography, demography and socio-economic structures. Our
strength lies in deep rooted rural foundation. Our core competence is based on
rural resource and our sustenance is driven by rural folks and their traditions and
practices.

      Pandit Nehru said that the life of a nation is lived principally in the villages.
And since then, the atmosphere has not changed much. Our villages are as vibrant.
They are the cradles of our wisdom, experiences and civilisation. They remain the
most prolific custodian of our knowledge, heritage, culture and natural resources.

      Therefore the core of the entire debate should be again villages and rural
structures. The fulcrum of our analysis and operations should be the rural masses.

      I am equally delighted to see that representatives, experts and academics of
three countries namely, Bangladesh, Germany and India which have practiced all
the three elements in various ways, styles and depth are here to discuss the related
issues in this workshop.



                                         237
      It’s not that we have not made any headway in advocating the significance of
this tri-junction namely democracy, development and participation. We have
marched ahead and achieved a great deal. I am reminded of what Dr BR Ambedkar
said in his Presidential address to the All India Depressed Classes Congress in
August 1930. While referring to the selfish motive of the British regime he said:

             “ I am afraid that the British chose to advertise unfortunate conditions
      (of the deprived lot), not with the object of removing them, but only because
      such a course served well as an excuse for retarding the political progress of
      India”

      I am very impressed by the gracious presence of a galaxy of very well known
academics and experts here in this august house. I have not only read but also
made use of some of your intellectual inputs and other contributions in our
development interventions. We are rather fully aware of the pioneering work done
by institutes like Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh Institute of Development
Studies, Bangladesh Unnayan Parishad and Dhaka University in Bangladesh and
Centre for Policy Research, Council for Social Development and Jawaharlal Nehru
University in India.

      However, let me briefly apprise you of where Sikkim stands today after 28
years of being a constituent state of India.

       We have made significant strides in all the social and economic indicators.
Sikkim maintained one of the highest economic growth rate of 8.3 percent in the
country during the Ninth Plan. We have the 5th highest growth rate in per capita
income and we devote 4th highest percentage of Plan Expenditure on Social Sector
in the country.

      Ours is the State historically marked by total communal harmony, peace and
tranquility. However, given the situations in some other parts of the country, we
have adopted policy of “zero tolerance” to communalism and communal elements.

       We started with a literacy rate of 7 % in 1951 and have reached over 70 %
today. Today, Approximately 83 % of children in the age group 6-17 attend school.
More than 85 % of households enjoy safe and potable drinking water. An impressive
achievement is the electrification of all the villages in Sikkim. Children of all
habitations in Sikkim have access to primary education. Our State is going to be
the first total organic state in the country. We were also the first in the country to
ban the use of plastic bags, grazing and felling of green trees in the state. We have
well-established network of Primary Health Sub-Centres and has the lowest
percentage of malnourished children in the country. We have provided justice at
door step for each Sikkimese. We have Lok Adalats in all the four districts and five
sub-divisions and even Atrocity and Human Rights Court have been established.

      The challenges brought forward by globalisation are diverse and they require
a comprehensive tackling. We would like to internalize, we call it Sikkimisation of
the globalization process by taking best advantage of the gains and opportunities
generated by it.
                                         238
        My government was voted to power nine years back on two very popular
slogans. Our social slogan was that, it is “Khalikhutteko Sarkar” i.e. “government
of bare footed people” and our political slogan was that “Janata Rajma Janatai raja”
i.e. in peoples’ regime, people reign supreme. In both these slogans, the underlying
principle was absolute respect for peoples’ power, peoples’ effective empowerment
and their capabilities and choices.

       I only wish to mention that our core intent is to make each village unit in the
state a self-sustainable entity. Possibly we are one of the few States in the country
to devolve and decentralise in a very comprehensive manner. This we are doing by
devolving the financial and institutional powers, empowering, re-skilling and
retraining the able bodied rural mass and by broadening their choices. The
Panchayats at the village level have been adequately empowered to undertake all
development works including community services. This I would also like to call as
the rule of the rural people.
       The issue of choices as mentioned above naturally include all the elements of
human development paradigm widely debated in the world today. These choices
include the entire spectrum of human development that include political freedom to
capacity building and affirmative actions to collective accountability. With a view to
sensitise the entire state, we prepared the Sikkim Human Development Report and
Sikkim: The People’s Vision in 2001. I am delighted to mention that Sikkim was one
of the first few States in the country to prepare such path breaking reports.
       We have always highlighted the examples and standards set by organizations
like Grameen Bank Yojana, Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee and
Proshika in Bangaldesh and SWRC in Tilonia, SEWA and Agha Khan Rural Support
Programme in Gujarat. Let me also mention that one of the most widely acclaimed
rural energy projects we keep quoting to our people is Palli Bidyut Samities (PBSs)
and Grameen Shakti of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.

