MESSAGE OF GANGA PRASAD, GOVERNOR OF SIKKIM ON THE OCCASION OF THE STATE DAY, 16TH MAY 2019
Let me begin by extending my best wishes to the people of Sikkim on this historic day, which is celebrated annually as the State Day. The state of Sikkim became a part of the largest democracy of the world on 16th May, 1975. The journey so far has been fruitful and fulfilling.
I also take this opportunity to congratulate the Chief Secretary, State Election Commission, Chief Electoral Officer, concerned District Election Officers and all officials and staff who were involved in conducting a free, fair and peaceful election as a festival of democracy. The state witnessed a record of 78.72% of voting for the State Legislative Assembly and 78.81% for the Lok Sabha in the recently concluded elections.
Despite having geographical and connectivity constraints, Sikkim has managed to emerge as one of the best all-round performing States in the country within four and half decades of becoming a part of the Indian union.
Sikkim has been striving forward in the path of progress due to political stability and good governance in all spheres. Today, Sikkim stands tall and is working with even more zeal and enthusiasm to make the State as a model in the country. It is recognized as one of the most progressive States of the country.
The State Day is a joyous occasion when the people of Sikkim can recall with pride, enthusiasm and satisfaction, the multifarious and significant achievements made by the Government during the past years. It is a day for introspection as to what we have achieved so far and we also evolve a strategy to achieve our much desired status of a prosperous and advanced State for a secured tomorrow. We have to look back and take pride in the progress we have made. This is the result of the collective effort of Sikkimese people.
On this auspicious day, let us remember our leaders who were the architects in ushering democracy into the State and those who strived hard to create an environment that reflected the aspirations and the identity of the people of Sikkim. We have to fulfill the dreams envisioned by our founding leaders by making an agenda for the future. It should be an outline that helps the people of Sikkim to constructively and positively contribute to the growth and development of this beautiful Himalayan Organic State and also contribute to the process of Nation building, at the same time.
Sikkim is a true example of national unity, integrity and patriotism. Since the past few decades, the tiny Himalayan state has seen a major transformation, ranging from agriculture, tourism, health, education, mode of communications (air and road connectivity) and other key sectors. Sikkim has been able to make its presence felt not only in the country but also in the outside world.
With every passing moment, a new chapter of transformation is being added in the State. Keeping abreast with the rest of the country, landmark achievements in several fields have been made; for instance the Future Policy One World Gold Award 2018 for the best policies on agro ecology and sustainable food systems around the world.
With the outstanding work done by Sikkim, the Prime Minister, also shares his vision and has lauded Sikkim for bagging the Gold at the Future Policy Award in Rome for being the world’s first totally organic state. The Prime Minister termed Future Policy Gold Award, 2018 equivalent to an Oscar and complimented the State Government and the people of Sikkim.
My Government, has always followed a policy of environment conservation and preservation of its unique biodiversity. The long term vision and the efforts which were undertaken by my Government have been acknowledged by the international body UNESCO and as a result, Sikkim’s Kanchendzonga National Park has been declared as the only mixed heritage site in the country. Green initiatives undertaken by the State towards conservation of nature and the environment is another step forward towards sustainable environment.
Sikkim has set an example of secularism. It has over the years built many spiritual and tourism landmarks such as, Tathagatha Stal at Rabongla, Statue of Guru Padmasambhava at Samdruptse, Siddeshwar Dham at Solophok, Namchi, Vishwa Vinayak Mandir at Rhenock, Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Gangtok and has recently unveiled the Cherezig Shingkham Riwo Potala at Pelling, thus adding another pilgrimage and tourist destination.
Sikkim has registered a phenomenal progress in the health sector. Health care has remained a top priority of my government and in this regard we have left no stone unturned in order to provide the best health care facilities to the people of the State. The 1000 bedded New STNM Super-Specialty Hospital at Sochyagang has been made functional from this year. Presently, Sikkim has won the JRD Tata Memorial Award twice in the year 2018. The selection was made on the basis of 35 indicators, such as reproductive health gender equality, family planning, water and sanitation, hygiene, women empowerment etc.
The State has laid a strong foundation in terms of affordable and quality primary health care facilities in the State. Sikkim became the first State to launch the HPV Vaccination against Cervical Cancer on July 30, 2018.
During the first round of the State wide vaccination campaign, girls from the age between 9-14 years were vaccinated. A total of 24,424 girl children received the first dose of vaccination achieving 96.97%. The second round of vaccination was held from 23rd April to 4th May, 2019 and around 30,000 girls were vaccinated in the same age group.
The youth of the State is the future of Sikkim and we will continue to focus on capacity building through various programmes of the Central and State Government. Schemes like Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Scheme, Chief Minister’s Start-Up Scheme and various other Youth oriented schemes are some of the instances. The world is an open canvas for the youth and we should be a partner in their progress. Our people must be made aware of the various government flagship and welfare programmes. Today as we stand on the crossroad of development, peace remains a much cherished goal. We have to ensure that we live in harmony and unity with each other cutting across caste, religion and communities.
In the education sector, the State boasts of being fully literate. In fact, on 15th August 2017 it declared itself of having achieved nearly 100% literacy. There are numerous Government schools and colleges beside private colleges including Sikkim University and Sikkim State University, which were established in 2007 and 2018 respectively. All these educational institutions have created a new dimension for the higher studies system by providing quality education and by focusing more on capacity building and skill education. This in turn will create more employment opportunities for the youth and will also empower them to compete in the global market. My Government is committed to impart value based quality education along with development of Human Resource to meet the emerging challenges of modern era.
This year also our State’s students who appeared Class X and Class XII from Central Board of Secondary Education have demonstrated exemplary caliber and have came up with flying colors, with many securing above 90% aggregate. The pass percentage is also commendable with 87.81 % for Class X and 76.98% for XII. Pass percentage for Class X has shown a significant rise of 5.77%.
I appeal to the students, youth, women, farmers and workers of the State to be creative and open to the new opportunities provided by my Government. There are plenty of opportunities, which must be harnessed.
With the inauguration of the new Pakyong Green Field Airport in September 2018, another feather in the cap of Sikkim has been added. The Pakyong Greenfield Airport which is the Country’s 100th Airport will now boost the livelihood and tourism potential of the State. Otherwise, we were a landlocked state, largely dependent on road network for all purposes. No doubt with the operationalization of the Airport, Sikkim is now firmly placed in the air map of the country.
My Government has steered the State towards a holistic and sustainable development by making available the best services and infrastructure for both rural and urban population. Many representatives from the Central Government and other policy makers during their visit to Sikkim have lauded our efforts. We must keep the tempo of development going and keep working hard to achieve greater goals.
Brothers and sisters,
Our Nation has gone for the general election and with the results to be declared in a week’s time, India, as the largest democracy, would have elected its political leaders, who would come up with policies and programs to address the challenges of our Nation. This time the electorate comprises of a large section of youth, whose aspirations will be required to be addressed by the newly elected governments. The State and our Nation will need to think of innovative solutions for boosting industrial production, increasing our footprint in global market, creation of employment opportunities and infrastructure development. Our country needs to progress on all fronts to be acknowledged as a developed nation among the Comity of Nations.
On this happy occasion, I once again extend my greetings to the people for their personal well-being, happiness. Let us work in unison to take Sikkim to greater heights of progress and prosperity. I congratulate all the award winners. May your success today inspire others to work hard and contribute more towards Nation building.