Sikkim has remarkably reduced its poverty level in the last 24 years and its target now is to become India’s first poverty-free state, Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling said on Tuesday.
Chamling was addressing the state on the occasion of the Independence Day celebration in Gangtok on August 15.
Sikkim has also grown as an abode of peace where harmony exists among the people and there is no conflict on the basis of caste and religion, Chamling said in his speech.
“There has been not a single case of desecration of religious centre like mandirs, gumpas or churches and not a single life was lost due to religious differences and riots owing to people’s faiths and beliefs,” Chamling said.
Sikkim’s poverty levels reduced from 30.9 per cent in 2004-05 to 8.19 per cent in 2011-12, a fall of 22 per cent.
Chamling said that the state has gotten rid of poverty owing to the state’s “inclusive and equitable development programmes”.
Sikkim has seen unprecedented people-friendly policies and interventions that has boosted its image on the national and international map, the chief minister said.
“People enjoy unhampered peace and security as the government has adopted people-friendly policy initiatives which has brought about international recognition and accolades, qualitative and innovative development with human development the focus,” Chamling said.
“According to the United Nations, there is no other country or state in the world after World War II to record the steepest fall in poverty level as quickly as Sikkim has done,” the chief minister said.
The Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) growth of Sikkim has touched an impressive 22.8 per cent in 2013-14, he said.
“Having freed Sikkim from extreme poverty, we are working to achieve our goal of becoming the first poverty-free state of India,” Chamling said.
Also, the life expectancy of people in Sikkim has gone up from the average 62.7 years in 1990 to 73.15 years in 2016 as per the data published by the Indian Council of Medical Research, the Public Health Foundation of India and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the chief minister added.
Governor Shriniwas Patil was also present at the event.