      We are always inspired by all these initiatives. What we have found in them is
the importance they lay on local leadership, consistency of commitment, clarity in
goals and determined mobilization of grass roots and other stake holders. The use
of local resources, feeling of ownership and use of appropriate technology are the
strength of these experiences and practices.

       We have witnessed that poverty is deepening and widening. People have
become too dependent on the government thereby losing their ability, innovative
skills and commitment. The traditional institutions are fledgling, and development
practices are vanishing. Political rights are infringed upon. New cultures of
depredation and violence are emerging. Our people are looking for newer avenues
and better opportunities. Whereas the ability of the States to deliver goods is fast
eroding.

       Our delivery institutions have become weak and fragile. In the absence of
accountability and transparency, people are losing their faith and confidence on the
governmental institutions. Political interventions, bureaucratic lethargy and
indifference in civil society have made the monitoring and evaluation literally
impossible.
                                         239
      The challenges brought forward by the agents of globalisation including the
World Trade Organisation (WTO) are immense. But where is the consciousness and
awareness among our policy makers and village societies about the impending
dangers of trade and investment related intellectual property rights? This is just
one of the fearsome challenges.

       The most fundamental link between democracy- development and
participation is the delivery institutions and mechanism. But the entire delivery
system is under deep confusion and great stress today. It has tended to become
accountable to none and responsible to nothing.

      Take up any popular brand names promoted by multinational companies
including “coca cola”, “head and shoulder shampoo” and “uncle chips”. How come
they have reached the remotest areas of the country? This is more so when as the
development agent of the government we are still harping on physical
inaccessibility, lack of infrastructure and poor resources to explain our inability to
take development projects and programmes to the rural areas.

      If these multinational companies have reached the remotest of the remote
areas within no time of their existence in our country, what stopped the
governmental agencies of the state for last so many decades to penetrate and flood
these areas with welfare and developmental schemes. Please remember we are a
nation State, a country with so much of manpower, resources and institutional
base.

       Another issue which is very vital to us in the entire debate is gender equality.
We have seen how cruel we are in this respect. We do female foetecide to show a
preference of boy child and we literally starve to death a male calf only because it
does not give milk. Our basic mindset is wrong, prejudiced and smacks of
hypocrisy. We want to work against such discrimination yet we do not have the
social and moral courage. We will have to go for head-on collision with this ever
critical issue. Otherwise all our slogans of devolution, participation and
empowerment will be just empty rhetoric. These are the issues which weaken,
erode and eat away the roots of democracy-development and participation.

      Despite the fact that traditionally not much of gender prejudices exist in
Sikkim, our Government has consciously worked to consolidate this tradition of not
discriminating on the basis of gender. Women have been appointed to senior
Government positions including Hon’ble Speaker of our State Legislative Assembly,
cabinet ministers and head of the departments and commissions. We have women
as Zilla Adhakshyas. We have strict enforcement of our own law that makes it
mandatory to mention mother's name also in all official papers and documents.
Gender Related Development Index (GDI) in the State has steadily improved over
the last few years.

      We have adopted reforms in order to reach a gain-gain situation. Reforms will
bring economic efficiency and higher productivity. Hence we will save cost and
other material and human resources. The core of reforms process is therefore more
                                         240
efficient allocation of resources and withdrawal of rampant subsidies. The essence
of liberalisation is competition and efficiency. And the goal of reforms higher
economic growth. The question is, how conscious are our rural folks about these
undercurrents of liberalisation and reforms.

       I ask more fundamental question. Can these reforms be carried out without
making any changes in the basic political practices and institutions in the country?
Every one is talking about second generation reforms now in economic system only.
What about second generation reforms in the political system also? This is essential
for the sustainability of strong linkages between democracy-development and
participation and in bridging the gap between people’s expectations and ability of
the political parties in power to fulfil these aspirations. This is very vital because
today people are conscious, informed and intelligent.

       Let us talk about constructive politics and constructive idealism. We have
only done competitive politics so far. To win the election and be in the government
alone is not politics. To play one against the other in order to remain in power is not
politics. To mislead the people by making false statements and by showing empty
hopes is again not politics. To use communalism as the last straw is not politics.

