70th REPUBLIC DAY MESSAGE OF HON’BLE CHIEF MINISTER OF SIKKIM
26TH JANUARY, 2019.
Respected fellow citizens,
On this happy and auspicious occasion marking the 70th Republic Day of our great Nation, I extend my heartiest felicitations and best wishes for the New Year to the people of Sikkim and to my fellow countrymen.
The democratic nation of India unites to marks its 70th Republic Day today, a day of pride for all countrymen. While most of us associate this day with the grand Republic Day parade since years, the day is a lot more than just that. Republic Day marks the day India formally adopted the Constitution as the guiding document and became a federal republic.
At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India awoke to life and freedom. These were the famous lines of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru delivered to the Indian Constituent Assembly on the eve of India’s Independence. Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, towards fulfilling our pledge in full measure.
While we celebrate Republic Day with grandeur, we should also remember the struggle of the freedom fighters who had made this day possible. Like Lal Bahadur Shastri had once said, “We believe in peace and peaceful development, not only for ourselves but for people all over the world” we should not stop working for the development of the Republic of India.
A nation is what its people want it to be. We should be grateful that our forefathers struggled hard and sacrificed their lives to earn independence. Today India is the largest democratic country and this has been made possible because many decades back our leaders spent sleepless nights to draft and adopt a Constitution. It is now our duty to take it forward and work towards making India a fully developed Nation.
On this happy occasion, let me greet the members of the armed and para military forces who provide constant security to the nation. Let us also remember and convey our respects to those brave soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice and laid down their lives in the line of duty. I also greet and pay my respect to the members of their families specially to those who have lost their sons and near and dear ones in the service of the country.
In Sikkim, we have also contributed our mite in our own special way towards nation building. The Sikkimese people have offered a rare example of patriotism to merge the erstwhile independent Kingdom into the Indian mainstream in 1975, a unique case nowhere to be found anywhere else in the world. Today, Sikkim is one of the most progressive, peaceful and vibrant States in the country. The State Government over the decades has initiated many policy initiatives, and have introduced and implemented many first-of-their kinds innovative programmes in India that have brought about positive and visible transformation in the socio-economic condition and overall development of the State. The Government has made every effort to address issues and challenges that have surfaced so that the hopes and aspirations of the people are fully addressed.
The State Government has worked ceaselessly for the development and welfare of the people of the State. We have laid maximum emphasis in promoting peace, security, dignity and respect in the lives of the people. Peace, progress and security in Sikkim in view of the prevailing unrest in other parts of the region is our greatest contribution. Today other States look towards Sikkim with admiration. Our policies and programmes have been appreciated and cited as examples worthy of emulating. Sikkim has raised the benchmark in many sectors, which has made the country and the world take notice of the State.
At the same time, the State Government has been successful in elevating the living condition of the people. It is very visible that the living standards of the people have improved in the State. At every opportunity, the State Government has opened up many new avenues for the benefit of the youth.
We have implemented schemes well, especially in terms of providing quality education and human resource development. The results have been most encouraging.
Providing health care, basic facilities, social security to all communities, women empowerment, power decentralization and devolution, development of infrastructure, promotion of eco-tourism, floriculture and horticulture have been our priority sectors.
On 14th of January, 2019, we had the privilege of inaugurating the 1000 bedded Multi Speciality Hospital at Sokeythang at Sichey. It was our dream to provide the best health care facilities to our people at their doorstep at affordable cost. With the commissioning of this Hospital, there will be no need for our patients to travel to Delhi and other metros for treatment. This hospital has been equipped with the latest equipments such as upgraded MRI machine, digital X-Ray and 128 slice CT Scan for better and timely detection of diseases. In addition the hospital will house the advanced Tertiary Cancer Care Centre with latest equipments like Linear accelerator and Brachytherapy facility. Besides the hospital will have a level-II Trauma Centre, Blood Component Separation Unit and multiple dialysis units. The hospital will also have provision for a separate Drug Resistant TB ward as well as isolation ward for other infectious diseases.
Besides the multi-specialty hospital, the 135 feet high Chenrezig Shingkhim Riwo Potala was inaugurated on 1st November, 2018. As I said during the inauguration, Sikkim is now like a Cheosam with the other two Statues of Lord Buddha at Tathagata Tsal and Guru Padmasambhava at Samdruptse. The Chenrezig Statue will further give a boost to the pilgrimage tourism in the State. The Sidhesvara Dham at Solophok is already famous and continues to draw large number of people on pilgrimage from within and outside the State.
