Assembly completes business for Monsoon session


Gangtok, 21 Sept:

Two new Bills, six amendments bills and one appropriation Bill were introduced and passed in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly today in the third session of the Tenth Assembly. The session was held for one day due to prevailing situation of COVID-19.

As per an IPR release, the session began with an announcement by the Speaker, SLA, L. B. Das in the matter of Disqualification of 10 members [BJP, formerly with SDF] and Two Members [SKM, formerly of SDF] of the Tenth Sikkim Legislative Assembly under Article 191(2) and Para 2(1)(a) r/w 6(1) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India.

During the Financial Business, Chief Minister, PS Tamang, who is also the Minister-in-Charge of Finance Department, presented the First Supplementary Demands for Grants for the Financial Year 2020-21.

The first batch of Supplementary Demands for Grants for 2020-21 includes 34 grants, with a gross additional expenditure of Rs. 45123.63 lakh comprising of Rs. 25422.02 lakh on revenue account and Rs 19701.61 lakh on capital account.

The first supplementary demands for grants 2020-21 was voted and passed by the House.

The Chief Minister introduced the Sikkim Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (Amendment) Bill, Bill No. 11 of 2020.

The statement of objects and reasons of the Bill states that the State Government felt it expedient to amend the Sikkim Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2010 in view of the decision of Government of India to allow additional borrowing to the state up to 2% of GSDP in the current year 2020-21 to offset fiscal hardship caused on the resources of the State Government due to the serious negative effect of COVID-19. The Bill was taken into consideration and passed by the House.

Two new Bills passed by the House were Khangchendzonga University Bill and Board of Open Schooling & Skill Education Bill. Six amendment Bills were Sikkim Forests, Water Courses and Road Reserve (Preservation and Protection) (Amendment) Bill, Sikkim Motor Vehicles Taxation (Amendment) Bill, Sikkim Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, Sikkim Essential Services Maintenance (Amendment) Bill and Sikkim Municipalities (Amendment) Bill, and Sikkim Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (Amendment) Bill.

The House also passed the Sikkim Appropriation Bill, 2020, Bill No. 12 of 2020 for the First Supplementary Demands for Grants for the Financial year 2020-21, which was introduced in the House by Chief Minister, also the Minister-in-Charge of Finance Department.

The bill has been framed to provide for the appropriation from and out of the consolidated fund of the state of Sikkim of the money required to meet the expenditure charged in the consolidated funds of the State of Sikkim and supplementary grants made by the Sikkim Legislative Assembly for the expenditure of the Government of Sikkim for the remaining part of the financial year 2020-21.

KHANGCHENDZONGA BUDDHIST UNIVERSITY BILL

Similarly, Minister-in-Charge of Education Department, Kunga Nima Lepcha introduced the Khangchendzonga Buddhist University, Sikkim, Bill, Bill No. 15 of 2020.

The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill states to promote knowledge, understanding and growth in all members of the community by providing reflective educational opportunities as well as research opportunities and by promoting and creating innovative educational models in higher education, to focus on developing professional competence in emerging area of business by establishing a Buddhist University by providing innovative and high quality programmes and training in Buddhist studies, Education, Vocational Domains, Liberal Arts, Social Sciences, Science and Engineering, Hospitality and Tourism, Architecture, Medicine and related areas, it has been propose to establish a Private University in Sikkim by the name of “Khangchendzonga Buddhist University.”

While replying to the query put forward by Member, Sonam Venchungpa, Minister Kunga Nima Lepcha said that the University will be affiliated with the University Grants Commission (UGC) once it is established and functioning. The Bill was considered and passed by the House.

BOARD OF OPEN SCHOOLING & SKILL EDUCATION

Minister-in-Charge of Education Department, Kunga Nima Lepcha introduced the Board of Open Schooling & Skill Education, Sikkim, 2020 Bill No. 14 of 2020.

The statement of objects and reasons states that the crucial role of universal school education along with skills and vocational education for strengthening the social fabric of democracy through provision of equal opportunity to all has been accepted since inception of our republic. Over the years there has been significant spatial and numerical expansion of schools in the country, yet the goal of providing education to all continues to elude. The number of children particularly children from disadvantaged groups, weaker sections and children from border and hilly areas, who drop out of school before completing school education, remains very large. Moreover, the quality of learning achievement is not always entirely satisfactory even in the case of children who complete elementary, secondary and senior secondary education.

ii. In order to enhance the infrastructural support to cater to the needs of growing number of students in the field of school education at secondary and senior secondary level in general and in the area of skill and vocational education in particular, it is felt necessary to involve public private participation and partnership to improve literacy, enhance and accelerate the enrolment/retention of students and to attain universalisation of school education, vocational education in the State.

It is also deemed essential, to create a mechanism to provide for secondary education, senior secondary education, skill and vocational education up-to pre- degree level so as to create and provide opportunity for continuing education to those who have missed opportunity to complete school and development education for adult neo-literates, working men and women to reinforce their functional literacy and not to allow them to relapse into illiteracy and other children/persons desirous of pursuing school level education, skill and vocational education by offering courses and programmes of general education/life enrichment and vocational and skill education.

iii. In order to achieve the aforesaid, it is expedient and necessary to establish the Board of Open Schooling and Examination in the State of Sikkim to provide school education, skill and vocational education through all possible modes including face to face mode, flexible mode, open and distance learning mode and e-learning /online mode with a view to comprehensively enhance the access to education, to upscale the activities and to provide opportunities to the learners in all possible ways so as to provide ample access to sustainable learner-centric quality school education, skill up gradation and training to learners by using innovative technologies and methodologies of learning and imparting education. The Bill was considered and passed by the House.

Thereafter, the Chief Minister, also the Minister-in-Charge of Finance Department presented the Audit Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on State Finances for the year ended March 2019 (Report No. 1 of 2020).

The Speaker also presented the Annual Reports of Government Departments in the House.

While presenting his valedictory remarks, the Chief Minister thanked the Speaker, Dy. Speaker, Members, Chief Secretary, DGP, Heads of various Departments, SLA Secretariat, Officials and staff for their presence and contribution to the session. The CM also thanked all the COVID-19 front liners for handling the testing procedures ahead of the SLA session.

Speaker, L.B. Das while presenting his valedictory remarks thanked the Members for concluding the session in one day on the purview of COVID-19 pandemic. He also thanked all the individuals involved in the smooth holding of the one day session.

The Session came to an end with the Speaker adjourning the House Sine-Die.