MESSAGE FROM THE DESK OF ADDITIONAL CHIEF SECRETARY

MESSAGE FROM THE DESK OF ADDITIONAL CHIEF SECRETARY


Dr. Thomas Chandy, IFS

The cottage industries of handloom and handicrafts have been a part and parcel of the rural economy of Sikkim since ages. Being a mountain state with cold climate the need for woollen clothing and the availability of raw material in the form of yak and sheep wool or others led to a natural instinct for people to be adept at woollen handloom-making or weaving. It was only obvious that the then “Directorate of Industries” was tasked with promoting and conserving this traditional art as its main mandate. Due to the humid and temperate agro-climatic factors being favourable for growing a variety of crops the government set up a fruit preservation and the Temi Tea Estate factories which were the first MSEs to be set up in the State.

The advent of large industry in the form of brewery and distillery and some precision industries came about in the 1970s and 80s. The real growth of large industry was however attributed to the last 15-20 years when a spate of investors decided to take advantage of the peaceful and friendly atmosphere for industrial development that prevailed in the State. Hence the State saw rapid large industrialization mainly of pharma and related industries, cosmetics, distilleries, steel and several others, as also the rapid expansion of tourism related service-oriented industry. These developments have resulted in Sikkim becoming an industrialized state as opposed to a purely agrarian one and the Directorate of Industries being upgraded to a full fledged department. As on date, the industrial sector contributes to almost 45% of the GSDP of the State and there are more than 115 large industries and close to 1000 MSMEs in the State. The Chief Minister’s Startup Scheme has provided an impetus to self employment of educated unemployed youth. The Commerce & Industries Department is also responsible for overseeing the Indo-China Nathula border trade and other matters related to exports of items like tea and other organic products.