The Chief Minister, Dr Pawan Chamling, who also looks after the finance portfolio, unveiled his budget proposals. The salient features are:
Satisfactory all round economic growth in Sikkim buoyed by the economic growth that the country is experiencing at over 8.5 percent. He however, cautioned on the price rise due to increase in fuel costs as the country imports a large amount of crude oil. Volatility in the world may impact inflation adversely and hence it is important to see that we can hedge this through more production of our own food needs and use of electric power in transportation of the future since we are going to be more than selfsufficient in this due to our hydro power generation.
Sikkim continues to receive accolades and recognition of success in development in all major sectors. Sikkim has in the process achieved the core of the UN Millennium Development Goals. The number of tourists visiting Sikkim exceeded 7 Lakhs.
This is Final year of the 11th Plan and hence there is more emphasis being given on completion of ongoing projects and improvement in quality of implementation. Furthermore, there is going to increased monitoring through use of new tools that will be introduced. More training programs of high quality are on the anvil for our young officers to help inculcate a sense of purpose in them. This will equip them with the latest knowledge and skills to serve the people of Sikkim more professionally.
Balanced Budget* – A deficit of just R 20 Lakhs, on a proposed expenditure of R 8,090.24 Crores. Tax Revenues are to climb over 27 percent.
The budget continues to be Pro-poor and rural centric in alignment with stated goals of Government.
The various Missions will continue to be supported. Mission mode is also going to be oriented toward bringing in greater cooperation between departments and their budgets. This is in keeping with Government of India policy.
Poverty elimination by 2015- all schemes are converging to make this a positive outcome.
Eradication of illiteracy by 2015 - quality of education will be further enhanced and more training of teachers is being targeted. ICDS children will be provided with free uniforms along with the food that they are already receiving.
Organic farming and marketing of produce – this is a paradigm changing program which is well on its way to becoming a reality. More outlets and ‘Kisan Bazaars’ are planned. All aspects of farming will be further improved with technological interventions.
This budget is also youth centric in terms of higher education and skills development – this ongoing scheme will be further improved upon and more resources to this sector is being devolved.
Green mission – this mission is now becoming a way of life for the rural people. More and more encouragement is being given to plant trees and green cover.
Rural Housing – 6,000 houses are to be built at an average cost of R 4.40 Lakhs each. A total of R 264.62 has been earmarked in the budget for this. This is the Mukhiya Mantri Awas Yojana Kutcha House Free Sikkim program which seeks for expanding the scope and method in implementation. From a fragmented approach to an integration of various schemes is the mantra in this program.
Social sector – all forms of backwardness will be tackled with greater zeal. Senior citizens are also being given primacy with the establishment of the Mukhya Mantri Jyestha Nagrik Sewa Samman Kendra.
The new initiatives, with an eye on the future of planning and growth, include the following:
FRBM 2010 – the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act will kick in this year. This will ensure that there is greater responsibility in terms of revenue expenditure whilst increasing Tax and Non Tax revenues. There will be a process orientation to enable greater monitoring of expenditure. Also new sources of tax revenues are planned widening the tax base.
HDR 2011 – this is to come up with a Human Development Report incorporating the latest knowledge creation in this area.
Innovation – the year 2011 -12 has been declared as the ‘Year of Innovation’. Emphasis will be given to seeking out and disseminating innovations and processes in both private and Government sectors. Major documentation on traditional innovation will be done.
Urban infrastructure will be given emphasis in the ongoing scheme of improvement in the quality of life of the citizens.
Transformation in urban transport is being hinted at in terms of solving some of our urban woes that are already upon.
Water- this is a crucial area of intervention. New and innovative ways of conservation and use of water will be targeted.
Increase in payments to various categories of people will be done since prices have risen over the years. So old age pension, disability pension etc are increased. Those working in ICDS Centres will also see increased emoluments.
Cooperative Movement will be further energized.
Rural, cultural, religious and eco tourism will continue to receive the attention of the Government. This is a source of much of the new livelihoods that are being created in Sikkim.
Finally, the Chief Minister has appealed to all sections of our Society to come forward and help in the creation of a modern and forward looking Sikkim. He takes accountability but the citizens are the main stakeholders who must also show responsibility toward the ‘common good’. They must also be part of the process in this quest for inclusive growth.
Is Delhi Police friendly towards the people of North East states?