Saturday, February 14, 2015

Taking Rural Sikkim >>Forward

NABARD projects Rs. 486.86 crore credit potential for rural Sikkim, now for the banks to deliver

Bankers in Sikkim now have at their disposal a detailed checklist on Sikkim’s credit potential in agriculture and allied sectors for 2015-16. With the new financial year yet to begin, more pressure should be exerted on banks here to align their credit policies in sync with what the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development [NABARD] has projected for Sikkim in its State Focus Paper 2015-16 which was released on 05 February.
As per this document, the total priority sector credit potential for Sikkim stands at Rs. 486.86 crores, of which, the share of agriculture has been calculated at Rs. 176.37 crore. These are handsome figures, and the State Focus Paper provides a detailed breakdown on where and how the loans can be extended.

High Court stays MCI challenge to State’s recommendations on filling NE quota at SMIMS

19 affected students get relief, can continue medical studies in Sikkim

The single bench of the Sikkim High Court has granted relief to the 19 first year students studying medicine at the Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences here who, following a directive from the Medical Council of India, would have otherwise been “discharged” from the institute and would have had to discontinue their studies here.
The Medical Council of India had directed SMIMS to discharge these students latest by 17 February on the grounds that they had not been admitted on the recommendation of a Directorate of Medical Education and Research.

Jai Kisan, Anyone?

Agriculture still provides for a majority of Sikkim. It is time that its requirements were prioritised

When seventy per cent of the population, that majority living in rural Sikkim which registers agriculture as its profession, is extended less than 2% of the loans advanced by banks in Sikkim, one knows that an inexcusable denial is afoot. As per stipulations governing banking practices in the country, loans to the agriculture sector should constitute at least 18% of the total advances released by banks. In Sikkim, this figure stands at a dismal 01.51%. It would have been all well if the under-performance by banks was because farmers in Sikkim were so well off that they did not need loans to improve the productivity of their farms. But that is obviously not the case because the number of hands taking up the plough as also the total acreage under cultivation has been steadily declining in the State. This, however, is not a condition unique to Sikkim. 

Petition challenging teacher transfers withdrawn; Aggrieved teachers plan to return with individual petitions

The writ petition filed by nine teachers on behalf of a collective group of 202 teachers challenging the transfer orders issued to them by the Human Resource Development Department was withdrawn on 10 February after about a half an hour long hearing in the High Court. This, on the suggestion of the Court that since the petition related to a service matter, it should ideally be presented in individual capacity and cannot be heard en-masse like a Public Interest Litigation. Following this, the petitioners withdrew the petition with the liberty to return to court again with individual petitions clubbed together with those making similar arguments.

Milan’s stunts to thrill Superbike International Show in Shillong!

Milan Pradhan, the 26 year old stunt bike rider from Tashiding, is a respected name among bikers in Sikkim and has thrilled audiences across the State with his flawless stunt routines. Now, he is gearing up to debut in an international event, revving his Bajaj Pulsar 220 to impress among an array of superbikes which are being lined up for the “Superbike International Show” slated to be held on 14 and 15 February in Shillong. The event, organized by the XBHP, Shillong, has Milan excited because this will be the first time he competes in an international event.

A string of 14’s laid out in Crème Brulee treat for 14 Feb

Red Panda Films of Sikkim has announced plans to present “Creme Brulee”” to audiences here on Valentine’s Day. This Rabongla-based production house is all set to release its 14-minute long English short film, Creme Brulee on 14 February. Rizwan Khan of San Francisco-based Fiction King is the writer and director of the film which is being produced by Karma C. Bhutia, MD of Red Panda Films.
The production house had earlier held auditions from 06 to 08 February at Gangtok. 60 artists turned up for the auditions of whom 14 were selected for the film. The shooting began on 10 February at locations in and around Gangtok.