       In Sikkim, we are therefore, debating on second generation reforms aimed at
changing the mindset of the politicians, improving the functioning of political
institutions and consolidating the link and symbiosis between democracy-
development and participation.

      The entire political agenda needs to be re-prioritised. For example, agenda of
simple reservation issues in jobs should be extended to more fundamental and
comprehensive issues of empowerment and social exclusion. The issue of police led
security concept should be replaced by much more comprehensive human security
and related food, environment and energy security. Accountability and
transparency should be the guiding principle rather than the existing side shows.

      We must dismantle the awkward notion that the empowerment of village folks
would mean dis-empowerment of politicians and bureaucracy. We will have to
change this unexplained and unreasonable mindset. The ongoing Tenth Five Year
Plan of India mentions that:

            “In almost all States, people perceive bureaucracy as wooden,
      disinterested in public welfare, and corrupt. The issue of reform in
      governance has acquired critical dimensions, more so in the poorer
      states…….Weak governance, manifesting itself in poor service delivery,
      excessive regulation, ……is seen as one of the key factors impinging on
      growth and development.         There has also been less than adequate
      decentralization of the functions of Government... The spirit of the 73rd and
      74th Constitutional Amendments has not been observed in many of the
      States. It is believed that little improvement will be possible until such
      decentralization becomes effective, both in terms of functions and resources”.



                                         241
       Therefore, our policy should be to retain the sanctity, identity and strength of
the villages and rural activities intact. We should be able to retain as many people
as possible in the villages. We all know the socio-cultural and politico-economic
implication of large scale migration to the urban areas and cities. At this juncture,
may I add that we in Sikkim are now poised to empower the rural masses and the
government machinery is equally concerned that empowerment become effective
and fruitful.

      Our real problem is disguised unemployment arising out of a situation where
marginal productivity of labour is zero. This is the theory which was propounded by
famous economists like Lebeinstein and Nurkse and empirically found to be true in
rural India by economists like Amartya Sen, Prafulla Sanghvi and PR
Brahmananda.

       The challenge for all the distinguished participants here is to find a
sustainable way out in keeping the rural folks engaged in the more productive and
efficient area. This is, in fact, the solution to the issues of poverty, deprivation and
backwardness. This will in a major way consolidate the bond, linkage and alliance
between democracy, development and participation. I am sure this workshop will
deliberate on this.

      I am sure you will enjoy your stay in Sikkim in such a lovely and serene
autumn season. Please do visit Nathu la which has been designated as a trading
point between India and China. I am sure many of the neighbouring countries
including Bangladesh can take advantage of this new trade route in course of time.
We are keen to have sub-regional cooperation in a practicable and project driven
form.

      I keenly look forward to get your views and recommendations from this
deliberation. I once again thank both Society for Peace, Security and Development
Studies and Konrad Adenauer Foundation for giving me this opportunity to share
my thoughts and views with such highly distinguished delegates.

      Thank you once again.




                                          242
XX Sports and Recreation
   104   Special Olympic Torch Rally, Gangtok, 16 September 2005
      My beloved Children and other participants, my cabinet colleagues, respected
Retired Air Marshal Denzil Keelor, distinguished guests, sports persons,
representatives from different organizations, members from Press fraternity, friends,
ladies and gentlemen

       I am feeling extremely privileged to have been able to join hands with all of
you today. Special Olympic Torch Relay reaching for the first time in Sikkim is,
indeed, a historic event for the mentally retarded persons in the State. Besides
holding of various sports events for the mentally challenged persons, this day also
will bestow upon the children a sense of deep belonging towards the society that
they live in, will boost their self-confidence, and a deep faith in the divine presence
in each individual created in His own image. Without questioning divine Providence,
let it be suffice to realize that each one of you is vested with certain unique
potential, some inherent quality which has to be tapped in for the service of the
society, state, nation and the Universe. On this historic day, may I call upon every
member of the civil society, public representatives, members of NGOs and the
Media to provoke the very best from each one of these beloved children who are vital
members of our society to join in our collective endeavour to make our state and the
nation more prosperous and flourishing.

       Parents and guardians should be more forthcoming to provide each one of
them an enabling environment to grow to their fullest stature. They should be able
to avail of various assistance extended by the Government and the Non-
Governmental Organization for their holistic development and for protecting their
rights. Proper guidance, training and encouragement can produce wonderful result
for developing the ability to participate in the state, national and international
events.

