Gangtok, Dec 7: (IPR)
The second day of the Fifth Session of the Tenth Assembly of Sikkim Legislative Assembly began with Obituary References on the passing away of Late P.T. Lucksom, former deputy Chief Minister of Sikkim, Late Sukumar Pradhan, former Member of Sikkim Legislative Assembly, and Late Thukchuk Lachungpa, former Minister and Member of Sikkim legislative Assembly.
The Obituary References was followed by the Question Hour.
Replying to a question put forth by MLA D.T. Lepcha, Minister for Agriculture Lok Nath Sharma informed that a total of 17182 tonnes of paddy is produced in Sikkim every year, which is not sufficient to meet the demand of the total population of Sikkim.
In reply to a question put forth by MLA D.R. Thapa, Minister for Commerce and Industries B.S. Panth informed the House that the State Government is already seized of the matter concerning the need for enabling statute for regulation of companies operating in the State. Further, in keeping with the Constitutional provision of Article 371 F, the old laws of Sikkim are in force and hence the Registration of Companies (Sikkim) Act, 1961 (Sikkim Act 8 of 1961) is still in force. However, it would be necessary to have comprehensive Rules framed with the purpose of strengthening this statute, to meet the requirement of the present situation, incorporating changes as may be necessary, taking into account the industrial prerogatives and ensuring that an ecosystem is developed in keeping with the local aspirations of people of Sikkim.
In response to a clubbed question by MLAs Farwanti Tamang, D.T. Lepcha, N.K. Subba and Shri D.R. Thapa regarding the steps taken by the State Government to provide seats to the Tamang and Limboo communities in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly and Tribal Status to the twelve Left Out Communities, the Minister for Social Justice and Welfare Department Dr. M.K. Sharma said that the State Government has passed the Government Resolution on January 11, 2021 to include 12 left out Nepali communities to Tribal Status, and the same has been placed before the Union Government. Likewise, the State Government has placed the demand to provide seat to the Tamang and Limboo communities in the State Legislative Assembly through correspondence with the Union Home Minister and the Prime Minister of India.
In reply to a question put forth by MLA D.R. Thapa with regard to provisions for at least six Assembly Sessions in a year, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Kunga Nima Lepcha said that in view of Article 174 of the Constitution of India, six months shall not intervene between the last sitting in one session and the date appointed for its first sitting in the next session. However, session may not be summoned afresh each time to transact urgent government business. The session summoned by the Governor in terms of Article 174 of the Constitution is not closed/prorogued at once after the government business have been transacted in that particular session but the session is adjourned sine-die, instead of proroguing the session, so that the sitting of Assembly may be reconvened as and when the situation so arise in future.
In reply to a question raised by MLA N.K. Subba, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Department Shri Arun Upreti informed that the One Nation One Ration Card scheme is being implemented in the State since July, 2021.
In response to a question by MLA SD.R. Thapa on the steps being taken by the State Government to curb the issue of drug abuse, Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr. M.K. Sharma outlined the initiatives being taken by the Department such as establishment of Centre for Addiction Medicine Hospital at Sawney, extension of Mental Health facilities to the Primary Health Centres, implementation of Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST), training of health workers on drug deaddiction and mental health, steps for harm reduction, supply and demand reduction, and SPAN project to reduce morbidity and mortality due to suicides.
In response to a question by MLA Shri N.K. Subba, Minister for Animal Husbandry Shri Lok Nath Sharma informed that at present there is one Gaushala in the State which is situated in Pakyong, East Sikkim. This has been established by the Rural Development Department and will soon be functional, he informed. He further informed that one more Gaushala is being constructed at the Vrindavan Project in Dodak under Daramdin constituency, West Sikkim. The Minister informed that strict Act and Rules are in place to ensure prohibition of cow slaughter in the State, and adequate awareness programmes are being organized to sensitize people on the issue of safety of cows.
Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha, while replying to a question put forth by MLA Smt Farwanti Tamang, said that the Local Area Development Fund for MLAs is a welcome step which would be beneficial for the people at large. Keeping in view that the proposal is beneficial to general public, the matter will be considered by the State Government, and the State Government may also study the models adopted and implemented in other States to work out modalities and to devise a mechanism for the State of Sikkim having due regard to availability of funds for the purpose.
Minister, Ecclesiastical Department, Shri Sonam Lama, in his reply to a question put forth by MLA Shri N.K. Subba, informed that The Central Committee on Security (CCS) of the Government of India granted permission to His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Thinley Dorji to visit Sikkim (minus Rumtek Monastery) in March, 2018. However, H.H. the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Thinley Dorji left India for Europe the same year. The State Government has kept aside a separate fund of Rupees One Crore for the visit of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Thinley Dorji to Sikkim. A delegation from Sikkim will soon be visiting H.H. the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Thinley Dorji to request him to visit Sikkim. Meanwhile, the Government has constantly pressed its demand to the Central Government for the visit of His Holiness to Sikkim.
During the Legislative Business, two new Bills and one Amendment Bill were introduced in the House.
Minister, Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha introduced the Sikkim (Re-organization of Districts) Bill, 2021 (Bill No.15 of 2021).
The Statements of Objects and Reasons of the Bill is as follows:
Whereas, the administrative divisions have been organized and reorganized in the past for administrative efficiency and public convenience. The present proposal for re- organization of the existing districts from 04 (Four) districts to 06 (Six) districts, by carving out 02 (Two) new districts will further strengthen the governance and administration. With the growing population and aspirations, new challenges have emerged for better service delivery at the district level.
Therefore, it has been considered expedient for reorganization of Districts from the present 04 (Four) districts to 06 (Six) districts with addition of “Pakyong District” and “Soreng District” in the State of Sikkim with the objective of ensuring administrative efficiency and public convenience and functioning of district administration in the State of Sikkim.
For this purpose, it is proposed to introduce the Sikkim (Re-organization of Districts) Bill, 2021 to provide reorganization of districts and matters connected therewith.
Similarly, Minister, Education Department, Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha, introduced the Sikkim State University (Amendment) Bill 2021 (Bill No. 16 of 2021).
As per the Statement of Object and Reasons of the Bill, the Education Department in an effort to provide a unique identity to the lone State University of Sikkim and to concurrently provide homage to the Guardian deity of Sikkim, Mount Khangchendzonga (third highest mountain in the world) proposes to rename the Sikkim State University as Khangchendzonga State University, Sikkim. With this object in view, the Bill has been framed.
Likewise, Minister, Education Department, Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha, introduced the Sikkim Skill University Bill, 2021 (Bill No. 17 of 2021).
As per the Statements of Objects and Reasons of the Bill, whereas the National Education Policy 2020 aims to increase employability skills that the students must acquire during their academic programmes. In the absence of skill training however, it poses a formidable challenge for the State Government to provide jobs to the Graduates every year. And whereas there is presently only one State Government higher educational institution offering purely vocational courses; Sikkim Government Vocational College (Dentam) and one Private University by the name of Medhavi Skill University, Sikkim. With the establishment of the new Sikkim Skill University which proposes to offer a variety of courses geared towards increasing the skill potential to the younger generation, students will not be only be able to gain access to higher level of education but will attain proficiency in skill education which in turn will prove beneficial in tackling the unemployment situation. Moreover, the University shall be located in Namthang Rateypani area which doesn’t have any Higher Educational Institution at present and establishment of this University shall provide a major boost to development efforts of the Government in this area. With this object in view, the bill has been framed.
Discussion and voting on the Bills would be taken up tomorrow, the 8th of December, 2021.