Sikkim, the 22nd state of India came into existence on April 26,
1975. This State in the north-western Himalayan Mountain ranges
covers a total area of 7,096 sq km constituting 0.22 per cent of
the total geographical area of India and 2.7 per cent of the entire
North East. Sikkim lies between 27.04 degree to 28.07 degree North
latitude and 80.000 to 88.550 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.
Sikkim state being a part of inner mountain ranges of Himalayas,
is hilly having varied elevation ranging from 300 to 8540 meters.
But the habitable areas are only up to the altitude of 2100 metres
constituting only 20 per cent of the total area of the state. Sikkim
is a multi-ethnic state comprising both tribal and non-tribal groups.
Lepchas, Bhutias, Sherpas are categorized as Scheduled Tribes. The
Lepchas are the original inhabitants of the state. The Sherpas are
a marginal ethnic group in the state. The Bhutias and the Nepalese
later on started migrating to this place from Tibet and Nepal respectively.
Nepalese, however, are the dominant ethnic group in the State. According
to the Census of 2001, Sikkim has a total population of 540,493
and ranks 31st in India. It constitutes 0.05 per cent population
of India and 1.38 per cent of North East. The local language is
Nepali. English is the official language.
The Economy of the state of Sikkim is primarily based on agriculture
and animal husbandry. 56.34 percent of the total working population
depend on it for their livelihood. Most of the industries that exist
in Sikkim are either small or medium scale. The per capita income
of the State stands at Rs 349, 200 (1991-92). Sikkim ranks 18th
in the human resource development index and 17th in the poverty
index in India. The rate of literacy in Sikkim is 69.68 percent,
against the all India rate of 65.20.
This hilly state with its mystic splendour has emerged into the
mainstream of the tourism industry. Gangtok, the capital city of
Sikkim, often described as 'the town on a hill top' at an altitude
of 1780m is fast becoming the mainstay of the tourist industry of
It is yet to be officially accepted as a State of the northeast
and hence is not a member of the Northeastern Council.