Gangtok: Sikkim’s youths, who will form a significant demographic in the upcoming elections, are happy with certain progressive policies of the government of Chief Minister Pawan Chamling but want more youth-centric policies to open up more jobs and opportunities for them. While appreciating the 25-year-long reign of the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) that transformed an impoverished border State into a model Indian state in many aspects, many are vocal in seeking better opportunities and also quick redressal of many of their grievances which they say do not get enough attention in the present administrative system.
Bimal Thapa, 32, a research scholar at Pondicherry University hailing from Sikkim, says: “There is a section of youth which wants nothing but development. They want better health facilities, more educational opportunities, better roads, conservation of natural resources, better traffic management solutions, especially in capital Gangtok, sustainable tourism practices, more jobs, growth of entrepreneurship, improvement of education in existing government institutions and far-sightedness of government.” This section is least bothered about caste, religion, reservations, freebies and the slugfest between political parties. Echoing this, entrepreneur Sushan Rai, 33, states: “Election comes every five years and the government may stay or change but what stays or doesn’t change is our perception about what the future holds for us and the opportunities we can get in our state.”
Of late, the State has witnessed a slew of protests with varied demands ranging from better healthcare facilities to regularisation of temporary and casual government workers.
Nilas Gurung, 26, a graduate now preparing for a competitive examination, said frequent protests lately were in part due to the government’s failure to properly redress the problems of the people and he hopes to see a redressal grievance cell in every department and agency of the new government. Patrush Lepcha, a former president of Sikkim University's Student Union, hoped for proper systems to be put in place for making the state's economy strong, more youths in important decision-making positions and most importantly, making Sikkim a self- reliant State. A lot of young people spoken to said organic farming and sustainable development goals were policies in the right direction that need more youth-centric schemes and subsidies.
“These broad areas need to be focused on rather than indulging in a lot of political stunts and blame games,” Lepcha added. There are also many youths hopeful of seeing more young faces participate in the upcoming assembly polls that will be held along with the Lok Sabha polls on April 11. Sikkim has a 32-member house and sends a lone MP to parliament. Manav Raj Rai, 20, a college student now studying in Delhi, is of the opinion that more youth are getting involved in state politics than ever before and this coming election is going to be more “youth-centric” than any previous election. “Because now young people like us want to come in the front and lead the state that in a way enables the Sikkimese youths now to become politically conscious and aware,” he added. (IANS)
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