The House met at 10 a.m. with the Hon'ble Deputy Speaker in the Chair. The day was devoted for the transaction of Government Business:
Starred questions Nos.303, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, with Supplementaries thereto, Nos.310 to 332 without any Supplementary, were disposed of. Starred question No.307 lapsed since the questioner was absent .
Shri P.M. Syiem, called the attention of Minister incharge, Cooperation under Rule 54 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly to a news item published in the "U Nongsain Hima " dated 6/04/2000 under the caption "Dawa revised pay ki Nongtrei MECOFED ".
Initiating his calling attention, the hon. Member from Mylliem wanted to know as to when will the Government pay the final installment of arrear revised pay of the employees of MECOFED? What is the fate of their GPF remitted by the concerned authority since 1998, whether the Government will restore the commercial activities to this organisation which they have taken back earlier and what is the Government's stand on the dues owed by the MECOFED on different departments ?
In reply to the calling attention, Shri E.D. Marak Cooperation Minister, apprised the hon. Member from Mylliem that payment of salaries and allowances and other benefits of the employees is the responsibility of the MECOFED and the Government was in no way responsible. However, he told the House that revised pay was given to the Staff from 1st November, 1999 on installment basis. As regards restoration of marketing and supply of fertilizers to the MECOFED the Minister assured that he will look into the matter to explore the possibility to continue the process in the future and with regard to the question of getting back the dues from different departments by the organisation, he said that he had personally communicated to the Managing Director of the MECOFED to do the needful.
Quoting Rule 264 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, the Deputy Speaker ruled that the resolution moved by Shri K.K. Dkhar on 11/04/2000 will be taken up in the next Session of the Assembly.
Shri A.H. Scott Lyngdoh, Minister in-charge Finance, presented the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India for the year ended 31st March, 1999.
Shri P.M. Syiem, continued his general discussion on the budget. Describing the budget as anti-poor, anti-people, he called for a statement from the Finance Minister as to what are the measures adopted to uplift the rural poor in order to boost the economy of the State and to bring about a hike in the annual growth rate. He suggested that Tax should be raised on luxury vehicles and called for a concertive effort on the part of the Government to bring down fiscal deficit in the budget.
Shri C.B. Marak, Shri A.T. Mondal, Shri D.D. Lapang and Shri Bires Nongsiej participated.
( The House stood adjourned till 1 p.m. ).
( After adjournment, the House reassembled at 1.30 p.m. with the Hon'ble Deputy Speaker in the Chair).
Expressing his appreciation and gratefulness to all the hon. Members who have participated in the general discussion on the budget for their gesture in maintaining the quality and high standard of debate on all aspects of the budget, the Minister in-charge highlighted certain trends which have come in the way to retard the economic growth in the North East in general and Meghalaya in particular.
Referring to the Rural Electrification, he stated that States in the North East have no say except to comply with the Government of India's directive and consequently, the burden had fallen on the Me.S.E.B. which have to bear the cost of maintenance of long transmission lines to remote areas within the State. He mentioned of the revenue from Rural Electrification during 1997-98 which stood at Rs.4.02 crore whereas the expenditure on maintenance and collection was not less than Rs.24.34 crore, in 1998-99, the revenue was 4.14 crore whereas the expenditure stood at 24.90 crore thereby, incurring huge losses of about 20.21 crore annually on this account. He also informed that Me.S.E.B. was resorting to loan component from Rural Electrification Corporation and the L.I.C. to meet the cost of Rural Electrification and since the Board has not been able to repay the loan, no more loan was available as a result of which, construction of different projects had been adversely affected from time to time. He cited an instance that sectional plan outlay of Rs.1029 crore came down only to 814 crore and this mismatch between the plan outlay in invested resources in the 8th Plan had accentuated in a back log of North Eastern States which has also created this financial instability not only for this region but has become now a global phenomenon.
The Minister in-charge further drew the attention of the House to para 35 of the budget speech on page 3 relating to the State's economy. He gave figures of differences in the percentages with regard to Primary and Secondary structures between 1970-71, 1984-85 during which period, the Treasury Sector had recorded the most impressive growth but be was not happy since the primary structure which represented the farmers was at a tail end of the economy. The Minister in-charge also informed that the total deposit mobilised by the banks up to 31-12-99 was at 521 crore and advances by the Banks as on the same date was only 285.74 crore yielding a Credit deposit ratio of 80.04 percent and that of this total advance of 285.04 crore only 51.41 crore was sanctioned as loan for agricultural purposes the Minister added.
Giving a categorical reply to the points and suggestions raised by the members, he stated that other points which have been left out, have been noted for examination by the Government. He also clarified to the other aspects which were not satisfied by the members.
The House rose at 4.55 p.m. and stood adjourned till 10 a.m. on Thursday, the 13th April, 2000.
|Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.|