Abstract

The tiny Himalayan state of Sikkim is well known for its multi-cultural and multi-ethnic identity. There is a political and historical debate regarding the identity of communities in Sikkim. Lepchas are considered as original inhabitants of Sikkim. Currently, Lepcha, Bhutia and Limbu are recognised as minor communities and have Schedule Tribes (ST) status in the state. Individual community concentration is mainly found in North and West Sikkim. Lepcha-Bhutias are found mainly in North Sikkim whereas Limbus are concentrated in West Sikkim. Community concentration is profound in rural areas. Gyalshing sub-division of West Sikkim has been selected for the present study. Purpose of this study is to investigate the Gram Panchayat Unit (GPU) level economy and social development of the rural areas based mainly on secondary sources of information. A field survey was also conducted to interact with the local people. Findings suggest that education and population density are the key determinants for GPU level disparity in social development of the study area. It has been found that the economy is primarily agriculture based and fully organised by organic farming system. Recently, homestay (eco)tourism business has been started here like other parts of Sikkim.