GENERAL BUDGET FOR 2021-22 PASSED BY SIKKIM LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

GENERAL BUDGET FOR 2021-22 PASSED BY SIKKIM LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

Gangtok, June 15 (IPR): The second and final day of the Budget Session 2021-22 began with the Legislative Business. The five Bills placed in the House on the first day of the Budget Session were moved for consideration by the concerned Ministers-in-charge.

Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha, Hon’ble Minister, Education Department moved the Sikkim International University Bill, 2021 (Bill No. 13 of 2021) for consideration.

Replying to questions put forth by Hon’ble MLA Shri D.T. Lepcha, the Minister-in-Charge of Education Department Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha informed the House that the University is being built with 100% private sponsorship and the State Government will not incur any expenditure. He said that the University will cater to the needs of the students of Sikkim seeking admission in various disciplines. He added that aspects like placement have been incorporated while signing the agreement with the University, and care has been taken not to keep any lacunae.

Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang while participating in the discussion on the Bill, said that the University is being established in Sribadam under Rinchenpong constituency in West Sikkim. He said that the University will open up vistas of opportunity for the aspirational young minds of Sikkim. He added that young professionals from Sikkim who qualify the norms of UGC can get employment in the University. The Hon’ble Chief Minister stressed that the MOU with the University have been duly vetted at multiple levels and have been passed by the Cabinet. He further informed that the lease term for the University is thirty-three years, as per the norms of the Government.

After discussion and voting, the Bill was passed by the House.

Likewise, Shri M.N. Sherpa, Hon’ble Minister, Labour Department moved the Sikkim Labour (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021 (Bill No. 11 of 2021) for consideration of the House.

Replying to a question put forth by Hon’ble MLA Shri D.T. Lepcha, the Minister-in-Charge of Labour Department Shri M.N. Sherpa informed the House that in order to bring transparency in manpower management in the State and to facilitate employment of local people in the private sector, the Government has devised a system of Service Providers in place of the erstwhile labour contractor system. On the question regarding registration of labourers and skilled workers, the Hon’ble Minister informed the House that ID cards will be issued to each worker which will be valid for one year. The renewal of these ID Cards will be subject to re-verification of credentials.

Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang, while participating in the discussions on the Bill, said that lack of data on labourers and other skilled workers in the State has led to petty crimes and other such activities. This Bill has been drafted with the intension to keep a tap on every individual labour working in any part of Sikkim. He said that the Bill, once passed by the House, will be immediately made into an ACT for early implementation.

Speaking on the issue of the recent recruitment of porters, the Hon’ble Chief Minister informed the House that the Army had advertised for 600 posts out of which 400 eligible people from Sikkim were recruited. He added that since it concerned the Indian Army, there is no criteria to ensure that only Sikkimese people can be recruited.  He urged the Members of the House to encourage the Sikkimese youth to come forward and avail of such opportunities. He maintained that the recruitment is for a period of six months, but the nature of work is challenging considering the high altitude and difficult terrains.

Hon’ble MLA Shri Em Prasad Sharma also participated in the discussions on the Bill.

After discussion and voting, the Bill was passed by the House.

Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha, Hon’ble Minister, Education Department, moved the Medhavi Skills University, Sikkim Bill, 2021 (Bill No. 12 of 2021) for consideration of the House.

Hon’ble Minister, Education, Shri K.N. Lepcha, while replying to questions put forth by Hon’ble MLA Shri D.T. Lepcha, said that the University is highly credible, which will not only ensure quality education, but also take care of placements. He added that the University will be established in Bermoik, West Sikkim, and will also address the need and aspirations of drop-out students.

After discussion and voting, the Bill was passed by the House.

The Sikkim Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Bill No. 9 of 2021) moved by Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang, also the Minister-in-Charge of Finance Department, was passed by the House.

Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha, Hon’ble Minister, Education Department moved the Eastern Institute for Integrated Learning in Management University, Sikkim (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Bill No. 14 of 2021) for consideration of the House.

Hon’ble Minister Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha, while replying to questions put forth by Hon’ble MLA Shri D.T. Lepcha, informed that the erstwhile EIILM University is being revived after thorough vetting. As per norms, the nomenclature of the University has been changed to Sikkim Alpine University. He reiterated that the University will be established in Kamrang, South Sikkim, and will focus on quality education and create quality human resource.

Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang also participated in the discussions on the Bill.

Hon’ble MLAs Shri Pintso Namgyal Lepcha, Shri K.S. Lepcha and Smt Raj Kumari Thapa also participated in the discussions on the Bill. 

This was followed by discussion on Motion of Thanks on the Hon’ble Governor’s address and General Budget 2021-22 which was participated by Hon’ble MLAs Shri D.T. Lepcha, Shri Sonam Tshering Venchungpa, Shri Aditya Golay and Shri Sonam Lama.

In his reply to the discussion on Motion of Thanks on Hon’ble Governor’s address and General Budget 2021-22, Hon’ble Chief Minister, also the Minister-in-Charge of Finance Department, Government of Sikkim, said that health and education sectors have remained the priority and main focus of the State government and added that the government will continue with its efforts in upgrading these sectors.