       For a small record, I would like to place here that the State Government has
been doing everything in its power to lessen the suffering, and enhance the dignity
of such a section of the people through various policy interventions and legislations.
We have made special provision for job reservation for the physically-challenged
persons. Financial support at the rate of Rs. 500 per month is being provided to the
disabled. There also is provision for providing legal guardians to them in every
district.   The Government has also been considering for establishment of a
Composite Rehabilitation Institute in the days to come. We have also committed to
take up all measures towards capacity building of the disabled by ensuring
accessibililty to various facilities, special education, vocational training and
employment.

      Their involvement in cheerful sports at all levels in the State will not only help
in physical and mental development of these persons but greatly help in breaking
the attitudinal barriers leading to greater social integration and due recognition as
equal citizens. The State Government will support all the activities undertaken by
                                          243
the Special Olympic Bharat, Sikkim for the overall development of these section of
our population.

      It is our moral duty to help these people to play their parts to their fullest
capability and caliber. I would also like to remind them that over the centuries, the
world has been made all the more richer and competent due to the great
contributions made by disabled persons like Stephen Hawking and Helen Keller.
Dear children, Stepehen Hawking has been acknowledged as the greatest living
physicist/scientist today who is now eternally confined to his wheelchair and
speaks with the aid of a Computer. Likewise, Helen Keller who was rendered blind,
deaf and mute by illness at the age of nineteen (19) months contributed greatly as
an author and educationist.

      I am thankful to the Spastic Society of Sikkim and Organizers of Special
Olympic Bharat and its state partners for giving me the privilege to join this event
as the Chief Guest. To be able to work for the mentally challenged person is a
challege in itself and more importantly it is a divine calling. To produce desired
result within the stipulated time frame requires tolerance, dogged persistence and
dedication on our part. I praise all the great souls who have chosen to work for the
welfare of the disabled and bring precious smile and happiness in the lives of the
hundreds of disabled worldwide.

       As the great dramatist has famously said that this world is a stage and each
of us a mere player acting our part that God has assigned upon us. Beloved
children, each one of you is come to this world with certain purpose and you have
all the power to accomplish great thing that the God has willed upon you to
perform. And I daresay that we will have our Hawking and Hellen Keller among you
all to enrich the various facets of our living society.
       May the God bless you all endlessly.


Thank you




                                        244
   105   Paljor Stadium inauguration by the President, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam,
         Gangtok, 22 September 2005

      Your Excellency, President of India, respected Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam saheb,
your Excellency Shri V. Rama Rao ji, Hon’ble Speaker and Deputy Speaker of
Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Cabinet colleagues, MLAs, respected officials from the
Centre, Chief Secretary, Government of Sikkim, distinguished guest, ladies and
gentlemen

      Let me, on behalf of the people and the Government of Sikkim, extend my
heartiest and warm welcome to one of the most revered and popular Presidents of
India Your Excellency Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. Your Excellency, we are deeply
delighted and distinctly privileged to have your august presence in this most
peaceful State and one of the best performing states in the country. For us this is
one of the most auspicious seasons -a season full of festivals, fragrance and
harvest. Your Excellency’s presence has given us another great occasion to
celebrate this sense of well-being.

      This day is further made special by the inauguration of this newly
modernized Palzor Stadium by His Excellency. The reconstruction of this stadium
with all the modern facilities has been made possible by the support and assistance
of the central government. The kind presence of His Excellency today and its
inauguration by him will have a special bearing and message for our youths on the
conduct of various sports.

      Your Excellency, the people of Sikkim decided to be an integral part of the
democratic and progressive India in 1975. Since then the integration process with
the mainstream India has been an interesting and a challenging task both in terms
of our political history and geographical location. The consistent support and a
range of interventions of the Union Government played a very critical role in adding
milestones to our development journey.

       We have achieved very significant heights just in three decades of joining the
mainstream. We had one of the highest economic growth rates in the Ninth Plan. All
our social and economic indicators have been steadily improving to reach a robust
stage. The degree of happiness, the depth of satisfaction and urge to contribute are
relatively much higher in our state.

       Decentralization and devolution has been a most crucial part of our
governance. We have a very vibrant Panchayati Raj system where they now play an
active role in the planning and designing of development projects also. The
traditional communication facilities including telephones have long reached our
villages. The advantages of information technology are now being taken to the
remote village unit.

      We have received a chain of accolades and appreciations from various
national and international organizations. We were honored with the coveted green
award when we got the Greenest Chief Minister award instituted by the renowned
Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi. Very recently, one of the
                                        245
premiere media houses in India, presented us the best State award in Education
and Investment Environment categories.

