16th August, 2022: The State Level Independence Day, 2022 was held at Bhaichung Stadium, Namchi, South Sikkim with the announcement of various schemes and policies aimed for the benefit of the masses at large. Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang launched the Sikkim Aama Sasaktikaran Yojana, Chief Ministers Vatsalya Scheme, Segway Electric Scooter, Online permit system for Restricted Area Permit (RAP) and Protected Area Permit (PAP), today.
The programme began with the Chief Minister hoisting the National Flag, followed by National salute and review of the Independence Day parade.
In his address, Chief Minister Tamang extended his greetings to the people of Sikkim and the nation. He spoke in detail about the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and Har Ghar Tiranga campaign which the state of Sikkim has been observed in a dedicated manner. He also paid rich tribute towards the national stalwarts who fought for the independence of our great nation. Closer home, he spoke about the contributions of Late Trilochan or Gandhi Pokhrel and Late Helen Lepcha and said that their sacrifices should be remembered.
The Chief Minister announced that the State Government will soon frame a policy which will extend the maternity leave for Government employees from the existing six months to a year, similar to the recently notified maternity leave for teachers. Speaking, about education sector the Chief Minister informed that 621 probationary teachers have been regularized under Teachers Regularization Policy which has been framed and implemented by the Government as per the NCTE norms. He added that the State Government has completely done away with the concept of Ad-hoc teachers and streamlined the appointment of regular teachers based on NCTE norms thereby ensuring the availability of teachers in all the schools in the State. He informed about the various developments which has been carried by the State Government such as Construction of Government Colleges at Gyalshing and Mangshila, Sikkim International University which has been established at Sreebadam. He also elucidated about the Medhavi Skills University which is being established at Bermiok, Sikkim Alpine University at Kamrang, Capital University at Zoom, Soreng, Skill University at Namthang-Rateypani, Mahatma Gandhi University at Daramdin and also that 100 acres of land has been provided for NIT Sikkim campus at Khamdong. He further spoke about the Nar Bahadur Bhandari Fellowship Scheme to pursue higher study abroad under the patronage of the State Government and about the Apatan Fellowship scheme to pursue Ph.D. in Hindi and other vernacular languages of Sikkim. He spoke about the one of its kind, Chief Minister’s Internship Scheme which has been launched recently in which, 100 fresh College/University Graduates will be attached to various departments/PSUs under the scheme. He updated that an ambulance has also been given to all the colleges in the State and for schools located in rural areas, they will be provided with a vehicle for their convenience.
Delving about the health sector, the Chief Minister spoke in-depth about the best Primary Health care infrastructures which the state currently has in the country. He said that tremendous progress has been made in the up-gradation of Promotive, Preventive, Curative, and Rehabilitative Health Care for the people of Sikkim. Sikkim is known today as one of the most progressive States in the Health Sector in India. There has been manifold improvement in capacity building, manpower placement, and delivery of comprehensive services through 148 Sub-Centres, 24 PHCs, 2 CHCs, 4 District Hospitals, and 1 State Multi Specialty Hospital. He said that Sikkim also became the first state to achieve a 100% target of vaccination of 1st dose to the eligible age group persons with minimal loss of vaccines. He elaborated that the State Government has successfully completed the 2nd dose vaccination for the same and have rolled out the Precautionary dose for all eligible persons. He said that Sikkim is among the top-performing states for Covid Vaccination. Further, a 7-bedded new Hemodialysis Centre has been established at Namchi and a 5-bedded Hemodialysis Centre has been established at Gyalshing District Hospitals. Additionally, he updated that the government has also set up the functionalized X-rays at various PHSCs and established a 60-bedded Covid Care Unit at Jorethang along with other measures. The State Government, he said has established Trauma Care Unit – Level II at STNM Hospital. Similarly, Trauma Care Units – Level III has been set up at District Hospitals of Singtam, Namchi, and Mangan. New Urban Primary Health Centres have been set up at the Old STNM Complex and Ranipool, while, a 10-bedded ICU and a 50-bedded TB Hospital have been established at District Hospital, Gyalshing. Moreover, new Blood Banks at District Hospitals of Singtam, Gyalshing, and Mangan have been set up, he added.
In tourism sector, the Chief Minister said that the placement of proper infrastructure is the backbone for the development of any economy and tourism. The State Government, over the past 3 years, has taken the most proactive decision in the creation of numerous innovative tourism infrastructures at the places of tourist interest and also by the release of requisite funds for those projects approved which were laying at standstill due to non-allocation of resources earlier. The aim he said is to harness the vast untapped Rural Tourism potential of Sikkim as community-based tourism.
