Gangtok: Sikkim initiated G20 events in Sikkim on Thursday with Business B20 meeting on the topic ‘opportunities for multilateral business partnership in tourism, hospitality, pharmaceuticals and organic farming’ at Chintan Bhawan in Gangtok.
The inaugural session was attended by Sikkim’s Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay, along with Rupa Dutta, Principal Economic Advisor of the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade. Representatives from NITI Aayog, the External Affairs Ministry, the G20 Secretariat, and CII North East Council were also present at the session.
During his speech at the B20 meeting, CM Golay talked about the concept of “globalisation of locals as against localisation of globals.” He stated that the globalization process has been one-sided so far, with a focus on localizing globals, and that Sikkim aims to reverse this trend.
Rather than relying on traditional models of foreign direct investment or domestic investments, the Sikkim CM proposed a new framework for fully-owned or joint ventures. This framework would focus on areas such as technology transfer, the supply of raw materials, infrastructure development (such as cold chains), professional participation, expertise provision, finance, marketing, value chains, and research and development.
During the B20 meeting, Sikkim CM Golay urged delegates from both B20 and G20 to support and invest in making Sikkim a green agroecological destination for the world. He emphasized the need for green technology that can increase productivity and yield in Sikkim’s limited farmlands, most of which are owned by small and marginal farmers.
CM Golay proposed exploring the possibility of fair trade principles and value chain arrangements that can provide remunerative prices to farmers at the farm gates in rural areas of Sikkim. He also highlighted the importance of creating value addition and processing facilities within the state, in order to establish an organic niche.
Sikkim has a variety of indigenous seeds and plants, and CM Golay stressed the need to build capacity among new-generation farmers and train them on newer methods of organic farming. He called for the establishment of interdisciplinary institutions that deal with training, research, experimentation, productivity enhancement, processing, marketing, and other areas to promote organic culture.
During the B20 meeting, CM Golay also talked about Sikkim’s tourism potential, highlighting that the state receives around 1.5 million tourist arrivals annually. He shared Sikkim’s long-term objectives of gradually shifting a major segment of its tourism to high-value tourism.
The Sikkim CM proposed integrating tourism with the state’s plans to establish itself as an educational hub, health destination, and as geography of politico-cultural history, trade, pilgrimage routes, and biodiversity hotspots. He invited B20 and G20 delegates to effectively participate in Sikkim’s business of organic tourism and high-value tourism ventures.
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CM Golay also mentioned the presence of over 55 pharmaceutical units in the state and expressed a desire to further consolidate the industry by attracting well-known pharmaceutical giants and diversifying their products with substantive organic inputs and active pharmaceutical ingredients from Sikkim. He proposed commercially establishing horizontal and vertical integration of rich traditional medicinal systems with the global market, which would involve stakeholders such as traditional faith healers and communities that cultivate herbs. “The global naturopathy market is substantial, and this partnership could be beneficial for both India and the global community,” he said,
In addition, CM Golay highlighted the potential for investment in climate change-related activities such as green energy, small and mini-hydro projects, zero-carbon ventures, disaster forecasting and management, and climate change-resistant agriculture.
“Some of our farmers have already adapted to the climate changes by just using their traditional wisdom and their orthodox practices. They do not know the science and complexities of climate change impact. We are yet to build institutions to understand, deal and propagate the knowledge to the global world,” the CM said.
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