Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sikkim CM targets to attract Rs. 1 lakh crores investment

New industries to use cent per cent local employment, modifications in licenses
GANGTOK, September 12: With official figures of unemployed youth in Sikkim pegged at twenty one thousand, Chief Minister Pawan Chamling today announced a capacity building blitz sweetened with the government’s latest decision to ink new industries and hotels into 100 percent use of local manpower.
Forget 21,000 people, today there are sufficient job opportunities for 50,000 people in Sikkim but our biggest challenge is how to empower our people to fulfil these jop opportunities, said Mr. Chamling while releasing the draft policy and action plan of Chief Minister’s Youth Empowerment Scheme here at Chintan Bhavan.
The Chief Minister’s Youth Empowerment Scheme seeks to build a skilled and capable human resource in the State to take benefits of the slew of employment opportunities lying in the State.
“We want to build Sikkim as a source of capable skilled human resource”, said Mr. Chamling giving the departments targets for using their expertise and funds towards this objective.
Capacity building was the mantra offered by Chief Minister to overcome the unemployment hurdle.
Sikkim is the producer of the novel idea of capacity building, said Mr. Chamling adding that it was a though born out of necessity. From today, we have made it the main programme of the State government, he said. He appealed all the heads of the departments, legislatures and panchayats to make the capacity building programme of the State government into a successful venture.
With unemployment on the rise in Sikkim partly due to lack of skilled local manpower and partly due to ‘white collar job’ mentality among the locals, the Chief Minister called for a paradigm shift in the mindset of the Sikkimese youth and to accept dignity of labour.
Mr. Chamling further announced that new companies coming to Sikkim will have to ensure cent per cent local employment.
“While signing agreements with new companies or hotels, we will ensure that the companies must use 100 percent local manpower. If they need skilled manpower, the companies have to recruit locals and train them at their own expenses”.
Regarding the Bill that seeks reservation of 80 percent jobs in private industries and business establishments in Sikkim, Mr. Chamling said that Bill is presently under the consideration of the President of India. We are confident that the Centre will understand and value the contributions of Sikkimese people who have changed the definition of border State, he said underling the need of employment to local people.
The Chief Minister also opined the need for some modifications while giving licenses to open up business establishments in towns so that the locals can benefit in terms of entrepreneurship and employment.
Some people may not like it, but we are helpless, said Mr. Chamling.
At the same time, the Chief Minister also raised the bars for investment expressing his government’s target to attract Rs. 1 lakh crores investment in Sikkim within the fourth term of his government.
“A sum of Rs. 3,000 crores has been already invested in Sikkim. We have a target to attract an investment of one lakh crores rupees in Sikkim in the next five years. It may sound ambitious but it remains the target of the State government. The investment brings opportunities but if our people are not ready, others will take the opportunities”.
As an example of greater things in store for Sikkim, the Chief Minister informed that the State government is procuring land in Ranka belt of East Sikkim for five, seven star hotels. We are trying to buy 500 acres of land in Ranka area for five and seven star hotels, he said. We will give casino licenses to these high end hotels, amusement parks, IT parks and shopping malls and we will be giving job oriented trainings to our youth, he said.
Mr. Chamling tasked all the departments to submit a report to him within a month detailing how much skilled manpower, employable manpower and training are required them. He also announced that polytechnic type institutes will be set up in each constituency of the State for providing training to the local youth. He said that focus should be given only for high flier careers like pilot and hotel management.
The capacity building programmes should be as per demand and Sikkim sorely needs local trained and skilled masons, electricians, craftsman, tailors and other manpower, said the Chief Minister. Our target is to have 100 percent capable employable highly skilled workforce, he said adding the need to highlight success stories of the capacity building programme.
We have sent 50 youth from Sikkim to Dubai for hotel management training and Sikkim government is spending Rs. 6 lakhs on each youth, said Mr. Chamling.
The Chief Minister wrapped up his speech informing that he will not be attending Global Summit on Climate Change hosted at Los Angeles by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger due to the Dasai festival.
Lok Sabha member PD Rai, Sikkim Legislative Assembly Speaker KT Gyaltsen, ministers, legislatures, departmental heads and NGO attended the programme.