Sikkim, one of the tiniest states in India, stands out from the others thanks to the several firsts it has to its name.
The Himalayan state’s progressive track record has received yet another boost after it announced its ambitious plan of implementing a universal basic income for all of its 6,10,577 citizens.
This is perhaps, the first ever time that any democratic state in the world has employed such a scheme.
What exactly does universal basic income mean?
Well, it is a statewide programme whereby every resident of the state is paid a set income on a regular basis, regardless of their income, resources or employment status.
The primary objective of the scheme is to help citizens achieve their basic needs.
With this move, the state government of Sikkim is setting a rare precedent of a people’s government that indeed works for its people.
However, this is not the first time that Sikkim has put such path-breaking initiatives into action.
Here are five times when the state set an example for the rest of the nation:
1. In 1998, Sikkim was one of the first Indian states to completely ban plastic bags, and two decades down the line, it has emerged as the only one in the country to have successfully implemented the ban.
2. India has been classified as one of the world’s most unsafe countries for women, but Sikkim begs to differ. Touted as the best Indian state for women in the workplace, Sikkim has recorded relatively fewer crimes against women—thanks to its high rates of female workforce participation.
Also, with 50 per cent reservation for women in urban and local bodies, Sikkim leads the charge on the greater representation of women in politics!
3. The state has also managed to decrease its poverty ratio between 2004 and 2012 by a stunning margin of 22 per cent. It claims to have achieved this through the process of devolution and decentralisation of power to the grassroots level.
Also, these years observed a 70 per cent fall in the number of poor people, making Sikkim one of the states with the lowest poverty levels in the country today.
4. Two years ago, Sikkim completed a mission that was initiated in 2003. It became India’s first fully organic state by eliminating the use of pesticides and fertilisers.
This feat found greater recognition when Sikkim was pronounced the first ever 100 per cent organic state in the world.
5. Beating 51 nominated policies from 25 countries, Sikkim’s transition to the organic way of life earned it the Future Policy Award for 2018 last year.
Termed as the “Oscar for best policies”, the award is conferred by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in recognition of pioneering policies that promote agro-ecological and sustainable food systems across the world.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)