GANGTOK: The Sikkim Legislative Assembly had a near-full attendance for the first time under the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha government, with 31 out of 32 legislators in the House. But more importantly, both the leader of the House, Prem Singh Golay and the leader of the opposition Pawan Kumar Chamling were in attendance. 

Amidst all the violence, arrests, stone-pelting incidents some 200 metres away from the Assembly premises, Golay ripped apart the former Sikkim Democratic Front government, calling it the reason behind the emergence of power brokers in the state. 

In his opening remarks of the Budget speech, CM Golay said, “Sikkimese society had never witnessed such degree of personality cult and forced leadership (in the Chamling regime). There was a dark cloud everywhere as the family of oligopolies captured our lands for contracts, businesses, natural resources and most dubiously all the sensitive data and information. The invisible hands of these family oligopolies reached villages, holy forests, places of worship, rivers and lakes of our Sikkim. It gave birth to hundreds of power brokers within his party, something that the former Chief Minister himself admitted to a few days ago.”

Golay went on to claim, “not even three years ago, the situation in Sikkim was characterised by all these visibly vicious phenomena. It was not even mis-governance but mal-governance that injected anarchy and instability everywhere. Our government is trying to correct several of these lapses and irregularities. We have been trying to rebuild all these remnants of destruction. We are faced with formidable tasks of rescue, recover, reconstruct, restore, robust, resilience and recognition of Sikkim.”

On the much-debated Limboo Tamang seat reservation, Golay questioned why the SDF government missed the ‘critical opportunity’ of the last Delimitation Commission for securing Assembly seat reservations for the two communities. He said, “We do not know the reasons as to why this very crucial opportunity was missed by the previous government. The SKM government is in constant pursuance and negotiations with the highest authorities in the Union Government. We are also continuously discussing and deliberating with constitutional and legal experts to evolve options that could provide transparent, durable and acceptable formula.”

On the tribal status demand of the 12 left out communities, CM Golay shared, “One of the major loopholes we detected was the absence of government resolution by the State Assembly. Hence, we passed the government resolution on January 11, 2021, which we submitted to the Union Home Minister and other authorities of the Union Government. This timely passing of the resolution has made our case stronger and more convincing.

The Chief Minister claimed that the SKM government believed in ’30 per cent performance and 70 per cent publicity,’ claiming that SKM believes in 100 per cent work. “If the work is good publicity will find its way on its own.”

Golay gave the example of the Sikkim State University which has now become Kanchenjunga State University. “The previous government so casually created the Sikkim State University making it run from the premises of Nar Bahadur Bhandari Degree College (NBBDC) in Gangtok. How can a college host a University? It remained languished for long, it was a farcical act of befooling the youth population.”

Key Highlights of State Budget

Golay also presented the state budget for 2022-23, with a total expenditure of ₹10,116.11 crore. Some of the crucial announcements include: 

Rs 1 crore for Ukraine returnees

The Sikkim government has set aside Rs 1 Crore in this fiscal year for 36 Sikkim students who returned from war-torn Ukraine. “With our students back in Sikkim, our government is striving to provide secure and smooth facilitation to complete their studies in time and are devising ways forward to this effect,” said the Chief Minister.

Sikkim Global Investment Confluence and Visit Sikkim 2022

The State government will organise the Sikkim Global Investment Confluence and Visit Sikkim 2022 during October-November, wherein some of the widely known green investors will be invited and introduced to Sikkim as an abode of green investments. This will be attended by investors from India and abroad countries like Japan, Korea, South East Asian Countries, Europe and North America.

Some of Sikkim’s young entrepreneurs will be taken for investment partnership, exploratory tours to South East Asian Countries focusing on green sectors.

Foreign Workers Training and Recruitment Institute

This institute will be set up in coordination and cooperation with foreign embassies in India and other international job recruitment agencies. Sikkimese people, and youth, in particular, will be given training on various professions. It will be managed by legal, financial and foreign financial experts and professionals.

Promotion of State languages

“We are now bringing legislation with a view to protect and promote the State based indigenous and endangered languages. Sikkim University, since its inception, has introduced courses on Bhutia, Lepcha, and Limboo languages up to the PhD level. Our government aims to follow the same pathway for other languages such as Rai, Gurung, Tamang, Sherpa, Newar, Mangar, Bhujel and Mukhia,” said Golay.

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