The Chief Minister added that the best Nagar Panchayats, Nagar Parishads, and Nagar Nigam will be awarded 10 Lakhs, 07 Lakhs, and 05 Lakhs to the first second, and third position holders respectively. Similarly, the best Gram Panchayats will be given 05 Lakh, 03 Lakh and 02 Lakh to the first, second, and third position holders, respectively.
The Chief Minister outlined various welfare initiatives of the State Government and launched a slew of schemes and projects namely, the ‘Sikkim Aama Sasaktikaran Yojana (SASY)’ and also presented the cheques to seven beneficiaries. The nodal department of implementing this scheme is Women and Child Development Department (W&CDD) and it is a welfare scheme to provide one-time financial assistance of Rs. 20,000/- (Twenty Thousand) to non-working, unmarried, widowed, divorced or separated mothers between 18-59 years of age. However, in some special cases relating to POCSO/rape victims, the age limit may have to be reconsidered and decision thereof will have to be taken up on a case to case basis. For the selection of beneficiaries awareness generation among the people about eligibility shall be done by the District/Block/Intermediate and Village Level Panchayats and Urban Local Government Institutions. The beneficiaries shall be selected through Rural Local bodies/Urban Local bodies duly certified by the concerned Block Development Officer/ Municipal Commissioner and Additional District Collector (Development) and the District Collector. Signatories for Authorisation, verification and Acknowledgment have to be identified by the department.
Similarly, he also launched Chief Ministers Vatsalya Scheme and distributed Referral/ Letters/Advance Cheques to the beneficiaries. Considering the decline in Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of Sikkim, the State Government has launched this unique scheme to grant financial assistance to childless couples of Sikkim who wish to undergo In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment at empanelled hospitals, on referral by the State Medical Board. This scheme covers all the general public of Sikkim holding valid Sikkim Subject Certificate or Certificate of Identification and includes all the Government employees including temporary employees. The financial assistance under this scheme would be Rs. 3,00,000/- (Rupees Three Lakh Only) per couple at the rate of Rs. 1,50,000/- ( Rupees One Lakh Fifty Thousand Only) for the first attempt of IVF Treatment and Rs. 1,50,000 (Rupees One Lakh Fifty Thousand Only) for the second attempt of IVF treatment.
Likewise, the Chief Minister also distributed Referral Letter to MR/Adhoc/ Contractual/Probationary employees under Mukhya Mantri Swasthya Suvidha Yojana. Under this Yojana re-imburstment upto Rs. 2,50,000/- (Rupees Two Lakh and Fifty Thousand) would be given to the temporary Government employees for such referral medical treatment.
The Chief Minister also launched the Online permit system for Restricted Area Permit (RAP) and Protected Area Permit (PAP). The restricted and protected areas within Sikkim require a permit to be visited which is being issued by the Check Post branch of Sikkim Police. Keeping in view the importance of digital convenience the online passes shall be issued from the Check Post HQ at 3rd mile on JN road. The passes shall have Quick Response Codes (QR) which can be read either on mobile phone or on QR barcode reader. The passes for North Sikkim shall be checked at Toong Check Post while for East Sikkim it shall be checked at 3rd Mile.
The Chief Minister also launched Segway Electric Scooter for Traffic and Beat patrol of M.G. Marg. The Chief Minister also flagged off three Mobile Village Clinic (Mobile Van), to facilitate health services to the door steps of the people living in rural and remote areas. On the occasion, the Chief Minister also handed over awards, medals and Certificate of Appreciation to individuals for making a distinct mark in their respective fields.
The Chief Minister also presented the State Meritorious Service Awards to the employees of the Government of Sikkim for their services and dedication to the State in the course of their career. On the occasion, the Chief Minster handed over 18 provisional office orders under Ad-Hoc Teachers Regularization Policy, 2021.
Similarly, one PhD student received the Nar Bahadur Fellowship scheme for the academic year 2021-22. A total amount of Rs. 33,85,485/- (Rupees Thirty Three lakhs, Eighty Five Thousand, Four Hundred and Eight Five) has been sanctioned which will be utilized for course fee, accommodation, flight tickets and return flight ticket.
The Independence day function was marked by various cultural extravaganza, band and drill display by different schools of the district.