Sikkim, inspite of its hilly terrain, has several advantages and opportunities for investment. It has a rich resource base which can be utilised for setting up industrial units in the State. There are immense unharnessed potentials in the various sectors of its economy. For instance, it is the largest producer of cardamom and utilizes largest area for cultivation of many crops. Its traditional handlooms and handicrafts are in demand world wide. Its proficient manpower can be used for transforming it into an IT State. Also, its beautiful landscape and rich cultural heritage makes it an attractive tourist destination.
Sikkim is an agrarian State, such that agriculture is the major economic activity practiced on its terraced fields. 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 in the State. As far as floriculture is concerned, the State produces a variety of orchids, gladioli, anthuriums and rhododendrons, the commercial cultivation of which 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 of various agro-based industries in the 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, etc. which are famous the world over. The industry has a great potential to generate income and employment in the State. Hence, in order to give a boost to the sector, the Government of Sikkim has been making several efforts, which include providing training to upgrade the quality and designs of the products; bringing expertise and professionals for their marketing and supply, etc.
Information Technology (IT)
The State has already made great strides in the knowledge-based industries such as information technology. The Government of Sikkim has placed IT high on its agenda. The Department of Electronics and Information Technology has also been set up for preparing extensive projects, particularly aiming at e-governance; promoting IT enabled services like medical transcription, telemedicine, computerized braille, etc. 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 a tourist destination in the Eastern Himalayas. It includes wealth of natural resources, the third highest mountain of the world, rich flora and fauna; as well as the cultural festivals and festivities. The ancient monasteries and temples attract tourists from all over the world.
The Government of Sikkim is encouraging private participation in the developmental 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, souvenirs, etc.
Investment Policies and Incentives
The Government of Sikkim has been making efforts to set up a conducive business climate in order to attract investors into the State. The most important step in this direction is the formulation of policies for the various sectors of the economy. These policies unveil a roadmap for the overall development of the State by removing the hurdles in the investment process. All these policy documents also envisage incentives and schemes for the investors.