The 48th State Day of Sikkim, to commemorate the formation of Sikkim as the 22nd State of India Union, was celebrated in a function at Chintan Bhawan, Gangtok, on Tuesday. The event was graced by the Governor of Sikkim, Shri Laxman Prasad Acharya as the chief guest and the Chief Minister of Sikkim, Shri Prem Singh Tamang as the guest of honour. Also present were the Speaker, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Cabinet Ministers, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs, MLAs, other dignitaries, awardees, special invitees, and officers of the State Government, among others.
The function began with garlanding and offering of khadas by the dignitaries on the statue of Padma Vibhushan Late Shri, L.D. Kazi, the first Chief Minister of Sikkim, in the premises of Chintan Bhawan.
This was followed by a flagging-off event of eight new ambulances for the State Government Colleges. The distribution of these vehicles is a significant step towards addressing health emergencies in educational institutions. This facility would serve as a vital resource during urgent medical needs, providing students with quick access to medical attention and helping them with a sense of safety and security, which is crucial in times of crisis.
The ambulances were distributed to Nar Bahadur Bhandari Government College, Tadong, Sikkim Government College, Burtuk, Sikkim Government College, Rhenock, Sikkim Government College, Namchi, Sancha Man Limboo Government College, Gyalshing, Sikkim Government Arts College, Mangshila, Sikkim Government Vocational College, Dentam and Sikkim Government Science College, Chakung.
Similarly, to improve the healthcare infrastructure in Sikkim, two Mobile Laboratory Services Vehicles were handed over to the Chief Medical Officer of Mangan and Gyalshing District Hospital.
The Mobile Laboratory Services Vehicle is a state-of-the-art facility equipped with a broad spectrum of diagnostics in Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Diagnostics, particularly for infectious diseases with modern medical equipment and technology. The facility has been designed to provide medical testing and diagnosis services to district residents, especially those living in remote and inaccessible areas. The availability of the Mobile Laboratory Services Vehicle will help to address the challenges of inadequate medical infrastructure and services in far-flung regions. Moreover, the mobile diagnostic laboratory will also help reduce the burden on hospitals and other healthcare facilities, especially during emergencies. The facility can be deployed to any location in the district, making it a valuable asset in times of natural disasters or other emergencies that require rapid medical attention.
The celebration inside the conference hall commenced with the lighting of ceremonial lamp by the dignitaries. This was followed by a welcome address by the Chief Secretary, Government of Sikkim, Shri VB Pathak. He briefly highlighted some of the key milestones achieved by the State of Sikkim in the last 48 years after becoming the 22nd State of India.
Adding to the patriotic fervour, the students of Assam Lingzey Secondary School and Ranka Secondary Secondary School presented patriotic songs.
Children from Specially abled School for children with disability, Syari and Specially abled School for the speech and hearing impaired, Sichey, supported by the special educators, also performed a soul-touching rendition of the song ‘Jahan Bagcha Teesta Rangeet.’
Following this, the Chief Secretary shared a brief history and significance of the official seal of Government of Sikkim, the ‘Khang-sum-Wangdu.’ The emblem was earlier used as the coat of arms of the House of Namgyal in the erstwhile Kingdom of Sikkim.
During the award ceremony that followed, Sikkim Sewa Samman or Sikkim State Civilian Awards were presented to notable State Government officers for their exceptional contributions to their respective services.
The prestigious Sikkim Sewa Samman Awards were presented to Shri Ashwini Kumar Chand, Resident Commissioner, Sikkim House, New Delhi, Smt. Ganga Pradhan, Secretary, Women and Child Development Department, Shri Tsewang Gyachho Bhutia, Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department and Dr. DP Rai, Cardiologist, New STNM Hospital, Sochyagang.
The award comprises a cash award of Rs. 1 lakh, a citation, a shawl, and a memento.
On the occasion, the Governor launched a multimedia database management system called ‘e-Sankalan’ developed by Information and Public Relations Department.
‘E-Sankalan’ will play a vital role in documenting all essential multimedia databases concerning the entire State of Sikkim. It enables structured storage of all archival materials (text, photos, videos, films, books), making it easily accessible as a research centre. Along with archival material of the State, e-Sankalan will be a one-point solution to digitally store and preserve large volume of a categorically organised multimedia database of all the Departments of the State Government.
Following this, a public awareness video on Mobile Village Clinic prepared by Health and Family Welfare Department was launched.
The Mobile Village Clinics programme is an initiative by the Government of Sikkim aimed at improving healthcare facilities for remote communities. The programme provides quality healthcare services to the doorstep of the people in need. On August 15, 2022, the programme was flagged off by the Chief Minister. This programme is operational in 8 locations, with clinics assigned to 25, identified as less accessible and far-flung villages. The clinics rotate monthly and hold camps in locations within each village. The programme commenced its services on October 10, 2022, at 8 locations, which are Samdong in Gangtok district, Pakyong and Rhenock in Pakyong district, Gyalshing, Soreng, Temi and Namchi in Namchi district, and Mangan district. The clinic has covered 1,305 camps, has seen 40,451 patients and has conducted 15,863 tests till date.
A book prepared by the Skill Development Department titled ‘ Skill Gap Assessment Study of Sikkim’ was also released during today’s programme.
Thereafter, a cash prize of Rs. 25,000/- was awarded to Ms. Susongmith Lepcha, representing Government Secondary School, Upper Burtuk, for winning the essay competition on a topic related to Sikkim.
