State Day Message of Chief Minister Pawan Chamling
May 16, 2019
My dear fellow Sikkimese citizens,
On the auspicious occasion of the 44th State Day, I convey my good wishes and warm greetings to the people of Sikkim. Since attaining Statehood in 1975, this Organic State has emerged as one of the most developed, progressive and fastest growing States in India.
While we celebrate the State Day, it is my pleasure to reflect on the tremendous improvement we achieved in wide ranging sectors including Education and Health. In fact, I seek to celebrate our unique footprints under the broadly defined “25 Exceptional Milestones” achieved during the 25 years of Sikkim Democratic Front government since December 12, 1994. This has been possible due to our deep commitment and hard work and for the intensely innovative and imaginative development programs that we embarked upon during these years.
- The SDF Government has fully restored democracy and firmly established rule of law. There is complete freedom of expression and freedom of movement and there is not a single case pending against any political adversary and not a single political prisoner.
- During the last 25 years, there is complete peace and security and Sikkim is today the most peaceful State in India. There is no communal strife, no crime and terrorism and Sikkim is truly transformed into an oasis of peace.
- During the last 25 years, people have consistently remained the masters of their destiny. In all spheres of socio-economic activities like employment, panchayati raj, municipalities and State assembly, the people of Sikkim are leading by exceptional example.
- Complete protection and equal treatment of all sections of communities in Sikkim through provision of seat reservation in panchayats, higher studies etc. No one is outside the purview of reservation;
- Complete protection and safeguard of Sikkim Subject document, Rule 4.4 and all old laws as per safeguards provided under Article 371 (F) of the Indian Constitution;
- Sikkim is the only State in India where Basic Minimum Needs of people are fully addressed. Sikkim is the first Hunger & Poverty free State; the first State to provide Free Housing to all and which is fully covered by clean drinking water supply, electricity, roads, education and health;
- Sikkim is the first State to allocate 70 % budget under Rural Development. Ever since the formation of SDF Government in 1994, seventy percent of plan budget is earmarked for rural development;
- The SDF Government has achieved great success to fulfill many of the pending political demands of the people of Sikkim which include- implementation of Mandal Commission Report in Sikkim on 12.12.1994; Sanyasis and Thamis given OBC status on 06.12.1999; Jogi and Dewan given OBC status on 04.04.2000; Bahun, Chhetri and Newar communities recognized as OBC at state level on 22.09.2003; Sikkim became 8th Member of North Eastern Council on 23.12.2002; Limboo & Tamang communities recognized as STs on 05.04.2003; Lepcha recognized as Primitive Tribe on 26.02.2005; Central Income Tax exemption secured for domiciled Sikkimese people with effect from 10.05.2008; Nathu-La Trade route reopened for trade on 06.07.2006 which had been closed for 44 years; Kailash Mansarovar Yatra commenced through Nathu-La on 18.06.2015;
- Sikkim- the first State to undertake social measures and introduce comprehensive safety net for senior citizens, differently-abled etc;
- Sikkim- first State to successfully initiate empowerment of women at all levels;
- Sikkim Democratic Front government brought about Industrialization in Sikkim by framing the first Industrial Policy on 18.12.1996. As a result, there are more than 50 pharma units in Sikkim, over 20 hydropower projects and many educational institutions in Sikkim;
- Sikkim achieved Energy Security through hydro-power generation by utilizing the 8000 MW hydro-potential of the State. The State Government is earning good revenue annually from its hydro power projects and will earn more when all the ongoing hydro projects are commissioned in the State;
- Sikkim is the only state with Environment-friendly policies since 1994; consequently forest area has increased by over 4 percent;
- Sikkim has become the First Organic State in the country and the world. The name and fame of Sikkim has traveled far and wide fetching premium price for the organically-grown agriculture products;
- All Dialects/languages spoken by local population have been recognized as State Languages, duly reviving the dying linguistic heritage of Sikkim. On April 3, 1995 the State Government recognized Tamang, Gurung, Rai, Sherpa, Mangar and Newar as State Languages and later on October 15, 1996, Sunuwar language was also recognized as State Languages.
- Youth Centric government with Youth First policy giving free education; capacity building; start-up program; local employment under the One Family One Job scheme;
- Sikkim- a Secular State in the true sense of the term. Every religious faith and belief is respected and honoured in the state and fully patronized by the state government to address all needs and requirement of religious institutions;
- Sikkim recorded increase in Life Expectancy by over 11 years. This is the most solid indicator of development that is made possible by the prevailing peace, security and happiness among people;
- Sikkim is surrounded by three international borders and shares national border with the state of West Bengal. Sikkim has been successful to maintain cordial relationship with bordering district of the neighboring Indian State and all the neighboring countries;
- Sikkim has recorded the highest Growth Rate in India recording annual growth rate of upto 22 percent growth which is the best in the country. The annual GSDP increase is over 5454 percentage;
- The first Airport in Sikkim at Pakyong was inaugurated on September 24, 2018 by duly introducing Sikkim in the air map. First Sikkim Tourism Policy was drafted in 2010;
- Sikkim the only State to develop/construct Char Dham, Statue of Guru Rinpoche, Buddha Park and Chen Rejig, Limbu Study Centre, Bhanubhakta Study Centre, statue Shrijunga and statue of Bhagwan Parsuram besides huge array of religious sites and religious centres;
- State-of-the-art Tashiling Secretariat; State-of-the-art New STNM Hospital have been constructed in Sikkim;
- As against only one College in 1994, today Sikkim has a total of 28 colleges and 07 universities in the state;
- Sikkim developed into fully Welfare State in the true sense of the term by putting in place adequate safety net for the weaker and deprived section of population, through a large number of welfare schemes to cover all people including students, women, differently abled and senior citizens
These are only some of the historical achievements we accomplished during the last 25 years. There are still more to be done socially, economically, educationally and culturally so that the aspirations of our forefathers are fully met and their decision to join the Indian mainstream are fully respected and vindicated.
Towards that process, the Sikkimese voters have recently cast their votes during the first phase of election on April 11, 2019 to constitute 10th State Assembly in Sikkim and 17th Lok Sabha in the Country. In Sikkim alone, over 4,32,000 citizens were eligible to vote and a good percentage of our people have turned out to express themselves through the secret ballot. I would like to congratulate each and every voter for his/her involvement and contribution and wish success to all the contesting candidates belonging to different political parties.
Based on the democratic tradition of this great Nation and our unrelenting commitment, let us renew our determination and efforts to take Sikkim to greater heights and glory. At the same time, let us continue to promote peace, harmony and brotherhood for which the State is well known across the region and the nation at large.
I offer my Congratulation and great future to all the Awardees under different categories on this occasion of State Day 2019. May your success inspire others to work hard for the State.
I wish you all a Happy State Day 2019