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BUDGET SESSION CUT DOWN TO TWO DAYS OWING TO CORONAVIRUS

Tuesday, Mar 24, 2020 12:30 [IST]

Last Update: Tuesday, Mar 24, 2020 06:44 [IST]

BUDGET SESSION CUT DOWN TO TWO DAYS OWING TO CORONAVIRUS

CM tables State Budget 2020-21 amounting to Rs. 9100 cr

SE Report

GANGTO: The two-day Budget Session in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly commenced on Monday with the address of Governor Ganga Prasad.

In his address to the House, the Governor said that the proposed Budget for financial year 2020-21 for the State of Sikkim would encompass all the priority sectors of development and will be in line with the inclusive development model of the Union government, an IPR release informs. He stressed on the need to focus on consolidation of existing schemes and programmes, before starting new initiatives, and emphasized on the need to strengthen the revenue generation model of the State. He touched upon some of the priority sectors of the State government such as health, education and agriculture.

After thanking the Governor for his address to the House, Speaker L.B. Das announced that with the due consent from the members, the time period of this Budget Session is to be reduced to two days only on account of outbreak of coronavirus. He said that many countries in the world have suspended, reduced, postponed or cancelled their legislative sessions following this global pandemic.

We should have adjourned the session sine die but it is a known fact that the government cannot function without passing the budget, as it is mandatory as per the Constitution of India, added the Speaker. We would also not be able to fight and resolve this epidemic without passing the Appropriation Bill, as the whole system we work under would cripple, he added.

Further, the Speaker informed that as a precautionary measure, the Sikkim Legislative Assembly Secretariat has restricted visitors thereby not issuing gallery passes to unessential visitors in line with directives issued by the Lok Sabha. There would be no lunch breaks and tea breaks too, to use the available time for necessary business of the house to its optimum, he mentioned.

The Speaker then asked the members for their consent on the matter, to which a majority of the members responded, and therefore the Speaker invoked his residuary powers under Rule 334 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly to curtail the time period for all businesses to two days. He announced that the time period for debates and discussions would be reduced, and all starred questions would be converted to unstarred questions. 

Thereafter, Chief Minister P.S. Golay, also the Leader of the House, moved the motion of thanks on the Governor’s address.

Discussions and voting on the Governor’s address would be taken up tomorrow.

Presenting the annual general budget for 2020-21, the Chief Minister, also the in-charge for Finance department, informed that the proposed the State budget for Sikkim will amount to Rs. 9100 crore, comprising of Rs. 7343.60 crore as revenue expenditure, and Rs. 1756.40 crore as capital expenditure.

Discussion and voting on the budget will be taken up tomorrow.

The Chief Minister called for fulfilling the State’s goals based on sustainable development policies for the benefit of the people of Sikkim. He called for furthering peace and tranquillity to ensure that the State grows to become an example of innovation and progress. He termed the budget a ‘full-fledged budget’, as the last budget presented was midway the financial year 2019-20 because of the due completion of the electoral process and formation of a new government led by Sikkim Krantikari Morcha party in May 2019, the IPR release mentions.

BILLS PLACED

Chief Minister P.S. Golay introduced the Sikkim Protection of Interests of Depositors (In Financial Establishments) Amendment Bill. Among other amendments, the bill seeks re-appointing the competent authority and appointing the ao-competent authority and financial empowering them with suo-moto powers to deal with the defaulting establishment for recovery of dues to the depositors. It also proposes appointing the co-administrator to manage the attached properties of the defaulting financial establishment. This amendment aims to strengthen the Sikkim Protection of Interests of Depositors (In Financial Establishments} Act, 2009 making it all the more effective and well-structured.

Law & Parliamentary Affairs minister K.N. Lepcha tabled the Sikkim Legislative Assembly Members (Removal of Disqualifications) Amendment Bill.

“Whereas, certain offices were not included in the earlier amendment of Sikkim Legislative Assembly Members (Removal of Disqualifications) Act, 1978 so as not to disqualify the holders for being chosen. It had therefore, become expedient under the circumstances to have promulgated an Ordinance namely, Sikkim Legislative Assembly Members (Removal of Disqualifications) Amendment Ordinance 2020 by the Governor of Sikkim on 13/1/2020. This Bill now seeks to replace the said (Ordinance by an Act of the Legislature as required under Article 213 (2) (a) of the Constitution of India. Therefore, the Bill has been framed with the above objects in view,” it was proposed.

Rural Development minister Sonam Lama tabled the Sikkim Panchayat (Amendment) Bill.

“Whereas, the State Government has deemed it expedient to amend sections 18, 29, 66 and 129 of the Sikkim Panchayat Act, 1993. And whereas, section 129 was omitted by the Sikkim Panchayat (Amendment) Act, 1997 vide Act No 5 of 1997 dated 13th May 1997, which the State Government has deemed expedient to restore. And whereas, section 129 of the said Act provides that "no person shall contest the election to any Panchayat with the support, direct or indirect, of any political party". With these objectives in view, the Bill has been framed,” it was proposed.

Education minister K.N. Lepcha introduced the Sikkim State University (Amendment) Bill.

“Whereas the State Government has deemed it expedient to grant an autonomous status to Sikkim State University in order to allow the University to function in a smooth manner. And in order to allow Sikkim State University to function as an autonomous Institute of Higher Education, the State Government deems it necessary to insert section 6A and to make the changes in clause (6) and (27), insertion of Sub-clause 8 in clause 8 of the Schedule of the Sikkim State University Act 2003, thereby allowing the University to function independently. With this object in view, the Bill has been framed,” reads the objective of the bill. (IPR)

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi