New Delhi, May 18, 2023: The 48th State Day of Sikkim, to commemorate the formation of Sikkim as the 22nd State of India Union, was celebrated in Gangtok.
The event was attended by the Governor of Sikkim, Laxman Prasad Acharya, Chief Minister of Sikkim Prem Singh Tamang, 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.
Chief Minister 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 announced a recruitment drive of 1000 posts in Sikkim Police with 50% reservation for women.
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 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.
During the award ceremony, Sikkim Sewa Samman or Sikkim State Civilian Awards were presented to notable individuals for their exceptional contributions to their respective services.
The prestigious Sikkim Sewa Samman Awards were presented to Ashwini Kumar Chand, Resident Commissioner, Sikkim House, New Delhi,
Ganga Pradhan, Secretary, Women and Child Development Department,
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.
Earlier, eight new ambulances for the State Government Colleges in various districts were flagged off. 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.
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.
A brief history and significance of the official seal of Government of Sikkim, the ‘Khang-sum-Wangdu’ was shared by the Chief Secretary, Government of Sikkim. The emblem was earlier used as the coat of arms of the House of Namgyal in the erstwhile Kingdom of Sikkim.
On the occasion, a multimedia database management system called ‘e-Sankalan’ developed by Information and Public Relations Department was launched.
‘E-Sankalan’ will play a vital role in documenting all essential multimedia databases concerning the entire State of Sikkim.
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.
Following the decision of Government of India to celebrate the statehood days of other states in order to promote ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat,’ Sikkim’s State Day was also celebrated in Raj Bhavans of other states of India with great enthusiasm.