Gangtok, 29 July (IPR): Budget Session 2019-20 (Tenth Assembly First session Part II) of Sikkim Legislative Assembly presided over by Speaker SLA, Mr. L.B. Das, commenced today.
Hon’ble Chief Minister Mr. Prem Singh Tamang (Golay) who is also the Minister In-charge of Finance Revenue and Expenditure Department presented the Estimate of Receipts, Annual Financial Statement, Demands for Grants and Explanatory Memorandum to the Annual Budget 2019-20.
The total amount is Rs 8665.36 crore. He briefly mentioned the budgetary profile for the financial year 2019-20. Against Gross Expenditure provision of Rs 8888.00 crore, the Net outgo comes to Rs 8665.36 crore after taking into account recoveries amounting to Rs. 222.64 crores. The Fiscal deficit remains in adherence to the fiscal management targets set in the Sikkim Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act 2010, i.e., not more than 3% of GSDP. The contribution from own tax Revenue is of the order of Rs. 1220.21 crore and that of Non-Tax revenue Rs. 704.54 crore.
The Total Gross Expenditure includes allocations amounting to Rs. 51.49 crore under the dispensation of the North Eastern Council, Rs. 181.39 crore under Non-Lapsable Pool of Central Resources and Rs. 2056.25 crore under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes.
The HCM also presented the White Paper on the Expenditure Commitments, Borrowings and Revenue Potential (Volume I and II) in the House. The discussion will be taken up on 30th July 2019.
Earlier, the proceedings of the first day of the Budget Session 2019-20 commenced with the address of Hon’ble Governor Mr. Ganga Prasad who while addressing the Budget Session extended good wishes to the people of Sikkim and expressed hope that the new Government will usher-in happiness and prosperity to the people of the State.
The Governor took the occasion to condole the sad demise of Shri Sudarshan Agarwal, who served as the Governor of Sikkim from 25.10.2007 to 08.07.2008. He passed away on 03.07.2019 in New Delhi.
The Governor congratulated the Bharatiya Janata Party and Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi for recording a second historical win which he said was special in many ways. He also congratulated the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) Party led by Mr. P.S. Tamang (Golay), who won the elections in Sikkim and formed the Government. He said that this was the beginning of a new era, which would fulfill the expectation and aspirations of the people of the State.
The Governor stated that the thrust of the Government would be to take a review of the total committed liabilities of the State, while also addressing the immediate requirements of the State and the people.
“Sikkim has evolved as a progressive state with marked improvements in socio-economic indicators, despite facing disadvantages of inadequate connectivity, high cost of infrastructure building and maintenance and difficulties in delivering services to dispersed populations in hilly areas. This budget marks a major milestone in delivering our commitments which are firmly based on prudent public finance management for achieving overall socio-economic development in Sikkim,” stated the Governor in his address.
While highlighting some of the notable achievements of the State in various sectors, the Governor outlined the priority areas incorporated in the Budget. He elaborated on the Government’s vision in the area of skill development & entrepreneurship, education, innovative and high value tourism, and promotion of non-polluting Green Industry.
The Governor explained that “Green Industry” is a term which recognizes that in a world of increasing resource scarcity, climate change, pollution and depletion of natural capital, economic growth must rely on clean and efficient production processes.
He also spoke extensively on farmer centric plan and policies envisaged by the government. He said that the Government of India is according high priority for welfare of the farmers and is implementing several farmer’s welfare schemes to revitalize agriculture sector and to improve their economic conditions.
He added that the Government has rolled out several new initiatives for the benefit of farmers like Soil Health Card Scheme, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), National Agriculture Market (e-NAM), Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), Interest Subvention Scheme, etc. He added that the Sikkim Organic Mission must be taken to its logical conclusion with all out financial, technical and marketing initiatives.
The Governor also expressed concern on the high suicide rate and a considerably high degree of substance abuse in the state. Though this has acutely affected families after families and has been a widely discussed issue, expected remedial measures have not been taken, he added. He shared that the Government will devise concrete steps to counter these challenges.
The Governor further said that more concerted efforts are required to put the State into a higher growth trajectory. He called upon everyone to pledge to build a better future and take the State towards greater heights.
“Though our problems are unique due to our geographical limitations and limited availability of resources, it is our duty to ensure that the fruits of development reach each household in the State. I hope that the deliberations of this budget session will be fruitful towards this end,” the Governor added.
The HCM during the Motion of Thanks expressed his gratitude to the Governor on behalf of the members of the House for his address which was seconded by MLA Mr. A.K. Upreti.
