Gangtok, July 12: (IPR) The Second Day of the Seventh Session (Part III) of the Ninth Assembly saw the passing of the First Supplementary Demands for Grants for the financial year 2018-19. The Separate Demands for Grants was presented in the House by Chief Minister, also the Minister-in-Charge of Finance, Revenue and Expenditure Department on 11th July, 2018.
During the question hour, while replying to a question by MLA Shri R. N. Chamling, Chief Minister and Leader of the House Shri Pawan Chamling, also the Minister-in-Charge, Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department, informed the House that Residential Certificate is different from COI as per the State Government notification 12/Home/2018. Leader of the House further informed that RC can be used for applying Ration Card, Trade and Business, sales and deeds under Municipal Area, taxi permit for BPL category, Driving Licence (NT/T) admissions in Government Educational Institutes, free uniforms and books for BPL category, exempted from college fee, free health care services and other social services schemes on need basis. He also informed that till date State Government has distributed 1889 Residential Certificates to the people residing in the State before 26.04.1975.
Replying to question put forth by MLA Shri K.N. Lepcha, Minister-in-Charge for Commerce and Industries Shri Ugen T. Gyatso Bhutia informed the House that the total annual turnover of Pharmaceutical Companies set up in Sikkim pertaining to the year 2016-17 has been Rs. 14552.85 crores. He also said that the contribution of the Pharmaceutical towards the revenue of the Government is based on the nature of business, the industrial units are required to pay GST (Environment Cess, VAT, Labour Cess, since subsumed under GST), professional tax, SNT supervision charges etc, as per the rules prescribed under the relevant Acts. The Department of Commerce and Industries, Government of Sikkim does not maintain records of the data as the revenue under each of the heads are being collected by the concerned Departments directly. For the past ten years the Industrial Units has invested Rs. 5.00 Crores and above in Plant and Machinery, which are liable to contribute Industrial Development Fund at the rate of Rs. 5.00 lakhs per unit every year. So far, a sum of Rs. 1.10 crores has been contributed by such units, he informed. The pharmaceutical companies set up in Sikkim have availed of Central subsidies under the North East Industrial Policy, 1997, and North East Industrial & Investment Promotion Policy,2007, of the Central Government. The quantum of the Central Subsidies as availed till year 2016-17 under four categories such as Central Capital Investment Subsidy: Rs85.58 crores, Central Interest Subsidy: Rs 1.80 crores, Central Comprehensive Insurance Subsidy: Rs. 0.74 crores, Central Transport Subsidy: Rs. 11.08 crores.
The Pharmaceutical Companies honouring their CSR under the section 135 of the Indian Companies Act, 2013 provides for Corporate Social Responsibility at the rate of 2% of its average net profit for the immediate preceding for three financial years. The Act has not been enforced in the State so far. However, the Pharmaceuticals Companies do contribute at their own for their specified sectors in the State.
While replying to question put forth by the MLA Shri K.N. Lepcha, Minister-in-Charge for Energy and Power Department Shri D.D. Bhutia informed the august house that the pharmaceuticals companies are billed under the category of high tension consumers. The major portion of consumption pertains to pharmaceutical companies. The energy consumed during the financial year 2017-18 is 174.43 Million Unit. Also he informed that the revenue receipt from each of the Hydro Electrical Power Project for the last five years is 163.85 crores. The Department has taken various steps to monitor, regulate and insure long term plans by the Hydro Electrical Projects on Teesta & Rangit Basins to prevent eminent loss of life and property. The Government vide Notification number 26/Home/2015 has notified “Guidelines for Public Safety at Hydro Power Projects” which is mandatory for all the companies to follow during construction, operation and maintenance of the Hydro Power Projects in the State, he informed.
During the Legislative Business, Sikkim Legislative Assembly passed three different Bills, the Sikkim Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, Bill No. 17 of 2018, the Sikkim Regulation of Transfer of Land (Second Amendment) Bill, Bill No. 18 of 2018 and the Vinayaka Missions Sikkim University (Amendment) Bill, Bill No.19 of 2018, which was moved on the floor of the House on the first day of session by respective Minister-in-Charge of the departments.
During the Financial Business, Leader of the House, Shri Pawan Chamling, also the Minister-in-Charge Finance, Revenue and Expenditure Department, moved the Demands for Excess Grants/Appropriation for the Expenditure of the State Government on July 11th, which was passed by the House.
Likewise, the Sikkim Appropriation Bill, Bill No. 15 was introduced by the Minister-in-Charge Finance, Revenue and Expenditure Department, Shri Pawan Chamling also the Leader of the House for the Demands for Excess Grants and Appropriation for the Financial Year 2011-12, which was passed by the august House.
