Budget 2023-24 is not pro-people, Sikkim placed in permanent debt trap: SDF

Sunday, May 28, 2023 08:00 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, May 28, 2023 02:29 [IST]

Budget 2023-24 is not pro-people, Sikkim placed in permanent debt trap: SDF


GANGTOK,: The State Budget 2023-24 passed recently by the SKM government is neither pro-Sikkim nor pro-people, said SDF spokesperson MK Subba at a press meet here on Saturday.

Giving the SDF’s analysis and stand on the Budget 2023-24, Subba maintained that the budget does not fulfil the commitments given to the people and also overlooks their aspirations. The SKM government has amassed a debt of over Rs. 19,000 crore so far but this colossal loan is disproportionate to the budgetary allocations for development, he said, adding “Sikkim has been placed in a permanent debt trap”.

The SKM government claims that funds have been allocated in the Budget 2023-24 for flagship schemes for housing and women empowerment but the budget book does not reflect it, no funds have been allocated for such schemes, said the SDF spokesperson.

Subba maintained that the SKM government, which completed four years on Saturday, has failed to address the rising unemployment and tourism regression. The promises made by the SKM in its election manifesto have also not been fulfilled, he said.

The SDF spokesperson pointed to the G20 Summit hosted by Sikkim earlier this year, which he stressed, was an excellent opportunity to revive the State’s economy. However, the State government could not sign any MoUs when representatives of G20 nations were in Gangtok. “This failure is because the ruling front lacks vision and could not prepare properly to take advantage of the G20 summits happening in Sikkim,” he said.

Subba, focussing on the economy sector, spoke about the State Economic Revival Committee’s report made to the State government for reviving the economy here. However, the State government used the report only to get financial assistance from the Centre but did not make it public, he said.

The SDF spokesperson was convinced that if the State government had followed the committee’s recommendation, the economic loss of Sikkim could have been averted and there would have been no need to take huge loans.

Subba reiterated the SDF party’s stand on “dilution” of Sikkimese definition in Income Tax Act 1961 and maintained that it was due to the SKM government’s indifference during the court hearings that led to “irreparable damage” to special Constitutional provisions for the Sikkimese.

As per documents received as answers during the recent Assembly session, it clearly shows that the ruling party did not file any counter affidavit in the Supreme Court, the only counter affidavit filed available in the records is of the SDF government, said Subba.

The SDF party reiterates that the only way to restore our distinct Sikkimese identity is to revisit the terms and conditions of merger and 8th May tripartite agreement, said the SDF spokesperson.

The press conference was also addressed by SDF spokespersons Krishna Kharel and Shiva Kumar Sharma.


Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi