Gangtok, Aug 14(IPR)
My Dear Fellow Sikkimese,
On the happy and auspicious occasion of the 73rd Independence Day of our Nation, I convey my best wishes and felicitations to the people of Sikkim and to the rest of our countrymen. Today is an occasion, when we pay tributes to the gallant freedom fighters who laid down their lives in securing freedom from the foreign rule. Let us remember their sacrifices and pay rich tributes to all the brave men and women, who have fought valiantly for the cause of the Nation. Let us today pledge to work towards accelerating our developmental journey in a united manner and take the State and the Country to greater heights and glory.
As we celebrate the 73rd Independence Day, let us hope it will usher in a new era of peace, development, prosperity and harmony. India today is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. We have resolved to follow bold programmes for economic reforms and growth. We hope to achieve a sustainable growth rate, which is necessary to make a quick and visible reduction in poverty, unemployment and regional imbalances.
For every Indian, whether living at home or abroad, August 15 is a historic day. It is marked on our calendars as a celebration of our sovereignty.
This very day in 1947, we had achieved the precious gift of Independence. 15th of August is the day of India’s rebirth and is the most significant day in our history. This auspicious occasion gives us an opportunity to salute all the patriots and express our gratitude to the martyrs whose sacrifice, blood and toil have freed our Country from the shackles of foreign rule.
Our freedom fighters came from all regions of the country, all sections of society, all communities and all social and economic groups. The goal of independence was achieved after a long drawn struggle. Mahatma Gandhi led the freedom movement through the tools of truth and non-violence. On the other hand, the brave-hearts like Raj Guru, Sukhdev, SardarBhagat Singh were happy to embrace the noose of death. Lala Lajpat Rai too was attacked with batons. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Chandra Shekhar Azad and many innumerable patriots sacrificed their lives for the sake of Independence. The memories of their sacrifices are still imprinted in our mind and heart. On 15th August 1947, when our Indian National Flag was unfurled above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi for the first time, another glorious chapter was added in India’s history.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Come, let us take a vow to follow the path of patriotism, integrity, courage and duty in all walks of life. We must strive to nurture the spirit of hard earned freedom and national unity.
It is our prime duty to take care of the families and dependants of soldiers and martyrs, who have sacrificed their lives for our motherland. The Government of India has provided their families with reservations in educational institutions and various financial benefits so that they can lead a comfortable and respectable life. Our State too has made provisions for their welfare.
The people of Sikkim are traditionally peace-loving and have strong faith and reverence for nature. My Government recognises these qualities and is working towards sustained and balanced development, conservation of nature and equitable distribution of wealth and other resources.
On this occasion, it is also appropriate that we take stock of the various programmes my Government proposes to carry out in the future.
India holds an important place in the global education industry. India has one of the largest networks of higher education institutions in the world. However, there is still immense potential for further growth in the education system. We are now in a ‘Knowledge Society’ where knowledge power is superior to physical power and it has become the most important factor determining the standard of living more than anything else.
Today’s most technologically advanced countries are truly knowledge based. For India to thrive in the global knowledge economy, it is imperative to create wide base of knowledgeable individuals, who can convert knowledge into wealth for social good and development in all sectors. The Country today needs a combination of technology, innovation, leadership and inspired workforce to reap benefits of knowledge society.
India is a young country with about 55 percent population between the age of 25 and 30. In Sikkim, we must strive to drive away poverty and illiteracy for the State to shine with all its glory and splendour and become one of the developed states of the Country.
The youth of Sikkim are highly talented. For their talents to flourish and reach greater heights at the national and global level, we need to have institutions that are competitive, inclusive and globally oriented. These institutions could be related to education, music, theatres, health, sports, cinema and technology.
My Government would like to ensure that all the institutions grow freely, inclusively and bring competitive atmosphere for the children and youth of Sikkim.
Agriculture, with its allied sectors, is the largest source of livelihoods in India. 70 percent of its rural households still depend primarily on agriculture with 82 percent of farmers being small and marginal.
The Prime Minister of India has therefore, launched the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana (PM-Kisan) and Pradhan Mantri Pension Yojana (PMPY) in order to address the distress of the farmers.
India has achieved remarkable success in ensuring food sufficiency by way of increased food production. The Indian food industry is poised for huge growth, increasing its contribution to world food trade every year due to its immense potential for value addition, particularly within the food processing industry.
My Government will ensure full extension and implementation of all the central government policies and schemes like Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER) and National Programme of Organic Production (NPOP)in agriculture, horticulture and floriculture.
Development of an economy in both rural and urban areas need to be focused upon. Rural areas need drastic changes in areas like infrastructure, credit availability, literacy, poverty eradication, etc. The schemes that are already in place on rural development need a new outlook and proper updating. Accordingly, my government will lay thrust on the uplift of rural areas of Sikkim. The primary area to improve shall be to provide avenues for employment in rural areas and increasing the productivity of the agricultural sector and improving livelihoods.
Though Sikkim has shown good performance in many socio-economic aspects, when it comes to rural prosperity, the process is on-going. My Government shall ensure effective implementation of all the schemes and programmes to provide the best of services and facilities to the rural people.
Sikkim possesses all the ingredients to establish itself as one of the top tourist destinations in the Country. Majority of tourists visit for leisure. Sikkim has a range of tourist attractions, from pilgrimage to nature and adventure to historic trade routes. However, we have to develop a tourism model where the State and people actually gain. We need to ensure that our natural resources are not depleted and our environmental properties are not adversely affected. The State has to properly plan the growth of tourism in order not to impinge upon the carrying capacity of the State.
My Government will revamp the health services in the State with a view to provide the least basic services at the grass root level. Besides the primary health centres and the district hospitals, the new STNM Hospital at Sochakgangis being provided with adequate resources and manpower to meet the growing requirements of the people.
In order to ensure that the senior citizens in Sikkim have at least the minimum health insurance support, my government will float a Health Insurance Support scheme on a pilot basis, shortly.
I have briefly touched upon some of the developmental activities that my Government proposes to undertake. The vision of my Government is to transform Sikkim into a self-reliant and self sufficient entity and at the same time to make the State prosperous and progressive, so that all Sikkimese can live with dignity and freedom.
Before I conclude, I congratulate the Independence Day awardees and the people who have brought glory to the State. May your success and accomplishment inspire others to work towards betterment of the State. Let us renew our pledge to contribute our might to the process of nation building.
JAI BHARAT! JAI SIKKIM !!