CM seeks upgraded internet bandwidth, extension to industrialdevelopment policy and permission to l


SUMMIT REPORT

Gangtok, 24 Jan Addressing the plenary session of the North Eastern Council in Shillong on Saturday,

Chief Minister PS Tamang highlighted key points concerning Sikkim, laying special focus on interventions required to overcome the setback caused by the Covid pandemic. The 69th Plenary Session of the North Eastern Council was held at the NEC Secretariat, Nongrim Hills, Shillong, and

attended by Home Minister Amit Shah who is also the Chairperson of the NEC, DoNER Minister

Jitendra Singh, Chief Ministers and dignitaries from the North-East states, and other officials,

a press communiqué from the Chief Minister’s Office informs. In his brief address, the CM shared that the poor quality of internet in Sikkim had hamstrung the State’s efforts in carrying out several essential services like administrative functioning, medical support and education. In this regard, he underlined

the “immediate need” to upgrade the internet bandwidth in the State from 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps.

The release adds that he also sought for the North East Industrial Development Scheme, cleared by the Union Cabinet in March 2018 and in effect till March 2020, to be extended by another 10 years, pointing

out that it has been benefi-cial for the region and brought changes in the structure and the growth pattern of the State's gross domestic product. Changes in work patterns and limitations required because of the pandemic af-fected various sectors due to which only 45% of the budgeted

cost was utilised till December 2020 in Sikkim, the CM informed the meeting. In this context, he

also pointed out that the State Government had written to the Ministry of Finance in October

last year, requesting acknowledgement to impose a “nominal” COVID Cess on the output of organised manufacturing industries dominated by pharma units and the hydro-electric sector in the State and informed that a response from the Ministry was still awaited. Acknowledging the external concerns of the country and the strain on its re-sources, he added that Sikkim, being a landlocked state has fewer options to manoeuvre and hence requested for the intervention of the Union Government to reduce the shortfall of the transfer of central devolution which the State has only received 47% of (as of December 2020) as against the projected and allo-cated devolution of 75%. The CM concluded his address by expressing delight and thanked the scientific community for the Covid vaccines developed in record time and hailed it as a proud moment for the country as both the vaccines were made in India, “setting a shining example of Atmanirbhar Bharat.”