Pawan Chamling
File photo of Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling | @pawanchamling5 / Twitter
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In his Independence day speech, Chamling said that in Sikkim there is no animosity among people on the basis of caste and religion.

Gangtok: Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling Wednesday said the state has excelled in reducing poverty levels during the last 24 years and is now aiming to become India’s first poverty-free state.

In his Independence Day speech at the packed Paljor stadium here Wednesday, Chamling said Sikkim has also emerged as an abode of peace where there is no discord or animosity among people on the basis of caste and religion.

“There has been not a single case of desecration of religious centre like mandirs, gumpas or churches and not a single life was lost due to religious differences and riots owing to peoples faiths and beliefs,” Chamling said.

Governor Shriniwas Patil was also present on the occasion.

Chamling said that despite having three international borders, Sikkim has seen unprecedented people-friendly policies and interventions that have left an indelible imprint on the national and international socio-political canvas.

“According to the United Nations, there is no other country or state in the world after World War II to record the steepest fall in poverty level as quickly as Sikkim has done,” the chief minister said.

Sikkim’s poverty levels came down from 30.9 per cent in 2004-05 to 8.19 per cent in 2011-12, a decline of 22 percentage points, due to the state’s “inclusive and equitable development programmes”, he said.

“Having freed Sikkim from extreme poverty, we are working to achieve our goal of becoming the first poverty-free state of India,” he said.

He added that the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) growth of Sikkim has been very positive touching an impressive 22.8 per cent in 2013-14. Life expectancy of people in Sikkim has significantly gone up from the average 62.7 years in 1990 to 73.15 years in 2016 as per findings published by the Indian Council of Medical Research, Public Health Foundation of India and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

He further said that in terms of improvement in the quality of life, Sikkim is number one in India.

“People enjoy unhampered peace and security as the government has adopted people-friendly policy initiatives which have brought about international recognition and accolades, qualitative and innovative development with human development the focus,” he said. – PTI

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