       Intellectually, we do not want to lag behind as we have the distinction of
being in the first five states in the Country to have produced both Human
Development Report and Vision Document. We have also charted out a clear road
map for development both in terms of harnessing our natural resources and human
resources and strengthening of our traditional base. Your Excellency, we have
adopted policy decision to base all our development strategies on our natural
resources. In our planned development process, we are advised and guided by some
of the best known professionals and scholars who are members of the Sikkim State
Planning Commission.

       Many quarters and opinion leaders now consider Sikkim to be a model state
as we have been the custodian of communal harmony and an example in the
practice of liberal democracy. We remain surrounded by disturbed areas and
situations yet Sikkim is the abode of peace and stability. We have nurtured peace,
we have built happiness brick by brick and ensured stability for all times.

       Your Excellency, we believe we have done many pioneering works in areas
like emotional integration, environmental conservation, woman empowerment,
social justice, poverty alleviation, education, health and eco-tourism. We have
banned plastics and use of all non-biodegradable materials in the State. Education
is provided free upto college level with special provision for free distribution of
textbooks, exercise books, school uniform, school bag and rain coat to all children
at the elementary level. Hepatitis B vaccination was provided to all children free of
cost by the government. By 2009, we would like to provide all basic amenities to our
people and also make Sikkim as the total sanitation covered State. We have also set
our vision to make Sikkim 100% literate, poverty free, unemployment-free, self-
reliant and the Best State in India by 2015.

      In all these, the most striking aspect has been the inspiration we have drawn
from towering public figures like Your Excellency. We remain deeply impressed by
your unparalleled intellectual, professional and social contributions to the making
of modern India. It is a historic moment in our country that the Head of State is an
internationally acclaimed scientist, statesman and thinker. And the head of the
Government Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is internationally reputed
economist, public intellectual and political figure.

       Your Excellency, our competitive advantage lies in horticulture and
floriculture. Our strength lies in Eco-tourism. In both these areas, our effort has
been to promote conservation along with commercial harnessing. We would like to
be the Eco-tourism destination of South Asia and not India alone. To achieve this
aim, we have decided to promote village tourism, culture tourism and pilgrimage
tourism in addition to the regular tourism features, so that every one in Sikkim is
made the stakeholder in the entire tourism drive.




                                        246
     We are trying to introduce our flowers, fruits and vegetables across the
country. We are the largest producer of cardamom in the country. We have just set
up Agriculture Export Zone.

      The biggest constraints we have faced in both these ventures are market and
infrastructure. We need some long-term investment support and development
interventions. We need wider and reliable connectivity with outside world both
within and outside the country like airport and alternative national highway. We
have a liberal investment regime. Therefore, Your Excellency, we would crave for
your august intervention in developing these facilities.

      We are also aiming to be the power exporting State within next couple of
years. We have a chain of hydro power projects to be collaboratively done by both
the government and the independent power producers.

      However, we have another serious worry in this front also. The glaciers are
our main sources of river water system. These glaciers are being increasingly
threatened by the global warming process. Yet we do not have adequate research
and knowledge base on the exact nature and implications of these erosion in glacial
morphology. We also do not have the institutional capacity to deal with them.

      Your Excellency may again kindly consider appointing a National Commission
to examine these issues in a much more organized and systematic manner. On our
part, we have already announced the setting up of an Environment Commission led
by a very eminent Environmentalist in the country.

      Sikkim is a land of natural resources. No where one can find in such a small
area such a reservoir of rich bio-diversity and topographical features. All of us know
that this bio-diversity, if harnessed in a scientific and systematic manner, could
transform the entire socio-economic profile of the Eastern Himalayas. It can bring
both intellectual and financial fortune to the nation. We also realize that there have
been a very sharp increase in demand for bio-diversity related goods and services in
the world market. We have not been able to harness the same.
      Large number of villagers and faith healers has died without leaving any trace
of traditional knowledge. Many of them are getting alienated and marginalized.
Therefore, we need to institutionalize the knowledge base. We will have to have a
focused research and teaching on the entire aspects of bio-diversity. We need to
devise new means to both conserve and commercially harness these resources. This
is why we would like to make a fervent appeal to Your Excellency that a University
exclusively devoted to Hill and mountain resources be set up in Sikkim. This
University will lead the nation in advance teaching and research and can serve the
interest of the entire hill and mountain areas of the country. This is a very critical
area of both livelihood and sustenance.

