GOVT PREPS FOR HISTORIC ASSEMBLY SESSIONClear proposal to include left-out communitiesin Scheduled

Summ it Report

Gangtok, 10 Jan: The one-day Assembly session called for 11 January, Monday, will be historic, Chief Minister PS Tamang informed a meeting of Legislators and Advisors of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha he chaired today at Mintokgang. A press release issued by Political Secretary to the CM, Jacob Khaling, who is also the SKM spokesperson, informs that while speaking on the main agenda of the meeting, the CM, who is also the SKM party president, underlined that the one-day session of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly will be historic because an important step forward will be taken towards securing Scheduled Tribes status for the 12 left-out communities of the State. The CM informed the meeting that after

careful vetting of the proposal to provide tribal status to the left-out communities, the Cabinet has approved it and that this proposal will be officially placed at the Assembly session. The release adds that the CM reiterated that the SKM government has consistently pursued the demand to provide tribal

status to Thami, Bahun-Chettri [Khas], Sanyasi [Jogi], Newar, Kirat Khambu Rai, Kirat-Dewan, Sunuwar, Gurung, Mangar, Bhujel and Majhi communities, who, he added, have been living in equal status since

monarchy. The SKM Government is also committed to making Sikkim a Tribal State so the Treasury Bench will be placing this proposal in the House. The CM added that the previous Sikkim Democratic Front government did not bring such a proposal to the Assembly and instead side-stepped commitment to the demand by making one of its MLAs table a Private Member’s Bill in a move to mislead the people since Private Member’s Bills do not carry the same legal validity as a government bill, the release adds.

It was this “weak” initiative of the previous SDF Government due to which the left-out communities were still awaiting tribal status. On the same, the CM stressed that this time, the SKM government has properly studied all legal aspects of the demand to make the initiative stronger and added that it has also been vetted by the Law Department and then approved in the Cabinet to ensure a clear and robust proposal. This, he pointed out, was evidence of the SKM Government’s seriousness on the issue.

He added that that after the proposal is passed by the Assembly, it will be sent to the Centre and central agencies for study and approval. The CM exuded confidence that the proposal will receive a positive response from the Centre and the concerned central agencies since the proposal has gone through all the required processes and carefully drafted and clearly reasoned. Stressing that the assembly session was going to be very important and historic since an important proposal was going to be tabled, the CM appealed to all MLAs to attend the session and endorse the Bill, the release adds. The CM further informed the meeting that after the proposal was passed by the Assembly, a high-level state delegation

of MLAs representing all political parties and representatives from all communities will go to Delhi to lobby the Central government. The release informs that earlier at the meeting, the CM conveyed condolences on behalf of the SKM party and the State government on the demise of the mother

of Namcheybong MLA, Em Prasad Sharma. The CM also expressed happiness on the recovery of Education Minister Kunga Nima Lepcha and informed that the Minister was taking rest for some days on

the advice of doctors. He further informed that the Speaker, LB Das, could not attend the meeting as one of his family members was undergoing treatment and conveyed his wishes for quick recovery.

Today’s meeting, which was chaired by the Chief Minister, was also attended by Deputy Speaker Sangay Lepcha, Ministers, MLAs, Advisors to the CM and Political Secretary to the CM.