Farewell programme of retired Secretary Mr K P Sharma

Gangtok, August 2: (IPR) A farewell programme of retired Secretary for Printing and Stationary Department Mr. K. P. Sharma was held at the office of the Chief Secretary at Tashiling Secretariat today.

Additional Secretary DoP Mr Tashi Chophel chartered out his illustrious career and his contribution to the state government.

Mr. K.P.Sharma briefly shared his journey from the initial stage till the end of his career. He expressed his happiness and stated that it was a huge honour to have been a part of the state government. He also narrated personal anecdotes and experiences stating that it was a privilege to have met many people in the administration who turned from friends into families. At the end he expressed his thankfulness for all the support that was extended to him throughout his career.

Chief Secretary Mr. A. K. Shrivastava wished him the best for all his future endeavors and wished him a meaningful post retirement life.

Five-daylong Budget Session of Sikkim Legislative Assembly concludes

Gangtok, 02 Aug (IPR): The First Session (Part-II) of the Tenth Assembly (Budget Session) of Sikkim Legislative Assembly concluded today.

The day’s proceedings began with the presentation of CAG Reports on the floor of the House by Hon’ble Chief Minister Mr. Prem Singh Tamang (Golay), who is also the Minister-in-Charge of Finance, Revenue & Expenditure Department, Government of Sikkim.

The following Reports of the CAG were presented:

(i) Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on State Finances for the year ended March 2018, Government of Sikkim (Report No. 1 of 2019)

(ii) Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on Economic, Revenue and General Sectors for the year ended March 2018, Government of Sikkim (Report No. 2 of 2019)

(iii) Accounts at a Glance 2017-18

Likewise, Chief Minister Mr. P.S. Tamang, who is also the Minister-in-Charge of Finance, Revenue and Expenditure Department, Government of Sikkim, presented the following Separate Audit Reports:

(i) Separate Audit Report for State Trading Corporation of Sikkim for the year ended 31st March, 2017

(ii) Separate Audit Report on the Accounts of Sikkim State Legal Service Authority-Legal Aid Fund, Gangtok for the year ended 31st March 2017

(iii) Separate Audit Report on the Accounts of State Bank of Sikkim for the year ended 31st March, 2017

(iv) Separate Audit Report on the Accounts of Sikkim Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes & Other Backward Classes Development Corporation Limited (SABCCO) for the year ended 31st March, 2014

(v) Annual Consolidated Audit and Review Report on the Accounts of Panchayati Raj Institutions & Municipalities audited during the year ended 31st March, 2019

Thereafter, Chief Minister Mr. P.S Tamang, who is also the Minister-in-Charge of Finance, Revenue and Expenditure Department, Government of Sikkim presented the following Reports under FRBM Act, 2010:

(i) The Review of Compliance to Sikkim Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act for the year 2016-17

(ii) Half Yearly Review Report: 2018-19, Review of the Trends in Receipt and Expenditure in relation to Budget 2018-19

(iii) Medium Term Fiscal Plan for Sikkim 2019-20 to 2021-22

Hon’ble Speaker, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Mr. L.B. Das, announced the process of Election/Nomination of Members of the House for the Assembly Committees for the financial year 2019-20.

The following Members of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly were elected as Members of the Committee on Public Accounts:

1. MLA Mr. Aditya Golay Tamang

2. MLA Ms. Sunita Gajmer

3. MLA Mr. Em Prasad Sharma

MLA Mr. Aditya Golay Tamang was then nominated by the Speaker as the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee

Likewise, the following Members of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly were elected to the Committee on Estimates for the financial year 2019-20 by the House:

1. MLA Ms. Sunita Gajmer

2. MLA Mr. Aditya Golay Tamang

3. MLA Mr. G.T Dhungel

MLA Ms. Sunita Gajmer was then nominated as the Chairperson of the Committee on Estimates by the Speaker.

Thereafter, Speaker Mr. L.B. Das nominated the Members of various Committees of the House for financial year 2019-20.

MLAs Mr. Em Prasad Sharma, Mr. Aditya Golay Tamang and Mr. G.T. Dhungel were nominated as Members of Committee on Government Assurances. The Speaker nominated MLA Mr. Em Prasad Sharma as the Chairman of the Committee.

The Speaker nominated MLAs Mr. G.T Dhungel, Mr. Em Prasad Sharma and Mr. Aditya Golay Tamang as Members of Committee on Rules, with Speaker of the House being the ex-officio Chairman of the Committee.

