Sikkim is a beautiful State situated in the Eastern Himalayan stretch of the Indian sub-continent bounded by vast stretches of the Tibetan Plateau in the North, Chumbi Valley of Tibet and the Kingdom of Bhutan in the East, the Kingdom of Nepal in the West, and Darjeeling in the South.
Mt. Kanchenjunga, world's third highest mountain, dominates this tiny Himalayan State with its beauty and majesty. This state is one of the 18 biodiversity hotspots in the world including nearly one third of the total species of angiosperm found in the country, around 4,000 species of flowering plants, 300 species of ferns and allies, 144 species of mammals and 500 to 600 species of birds. Such natural beauty along with an ideal climatic condition makes a promising tourism industry in the state. The green image of this state makes it an attractive investment destination.
The three groups of natives of Sikkim are mainly engaged in different economic activities, prominent among which are tourism, horticulture and agriculture. The other advantageous features of the state are –
- Supportive and flexible administrative set up
- Skilled and educated labor force
- Efficient transportation and communication network
- Sound water and power supply
- Investor friendly environment
- Presence of several medicinal herbs.
Agriculture is the major economic activity practiced on the terraced fields of Sikkim. Maize, rice, wheat, potato, large cardamom, ginger and turmeric are the principal crops while mandarin orange, guava, mango and banana are the principal fruits grown. As far as floriculture is concerned, the commercial cultivation of variety of orchids, gladioli, anthuriums and rhododendrons is picking up rapidly. Even the medicinal and aromatic herbs are facing an ever-expanding market both nationally and internationally. But, there are several limitations in terms of productivity, irrigation and the scope for extending cultivation due to the practice of terrace farming. Hence, there is a necessity for investment in the fields of horticulture, floriculture and in innovative practices of land management. Also, due to the availability of all the necessary raw materials, there is an enormous untapped potential for setting up various agro-based industries in this state.
HANDICRAFTS AND HANDLOOM
The traditional handicrafts and handloom products of the State are of high quality and enjoy huge demand, both nationally and internationally. These include carpet weaving, cane and bamboo crafts, spinning wool, handmade paper and thanka paintings. This industry has a great potential to generate income and employment in the state. Hence, in order to give a boost to this sector, the Government of Sikkim has been making several efforts like providing training to upgrade the quality and designs of the products, bringing experts and professionals for their marketing and supply.
The State has already picked up a great pace in the knowledge-based industries. The Government of Sikkim has placed IT high on its agenda and The Department of Information Technology has also been set up for preparing extensive projects, particularly aiming at e-governance, promoting IT enabled services like medical transcription, telemedicine and computerized Braille. The real potential of the IT industry lies in its skilled manpower resource. The Government has also framed an 'IT policy' with the aim of transforming a State into an IT State.
Sikkim, due to its spectacular natural beauty, cultural uniqueness and religious mysticism, is emerging as an eye-catching tourist destination in the Eastern Himalayas. It includes wealth of natural resources, the third highest mountain of the world, rich flora and fauna, cultural festivals and festivities. The Government of Sikkim is encouraging private participation in the development and commercial activities of the tourism sector. There are tremendous opportunities for investment in meeting the tourists’ demands for resorts, hotels, restaurants, surface and air transports, entertainment outlets and souvenirs.
Thus, inspite of its hilly terrain, Sikkim has several advantages and opportunities for investment. The above mentioned resource base can be utilized for setting up industrial units in the state. There are immense unharnessed potentials in the various sectors of its economy like it is the largest producer of cardamom in the country, the traditional handlooms and handicrafts of Sikkim are in demand worldwide, its proficient manpower can be used for transforming it into an IT state and its beautiful landscape and rich cultural heritage makes it an attractive tourist destination. The Government of Sikkim has made several efforts for attracting investment into these sectors of the state which encourages investors to set up various industrial units by optimally utilizing the numerous resources as well as incentives and schemes available within the state.