Sikkim a poverty ridden state: Governor

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Gangtok, Nov 27 (UNI) Governor Sudarshan Agarwal today said Sikkim is still among those states that is reeling under poverty.

"It is a matter of concern that Sikkim is also a poverty-ridden state in the country. "It is on record that our state is having the fifth highest poverty-ridden among the states with 41.4 per cent of the population living below the poverty line," Mr Agarwal said during the one day seminar here.

The seminar on "Capability of Village and Small Enterprise" sector as Engine of Growth for development of Sikkim was organized by Indian Council of Small Industries(ICSI), Kolkata.

The Governor expressed his firm conviction that 'capability' and 'capacity building' of Sikkimese people are the government's prime concerns and empowerment and lifting the ordinary people above poverty level is the immediate concern.

The Governor also said that with 38 per cent of the population being below the age of 15 years, the number of young people entering as the work force looking for jobs in the industry and service sector 'will go on increasing' in near future. As against the same, there was a stagnant agriculture sector, he said.

Sikkim has a predominantly agricultural economy with thrust on organic farming. However, the Governor said that the agricultural land is limited to sloppy stairs of the hills and the soil is suffering from mineral deficiency.

''The problem has been confounded by slow industrial activity,'' he added.

Governor Agarwal also pointed out that growth in the state has been regionally imbalanced with North Sikkim still remaining relatively backward in comparison to the other three districts.

Regarding small scale industries, Mr Agarwal said the available data indicates that there were 235 units out of a total of 2,990 units in Sikkim with mortality rate being 'very high'. It also appears that the spread of units in the four districts is imbalanced with the highest concentration in East and South districts, he said.

UNI

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