Saturday, November 17, 2007


Centre urges Sikkim to focus on tourism and agriculture
NEW DELHI, November 16: Sikkim will get two new Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and upgradation for one existing ITIs under the skill development and vocational training scheme.
This was informed by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Oscar Fernandes while responding to the queries from journalists from Sikkim who represented the State in the recently concluded Economic Editors’ Conference here.
Mr. Fernandes also made clear that the project being a 100 percent centrally sponsored scheme falls under implementation for the North Eastern States including Sikkim for establishing 22 new ITIs and upgrading 35 existing ITIs.
Answering another query, the minister suggested that the Sikkim government give priority to education, capacity building, professional training and industrial development as well as give encouragement to the small scale industries.
“As far as Sikkim is concerned, the tourism sector is the best means to solve the unemployment problem as is sustainable too, Mr. Fernandes said. The ministry for the Development of North Eastern Region (DONER) is also giving top priority in the tourism sector for the NE region, he added.
Since Sikkim and Meghalaya are rich in Orchids, they should take full advantage and should go for floriculture in a big way, Mr. Fernandes further suggested. He also appreciated the achievement made by Sikkim in the tourism sector.
Stating that agriculture would contribute significantly towards solving the unemployment problem, he said that states like Sikkim should also focus on agriculture considering its fertile land and traditional farming knowledge. If the State is self-sufficient in its agricultural produce, the dependence on other States for food grains and vegetables could be drastically reduced, he said.
Earlier in his speech, Mr. Fernandes also informed of the provision for Sikkim under the Mission on Vocational Educational and Skill Development which will be launched soon.Through this mission the central government is aiming to open 1600 new ITIs and polytechnics, 10,000 new vocational schools and 50,000 new skill development centres across the country ensuring that annually over 1 crore students get vocational training.
For this, the central government has also sought help and participation of the private sector in the initiative so that they can not only assist in the training but also lend their hand in providing employment opportunities.
All the State governments have been directed to implement Minimum Wages Act 1948 and suggested that the Panchayats should also monitor the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation Act), 1986, the minister said.