Extremely happy to have been a part of the two-day Kanchan Panda Start-up Festival-2017 that started today at Manan Kendra, Gangtok. This initiative, I am sure will provide further impetus to the Chief Minister’s Start-up Scheme that was launched on 15th August this year.

Giving focus to the youth present in the gathering, following are some of the highlights of my address:-
1. The first and foremost necessity for our young people is to change their mindset with regard to the choice of employment or profession. Just as we have embraced the food habits and lifestyle of the developed world, it is imperative that our youths adopt also the work culture of developed nations. We can say that Sikkim today does not suffer from the problem of unemployment per se, as our people consider only Government jobs as form of employment. Statistics show that nearly 13% of the people in Sikkim are engaged in the Government sector, compared to only 1% in the developed world. It is time that we come out of this mental block and take up employment other than those in the Government. The youths should realize that no job is big or small. Dignity of labour should be given due importance. A life-saving profession like farming should not be looked down upon. It must be kept in mind that agriculture as an occupation will never be out-dated. In fact, its value will only rise in view of the ever- increasing population of the world. One should never forget the fact that every person needs food and food grains, which are agricultural produce, for survival.

2. In more than two decades of our governance, we have succeeded in creating a number of opportunities for the unemployed in various sectors. The youths must avail of these benefits in becoming self-reliant instead of depending upon Government jobs only. If you remain without a job inspite of all the opportunities and chances available, then that does not fall under the definition of unemployment. We can call it ‘wilful unemployment!’

3. Urging the youths to avail of the benefits under the Start-up Scheme, I underlined the following key areas:-
i) As Sikkim is an Organic State, we will extend the loan under the Start-Up programme for organic activities on priority, including organic business related schemes, marketing, value addition, packaging and export of organic produce. Together with these are agro-based unit, dairy, poultry, piggery, fishery, plant nursery and floriculture activities. The loan shall also be provided for Organic Manufacturing Units, Organic Seed Production etc. Our farmers and entrepreneurs of organic produce should capitalize on the high demand of organic products not only in the State but all over the world.

ii) Sikkim as you all know is the premier state in the North East in the tourism sector. The loan shall also be extended on priory to all businesses under tourism development with special focus on village tourism and homestays. Beyond this, our youths must also explore technology-based solutions through start-ups and social sector start-ups to solve problems in the society.