MEGHALAYA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

RE-ASSEMBLED BUDGET SESSION, 2001.

BULLETIN NO. 13.

(TUESDAY, THE 3rd JULY, 2001)

        The House met at 10 a.m. with the Hon'ble Speaker in the Chair. The day was devoted for the transaction of Private Members' Business.

1.QUESTIONS :

        Starred questions Nos.253, 254, 255, 256, 257, 258, 259 and 260 with supplementaries thereof. Nos.261 to 270 without supplementary, were disposed of Unstarred question No. 13 to which written answer were given have been laid on the tables.

2.ZERO HOUR NOTICE UNDER RULE 49(A) :

        Under Rule 49(A) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, Shri K.C. Boro, raised a zero hour discussion to a matter which was published in the "Shillong Times" dated 16.06.2001 under the caption "Low pass percentage in SSLC exams this year".

        Moving his Zero Hour Notice, Shri K.C. Boro, hon. Member from Rajabala stated that since the last few years, the results of the SSLC examinations were very discouraging and giving detailed figures of the percentage of passed out students since 1998 upto date, he wanted to know the reason why the results were so poor? He called for a categorical reply from the Minister in-charge in this regard.

        Further, the mover of the Zero Hour Discussion, pointed out that the Government has recently restructured the curriculum relating to class IX and class X without the approval of the Cabinet and the House before its implementation. He called for a clarification as to what prompted the Government to change the curriculum without bringing this matter to the House or obtaining the approval of the Cabinet which has subsequently resulted in the enhancement of the rate to Rs. 125 per question by the M.B.O.S.E.

        Replying to the Zero Hour Discussion, Shri T.H. Rangad, Minister in-charge Education apprised the hon. Member from Rajabala that there are many reasons/factors which are responsible for the above trend of over all low pass percentage of SSLC examination over the years and the main reason of which, is that this low pass percentage is the overall percentage after considering both regular and private candidates.

        He stated that usually the regular candidates who attended regular class throughout the year in  recognised schools and appeared for the SSLC examination do very well as can be seen from the extract of SSLC results in which they secured a high pass percentage  whereas on the other hand, the students of the non-recognised schools, morning schools, evening schools and those who had not attended classes for the last two years after passing class eight (8) appear as private candidates after passing the combined selection test of private candidates conducted by the Inspector of Schools of respective Districts. Further, he stated that the students who were detained in the  selection test of recognised schools also appeared as private candidates in case they do not attend classes again in their recognised schools while the students who once appeared at SSLC examination but failed do not have to appear in the selection test for the second time but appear directly for the final SSLC examinations.

        However, he mentioned that the Private candidates outnumber the regular candidates and are in the ratio of almost 3:1, for example, 15699 against 5530 in 1998, 17025 against 6255 in 1999, 18385 against 6648 in 2000 and 18562 against 8051 in 2001 and as a result of this, the high pass percentage of regular candidates has been brought down to a great extend by the low pass percentage of the private candidates thereby,  reflecting in the low overall SSLC pass percentage every year and in order to further substantiate his statement the Minister in-charge quoted before the august House the detailed extracts of the results over the last four year.

        As regard restructing of the curriculum for class IX and class X , he stated that this is aimed at reducing the burden on students and improving the pass percentage and that under this restructured curriculum the full course/chapters of each subject is divided into two halves, some chapters are prescribed in class IX and the remaining chapters prescribed in class X in which the students shall have to appear for one examination at the end of class IX to be conducted internally for 600 marks and to appear for another examination at the end of class X to be conducted externally for 600 marks whereas in the old curriculum and syllabi, students have to appear and sit for the combined curriculum for class IX and X which unnecessarily puts a heavy burden on them. He informed that another interesting feature of this curriculum is that that teaching of Science is being strengthened through introduction of Science practical carrying 20% marks at each examination of class IX and X and that the restructured curriculum has already been implemented  in class IX from the current academic year 2001 with the option that those schools which cannot implement in this year should implement from 2002. However, he added that it is expected that the schools, especially the Government, and Deficit Schools,  are already equipped with appreciable quantity of Science equipments, chemical, charts, etc., for conducting the practical classes in view of the sanction/grants for procurement of the same already received by them from the Government over the years.

(2) Shri P.M. Syiem, raised a Zero Hour Discussion under Rule 49(A) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business on a news item published in the Local Daily "The Meghalaya Guardian" dated 26.06.2001 under the caption "Why Favoritism to P.H.E Electrical Engineer".

        Quoting from newspaper's report, the hon. Member from Mylliem called for a clarification from the Minister in-charge P.H.E. as to whether the D.P.C. was held on 15th June, 2001 or not and if it was not held, when will be held so that the engineers who are longing to get their promotions should not be deprived of their right ?

