Gangtok, May 17 (IPR): The Seventh Session of the Tenth Assembly (Budget Session 2023-24) of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly commenced today.
Speaker of Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Shri Arun K. Upreti, welcomed the Governor of Sikkim, Shri Lakshman Prasad Acharya, and all the Members of the House to the Budget Session.
In his address to the House, the Governor expressed that it is his privilege to address the Budget Session at a time when India is steering towards an Aatma Nirbhar Bharat. He stated that the State budget is a crucial financial planning tool that helps the government manage its finances, implement policies, allocate resources, and be accountable to the public for its pending decision.
Speaking on the Union Budget 2023-24, the Governor reiterated the words of the Reserve Bank of India, terming the current Budget as ‘Sapth Rishi’ or the seventh horse in the chariot of the sun, as it includes seven principles of inclusive development, last mile connectivity, infrastructure development, employment generation, innovation, green growth and development.
The Governor highlighted some of the notable achievements of the State Government over the past four years and lauded the efforts of the State in bringing in holistic development. He highlighted various initiatives undertaken by the State government in various sectors like farming, road and transport, IT, environment conservation, employment and women empowerment among others.
He urged everyone to work tirelessly to address the challenges faced by the State and to build a brighter and more prosperous future for all. He concluded his speech by expressing gratitude to the Members of the esteemed house for their unwavering support in pursuing the government’s vision for the State. He also expressed sincere thanks to all those who have been involved in the budget session.
“I am confident that this budget will pave the way for a brighter future for our State, and I look forward to working with all of you to make our vision a reality,” said the Governor.
The Speaker thanked the Governor for his address to the House. He also urged the press and media fraternity to ensure the accuracy of their reporting, especially concerning parliamentary proceedings. Any misreporting by the media houses is a breach of the privilege of the House and action will be taken as per the standing rules against them if deemed necessary, he added.
Thereafter, the Chief Minister, also the Leader of the House, Shri Prem Singh Tamang, moved the motion of thanks to the Governor’s address. Member, SLA, Shri Sonam Tshering Venchungpa, seconded the Motion of Thanks.
The discussion and voting on the Governor’s address will be taken up tomorrow, the 18th of May, 2023.
During the Financial Business, the Chief Minister, also the Minister-in-Charge of the Finance Department, Government of Sikkim, presented the Annual General Budget for the financial year 2023-24, comprising of the Explanatory Memorandum of the Government of Sikkim, Annual Financial Statement, Estimates of Receipts, and Demands for Grants to the Annual Budget 2023-24.
Explaining the budgetary profile for the financial year 2023-24, the Chief Minister read, “Against a gross expenditure provision of Rs. 12146.51 crores, (Rupees twelve thousand one hundred forty-six crore and fifty-one lakh) the net outgo comes to Rs. 11806.51 crores (Rupees eleven thousand eight hundred six crores and fifty-one lakh) after taking into account recoveries amounting to Rs. 340.00 crores (Rupees three hundred forty crores).”
While presenting the Annual Budget for the financial year 2023-24, the Chief Minister highlighted some of the notable allocations of the State Government in the budget:
1. In this current budget, the State Government has taken all efforts to ensure that pending liabilities of the previous government like expenditure for Fairweather roads, land compensation for the airport among others, rural footbridges, water supply, etc., have been nullified to a large extent.
2. The State Government has set aside a substantial amount for the resettlement of Pathing Landslide victims.
3. The State government has enhanced the allocation for the purchase of medicines for the veterinary sector by four times.
4. The Sirijunga Sacred Cave, a place highly revered by the Limboo community, came under the proposed alignment of the NHIDCL. The State government, to save Sirijunga Sacred Cave, and as a mark of respect to the Limboo community, has acquired the adjoining land for diverting the previous alignment so as to save the sacred Sirijunga Cave.
5. The State government has allocated adequate funds for the Skilled Youth Start-Up Scheme so as to enable our youth to become self-reliant and independent.
6. For the maintenance and creation of new roads, the State government has allocated Rs. 60.00 cr in this year’s budget.
7. For improving the SNT bus services, the State government has earmarked funds for the procurement of 10 AC buses and Tankers.
8. With the aim to improve the Home Stays running in the State, the State government has defrayed substantial funds in the Last financial year and will further augment it in this budget.
9. Under the Chief Minister’s Rural Housing Mission, the State Government has successfully completed and closed the project. Moreover, under Sikkim Garib Awas Yojana, the State Government has defrayed substantial funds in the Last financial year and will further augment it in this budget.
10. For engaging our youth and providing better sports facilities, our government has earmarked Rs. 30.00 cr for the construction of various playgrounds.
