9 Feb :The Annual Plan for Sikkim for the year 2009-10 was finalized here today at a meeting between Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission Shri Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Chief Minister of Sikkim, Shri Pawan Chamling. The Plan outlay was agreed at Rs.1045 crores. This includes additional Central assistance of Rs.82.70 crores for projects of special importance to the State.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Ahluwalia complimented the State for performance in the social sector. He said in terms of human development indicators, Sikkim’s position was quite good as compared to majority of States. The Gross State Domestic Product increased by 84 per cent while per capita GSDP increased by 60 per cent during the period 1999-2000 to 2007-08. He also appreciated State’s performance in plan realization. He said the State should focus on high-end tourism and develop adequate accommodation for these tourists.
It was pointed out that State has comparative advantage in horticulture and floriculture sectors and should make optimum use of Central initiatives for these sectors. Hydel generation should be given high priority as it would not only generate revenue but also create employment opportunities. The State was also told to vigorously pursue public/private-partnership in tourism hydel generation and floriculture. The State was advised to work towards improving quality of education and reducing drop out rates. Thrust should also be on providing clean drinking water and proper sanitation facilities in both rural and urban areas. Briefing the Commission on plan performance, Mr. Chamling said that efforts are on to improve infrastructure. He thanked Union Government for facilitating Greenfield Airport at Pakyong and approval of rail-link to Sikkim. He said hydel potential available is being tapped and by 2012 more than 5000MW of electricity would be generated.
The State plans to declare Sikkim as total organic State by 2015. Education is being given priority and by the end of next year two more degree colleges will be started. A comprehensive educational loan scheme has been launched to facilitate students securing admission in reputed Universities. To drive maximum advantage through national mission on climate change, Sikkim State Council on Climate Change has been set up.