Lok Sabha Polls: SDF promises 50% quota for women in higher education, jobs in manifesto

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Sikkim Democratic Front manifesto also proposed job-related exams by the Sikkim Public Service Commission every 2 years.

SDF releases manifesto for LS Polls 2024. (Image: Screengrab of video/PTI X account)SDF releases manifesto for LS Polls 2024. (Image: Screengrab of video/PTI X account)

Press Trust of India | April 7, 2024 | 09:36 PM IST

GANGTOK: The opposition Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) on Sunday released its manifesto promising 50 per cent reservation for women in government jobs and higher education among various sops for all sections of the society in the state. SDF president Pawan Kumar Chamling said that his party's commitment to provide 50 per cent reservation to women in jobs and higher education was aimed at empowering nearly half of the population.

"The SDF will provide 50 per cent reservation for women in jobs and higher education," the former chief minister said while releasing the manifesto in Namchi district's Rangang-Yangang assembly constituency. The party's Lok Sabha candidate PD Rai and the nominee for the Rangang-Yangang assembly seat, MK Subba, were also present on the occasion. Notably, the SDF has not nominated any woman in the state's lone Lok Sabha seat and 32 assembly constituencies.

In its manifesto, the SDF has also promised to provide dearness allowance to all government employees and restore the old pension scheme (OPS) in Sikkim. The indigenous Bhutia and Limboo communities will be recognised as ancient ('Aadhim janjati') tribes, while all state languages will be taught at college and university levels, the opposition party's manifesto said, adding that a state holiday will be declared to honour the first Mount Everest climber Tenzing Norge. An International Gurung study and heritage centre will be established in Sikkim, the manifesto said, apparently seeking to woo a sizable Gurung community for votes.

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The SDF also promised to provide free electricity to all Sikkimese households and make it the first carbon-negative state in the world. The opposition party also proposed to make MGNREGA workers as regular government employees with their wages to be raised to Rs 500 and man days extended to 200 days. In a bid to woo the educated unemployed youths, the SDF manifesto proposed job-related examinations to be conducted by the Sikkim Public Service Commission (SPSC) every two years, while the interviews for clerical and teacher jobs will be held every two months.

The SDF also promised to double the salaries of all government employees. It further promised to declare all Saturdays as holidays for government employees. With the special status and old laws of Sikkim being emotive issues in the Himalayan state, the SDF promised to safeguard the sanctity of Article 371(F) of the constitution. Stating that the SDF was fighting the assembly polls on the theme of "Save Sikkim", Chamling, the five-term former chief minister, urged the youths to exercise their franchise with great care as their future as well as that of the state rides on their decisions at the polling booths on April 19.

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