Similarly, media houses of Sikkim that won the best advertisement production and design competition on G20, organised by the IPR Department, ahead of G20 events in March this year, were also awarded under various categories.
A short documentary video highlighting major achievements of the present Government, prepared by the IPR Department, was also screened on the occasion.
Addressing the gathering, Governor Shri Laxman Prasad Acharya congratulated the people of Sikkim on completing 48 years as the 22nd State of India. He said that Sikkim has established itself as a highly progressive State of India through path-breaking development initiatives in multiple sectors.
The Governor discussed different aspects of Sikkim’s history. He also paid tribute to notable individuals like Helen Lepcha, Trilochan Pokherel and Victoria Cross Ganju Lama, who have played a significant role in promoting the State on a national level. He also applauded many acclaimed luminaries from Sikkim in the field of literature, music, sports and art who have brought laurels to the State and the country.
The Governor shared insights from his recent tour to different places in Sikkim and expressed admiration for the unity among different communities. Through this experience, he gained a profound understanding of the State’s vibrant culture and heritage, he added.
The Governor, quoting John F. Kennedy’s famous adage, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” said that it is important to work towards making contributions for the overall progress of the State and the nation.
He urged everyone to unite and collaborate to elevate Sikkim to new heights.
Concluding his address, the Governor emphasised the multitude of strengths possessed by Sikkim across different domains and stressed the significance of the State Day celebration as an opportunity to reflect upon the accomplishments of the state government.
Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang, in his address, extended his State Day greetings to all the esteemed dignitaries present and the people of Sikkim.
He said that since Sikkim will complete the milestone of 50 years of attaining Statehood in the year 2025, ‘Svarn Jayanti’ or Golden Jubilee would be celebrated in a grand manner in the State.
Extending his gratitude to the Prime Minister of India, the Chief Minister said that Sikkim today is known as one of the most progressive states of India due to the multitude of growth opportunities that have been made available in the field of entrepreneurship development, agriculture, tourism and other sectors.
Sikkim won the title of the best-performing State for the reduction in Tuberculosis incidence and is quickly heading towards the target of achieving 100% TB-free state well before 2025, he said.
On behalf of the people of Sikkim and the Government, the Chief Minister extended gratitude and offered salutations and respect to the former Chief Ministers of Sikkim.
The Chief Minister said that despite the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic, the State, with its people’s support, has successfully recovered from the crisis. He informed that the revenue mobilisation in the State for the financial year 2022-23 stands at 57%, higher than the revenue generated during 2018-19.
Further, he thanked the employees, organisations and individuals for the successful organisation and planning during the G20 events in March-April, including the Business 20 (B20) and Startup 20 (S20) conferences, as well as the Civil 20 (C20) conclave.
The Chief Minister mentioned numerous initiatives of the State Government in the past four years to usher in unprecedented development in the State, including women-centric programmes and initiatives. He further highlighted recent government policies and developmental initiatives in the topmost priority sectors of health and education.
The Chief Minister also said that utmost priority is being laid on making health facilities both accessible and affordable, and to achieve this goal, the State government has introduced the Chief Minister’s Medical Assistance Scheme in 2020 with the vision to work as the first responder in assisting Sikkim citizens who genuinely need financial aid for medical treatment. The CMMAS aims at helping the economically weaker sections of society who cannot afford expensive medical treatments, he added.
Speaking about cancer treatments available within Sikkim, the Chief Minister announced that treatment and medicines for cancer patients from BPL families would be made free of cost.
He informed that in a bid to tackle and subsequently improve the declining fertility rate and boost the childbirth rate in the State, the state government has taken many steps, such as the introduction of the ‘Vatsalya’ Scheme, enhancement of maternity leave for women in government service to one year and additional increment in case of having more than one child and provision of childcare assistant. Further, he reminded that for women who are not government employees, the State government would be giving a child maintenance grant of Rs. 5,000 per month for a year for the second childbirth and Rs. 10,000 per month for a year for the third child.
He also said that to avail of such benefits, the beneficiaries must register themselves with the state Forest and Environment Department for interlinking with ‘Mero Rukh Mero Santati’ initiative.
Chief Minister Shri PS Tamang said that the State Government has always been with the people of Sikkim and has extended all help and support during times of crisis, such as the Covid pandemic, Ukraine war and the Manipur conflict. The State government under ‘Operation Gurans’ brought back home a total of 128 Sikkimese students from strife-torn Manipur, he informed.
He extended his gratitude for the dedication, support, and commitment of the government employees and the Sikkimese people for all the past and present achievements of the State.
Earlier, District Collector Gangtok Shri Tushar Nikhare presented a brief talk on ‘Sikkim of my dream.’
In keeping with the day’s theme, Ms. Susongmit Lepcha, a class X student of Government Secondary School, Upper Burtuk, also gave a talk on ‘Sikkim.’
The vote of thanks was proposed by Secretary, IPR Department, Smt. Namrata Thapa.
A photo exhibition organised by IPR Department in the lobby at Chintam Bhawan displayed glimpses of Sikkim’s biodiversity and rich culture and heritage. Similarly, stalls were put up by State Cooperation Department showcasing locally made products of Self-Help Groups under PM Van Dhan Yojana.
It may be informed that Government of India recently decided that all the states shall celebrate not only their own statehood day but also other states’ statehood to promote ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’. Sikkim’s State Day was, thus, also celebrated in Raj Bhavans of other states of India today.
Courtesy IPR Dept, GOS
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