Create a roadmap to upscale organic farming in Sikkim: FM Sitharaman

To boost tourism, the state can take the initiative to call some of the tourism aggregators who facilitate homestays, said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Nikesh Singh
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during post budget conference

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Sikkim should create a roadmap to upscale organic farming in the state after consultation with various stakeholders as it has the natural advantage of being India's first fully organic state, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a post-budget interaction in Gangtok. 
“The state should have a clear progress chart on various stages of growth in organic farming and look for opportunities in exports as well because of better price realisation. It should also include millets in its plan,” she added.

In 2016, Sikkim became India’s first fully organic state by implementing organic practices on agricultural land.
Sitharaman also requested the Secretary of the Department of Financial Services (DFS) Vivek Joshi to visit Gangtok and along with the Chief Secretary of the state hold meetings with State Level Banker Committee (SLBC) to take a complete review of the performance of individual banks in promotion of particular government schemes and ensure that no district gets ignored.

“The banks can also finance the common facility centers under One District One Product scheme,” she added.
Sitharaman added that Sikkim should become a part of the national startup ecosystem so that startups can provide solutions to the dominant pharma industry and resolve connectivity issues.

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“To boost tourism, the state can take the initiative to call some of the tourism aggregators who facilitate homestays,” she added.
Speaking on the provision of interest-free loans to states for capital expenditure, finance secretary T.V. Somanathan said that the North Eastern states' proportion in these loans is more than their share in the national devolution as recommended by the 15th Finance Commission.

“In the current fiscal year, Sikkim is expected to utilise about Rs 400 crore for schemes chosen by the state government under the interest-free loan to states,” he added.  
He further added that Sikkim will be the major beneficiary of the enhanced budgeted amount for the interest-free loan to the states for capital investments.

Sitharaman also requested the state to keep an exhaustive database on tourism-related stakeholders. “In states such as Sikkim with a high tourism potential, the minimum expected is to have a clear database of people registered by the state tourism department,” she added.

First Published: Feb 27 2023 | 11:37 PM IST

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