I felt happy and humbled to receive the Doctorate of Literature (Honoris Causa) conferred on me by the Desh Bhagat University, Gobindgarh in Punjab.
In my key note address, I congratulated the bright young students who received their degrees and medals, and complimented the Desh Bhagat University, on its tremendous contribution in the field of education, and for being one of India’s proud educational institutes today. I advised the students to update themselves with emerging world knowledge on a daily basis, as modern advancement in bio-engineering is about to change the course of evolution itself.
I informed that State Government has made tremendous progress in the education sector, duly earmarking 20 % of the state’s budget to this sector- the highest expenditure in India so far. Talking about free education upto college level, I mentioned about two unique programmes: the Chief Minister’s Meritorious Scholarship Scheme at class V level and Chief Minister’s Free Scholarship Scheme for Sikkimese students admitted in world’s top 20 Universities. I further apprised that Sikkim has become the most literate state in the country with the literacy rate of 96.72 %.
Sikkim is the cleanest state, the first open defecation state, the most peaceful state and the safest tourist destination. During the period of 1993 and 2013, forest cover in Sikkim increased to 47.34 % from 43.95 % in 1993. Sikkim is the only state in India to have increased its forest cover in the past two decades. As a governmental response to growing unemployment, we recently launched a unique program –One Family One Job, under which employment to 20,000 candidates were given on January 12, 2019, ensuring 99 % reach, covering all households in Sikkim.
Talking about organic farming, I said that Sikkim has a unique identity as the first and only organic state in the world and recounted some of the advantages of organic farming as sustainable farming system.
I thanked the University Chancellor, Pro-Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and faculty members for conferring on me the honour. I also remembered the people of Sikkim who have entrusted upon me the responsibility to lead the state as their Chief Minister for the last over 25 years.