        In reply to the above Zero Hour, Shri Singh Mulieh, Minister in-charge P.H.E. apprised the hon. Member from Mylliem that the Engineers working in the Department of PHE, that is Civil, Electrical and Mechanical are equally important and there is no intention of the Government to favour any branch or any officer and that after the final interse seniority list was published by the Department vide Notification No.PHE. 453/96/43, dt. 2.7.1999, some of the aggrieved officers filed a petition in the High Court as according to them, the Officers who were junior to them in the earlier list of 1996 have been placed above them. However, he said that the High Court is yet to dispose off the case and that vide interim orders dt.30.11.2000, the High Court has ordered that a prima facie is made our in favour of the petitioners. Further, the Minister in-charge informed that the High Court has directed that the promotion if any to the juniors of the petitioners on the basis of the two interse seniority lists shall be subjected to the result or decision made in this writ petition and that the above case was filed in November, 2000 on the basis of which, Law & Personnel Departments have been consulted in view of the above Court order and the views of both the Departments is that since the Court have not granted any stay in the matter, it is for the Department to decide on the matter of promotion. The Minster in-charge also stated that for any promotion considered, it is to be consistently and in accordance with the orders of the High Court and promotion if any  will  be subjected to the result of the pending writ petition. and in  view of the above, the Department has examined the matter and felt that promotion may be processed for the officers who are due for promotion and that since all formalities relating to Civil Engineers could not completed, notice in respect of promotion to fill up the post of SE. PHE, Electrical and EE. PHE, Electrical was issued. The Minster in-charge informed the House that the DPC was postponed due to unavoidable circumstances.

3.POINT OF ORDER :

        Under Rules 300 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, Shri A.D. Marak raised a point of Order seeking clarification from the Chair as to the reason why his Zero Hour Notice tabled by him yesterday, was rejected and under what Rule ?

        Clarifying the position the Speaker informed the hon. Member from Dadenggiri that his Zero Hour Notice was rejected under Rule 37, of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, since the matter relates to the same subject raised on Starred question No. 79 dated 20.06.2001.

4.(1) STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER INCHARGE TOURISM :

        Under Rule 55 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, Shri K.C. Momin, Minister, Tourism made a statement to the House on matter relating to reply to Starred Question No.232 dated 2nd July, 2001.

        (2) STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER INCHARGE AGRICULTURE :

        Under Rule 55 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, Shri M. Suchiang, Minister in-charge Agriculture made a statement to the House on matter relating to replies to Unstarred Question No.3 of 2nd April, 2001.

5.CALLING ATTENTION UNDER RULE 54(1) :

        (1)Shri H.S. Lyngdoh called the attention of the Minister in-charge Community & Rural Development under Rule 54 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business to the news item appearing in the Local Khasi Daily "Mawphor" dated 21st June, 2001 under the caption "Bun ki nongmihkhmat ki ioh kham bun ka bhah skim MLA, namar ba ki long Minister".

        Quoting from the above newspaper's Report the hon. Member from Nongstoin, called for a clarification from the Minister in-charge as to the reason why the discrimination in the allocation of fund for P.W.D. Schemes for each M.L.A. as well as the allocation of funds from the special fund of the Chief Minister in this regard. He requested that all the schemes meant for the development of rural areas should be sanctioned equally by the Government.

        Replying to the Calling Attention, Shri K. Susngi, Minster in-charge of P.W.D. informed the hon. Member from Nongstoin that the Government had taken a decision for 2000-2001 that schemes to Rs.70 lakhs in each Constituency would be considered for sanction and accordingly, almost all the M.L.As recommended schemes would be taken up in their respective Constituency but then, it was found that financial involvement of almost all the proposals of the respective M.L.A.'s were far in excess of Rs. 70 lakhs and as such, the Department, after carrying out necessary survey and investigations, processed the schemes for sanction, observing the required formalities. The Minister in-charge, further informed that schemes of all the 60 Constituencies were processed for sanction, although Rs.70 lakhs per Constituency could not be strictly adhered to, keeping in mind the necessity of the people and the benefit of the public in general.

        However, he clarified that sanction of schemes in a particular areas or Constituency does not entitle to get more money for development and that the P.W.D. is maintaining some norms for allotment of fund to different Districts on the basis of area-population, etc., and that there will be no discrimination for allotment of fund as the Department is following the standard norm for allocation of fund to the different Constituencies in the State.

        Shri P.M. Syiem, called the attention of the Minster in-charge Home (Police) under Rule 54 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business to the news item appearing in Local Khasi Daily "Mawphor" dated 21st June, 2001 under the caption "Shah thombor 25 tylli ki shnong ha Ri Bhoi District". 

(The Minster in-charge Home (Police) placed a statement on the table of the House).

6.MOTIONS :

        Shri C.B. Marak took part in the discussion on Motion No.2 moved by Shri C.R. Marak on 21.6.2001. giving   concrete justifications to the ........... of shifting certain departments .................. to Shillong which is already congested with both State and Central Government offices the hon. Member urged the State Government to focus a special attention on the need for creation of regional offices at Tura. He supported the motion.

