The society of a
region, it's culture, social institutions, beliefs and social structure are all sensitive
to the development. Economic activity is referred to as the
livelihood pattern, so is the prevalent economic conditions of
the people. People of Sikkim engage in different economic
activities, prominent among which are Tourism, Industries,
horticulture & agriculture etc. giving rise to a definite
occupational structure. In other words, economic parameters of a
region are the best indicators of the development.
A peep into Sikkim's Economy
Tourism is considered as the backbone of Sikkim's economy. It has brought economic prosperity in Sikkim. With the salubrious climate, the natural beauty and the fine cultural heritage of Sikkim, the growth of tourism has immense possibilities. There are large number of places of tourist attraction particularly the snow clad mountains, the lakes and unspoiled forest areas and valleys of flowers. The advantage of having very fine monasteries in Sikkim can also be taken to attract Buddhist tourists from countries like Japan and the South Eastern countries.
Agriculture is the major economic activity and is practiced on terraced field that has been laboriously created from steep hillsides. There are in all 689 enterprises that have been identified, which are mostly concentrated in rural areas. Sikkim is the largest producer of cardamom and also boasts to utilize largest area for its cultivation. Tea is exported to USSR & Germany. A coffee plantation has also been started at Majitar. Sikkimese economy broadly depends on the agriculture which provides livelihood to the majority of population in the state. However, it's progress remained limited due to difficult topography and other natural barriers. As a result all head sectors related to agriculture emerged, government is doing it's best to improve the situation. Cardamom in Sikkim
Horticulture is one of the major economic activities of the people of Sikkim. Large Cardamom, ginger and turmeric are the principal crops while Mandarin orange, guava, mango, banana and so on are the principal fruits grown in the state. The department of Horticulture is deeply involved in motivating and providing technical guidance to local farmers. Sikkim is also a paradise for flowers. Gladioli, anthuriums, lilliums, primulas, rhododendrons, orchids as well as many other floral species thrive here. The state is home to an amazing 450 species of exotic orchids alone. There is immence potential for developing floriculture on a commercial basis here, and the department of Horticulture is making concerted efforts to turn this sector into an export-oriented industry.
Forest is one of the richest natural resources of Sikkim. The total land area managed by and under administrative control of Forest Department is above 80% of the total geographical area of the state. Sikkim has a unique Bio-Diversity. The composition ranges from tropical Dry Deciduous Forests with Sal and its associates in the valleys of Teesta and Rangit to the Alpine Scrub and Grasslands in high altitudes.During the two last decades Forest Department has laid emphasis on development of fodder and fuelwood in the agriculture fallow lands of the villagers giving priority to plantation of broom grass for fodder and for economic upliftment of the villagers. This year, the target for afforestation under 20-Point program is 11,000 hectares of which Forest Department has achieved over 8,000 ha. by plantation.
The state of Sikkim is endowed with rich geological resources. The department of mines and geology has been responsible for exploration and establishment of mineral resources, with the object of developing commercially exploitable mineral resources. Moderable to fair amount of success has been achieved during the investigation carried out by different agencies in certain sectors namely dolomite, coal, quartzite, graphite, lime stone, silliminite, talc, mineral water, thermal springs, building stone and materials for porcelain.
The policy of framework in regard to industrialization in Sikkim has to be formulated keeping in mind the particular factors endowments that the state has the limitations in regard to resources, particularly, minerals and industrial raw materials as well as man power. The state is not so rich in mineral resources and apart from the deposits of copper, lead and zinc, no other viable and exploitable mineral deposits have so far been discovered. While on the other hand the state enjoys a salubrious climate, a dust free atmosphere and peaceful industrial entrepreneurial talent, has also to be taken note of. In regard to industrial development, a number of small and medium units have been promoted in the state. For example, The Sikkim Time Corporation (SITCO) and Government Institute of Handicraft and Handlooms.
The innumerable streams and rivers flowing down the Himalayas have provided Sikkim with an immense potential for development of Hydro Electric Power . The demand for Power increased with the increase in the population. The number of urban centers and the pace of industrialization picking up in the State and finally taking up of rural electrification.
In the VII Plan the two Hydel Projects namely Rimbi Stage II and Rongnichu Stage II have been completed along with the Lachen Micro Hydel Project. Above all, Sikkim Government, extended a total number of 3000 free connections under the scheme of extending two point free domestic connections to the poor masses and provided electrification to all the district headquarters, towns and 90% of the total revenue blocks. Sikkim stood first in rank along with 12 States in the centpercent village electified.
Pisiculture is an important area of economic activity particularly in the context of enabling the rural people. The states natural resources endowments with an extensive network of freshwater rivers, lakes and streams offers conditions which are conducive for development of inland fisheries where a variety of carps and trout's can thrive. With a view to exploit these natural resources endowments.
In a predominantly rural economy such as Sikkim, animal husbandry activities form an extremely important element in the effort to bring about substantial improvements in living standards. The overall area available for agriculture operations is limited to about 15% of the geographical area of the state and with the increasing population, per capita land availability has been consistently declining, it is therefore, essential, that supplementary sources of income should be developed in order to provide not only the much needed support to the rural families but also to make available in increasing quantity, protein rich food items such as milk, egg, and meat. Adequate number of livestock like cattle, buffaloes, pigs, sheep's, goats, yaks and few other are reared in sikkim. Yaks are reared in north eastern ranges bordering Tibet, Bhutan and western region bordering Nepal.