11. The State government has also set aside considerable funds to promote and encourage local talent and artists in the field of performing arts.
12. For the improvement of facilities in rural areas, the State government has earmarked funds for the construction of Crematoriums, Samaj Ghars and Club Houses.
13. For the project “Design and Development of Gyalwa Lhatsun Chenpo Centre at Simik Lingzey Rapen and Badong for Sikkim Buddhism and Buddhist Craft, a substantial fund has been provisioned.
Concluding his address, the Chief Minister appealed all to once again march forward to fulfill our goals based on sustainable development policies for the benefit of the people of Sikkim.
“Let us re-dedicate ourselves to further peace and tranquility and ensure that the State grows to become an example of innovation and progress,” he stated.
The discussion on the General Budget will be taken up tomorrow, the 18th of May, 2023.
Earlier, during the Legislative Business, Minister-in-Charge of the Education Department, Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha, introduced the following Bills on the table of the House:
i) Sikkim National Law University (Amendment) Bill, 2023 (Bill No. 07 of 2023)
Whereas, it has been desired that the Chancellor of Sikkim National Law University shall be the final authority to decide in case of any ambiguity or doubt in the interpretation and applicability of the Sikkim National Law University Act, 2018, as well as to pass necessary orders in respect of all such matters for which no express or sufficient provision has been made in the Act.
The insertion of the sub-section ( in section 8 of the Sikkim National Law University Act, 2018, will empower the Chancellor of the University with the same.
With this object in view, the Bill has been framed.
ii) Sikkim Global Technical University Bill, 2023 (Bill No. 09 of 2023)
Whereas the State Government has deemed it expedient to establish the Sikkim Global Technical University at Rong, Namchi District with a view to providing a major boost in terms of academic upliftment in all spheres of knowledge it is essential to impart education in almost all areas including Management, Engineering, Law, Information Technology and Communication, Medical, Nursing, Insurance, Behavioral Science, Fine Arts, etc. to the youth of the said area,
And whereas Indira Gandhi Computer Saksharta Mission, an organization registered under Indian Public Trust Act 1882, has proposed to establish the Sikkim Global Technical University with objectives to provide Higher Education with skilled and entrepreneurial courses in the area through world-class infrastructure and international networking which shall catalyze the whole surrounding region,
And whereas the land for the proposed university shall be taken on a lease basis from various private landowners. Construction of the campus shall begin after the commencement of the proposed “Sikkim Global Technical University Act, 2023” and completion of the land-lease registration process;
And whereas the proposed university shall be fully funded by IGCSM,
Now, therefore, with this object in view, the Bill has been framed.
iii) Sikkim Organic Agriculture University Bill, 2023 (Bill No. 10 of 2023)
Whereas, the State Government has deemed it expedient to establish the Sikkim Organic Agriculture University at Mendo Gaon, Soreng District with a view to provide instruction, teaching training and research in specialized fields of agriculture, finance and management, law, education, various branches of Science and Technology and related subjects and make provisions for Research, advancement and dissemination of knowledge to the youth at their doorsteps,
And whereas the Vocational and Skill Education Development Council (VSEDC), a company registered under the Companies Act 2013, has proposed to provide Higher Education with skilled and entrepreneur courses in Sikkim through world-class infrastructure and international networking which shall catalyze not only the surrounding region but the State as a whole,
And whereas the land for the proposed university shall be taken on a lease basis from various private landowners. Construction of the campus shall begin after the commencement of the proposed “Sikkim Organic Agriculture University Act, 2023” and completion of the land-lease registration process;
And whereas the proposed university shall be fully funded by VSEDC,
Now, therefore, with this object in view, the Bill has been framed.
The discussions and voting for the above bills would be taken up on the 19th of May, 2023.
Simultaneously, three other bills introduced in the House by the respective Ministers-in-Charge during the earlier sessions of the month of March, 2023 were passed by the House. The bills are as follows:
i) Sikkim Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2023 (Bill No. 03 of 2023) which was introduced in the House on 13th March, 2023 by Minister-in-Charge of Law and Parliamentary Affairs Department, Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha.
ii) Sikkim Fire and Emergency Services Bill, 2023 (Bill No. 04 of 2023) which was introduced in the House on 13th March, 2023 by Chief Minister, also the Minister-in-Charge of Home Department, Shri Prem Singh Tamang.
iii) Sikkim Non- Biodegradable Garbage (Control) (Repealing) Bill, 2023 (Bill No. 06 of 2023) which was introduced in the House on 29th March, 2023 by Minister-in-Charge of Urban Development Department, Shri L.B. Das.
The House was then adjourned till 10:00 am tomorrow, the 18th of May, 2023.