I felt happy to attend the 24th Anniversary of formation of SDF Government held at Saramsa Gardens today.
At the outset, I thanked all my Cabinet colleagues, MPs, MLAs, bureaucrats, opposition leaders (both past and present), farmers, youth, teachers and business community for being a part of our journey and appreciated their valuable contribution towards Sikkim and Sikkimese society. Sikkim would not have reached where it stands today without their support and contribution.
Following are the highlights of my address:-
1. When we took over the reins of the administration on 12th December 1994, Sikkim was the poorest and the most backward state of the Nation. There was poverty, illiteracy and bankruptcy. In fact, there was no fund to pay the salaries of the Government employees, for we which had to take a bank overdraft from the Central Bank. Such was the situation then. But due to our efforts and sheer determination we have been able to forge ahead and bring Sikkim to the forefront. Today our state is globally acclaimed and recognized. We have fulfilled the needs of the people. If at all there are some unhappy persons in Sikkim, then it is due to the non-fulfillment of their greed and not need!
2. The journey of 24 years has not been easy. Being a small state with a small population, we do not have presence at the national level. The flow of funds from the Central Government is low compared to the bigger states, though the needs of our state are of equal magnitude. But inspite of such drawbacks, our Government has performed far better than most of the other states. Various pending political demands have been fulfilled and overall we have managed to bring about all-round progress and development, perhaps not seen anywhere else. There is peace and security prevailing in our State. Our government employees can live with dignity and respect without any kind of fear of extortion or threats whatsoever. These positive outcomes of our governance should be appreciated by all and every one of us should strive to contribute more towards the welfare of the State and the people.
3. As administration is managed by the executive and the bureaucracy, both have crucial roles to play. Firstly, administration should be made systematic. Unfortunately, our administration is too personalized. I appealed for doing away with this malpractice and focus on decentralization and complete democratization of the administrative system. I also called on the officers, particularly the young officers to endeavour in becoming world class officers with complete knowledge and expertise on their powers, functions and responsibilities as Government officers. It is imperative that they learn and be knowledgeable about the policies, programmes and vision of the Government, for they are the ones who would be implementing them. People’s hopes and aspirations cannot be fulfilled without proper implementation of policies and programmes.
4. I spelt out the following pre-requisites for becoming good government employees/officers:-
– Co-operation and co-ordination in service delivery.
– Maintain absolute integrity.
– Allegiance to the Constitution.
– Devotion to duty.
– Explore new ideas and thinking by especially officers. As officers, they should contribute beyond their daily, routine works.
– The sole priority of employees should be to serve the interest of the people of Sikkim.
– Bureaucrats should work with a vision and be result-oriented in the duties they perform. Today’s bureaucrats have to don the role of Development Managers and Development Leaders. As they are the link between the Government and the public, their role should be that of Development Managers. Only then will the benefits of government policies percolate down to the general public.
5. When we first formed the Government, there were a handful of officers in the state. Today the number is close to 4500, amongst around 80,000 employees. Our employees enjoy the best pay package with complete exemption of income tax (both central and state).In 1994,the total emoluments of a Secretary was Rs 10,620/- and Peon- Rs 1893/- . I leave it up to you to find out the present figures and compare! As for the promotional avenues we have created, the increase in the number of officers speaks for it. We have created 26 new cadres and cadre revisions of different services have been done numerous times in the interest of the concerned employees. The number of Secretaries from State Civil Service has increased from 2 to 12.
6. We introduced the compassionate appointment schemes and till date 3000 such appointments have been made.Besides, the grant for accident insurance has been increased to Rs. 10 lakhs.
7. I made following announcement:-
i) The qualifying years of service for promotion to different Group C & D posts which are more than 5 years will be now made uniform of 5 years.
ii) 6 months maternity leave granted for all female employees on MR/ ad-hoc or any other temporary service.
iii) Regularization of Safaikarmacharis without SSC/CoI but those who have completed 10 years and more of temporary service.
iv) Regularization of all MR/adhoc workers completing 5 years and more of service should be completed by 31st January 2019.
v) State Police Service officers will be promoted upto the rank of IGP.
vi) Qualifying length of service for promotion from SI to PI in Police will be reduced from 8 years to 6 years.
vii) All the vacant posts under different departments should be advertised by 31st January 2019.
I directed all the Secretaries/HoDs to submit proposals on the above announcements by 15th January 2019 and these decisions should be implemented by 31st January 2019.