I attended the ‘Janta Mela’ at Mangley, Simchuthanng, South Sikkim today and distributed tokens of various items and welfare schemes to the beneficiaries of 4 Block Administrative Centres under Rabong Subdivision, namely BAC Rabong, BAC Yangang, BAC Temi, BAC Sikkip and also to the beneficiaries of Singtam Nagar Panchayat.

In my address, I informed the gathering that from this year onwards,we are distributing benefits to the beneficiaries of both rural and urban areas in the ‘ Janta Mela’. Another new addition to the ‘Mela’ this year is the distribution of benefits under ‘Land Bank Scheme’, a policy we started from the initial days of our Government, and will remain in force in future also. Besides, we also have the rural housing scheme; under which 3000 families will be provided with allotment orders. Any left out cases will be taken up next year.

Talking extensively about women empowerment, I spoke on the steps taken by the government for upliftment of women and eradication of gender discrimination. Women in Sikkim enjoy socio-economic security and there is complete protection of their rights. They have 33% reservation in government jobs and 50 % reservation in Panchayats and urban local bodies. We have also pioneered a host of welfare schemes for women, such as the Proud Mother Scheme, pension for unmarried women above the age of 45 among others. Initiatives such as the HPV vaccine campaign speak about the Government’s care and concern towards the health of our women folk.

I urged the youth to take full advantage of the startup scheme, where the government is providing loans up to Rs 20 lakhs with 35% subsidy. They can venture in activities related to agriculture and animal husbandry and avail upto 60% subsidy. Moreover, our youth can take up activities related to organic farming, which offers many opportunities for entrepreneurship.

We have in the last 24 years worked tirelessly to give peace, security and over all development to the people of Sikkim. Today Sikkim has become an exemplary state in many spheres. Our state has earned national and global recognition. Hence, I appealed to the people to work towards keeping this name and fame achieved by the State intact. They must therefore, beware of miscreants e trying to divide the people on the basis of caste and religion for their political ambition.