The HCM in his Budget speech at the outset condoled the sad demise of the former Governor of Sikkim, Mr. Sudarshan Agarwal, who passed away on 3rd July 2019 at New Delhi.
He stated, “Our focus in the current budget will be to review and take stock of current situation of state finances in view of large committed liabilities of the state, address the immediate and urgent requirements only.”
The HCM said that in order to increase the level of productivity of the employees the following measures would be taken:
- Release the entire arrears of the Government employees and pensioners in one go soon.
- The concerned departments will constantly and regularly coordinate with the private sector outfits with regard to the welfare including the Provident Fund and the best deal to be extended to their employees.
- The case of adhoc and temporary employees will be seriously examined and given an appropriate solution.
- The government will be making all out efforts to retain the recruitment done under One Family One Job Scheme.
Speaking on the educational front, the HCM said that the youth of Sikkim are highly talented and for their talent to flourish and reach greater heights at the national and global level, the State needs to have institutions that are competitive, inclusive and globally oriented. He said that the resources devoted to education and allied services will be substantially enhanced.
All the government and private recognised colleges affiliated to Central University of Sikkim will be given Rs 5 lakhs each to undertake two major non-academic programmes. Any student getting admitted on their own merit into the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) and Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) will be given a monthly stipend/grant of Rs. 12,000 for their entire period of their study.
The Government of Sikkim based on evaluations will give an annual award of Rs. 3 lakh each to the five top quality achievers in Secondary and Senior Secondary level examinations on securing a National level rank within top 50. Any college and university teacher and civil society member, if publishes an article in any of the well recognised national and international academic journals will be given a commendation certificate and also an incentive of Rs 10,000 w.e.f August 2019.
Talking about the problem of suicide and substance abuse in the State, the HCM said that the government will commission an inter-disciplinary team of experts to examine the reason behind both these perilous dimensions of the society and the ways to effectively end this. He also announced the financial support to NGOs to work and address these two crucial areas.
The HCM also mentioned that the government shall also make technological interventions in both supply intelligence modules and also demand side detections. He also announced to appoint two psychiatrists and two psychologists each in all four district hospitals as both preventive and curative measures.
Highlighting the provisions being made in the Industrial Development, he said that each unit would now make an online contribution of 2% of their profit after tax as a fund for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Each Industrial and Service Unit will now make a firm 5-10 year commitment to support professional and technical education, training and skill building of their workers and employees and also fresh recruits to graduate themselves to higher echelons of job including that of Class III, II and I positions. To support the products made in Sikkim, the state government now proposes that whatever is produced in Sikkim, in its packaging besides “Made in India” the producing unit have to add “A product of Sikkim Himalayas”.
Regarding the SC, ST and OBC Funds, the HCM said that the government will now set up a special cell in the Department of Social Welfare to sensitize and make people aware of the schemes in various forms including print, electronic and social media platforms. This will be disseminated through the NGO, Community associations and governmental agencies. This Cell will also provide assistance to various communities in easily accessing various schemes and projects floated by the Government of India.
Speaking on Media, the HCM said that Media has been playing a crucial role in building the modern day Sikkim. In order to provide them with some basic opportunities, the government will provide the scheme which will allow the journalists to visit any development project in the country to evaluate the same, write series of report from the field and submit the full report of the State government. The amount of Fellowship proposed is Rs 1 lakh per Fellowship every year and the number of Fellowship offered is 10 per year. The eligibility criteria for the Fellowship will be for all Accredited Journalists and media persons.
It maybe mentioned here that the discussion and voting on the Budget Speech by the HCM would be taken up on 30th July,2019.
Earlier, during the Legislative Business, Hon’ble Minister-In-Charge of Transport Department, Government of Sikkim, Mr. Sanjeet Kharel, introduced the Sikkim Motor Vehicle Taxation (Amendment) Bill, Bill No. 4 of 2019 in the House. The Speaker informed that the discussion and voting for this Bill would be taken up on 31st July 2019.
The HCM who is also the Minister-In-Charge of Finance Revenue and Expenditure Department introduced the Sikkim Court Fees and Stamps on documents (Amendment) Bill, Bill No.5 of 2019 in the House. The Speaker informed that the discussion and voting for this Bill would be taken up on 30th July 2019.
Hon’ble Minister-In-Charge for Law, Legal, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Department introduced the Sikkim Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, Bill No.7 of 2019 in the House. The Speaker informed that the discussion and voting for this Bill would be taken up on 1st August 2019.