Likewise, MLAs Ms. Sunita Gajmer and Mr. Bishnu Kumar Sharma were nominated by the Speaker as Members of Committee on Library. The Deputy Speaker of the House is the ex-officio Chairman of the Committee.

MLAs Mr. G.T. Dhungel, Mr. Bishnu Kumar Sharma and Mr. Em Prasad Sharma were nominated by the Speaker as Members of the Committee on House. MLA Mr. G.T. Dhungel was nominated as the Chairman of the Committee by the Speaker.

MLAs Mr. G.T. Dhungel, Mr. Em Prasad Sharma and Mr. Aditya Golay Tamang were nominated as the Members of Committee on Privilege. The Speaker nominated MLA Mr. G.T. Dhungel as the Chairman of the Committee.

MLAs Mr. G.T. Dhungel, Mr. Aditya Golay Tamang and Mr. Em Prasad Sharma were then nominated by the Speaker as the Panel of Chairmen for the financial year 2019-20.

Thereafter, Speaker Mr. L.B. Das presented before the House the Annual Reports of the Commission/Departments/and Sikkim Legislative Assembly Secretariat.

During the valedictory remarks, Chief Minister Mr. Prem Singh Tamang (Golay) thanked Hon’ble Governor Mr. Ganga Prasad for his presence on the opening day of Budget Session 2018-19 and for presenting his address in the House. The Chief Minister thanked the Speaker and Deputy Speaker for the smooth conduct of the Assembly Session.

While recording his gratitude and appreciation to everybody involved in making the Assembly Session successful, the Chief Minister stated that the first budget of the new government will cover the needs and aspirations of the people of Sikkim.

He added that the budget is people-friendly and emphasizes on all round development of Sikkim. He further stated that the budget aims for a loan-free Sikkim and towards improvement of the financial health of the State.

Chief Minister Mr. P.S. Tamang concluded his valedictory remarks by thanking all the Members of the House for their positive participation during the Budget Session. He recorded his appreciation for the two MLAs from the opposition party Mr. G.T Dhungel and Mr. Em Prasad Sharma for attending the Assembly Session.

He thanked the Chief Secretary and the State administration, Sikkim Police led by the DGP, Commissioner-cum-Secretary SLAS and all officers and staff of the Assembly Secretariat, and the members of the press and media for their contribution.

Speaker, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Mr. L.B. Das in his valedictory remarks stated that in a democracy, the will of the people and their mandate is supreme and hence the service of the people is the prime duty of a public representative. He said that the Budget passed by the House is dedicated to the service of the people of Sikkim.

The Speaker summed up the key proceedings of the Budget Session and expressed his gratitude to everyone for their valuable contribution. He profusely thanked the Governor of Sikkim Mr. Ganga Prasad for his presence on the opening day and for his valuable address to the House.

Likewise, the Speaker thanked Chief Minister Mr. P.S. Tamang for presenting the Annual General Budget of the Government for 2019-20, and other important documents on the floor of the House.

The Speaker thanked the Ministers and MLAs for their participation during the proceedings, their questions and deliberations, and for their participation in passing the annual budget. The Speaker also thanked and congratulated the Members for the passing of three important Bills in the House.

The valedictory session was also participated by Members of the House, Mr. Aditya Golay Tamang and Mr. L.N. Sharma.

The five-daylong Budget Session (2019-20) of Sikkim Legislative Assembly concluded with the Speaker adjourning the House Sine-Die.

BUDGET SESSION: DAY 4

Gangtok, 01 Aug (IPR): The fourth day of Budget Session 2019-20 of Sikkim Legislative Assembly began with the Question Hour.

While replying to the question raised by MLA, Mr Aditya Golay (Tamang), regarding the annual bad debts of State Bank of Sikkim, Minister for Finance Revenue and Expenditure Department, Mr. P.S. Tamang (Golay), stated that as per statement provided by the State Bank of Sikkim, a total amount of Rs. 23.76 Crore has been written off/waived since October 2002 to till date. Records prior to October 2002 are not available.

Year wise break up, names of the persons and companies whose debt and interest has been written/waived has been furnished and submitted on the table of the august house. As on 19th July 2019, total outstanding loans and advance to private individuals and companies is Rs. 1693.22 Crore in 14116 accounts.

He also informed that the total loans and advances and cash credit limit given by the SBS to the Government of Sikkim and Public Sector Undertakings are Rs. 386.40 Crore. The demonetized notes deposited and exchanged in SBS during the period of demonetization was Rs. 70.73 Crore.