The Sikkim Appropriation Bill, Bill No. 15 of 2018 for the Demands for Excess Grants and Appropriation for the Financial Year 2011-12 was placed by the Minister-in-Charge Finance, Revenue and Expenditure Department, Shri Pawan Chamling, which was considered and passed by the august House.
Shri Pawan Chamling, Hon’ble Chief Minister also the Minister-in-Charge of Finance, Revenue and Expenditure Department, Government of Sikkim, introduced the Sikkim Appropriation Bill, Bill No. 16 of 2018 for the First Supplementary Demands for Grants for the Financial Year 2018-19, which was considered and passed by the august House.
In the private member’s business, MLA Shri K.N. Lepcha moved the Private Member’s Resolution No. 2 of 2018 on the theme “Protecting the land of Sherpa under the provision of Revenue Order No. 1 of 1917. The Resolution was meted with opposition from the treasury bench, with Members labelling the Resolution as anti-Sikkimese and a challenge to the Old Laws of Sikkim.
Chief Minister and Leader of the House Shri Pawan Chamling, in his reply to the discussion on the Private Member’s Resolution, took excerpts from the Old Laws of Sikkim and explained that the Land Revenue Order No. 1 of 1917 limits the rights of the Sherpa Community to buy land belonging to Bhutia and Lepcha community. He maintained that the Tribal Order of 1978, which enlists the eight sub-communities including Sherpa as Bhutias, does not overrule Revenue Order No. 1 and hence both should be seen in isolation. The Chief Minister joined the Members of the House in outrightly opposing the Private Member’s Resolution moved by MLA Shri K.N. Lepcha. He stated that the Resolution is an attempt to dilute the old laws of Sikkim and goes against the interests of every community of Sikkim. He called upon the Members to indulge in constructive politics based on truth and reason, and refrain from dividing the people through contradictory opinions. The Leader of the House further said that the Government has always protected the Old Laws of Sikkim, thus protecting the rights, privileges, interests and priorities of the Sikkimese people. He concluded that the Sikkim Regulation of Transfer of Land (Second Amendment) Bill, Bill No. 18 of 2018 passed by the House earlier in the day ensures complete protection of the land of the Sherpa community, and added that it is in fact stronger than the Revenue Order No. 1 of 1917, as it ensures that no other community (including Bhutia & Lepcha) can buy land belonging to the Sherpa community.
After the discussion on the Resolution, MLA Shri K.N. Lepcha requested the Speaker of the House to give his verdict, to which Speaker Shri K.N. Rai informed the House that the discussion on the Resolution was recorded in the House. The Resolution, however, did not receive the support of majority of the Members and hence was not adopted by the House.
The House also saw presentation of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on Social, Economic, Revenue and General Sectors for the year ended 31st March, 2017 (Report No. 1 of 2018) by Chief Minister Shri Pawan Chamling, also the Minister in Charge of Finance, Revenue and Expenditure Department.
Similarly, Chief Minister, also the Minister-in-Charge of Finance, Revenue and Expenditure Department presented before the House the Separate Audit Report on the Accounts of State Bank of Sikkim for the year ended 31st March, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Likewise, Speaker Shri K.N. Rai presented the Annual Report of Ecclesiastical Affairs Department, Government of Sikkim.
Delivering the valedictory address towards the end of the two-day Assembly session, Chief Minister and Leader of the House Shri Pawan Chamling made the following points:
1. The Government has implemented the 7th Pay Commission, and arrears will be paid in instalments over a period of three years. He explained that the arrears cannot be paid at one instance due to financial constraints and the need to prioritise on the overall development of the State.
2. Many of the States are yet to implement the recommendations of the 6th and 7th Pay Commission, and Sikkim is way ahead in its implementation.
3. The pay revision and allowances have been increased and have been placed higher than that of the Central Government.
4. The perceived reduction in House Rent Allowance is the impact of rationalization at the National level. However, in actuality, the HRA in the State has increased substantially.
5. Leave Travel Concession has been introduced.
6. Transportation Allowance has been enhanced and has been extended to all levels in the hierarchy.
7. Introduction of Incentive for higher qualified staff nurse.
8. The Government is exploring all possibilities to accommodate the temporary employees who have rendered over five years of service.
9. Risk Allowance for fire personnel and electricians.
10. Introduction of family pension.
The Leader of the House recorded his thanks to the Speaker of the House for the smooth and successful conduct of the two-day Assembly Session. He thanked the Ministers, MLAs, Government officers led by the Chief Secretary, Director General of Police, Secretary and officers of Sikkim Legislative Assembly, and members of the press and media for their presence.
Speaker, SLA, Shri K.N. Rai in his valedictory remarks, thanked the Leader of the House and Members of the House for their presence and participation in the proceedings. He added that three important Bills were passed by the House and fruitful discussions were witnessed over the two days. He thanked everybody involved in making the Assembly session a success.
In the end, the Speaker adjourned the House Sine-Die.