      Your Excellency will be delighted to note that Sikkim has made significant
achievements in many other areas. We are striving hard to make the state the first
Organic State of India by 2009. We were possibly the first state in the country to
pick up and operationalise Your Excellency’s advocacy of Providing Urban
Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA). In fact, your Excellency will be pleased to know
                                         247
that immediately after taking over the reign of government in the State, we
earmarked seventy percent of our plan allocation for rural upliftment. After eleven
years in government, we continue to uphold our policy. The villagers and their
Panchayats are the most pertinent stakeholders in all our rural ventures.

      The traditional Nathu la trade route is soon being opened. We are fully geared
up in this regard. A comprehensive Report based on development on both sides of
the border has been prepared with a 2020 vision. We are expecting the huge
benefits from trade and tourism exchanges between India and China through this
pass. Sikkim, once again, will have the privilege to serve as the critical link and a
gateway to these two oldest civilizations. Your Excellency, we aspire for your
blessings and support to carry forward all these great responsibilities the nation
and the people of India have bestowed on us.

       Our children and youths are very talented, creative and resourceful. We have
invested a great deal of our time, resources and intellectual guidance on them. They
are our social capital and the driving forces. We feel that given the right training
and opportunity, they can do wonders both within and outside the nation.
Accordingly, we have declared the year 2005 as the Youth Revolutionary Year with
the basic objective to guide them through constructive path and help them find
worthy cause and purpose in their lives. The idea has been to overcome what your
Excellency has called it the biggest problem faced by the Indian youth, i.e. ‘lack of
clarity of vision, a lack of direction’. We are aiming at chanelising the youth power
towards more positive and productive ventures through career diversification,
private entrepreneurship and encouraging them towards service sectors like eco-
tourism trade and other hospitality business. Your august presence will lend
greater substance to our campaign to harness youth power in the nation building
process.

      Ours is possibly the only state in the country to have very specific youth
development projects including the Skill Development Fund, Chief Minster’s Self
Employment Scheme and Career Development Fund. Under these schemes, we
have envisioned to sponsor graduate and undergraduate youths in acquiring
various professional acumen and skills in areas that ranges from tourism industry
to science and technology. We have also announced the setting up of a Youth
Commission which will be headed by a prominent academician in the country.

       Your Excellency’s deep interests and vision to harness the youth power has
been internationally acclaimed. As your Excellency has ignited the minds of millions
of youth and children across the country, I take this opportunity to record our
passion to sing the ‘Song of Youth’ with all the countrymen and also extend our
fullest support to your far-reaching project and dream of making India the source of
youth power and actions.

      Your Excellency, the Central Government, headed by different leaders over
the decades have been highly considerate and sympathetic towards the
expectations and aspirations of the people of Sikkim. We have worked closely all
these years with the central leaders to bring progress and prosperity to our State.
However, there are certain demands of the people of Sikkim, which are still pending
                                        248
at the central government. I would like to take liberty to quote some of them before
Your Excellency:

      Recognition of Lepchas of Sikkim as primitive tribe group;
      Seat reservation for the Limbu and Tamang tribes in the Sikkim Legislative
      Assembly;
      Scheduled tribe status for the ethnic Sikkimese tribes like the Kirat Khambu
      Rai, Gurung, Mangar, Thami, Dewan, Sunwar, Jogi and Bhujel;
      Inclusion of Other Backward Classes like Bahun, Chettri and Newar in
      Sikkim under the Central Government Notification as OBC;

      I would also like to take this opportunity to place them for favour of Your
Excellency’s kind information and sympathetic consideration. We would sincerely
request for your honour’s kind blessing in all our endeavours to further strengthen
our socio-economic fabric, prevailing peace and tranquility and emotional affinity
with our great Nation.

      This Himalayan state is greatly privileged to receive one of the great souls and
great achievers in the country. At the same time, we would like to believe that Your
Excellency has experienced the breeze of wind from the mighty Kanchenjunga, our
guardian deity, to grant you good health and a soaring spirit. Through your own
example, your achievement, philanthropy and your ever-inspiring words, the
countrymen will surely find that wings of fire to keep the lamp of knowledge
burning and achieve the vision of Developed India as Your Excellency has always
espoused for all the countrymen.

        Your Excellency, I once again extend our warm welcome and highest
felicitations for your gracious presence. We would always cherish your blessings,
support and best wishes. And on our part, we assure Your Excellency the best of
thinking, actions and contributions to take India to greater heights.

      Jai Bharat
      Jai Sikkim




                                         249
250

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:19
posted:11/25/2011
language:English
pages:250