Similarly, replying to the question raised by MLA, Smt Sunita Gajmer, Mr. P.S. Tamang (Golay), informed that the Mini Secretariat established at Karfectar, South Sikkim for the convenience of general public is being utilized as the State Level Capacity Building Institute till date.

Likewise, replying to the question raised by MLA, Mr Aditya Golay, regarding the DoPART, the Socio Economic Survey and also about the “One Family One Job” scheme and the beneficiaries selection, the Minister concerned stated that last year an intensive drive was conducted by the cabinet where many applications was received requesting for jobs which was forwarded to DoPART for redressal and to address the grievances.

Due to the pressure in the department, the then Chief Ministers Office directed to consider only those applicants whose family members are not in government service which conceptualized the idea of “One Family One Job”. Also it was informed that no socio economic survey was conducted by DoPART, however, the list of beneficiaries was received from the CMOs which was verified and recommended by the concerned MLAs/Panchayats and Special Branch Personnel based on which the office orders were issued.

As per the records 17,306 candidates were given Office Order under the Scheme, there is no record of total number of candidates who actually joined the service and also who joined are being paid wages or not since the DoPART has already transferred funds to all the departments to pay wages.

Mr. P.S. Tamang (Golay) also replied stating that the Budget 2018-19 did not cover OFOJ Scheme since the concept had not been generated then. The SLA was also not aware of the implementation of the Scheme, so no rules and Acts has been amended. Tentative payment of salary per month comes to around Rs.185, 585,126 and its annual expenditure per annum is expected to be Rs. 2,227,021,512.

Likewise, replying to the question raised by MLA, Mr Bishnu Kumar Sharma, Minister Mr. Samdup Lepcha stated that the Roads and Bridges Department since 2010 has not received any Contingency fund so no expenditure has been made from the fund so far.

Further, he stated that if the question raised by the MLA was about Contingency provision for various projects of the department of expenditure or balance, the written reply will be submitted within a period of one month. The work is now undergoing scrutiny and preparation.

Furthermore, replying to the question raised by Smt Sunita Gajmer, the Minister concerned Mr. Bhim Hang Subba stated that Mabung Singeng is not in the notified markets. Various projects and schemes has been pending on drinking water system in Jorethang and neighboring areas for which the demand and the estimated cost for the maintenance has been submitted.

Similarly, Mr. P.S. Tamang replying to the question raised by MLA, Mr. Aditya Golay, stated for 17,306 appointees under OFOJ, the requirement of funds would be of the order of Rs.222.70 Crore per annum. A sum of Rs. 4.50 Crore was provided in the year 2018-19 for this purpose.

As per the assessment made by the Pay Committee, the total financial liability on account of payment of arrears of revised pay and pension from 01.01.2016 to 31.03.2018 would be approximately Rs.797.00 Crore and other details of current revenues, the annual own tax revenue figures and percentage of total revenue and GSDP of the State from 2009-10 to 2019-20 has been placed before the august house.

During Legislative Business (Bill for consideration and Passing), Mr. K.N. Lepcha, Hon’ble Minister-in-Charge for Law Legal ,Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Department Government of Sikkim moved the Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill No.7 of 2019 which has been considered and passed by the House. The Bill had been introduced by the Minister-in-Charge on 29th July 2019.

The statement of object and reasons of the Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill No.7 of 2019 states that it has been considered expedient to bring in amendments in various sections with regard to appointment of Chairperson, appointment of Secretary, officers and staff of Lokayukta for the smooth functioning of Lokayukta.

It is also deemed necessary to insert a new clause (d) in sub section (5) of section 30 regarding removal of Chairperson on the ground of proven misbehavior and also to confer power on the state Government to transfer to the Lokayukta any allegation of corruption pending inquiry before the vigilance wing of the State Government.

The Financial Business saw discussion, voting and subsequent passing of Separate Demands for Grants of various government departments.

The Voting on Demands for Grants under the charge of Hon’ble Minister of Rural Management & Development, Panchayati Raj & Cooperation and Ecclesiastical Affairs Departments was placed. During the discussion, MLA Shri Em Prasad put forward his query on the water shortage at Namcheybong Constituency.

MLA Mr. B.K.Sharma also placed forward his query about the water shortages being faced at Gyalshing, Rhenock, etc., and the sewerage problems faced by the locals around 32 number area. The Minister concerned Mr. Sonam Lama said that the department was making all efforts to find solution to this problem at the earliest and the state government has also put a lot of impetus on the digitization process for the convenience of the general public. The Demands for Grants was then passed by the House.