With the inauguration and commencement of the Pakyong Greenfield Airport on 4th October, 2018, Sikkim is now firmly connected in the air map of the country. The Pakyong Airport is India’s 100th operation airport and no doubt once the regular flights start connecting Delhi besides Kolkata and Guwahati, tourism will receive big boost and spin off economic benefits would provide huge relief to our people.
Organic farming is now making a positive impact. We have become the first organic farming state in the country and our focus has shifted to making this sustainable system of farming into a local resource based, commercial organic enterprise.
Some notable achievements in the process are- enactment of a legislation, “The Sikkim Agricultural, Horticultural Inputs and Livestock Feed Regulatory Act, 2014”, publication of, “Handbook of Organic Crops Production in Sikkim” and establishment of the Sikkim State Organic Certification Agency.
Commodity specific commercial organic value chains under Integrated and Concentrated Approach with end-to-end facilities for production, processing and marketing are being developed. To start with, farmers have been mobilized into 28 Farmers Producers Organisations for developing value chain to link growers with consumers and support the development of entire value chain starting from inputs, seeds, certification to and creation of facilities for or on-farm input production, collection, aggregation and marketing.
In order to encourage and assist the people in organic farming my Government has engaged 450 educated and unemployed youth for Internal Control System (ICS) management through service provider agencies.
The Future Policy Gold Award crowns the best policies on agro ecology and sustainable food systems around the world. Sikkim being India’s first 100% organic state won the Gold, with policies from Brazil, Denmark and Ecuador bagging the Silver Awards, beating 51 nominated policies from 25 countries. A small State from India winning such a prestigious international award speaks volume about our vision and foresightedness.
In the education sector the Government has followed a policy of free education up to the college level. Beginning this session, the State Government is providing free education to the bonafide Sikkimese students at ATTC Bardang and CCCT Chisopani. The education sector has always been a top priority and our efforts would be to improve upon what has already been achieved.
The State Government has consistently endeavoured to extend fulltime assistance to address basic necessities of koti kapda aur makan. During the last many years, we have introduced program like Janata Mela for free distribution of essential articles and financial grants to all the identified beneficiaries.
The focus has been to make Sikkim a Kutcha House Free State. Work on this front is in full swing. Under the CMRHM we have already constructed 5659 houses. Under the CMRHM Phase – I and Phase – II, another 6,000 houses have been sanctioned for construction. In the Phase – I, out of 3000 houses, 1079 houses have been completed and the rest are at various stages of completion. The full-fledged functioning of BACs has helped decentralization and have strengthened the last mile out reach of administration and development programmes.
We are aware that the road network in the State plays a vital role in the lives of the people. The total road length in the State is 4179.52 kms including rural roads. In order to connect the most remote habitation my Government has sanctioned another 1366.91 kms for construction of fair weather roads. These works are under way and are in different stages of progress. It is our endeavor to make the roads in the State of better riding quality and also to upgrade and strengthen the load capacity of the existing bridges. The State Government is exploring more innovative and technical modes of transport infrastructure by constructing tunnels, flyovers, by pass, over pass, foot over bridges etc.
Women Empowerment is at the heart of our policies in order to ensure social justice and equity to all. In Sikkim, we have made it a priority to ensure that we accord equal rights to women. At the political level, 50% reservation has been provided for women in Rural and Urban Local Bodies. Similarly, a 33% reservation has been provided to women in the Government Service. Necessary legal frame work has been created for ensuring legal rights of women and their protection by establishing the Sikkim State Commission for Women. The Government has enacted the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and Provision of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 which provides legal backing to prevent exploitation of women at home as well as in the work place.
In order to ensure that people in Sikkim live healthy lives, the State Government has always stressed on preventive and curative measures. The Government decided to introduce the HPV vaccination way back in 2017 for preventing cervical cancer among our girl child. In July 2018, the first round of HPV vaccination was administered to all girl child between the age group of 9 to 14 years covering 24,000 girls in the State. With this, we are perhaps the first State in the country to introduce HPV vaccination in the entire State.
During the last 24 years, we have transformed Sikkim into the best State in the Country undertaking many innovative programs and policies which have been the first-of-their-kinds in the Country and also in the World. These speak volume about the work that we have fulfilled and accomplished due to our hard work and consistency. On this auspicious occasion, I seek your kind indulgence to place few historical achievements as follow:
1. Sikkim is the first State in the world to register steepest fall/reduction in BPL after World War II;
2. First Organic State in the world;
3. Cleanliest State in the world;
4. Peaceful State in the world;
5. First State in the world to ban grazing in reserve forest;
6. First State in the world to ban green felling;
7. First State in the world to ban use of plastic;
8. First State in the world to ban wildlife killing;
9. First State in the world to ban bursting of cracker;
10. First State in the world to register increase in forest cover by over 4 %;
11. First State in the world to provide free education up to the college level;
12. First State in the world to provide free education to the identified transgender up to College level;
13. First State in the world to allocate 20 % budget under Education Sector;
14. Sikkim is a fully literate state of India with a literacy rate of 96.72 %; First State in the world to become 100 % literate in a short period in the 100 years of Educational History;
15. First State in the world to provide free health care services;
16. First State in the world to introduce Unmarried Pension;
17. First State in the world to launch Small Family Scheme;
18. First State in the world to provide 50 % reservation to women in elections to Urban and Local Bodies;
19. First State in the world to launch Krisi Pension;
20. First State in the world to provide concrete housing at the rate of Rs. 14.79 lakhs;
21. First State in the world to provide House Upgradation at the rate of Rs. 50,000/;
22. First State in the world to launch Chief Minister’s Meritorious Scholarship at Class V level and above;
23. First State in the world to sponsor scholars’ education in the 20 best Universities of the world;
24. First State in the world to start Samajik Sewa Bhatta and allot annual grant for purchase of traditional robes for the shamans and faith healers;
25. First State in the world with highest per capita percentage of Government Employees;
26. First State in the world to regularize all employees working under MR, Adhoc and Workcharged basis;
27. First State in the World to provide free Medical College education;
28. First State in the world to hold Janta Mela;
29. First State in the world to hold Rojgar Mela
30. First state in the world to extend die-in-harness grants of Rs. 5 lakhs to drivers who die in road accidents;
31. First State in the world to provide reservation for the upper caste Nepalis;
32. First State in the world to provide 5 % reservation in higher studies for business communities
33. First State in the world to increase life expectancy in Sikkim by over 11 years within the span of 20 years;
34. First State in the world to fully achieve the mission of Women Empowerment within a short span of 24 years;
35. First Income Tax free State in the world to exempt citizens from paying House Tax and Income Tax;
36. First State in the world to construct Char Dhams and 12 jyotirlingas at one place;
37. First State in the world to develop Cho-Lung-Trul-Sum.
38. Sikkim is the first state of India where there is
i. No Extreme Poverty
ii. No hunger
iii. No beggar
iv. No student out of school
v. No patient without treatment
vi. No village without road; no household without drinking water and electricity
39. Sikkim is the first Basic Minimum Needs-fulfilled State of India with equitable development spread both in urban and rural habitations;
40. Sikkim is most peaceful state in India. There is no Gender Discrimination; no caste and religious conflict;
41. Sikkim has best law and order situation in the country;
42. First gender discrimination Free State in the country;
43. First state in the country to launch Start-up Scheme with 35 % subsidy;
44. First state in the country to launch Hepatitis B vaccination; MDR vaccination and HPV vaccination;
45. First State in the country to introduce Monthly Honorarium and Discretionary Fund for the Panchayats;
46. First state in the country to construct Religious Institutions;
47. First state in the country to offer highest salary and allowances to government employees;
48. First State in the Country with highest road density;
49. First state in the country with highest labour wages;
50. First state in the country to provide for separate 2 % quota in government employment and education (not covered under the existing Scheduled Caste quota principle) for the economically backward communities belonging to Kami, Damai and Sarki at the state level;
51. First state in the country to provide free Laptops to the Self-Help groups, to distribute free GCI sheets, induction chullah, gas cylinder etc;
On this happy occasion, let us renew our pledge to march further ahead based on our sustainable development policies to benefit the people of the State. We are already one of the best States in the country, let us now work together to make Sikkim the best State in the world.
In conclusion, I congratulate the State Awardees, Police Medal winners and others who have brought laurels to the State. May your success inspire others to set higher goals and contribute to the task of nation building.