General Overview

ikkim lies between 27.04 degree to 28.07 degree North latitude and 80.00 degree to 88.55 degree East longitude. It is bound on the north by the Tibet plateau, on the east by Chumbi valley of Tibet and Bhutan, on the west by Nepal and on the south by Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It shares a 97.8 kilometre long international boundary with Nepal, 30.90 kilometre long border with Bhutan and a 220.35 kilometre long border with Tibet. This State in the north-western Himalayan mountain ranges covers a total area of 7,096 square kilometres constituting 0.22 per cent of India’s geographical area and 2.7 per cent of the Northeast.

The early history of Sikkim starts in the 13th century with the signing of a blood-brotherhood treaty between the Lepcha Chief Thekong Tek and Tibetan prince Khye-Bumsa at Kabi Lungtsok in North Sikkim. In 1641, the Namgyal dynasty was heralded in Sikkim. Subsequently Sikkim passed through a process of democratisation and became an integral part of the Indian Union in 1975. It became the 22 nd state of India on 26 April 1975.

According to Census 2001, Sikkim has a total population of 540,493. It constitutes 0.05 per cent population of India and 1.38 per cent of Northeast. It is a multi-ethnic State comprising both tribal and non-tribal groups. The Lepchas are the original inhabitants of the State. The Sherpas are a marginal ethnic group in the State. The Bhutias and the Nepalese migrated to the State from Tibet and Nepal respectively. Nepalese, today are the dominant ethnic group in the State. The local language is Nepali. English is the official language. The rate of literacy in Sikkim is 69.68 per cent.

For administrative reasons, Sikkim is divided into four districts and each district has further been bifurcated into two sub-divisions. The State has been further divided into 100 Zilla Panchayat wards, 166 Gram Panchayats and 454 Revenue Blocks. Capital of Sikkim is located at Gangtok, which is at an altitude of 1780 metres. It became a member of the North Eastern Council (NEC) in 2005.

Sikkim has been declared an industrially backward State. The economy of the State is primarily based on agriculture and animal husbandry. 56.34 per cent of the total working population depend on these for their livelihood. Most of the industries that exist in Sikkim are either small or medium scale. The per capita Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) in 2004-05 is Rupees 26215 and the Net State Domestic Product (NSDP) in 1999-2000 is Rupees 13356. Sikkim ranks 18th in the human resource development index and 17th in the poverty index in India.

Sikkim has become a major tourist attraction over the years and generates substantial revenue from this sector.