The Voting on Demands for Grants under the charge of Hon’ble Minister of PWD (Buildings & Housing) and Transport Departments was placed. MLA Mr. Aditya Golay placed a suggestion to the concerned Minister Mr Sanjit Kharel about the relief to be provided for ticket fees of SNT buses to the students and senior citizens so as to give an impetus to the public transport system in the state to which the Minister gave a positive reply and said that it would be taken into consideration. The Demands for Grants was then passed by the House.

The Voting on Demands for Grants under the charge of Hon’ble Minister of PWD (Roads & Bridges) and Cultural Affairs and Heritage Departments was placed. MLA, Mr. Em Prasad, talked about the problem of highway and roads in the Namcheybong area. MLA Mr. Aditya Golay also put forward his concern regarding the fair-weather roads and the problem of protective walls specially faced during monsoon season due to the ill implementation of schemes.

Hon’ble Minister concerned Mr. Samdup Lepcha agreed to all the points placed by the MLAs and said proper implementation of schemes and policies under the previous government has not been undertaken. Proper estimation, planning and execution is required which has been taken into consideration by the present government. The Demands for Grants was then passed by the House.

The Voting on Demands for Grants under the charge of Hon’ble Minister of Water Security & Public Health Engineering and Water Resources & River Development Departments was placed. MLA Mr. G.T. Dhungel placed his concern about depleting drinking water resources in the state and asked if the department had thought of any alternative water sources incase of any crisis in the future.

The concerned Minister Mr. Bhim Hang Subba stated that the department had thought of alternate sources of water and sewerage treatment plant proposal was also in the pipeline, the DPR for which has already been submitted to the concerned Ministries. The Demands for Grants was then passed by the House.

The Voting on Demands for Grants under the charge of Hon’ble Chief Minister also the Minister-in-charge for Home, Finance, Revenue & Expenditure, Development & Planning, Economic Reforms & North Eastern Council Affairs, Administrative Reforms, Training, Public Grievances, Career Options & Employment Skill Development was placed in the House.

MLA Mr. Aditya Golay put forward his suggestion and stated that it would be of a great relief to the general public if Soreng and Pakyong would be made into districts. He also put forth his query regarding the various components of Teesta Urjha and the state share on it. Further he suggested that salary of youths with better uniform provision be considered. MLA Mr. Em Prasad also talked about unemployment and asked the concerned Minister if the government had thought about any measures to tackle it.

Replying to the query put forward by Mr. Aditya Golay, the Minister concerned Mr. P.S. Tamang welcomed the suggestions of Soreng and Pakyong to be made districts and replied in the affirmative.

Talking about the state of affairs and the huge debt when they took over from the previous government, the Chief Minister informed about numerous austerity measures that they have undertaken as soon as they took over the government. Regarding the question about the Hydro-projects, he said that present government had slashed the salaries of all the high profiles of Teesta Urjha and till date the State government had saved at least Rs.3 crore, 45 lakhs from it.

The Chief Minister also announced that they had kept aside money for MR, adhoc, workcharge, etc., in this Budget and that arrears would be given at one go. He also mentioned that his government had set aside money for One Family One Job scheme as well. Reiterating his stand that the government would work for the benefit of the Sikkimese people, he stated that his government would accomplish all the commitments which they had promised for the betterment of the state. The Demands for Grants was then passed by the House.

MLA Mr. Aditya Golay welcomed the General Budget 2019-20 and said that this budget has brought new hopes and aspirations to the Sikkimese people. He suggested that more youth centric schemes be implemented by the government with new avenues for education and job creation. The Hon’ble Chief Minister accepted all the suggestions placed forward by Mr. Aditya Golay.

The Financial Business Budget (Third Stage) saw the voting on General Budget 2019-20 presented to the House by the Hon’ble Chief Minister also the Minister-in-charge of Finance, Revenue and Expenditure Department, Government of Sikkim on 29th July, which was passed by the House, today.

Mr. P.S. Tamang, Hon’ble Chief Minister also the Minister-in-Charge of Finance, Revenue and Expenditure Department, Government of Sikkim introduced the Sikkim Appropriation Bill, Bill No.6 of 2019 for Annual General Budget 2019-20. The Sikkim Appropriation Bill, Bill No.6 of 2019 was considered and passed by the House.