New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday presented to Sikkim an award for "extraordinary and innovative" work done by the state's Rural Management and Development Department.
The prime minister presented a medal, a scroll and cash award of Rs 5 lakh to DR Nepal, secretary, Rural Management and Development Department, Sikkim, for exemplary performance of civil servants in the organizational category for year 2011-12, said a statement issued by Sikkim's principal resident commissioner here.
The award was given on the occasion of the eighth Civil Services Day on Sunday, at a function at Vigyan Bhawan in the national capital.
The state has been conferred with the Prime Minister's Award for excellence in Public Administration for its initiative "Excellence in Rural Management and Development in challenging physical environment of the Sikkim Himalaya," for achieving visible improvement in the quality of life of its rural people.
"Sikkim is the first and only Nirmal Rajya in the country to achieve hundred per cent success under the Total Sanitation Programme in the year 2008. At least 87.2 per cent of the households have access to toilets within their homes (2011 census), as compared to 36.3 per cent in the year 2001," the release said.
Poverty in the state has reduced from 30.9 per cent in 2004-05 to 13.1 per cent in 2009-10, which is significantly lower than the national average of 29.8 per cent in the year 2009-10, the statement it said.
The 17.8 per cent rate of poverty reduction in Sikkim is the second-best in the country.
At least 65 per cent of rural households were employed through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in the year 2011-12 in the state.
The RM&D has over the last five years bagged 16 national level prestigious awards from the various ministries, and this national award is a reaffirmation of the visible contribution made in improving the quality of life of the rural communities, the statement said.