Speaking about the dialysis centres created in Gangtok, Namchi and Gyalshing, the HCM said that the State government has also identified the SICB Centre at Karfectar to be upgraded and modified into 50-bedded Covid-19 dedicated hospital for West and South districts. This is also being done as a preparatory measure in dealing with the possibility of the third wave of the pandemic, he added.

He also spoke about the Cancer Treatment Tertiary facility started at STNM Hospital in Gangtok and touched upon the upscaling of Namchi Hospital into new 300-bedded hospital which will be easily accessible for people of South and West districts.

He also informed about a 500L/min PSA Plant established by the State government at STNM Hospital to cater to oxygen supply demand of the State. In addition, the Union government also sanctioned an oxygen plant with a capacity of 1000L/min now installed at STNM Hospital at the request of the State government. Further, oxygen plants have also been set up at Gyalshing and Namchi District Hospitals with 200L/min capacity, Singtam District Hospital with 200L/min capacity with 10000L/min oxygen plant being set up at Mining area in Rangpo.

The HCM informed the House that the State government has entered an agreement with the Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences for 50 fully free and 30 full payment MBBS seats for Sikkimese students for which the government will annually pay Rs. 4 crore and 50 lakhs. Speaking on the health insurance for government employees, the HCM said that the government has introduced health insurance coverage under Su-Swastha Yojana to the regular government employees which will cover insurance of Rs. 10 lakhs and Rs. 20 lakhs for critical cases and can be availed in nearly 400 designated hospitals in the country as per their choice.

Addressing the State government’s policy of quality education in the State, the HCM said that the government will be constructing one model school in all four districts to encourage active participation of students. He further informed that the Chief Ministers Merit Scholarship will be extended to 55 students (five from Dzongu constituency) to study in well-known schools and colleges in and outside the State of Sikkim with the aim to inculcate a spirit of competitiveness for higher programmes in various disciplines in India and abroad.

Expressing the State government’s commitment on the issue of Limboo Tamang seat reservations in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly, the HCM said that the government has been in constant touch with the Union Ministry for consideration of the pending demand. He also added that the State government is determined and focused on achieving the tribal status for the 12 left out communities in Sikkim. The HCM also informed that the Government is committed to bring the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorji to Sikkim.

Steering the State government’s efforts in livelihood and income generation in tourism sector, the HCM informed about the Mega Homestay Project whereby each home will have three rooms and other amenities.

During the Financial Business, the Separate Demands for Grants of all the Government Departments were presented by the concerned Ministers-in-Charge. After discussion on the Separate Demands for Grants, they were put to vote, and passed by the House.

Thereafter, the Annual General Budget for the Financial Year 2021-22 which was presented in the House by Hon’ble Chief Minister, also the Minister-in-Charge of Finance Department on 14th June, 2021, was passed by the House.

The House also passed the Appropriation Bill, 2021 (Bill No. 10 of 2021) for Annual General Budget 2021-22, introduced by Shri Prem Singh Tamang, Hon’ble Chief Minister, also the Minister-in-charge of Finance Department.

Shri Prem Singh Tamang, Hon’ble Chief Minister, also the Minister-in-Charge of Finance Department, presented the Separate Audit Report on the Accounts of Government Food Preservation Factory (GFPF) for the Financial Year 2011-12 to 2017-18. The Hon’ble Chief Minister also presented the Separate Audit Report on the Accounts of the State Trading Corporation of Sikkim for the year ended 31st March, 2019. He also presented the Separate Audit Report on the Accounts of Sikkim Power Development Corporation Limited for the year ended 31st March, 2019.

Shri Prem Singh Tamang, Hon’ble Chief Minister, also the Minister-in-Charge of Finance Department presented the Medium-Term Fiscal Plan 2021-22 to 2023-24.

Hon’ble Speaker, Shri L.B. Das presented the Annual Reports of Commission/Departments in the House.

Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang, in his valedictory remarks expressed his gratitude to the Hon’ble Governor of Sikkim for his address on the opening day of the Budget Session. He thanked the Hon’ble Speaker and Hon’ble Deputy Speaker for the smooth conduct of the two-day Assembly Session, and the Hon’ble Ministers and Hon’ble MLAs for their participation in the proceedings of the House.

He thanked the State Government Officials, officers of Sikkim State Legislative Assembly Secretariat, and everybody involved in making the two-day Session a success.

The Hon’ble Chief Minister thanked the Hon’ble Members of the House for participating in the discussions, and for passing the five Bills, Separate Demands for Grants and the General Budget for Financial Year 2021-22.

Hon’ble Speaker Shri L.B. Das in his valedictory remarks thanked the Hon’ble Governor for his valuable address on the opening day. He thanked the Hon’ble Leader of the House and all Hon’ble Members for participating in all the discussions. He expressed his gratitude to all the Hon’ble Members for passing the General Budget 2021-22. He expressed hope that the Budget will reach every section of the people of Sikkim. He thanked the officers of the State Government for their contribution in making the Assembly Session a success.

The two-day Assembly Session came to an end with the Hon’ble Speaker adjourning the House Sine die.