Gangtok: Terming former chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling’s start-up scheme as a failure, Sikkim commerce and industries minister BS Panth has accused the former government, led by the Sikkim Democratic Front, along with the commerce and industries department as well as the recipients of such schemes, of not having been serious about the initiatives in the past.
Speaking to EastMojo at a conference for initiation of North East BPO Promotion Scheme in Sikkim at a hotel in Gangtok on Friday, Panth said, “There is no denying that the previous start-up scheme was not successful in countering unemployment or generating better revenue for the people and the state at large. It has been a way of getting subsidies and staying put with the same. There was no seriousness shown and there was no means where the government put up a check on the same. There is a dire need for start-up scheme to correct itself and we are devoted towards ensuring the same.”
The minister was in attendance with the officials from the industries department, including commerce and industries secretary Thomas Chandy, along with officials from ministry of electronic and information technology and those from Software Technology Parks of India from New Delhi, Guwahati and Gangtok.
The minister asserted, “Our aim with this initiative has been to generate 15,000 to 20,000 jobs for the youth of the state from this sector. For the same to happen, we want more entrepreneurs to come up, the need to be forthcoming concerning the same. Without blaming them for their choices, Sikkim and its youth are still expecting that more government jobs to come up. To counter the same, the new government under the leadership of chief minister Prem Singh Golay, we have come up with this initiative.”
Software Technology Park in India (STPI) was set up in Gangtok in the former Sikkim Jewels premises in Tadong in 2004. But since its formation, the STPI has not been able to initiate any substantial project or opportunity for the youth in the State, admitted the minister.
“It was not being given the necessary direction from the former government, with the lack of initiatives. Since being the commerce and industries minister, this is my first initiative. Seeing that the IT and BPO sector has a lot of room for growth and therewith to counter the unemployment in Sikkim, we have come up with this initiative,” Panth said.
The minister also talked about making consideration for a ‘Silicon Valley’ similar to the one in Siliguri in West Bengal to come up in Sikkim, but lamented for not having the necessary infrastructure. “To start with the same, we will be making use of the existing government infrastructures. Some of the allotted plots to industries department are lying vacant, to construct such infrastructures we have considered on giving the plots of land to Software Technology Parks of India,” he said.
On most of the youths of the state working outside the state at similar BPOs, Panth said, “It’s a personal choice for them to come to Sikkim and work in BPOs here, but what we are trying to create is a platform for them as well. With the kind of experience that they have, they could lend their expertise in helping the BPO sector in the state to grow. There is scope for them, so we are certain that many of our youths may return to Sikkim.”
On the rise of entrepreneurship in Sikkim, the minister added, “It is a known truth that the entrepreneurs in Sikkim are not getting the necessary support from the government. There have been many a big statements made by politicians in the past with regards to entrepreneurship, be it the start-up initiative or various other schemes, but the promises concerning the same has not been delivered. There is a need for rules to be simplified.”