The colossal decline in the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in Sikkim is critical matter to ponder on

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By Tshering Wangchuk Lepcha

For any society or people in a state to flourish you need a population that belongs to that particular area where the sense of belongingness is valued by nature and birth. Sikkim is such an area when we speak subconsciously makes our chest swell and head high. Sikkim, as we know, have our own regional sentiment and emotions attached to it. It’s an area accordingly as read in the books nearly 7096 sq.km and with roughly a population 2011 census of 6.5 lakhs people in it. One must know that all men and women are born not just to eat drink and sleep. They are not just born to seek for food, clothes and shelter but to generate and inculcate moral and human values. But in the process when a population that we imbibe to seek these values is in the process of extinction, what will be our moral obligation towards the society and the future generations.

Here I want to point out that I am no expert to TFR but of recent issues that we get attracted towards, this important issues cannot be ignored. Yes, there are lots of political , socio-economic and environmental issues and all are co-related and TFR is prerequisites as it embarks civilisation. It harbours the ship of humans species, superior to other kinds and anchors on the faith of survivors based on a sense of belongingness towards its kind and kin.

Total fertility rate (TFR) in simple terms refers to the total number of children born or likely to be born to a woman in her lifetime if she were subject to the prevailing rate of age-specific fertility in the population. TFR of about 2.1 children per woman is called Replacement-level fertility (UN, Population Division). In 2015, the birth rate for Sikkim was 17 births per 1000 inhabitants. Between 2009 and 2015, birth rate of Sikkim was declining at a moderating rate to shrink from 18.1 births per 1000 inhabitants in 2009 to 17 births per 1000 inhabitants in 2015. The total fertility rate of India stands at 2.2 as of 2017 and Sikkim stands at a deteriorating figure of 1.2 as of 2016. The colossal decline in the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in Sikkim is a critical matter to ponder on. It’s subject to discussion and debate as people of Sikkim has lost a generation in the past two decades due to various undeniable reasons. The fertility rate in Sikkim was 2.5 as in 1999 and after 2 decades it has drastically declined down to 1.2 as in 2017 however the population in the urban and semi-urban areas have exploded due to migration from other states and bordering countries. The so called people of Sikkim (Bhutia, Lepcha, Nepali and Old settlers of Indian origin) unlike all will become a micro minority in their own homeland in the near future.

The past two decades and the SDF government which saw longest-serving CM in India also bagged the Highest Unemployment Rate and the Suicide rate in India and my generation was the worst effected under the regime. We are hoping that the newly formed Government under SKM party and under the leadership of HCM Ps Golay will address these grave and alarming issues in days to come and for which we will proactively support. Lastly, moral values reaches the highest pinnacle when the system created allows us to motivate and inspire the present and future generations. One should be able to accept the fact that System changes with good policies and Society changes with good moral values.

PARIVARTAN is a slowly changing process and we will achieve it in days to come and for that, we need the support of every individual regardless of tribe, caste or religion.

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