5th Large Cardamom auction averages Rs. 1,688/kg

The 5th auction of Large Cardamom for the year 2014-15 was carried out on 11 February at the Spices Board’s Auction Centre at Singtam. The 2897.4 kgs put under the hammer on the day fetched an average of Rs. 1,688 per kilo [Rs. 67,520 per mound], and as per CS Ghatani, Assistant Director, Spices Board, Singtam, the cardamom growers were satisfied with the auction and have assured to bring their produce for future auctions.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Money matters, and so do your complaints

Grievance Redressal Mechanism in Banks, Insurance and Securities Markets

We are often left in a quandary when we have certain grievances related to our banking, insurance and securities & capital market investments and services. At times, even the branch managers and the sales officers at these banks and institutions are unable to resolve our grievances as we run from pillar to post seeking help and guidance.
We often get misled about the features of an investment or insurance product on account of miss-selling, get charged a fee or penalty that is exorbitant and at times the services which were promised while entering into banking relationship  never get delivered. If you are such a battered service receiver/ customer, what do you do in such a situation?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

New academic year Blues

School’s reopen next week, and it is not just the parents who should be tense

The long winter break of the children are about to end now. Most of the schools, including Government schools, will reopen on 16 February for a new academic session. Like every year, it’s time again for parents to prepare for the several new challenges owing to their children’s education. It is obvious that the month of February is a tight-budget-month for every parent. Almost all private schools have revised the tuition fee and some schools have announced changes of school uniforms and the like. Parents working with middle-class budgets will be directly affected by this.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Namchi meets to discuss garbage management

Namchi, 09 Feb [IPR]: A meeting on Garbage Management/ Recycle plant was held at the Namchi Municipal Council conference hall today with the Scheduled Tribe Welfare Board chairperson, Lama Pem Tshering Bhutia, as chief guest. The meeting was presided by DC (South) Raj Kumar Yadav alongside SDM (Namchi) Bimal Chandra Rai, NMC (Vice Chairman) NH Ansari and officials from UD&HD, Forest Department and Councilors from NMC.
The DC spoke about the need for behavioral change in the public with regards to garbage management. He discussed the need for holistic development for proper functioning garbage dumping management, appropriate waste solutions and a comprehensive and integrated approach to waste management at Sipchu dumping ground.

Chamling urges Niti Aayog to adopt customised development planning for special states

CM attends first Governing Council Meeting of NITI Aayog

New Delhi, 09 Feb [IPR]: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling attended the 1st Governing Council Meeting of NITI Aayog here on Sunday. The first meeting of the newly formed NITI Aayog was convened at the Prime Minister’s residence. Chief Ministers of all states are members of the Governing Council.
Dwelling on the objectives and day’s agenda, the Chief Minister made a detailed presentation highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of Himalayan States like Sikkim and offered some very crucial suggestions for smooth functioning of the newly formed body.

“Niti Ayog should work out separate compensatory requirement for Himalayan states”

Chief Minister Pawan Chamling’s address at the 1st Governing Council Meeting of NITI Aayog in New Delhi on 08 February, 2015

Hon’ble Prime Minister, Chairman NITI Ayog Shri Narendra Modiji, Vice Chairman Shri Arvind Panagariya, Hon’ble Members, Ex-officio Members, Special Invitees, my esteemed colleague Hon’ble Chief Ministers, Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories, Officers of the Government of India, State Governments, ladies and gentlemen.
It is a great honour to be a part of this new initiative wherein the erstwhile Planning Commission has given way to a new platform for carrying out the agenda of National Development by giving a new mechanism for development, the NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India). The Planning Commission had outlived its utility and it was right to adopt an alternative approach to promote the country in terms of targeting a positive growth agenda and to attract global investments into the country. With the Hon’ble Prime Minister at the helm of affairs with his boundless energy and vision, the Government of India is committed to promote cooperative federalism in the country. We are committed to fully endorse, support and transform the vision of Prime Minister into a reality.