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Decreasing fertility rate among Sikkim’s indigenous inhabitants alarming: Patil

 Gangtok, May 5: Terming the decreasing fertility rate among the indigenous inhabitants of Sikkim as “alarming”, State Governor Shriniwas Patil has, however, lauded the Pawan Chamling government for making timely policy interventions to check the trend.

“The demographic profile of Sikkim has changed over the last four decades. Percentile data of the communities, and their growth rate, for last few censuses, gives clear indication of a trend.
“Constantly decreasing fertility rate among the indigenous inhabitants of Sikkim throws an alarming picture,” Patil said while addressing the valedictory session of the Sikkim Summit for Tribal Status 2018 here on Friday.
Patil said the increase in overall population of the State in successive census was not proportionate.
“The data shows that the increase in the overall population in the state in the successive census is not proportional at all, especially among indigenous Sikkimese. The scenario might have social, economic and educational reasons which will have sharp ramifications for next few decades, if not addressed in earnest,” he said.
The Governor expressed concern that there could be a demographic shift.
“It may also take the form of demographic shift which may adversely affect indigenous communities. I’m happy that government has come out with some timely policy interventions to check the decreasing fertility rate among Sikkimese,” he said.
The Governor said the 11 Sikkimese Nepali communites, who have not been granted Scheduled Tribe (ST) status so far, deserve constitutional protection and recognition.
He said while Sikkim has been regarded as a land of ethnic diversity with 20 different communities having their own customs, culture, language and costumes, they all were living in harmony.
Patil said over the years he has observed that the left out communities, which are a majority in the state’s demography, have a distinct identity. “The socio-cultural dynamics and economic marginalization serve as the basis of recognition of any community as special category under the provisions of the constitution of India. 
“Therefore, it is justified that all communities within the territory of Sikkim by virtue of their distinct identity, and profile, should get their due, and get recognized as scheduled tribes,” he said. (IANS)