Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sikkim Chief Minister’s Independence Day Message

Respected fellow citizens of the State and the Country,
At a time when we celebrate the great moment of liberation and freedom, may we commit ourselves to higher level of commitment to our responsibility, to our duty and our services to the Nation. The Countrymen have re-installed a stable and progressive Government at the centre under the visionary leadership of Dr. Manmohan Singh. On behalf of the people of Sikkim, I would like to congratulate the Hon’ble Prime Minister and his team once again and also repose full faith on the central Government for promoting peace and prosperity and further undertaking many historical initiatives in the Nation and for its citizens.
Respected fellow citizens,
You have voted the Sikkim Democratic Front party to power for the last fifteen years, judged us ample times and tested our capacity to deliver on our promises on a number of occasions. Now while you have chosen us for the fourth consecutive terms entering into our 20th year in government, we do not need to construct any argument in favour of our party and the government. Your voice is clear and loud. On behalf of State Government, I would like to once again congratulate the people of Sikkim for exercising their democratic rights in full measures and also thank them for reposing their faith and confidence on our party for yet another term by creating this indelible truth as historical and unprecedented in the political journey of Sikkim.
Our track record during the last fifteen years is only encouraging. The Net State Domestic Product which was Rs. 426 crores in 1995 has scaled up to Rs. 1,730 crores at current prices in 2007. We have maintained a comfortable growth rate of 10% through the 10th Plan period and the per capita index has multiplied to Rs. 29,561 in 2007 from Rs. 8,905 in 1995. Our State’s revenue generation from Tax and Non-Tax Revenue sources has touched the level of Rs. 436.00 crores way up from the figure of Rs.44.72 crores in 1994-95.
Respected fellow Sikkimese,
As widely discussed across the country, the need is to adequately train our youths for them to be employable. Therefore, we have to re-orient our education system to meet new demands and requirement of the new age.
Towards this end, we have been called upon to discover new methods and a new set of interventions. The State of Sikkim has a full fledged Directorate of Capacity Building to undertake training in diverse skills and trades. The Government has done this to consolidate the solid gains arrived at from innovative Skill Development Fund project introduced in 2003.
Health Services
In addition to all the health incentives provided to people, we seek to establish a stronger government-citizens interface so that issue of health and healthy living become the concern and responsibility of both.
Respected fellow citizens,
Many of our people are still not ready to advance beyond the doorstep of government establishment for seeking employment. And they have not been able to absorb the idea of emerging new sets of employment avenues and the level of competition that ensues.
Social welfare strategies
Recognizing the importance of social development, we have increased the annual allocation by 44 percent over the last year allocation. Our program under this sector shall cover welfare schemes for people right from infancy to the old age.
Environmental conservation
Respected Sikkimese citizens,
When we initiated conservation measures way back in 1995, the issue of global warming and climate change hazards although serious had not yet engaged the imagination of the global community as they are today.
4th Pay Commission recommendation
Sikkim is privileged to host the highest paid government employees in the country at all levels. We have never defaulted on the payment of their salaries in contrast with many other states where even Ministers go without pay for months together!
We have earmarked a sum of Rs. 828 crores for this financial year to cover all expenditure arising after the 4th Pay Commission recommendations.
Respected fellow Sikkimese,
With genuine thought and firm commitment, we have set forth our dreams and defined our targets to be achieved by 2015. They include transforming Sikkim into:
(1) poverty-free State; (2) illiteracy-free State; (3) disease-free State; (4) drug-free, HIV/AIDS free State; (5) corruption-free State; (6) eco-tourism destination (7) zero unemployment zone; (8) the land of opportunity; (9) the producer State; (10) the best welfare State; and (11) the happiest State.
I have one, and the only one Junoon, an obsession - my internal drive and my supreme wish to make Sikkim prosperous. Jai hind, Jai Sikkim.