        Shri D.D. Lapang, Leader of the Opposition support of the motion.

        Replying to the motion, Shri E.K. Mawlong, Chief Minster, stated that Government is alived to the problems faced by the district and sub-divisional officers in the three districts of Garo Hills for consultations with higher level Directorates officials for obtaining guidance, advice necessary for the implementation of developmental programmes. He mentioned that whereas the counterparts in the Jaintia Hills Districts, West Khasi Hills District and Ri-Bhoi District can easily contact the officers of the concerned Directorates to obtain guidance, do not have to travel a long distance or without losing much time and expenses for travel cost, the officers from Garo Hills cannot do so and that it was on this basis, that the Government, in the previous years of the State and decided to ensure opening of Senior departmental officers of Joint Directorates at Tura and in pursuance of this decision, the Government is continuing to endeavour to bring the administration closer to the public and that with this end in view, seventeen departments have been functioning in Tura at the Joint Directorates level so far.

        The Chief Minister further informed that the Government proposed to create more Joint Director level posts during the current year to ensure adequate supervision of field works at Tura and the other three districts.

        As regards the creation of the post of Joint Secretary to be located at Tura, he stated that the creation of the said post may serve no useful purpose since the joint secretary is a secretarial level officer who is supported by either the Deputy Secretary of the Under Secretary and other Secretarial staff.

        Welcoming the suggestion by the Leader of Opposition to have proper planning in working out the staffing pattern to see that sanctions of schemes are not delayed, the Chief Minster, stated that the Government had taken up many review meetings especially at his level along with the concerned departments on the question of sanction for schemes, schemes that normally come up during the last quarter of the financial year to see that these schemes are cleared as early as possible and that they should be submitted in time. He assured that the matter would receive the highest attention of the Government in this regard and he clarified to other queries raised by the mover and the participants.

        Shri H.S. Lyngdoh, moved motion No.3.

        "This House do now discuss the law and order situation prevailing in the State of Meghalaya".

        Dwelling at length on the prevailing law and order situation, the hon. mover mentioned of the increasing criminal activities in Shillong and in the whole State. Quoting newspapers Report published in "U Mawphor" dated 3.07.2001, he called for clarification from the Minister in-charge vis-a-vis the news item. 

        He also referred to similar act of crimes by the militant outfits who were camping in a cave in Nongriangmaw and Mawthengkut in the West Khasi Hills District since the last few years but no action was taken by the Government to tackle the problem. He further mentioned of the extortion by the militants on trucks plying in the West Khasi Hills and East Garo Hills Districts and also on villages of the  two districts. Citing an example of a boy from Mawsikhar who was badly beaten by the outfits, he called for necessary action from the Government in this regard.

        Shri R.G. Lyngdoh, Shri P.M. Syiem and Shri D.D. Lapang, Leader of Opposition took part. The Leader of the Opposition, demanded that an enquiry should be instituted to enquire into the allegation published in "U Mawphor" dt.3.07.2001 that "NERA is an agent of the Police". His deliberation remains inconclusive - to be continued next time.

7.HALF AN HOUR DISCUSSION UNDER RULE 49(1) :

        Shri P.M. Syiem, raised a half an hour discussion under Rule 49(1) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business with regard to matters arising out of replies to Starred question No.87 dated 21.6.2001. 

        He wanted to know the reason why austerity measures and guidelines, were not strictly adhered to, by the Government in respect of purchase of luxury cars and foreign tours by the Ministers and also on the 10 percent cut on Non-Plan expenditure.

        In reply to the points raised by the mover, Shri A.H. Scott Lyngdoh, Finance Minister stated that this questions of austerity measures on purchase of vehicles and foreign tours relates to the fiscal progress and austerity measures announced by the Government of India during 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 especially for the Central Ministers, offices and these guidelines were forwarded to the State Government for guidance and for the officers on deputation and that in case the State Government feels necessary to do so, it has the discretion, to share and implement such fiscal austerity measures if it is considered appropriate with or without modification.

        The Minister in-charge further apprised the august House that the Government is continuing to enforce the economy measures in regard expenditure both under the Plan and Non-Plan since 1992-93 and that during the  financial years 1999-2000, 2000-2001, in addition to the economic austerity measures, the State Government has imposed an economy cut of 7 percent and 10 percent respectively on budgetary allocations under Non-Plan.

        With regard to purchase of vehicles, he stated that these measures do not restrict the Government to purchase vehicles after replacement of inserviceable vehicles required for functioning of official duties of for undertaking tours connected with development of the State.

        Clarifying the necessity of foreign tours, the Minister in-charge stated that foreign tours to Rome and China was for obtaining external assistance for the State and that both these trips were approved by the Government of India. He further replied to the clarification sought by the mover on the 7% and 10% cut of expenditure on Plan and Non-Plan.

8.PROROGATION :

        The House rose at 2 p.m. and stood prorogued.

Secretary,

Meghalaya Legislative Assembly,

Shillong.