- Sujal Pradhan, NET Correspondent, Sikkim
Chairperson of Sikkim’s Commission for Other Backward Classes – Pavitra Bhandari has claimed that the General Budget 2022 has been meticulously crafted with the aim of “leaving no citizen behind”.
Speaking to the ‘Vartalap’ workshop, Bhandari said the budget incorporated a number of projects, emphasizing emphatically the development of chemical-free farming practices across the country, which is not only admirable but practiced in Sikkim for a long time.
Further, she informed that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state of Sikkim has remained positive over time.
She mentioned that the role of media in democracy is essential and that the state government, which believes in inclusive politics, is doing its best to keep the history of journalism as alive as it needs to be.
Bhandari promised that given the pitiful state of the print media, the current state administration would take affirmative action to protect its interests if journalists’ associations and other stakeholders come up with favorable suggestions.
Earlier, while delivering a keynote address on “General Budget 2022 – Leave No Citizen Behind and NE Region Perspective and Sikkim Agriculture Roadmap and Prospects”, Prof. Abhijeet Dutt from the University of Sikkim highlighted the background, its source and the areas where it would be spent.
Referring to the 2022 budget being futuristic, this would reverberate positively in the long run. The budget also reflects the slogan of “Sab ka Sath, Sab ka Vikas and Sab ka Viswas” as promulgated by the Indian Prime Minister, he added.
Dutt also highlighted aspects of PM Gatishakti, MSMe, Education, agriculture, Start-up, digital banking, etc.
Similarly, the Deputy Managing Director (DGM) of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) – Vijay Bhatt delivered his address on Sikkim’s agriculture roadmap and outlook. The general budget for 2022 has many beneficial projects for Sikkim and the northeastern states, he added.
Meanwhile, State IEC Officer – Sonam Bhutia in his address advised that it would be unwise to ignore the COVID protocol even though its spread has decreased. “There is still uncertainty about COVID. As such, we must follow proper COVID behavior and stay protected,” he advised.
Addressing the workshop, Sikkim Press Club President Shekhar Khawas, while presenting several examples, informed that the media has an important role to play in the context of rural development.
Similarly, the President of the Journalists Club of Sikkim Bhim Rawat, in his address, informed that being complementary to each other, the objective of the government and the private media is to inform the people. Even if the government and private media fulfill their duties, private media has a relatively wider reach, he said. And since it takes on even greater importance when the code of conduct is invoked at election time, the government must guide and sponsor it, he added.
Journalist Ajay Thami highlighted the difficulties and challenges faced in rural reporting. Earlier, welcoming all participants to the workshop, GDP Media and Communications Officer Shillong Shri Gopajit Das highlighted various government social protection programs and said that the objective of a workshop like “Vartalap” was to spread it further to the masses.
The workshop attended by working journalists from Sikkim focused on the importance of the role of the media in disseminating information about government social welfare programs to the people. This is the fifth edition of Vartalap organized by PIB Gangtok. The workshop was coordinated by veteran journalist Suman Gajmer.