MEGHALAYA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

RE-ASSEMBLE BUDGET SESSION, 2001

BULLETIN NO. 2

(Monday, the 18th  June, 2001)

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

1. QUESTIONS :

        Starred questions Nos.1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 with supplementaries thereto, Nos.5, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31 without supplementary, were disposed of.

2. POINT OF ORDER :

        Quoting Rule 300 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, Shri Sujit K. Sangma referred to the decisions of the special meeting held in the Chamber of the Hon'ble Speaker on 15th  June, 2001. Mentioning of the contradiction in the First and Second Sentences of the report, the hon. Member, argued that as Members of the Standing Committees, they have visited Kerela, West Bengal and the Parliament where such Committees existed and found that there was no such rule restricting Cut motions to the Demands for Grants on the departments falling under the purview of the Standing Committees. He suggested that the decision of the Special Meeting should be reviewed and Cut motions be allowed on those subjects falling under the purview of the Standing Committees and since the date for presentation of the Reports by the Standing Committees was fixed on 22.06.2001 and not on the first date of the Session under the provision of the rules, so that members can participate in the general discussion on the budget, the hon. Member, further suggested that the Calendar should be revised and the Business Advisory Committee be re-convened so that some days are extended.

        Shri R.G. Lyngdoh, Shri K.C. Boro, Shri T.C. Lyngdoh, Shri N.N. Simchang took part and endorsed the suggestion put forth by the hon. Member from Rongjeng.

        Shri C.R. Marak, quoted Rules 260 (g) and Rule 268 (a) on the functions of the Standing Committees and expressed the view that for the present session, the House should go by the calendar already approved by the House. However, he proposed that in future whatever suggestions from the opposition side, they must be taken due consideration by the Committee.

        Shri H.S. Lyngdoh, pointed out that he has attended the meeting on 15th June, 2001 and signed the attendance register. He stated that he had given his suggestion that he did not agree with the decision of the meeting.

        Shri T.N. Marak, Shri Augustine D. Marak, Dr. Mukul Sangma, Shri D.N. Joshi and Shri P.M. Syiem took part and suggested to review the decision and Cut motions to Demands for grants should be allowed as usual although there are Standing Committees.

        Shri D.D. Lapang, Leader of Opposition participated. He apprised that he had called the meeting of the U.M.P.F. on the evening of 15th June, 2001 on this subject and had discussed carefully on the question of the report of the Standing Committees that it should be presented on the First day of the commencement of this Session so that it can  be circulated to the Members of the House of time. Referring to the Calendar, the Leader of Opposition, pointed out that 22nd is a Friday and it is expected that the House to rise at 12 noon but on that date, the reply of the Finance Minister and also presentation of Reports of Standing Committees have also been fixed thereby leaving no scope for discussion on the reports. However, he said that the members of the Standing Committees in the U.M.P.F. meeting on 15th were not happy with that decision of the special meeting convened by the Chair since they felt that transparency was missing and for that reason, he said, as the Senior leader from the Opposition side, he had called on the Speaker today at 9.30 a.m. to seek clarification on this since he was afraid that the interest in the Standing Committees has been lost and requested the Chair to review the decision in this regard.

        Shri Salseng C. Marak, participated and said that the Standing Committees have been constituted on experimental basis in line with parliamentary practices. In so far as Meghalaya is concerned, the hon. Member, pointed out that the problem here has cropped up because of arrangement of the Calendar. He opined that had the Calendar been very clear and specific in programming the business of the House, the general discussion on the budget presented by the Finance Minister should have come first in the month of March to enable the Standing Committees to go into the various items of grants on the respective departments and by this time the Standing Committees should have finalised the report and presented to the House on the first day of the commencement of this Session. But since there is  no specific provision in the Rules whether there should be cut motion or not, he suggested to refer this matter to the Rules Committee and requested the Chair to re-convene the meeting to review the decision.

        Clarifying the point of order brought by the hon. Member from Rongjeng, Shri E.K. Mawlong, Chief Minister and also leader of the House, stated that the Committee system had been introduced in this House on the basis of the practice in parliament and some legislatures in the country since over the years, they have not been able to discuss many of the Demands on Grants. He cited on example that out of sixty number of such demands, hardly only five or six of them have been disposed of and that in order to do justice to the budget, it was considered necessary to adopt on experimental basis this Committee system since there were only twelve development departments. He further stated that two months time have been given to the Standing Committees to study the budget since the House met first on March this year and thereafter, the House was adjourned, and now that the House has been re-convened in June, it is expected that the Standing Committees may be able to submit their reports but unfortunately, it appears that these Committees have not been able to meet because of various reasons. He suggested that for this time, keeping in view the sentiments of the members on the need to discuss the demands for grants through Cut motions, the House may allow Cut motions to be tabled and discussed and if necessary, the Chair may convene a meeting in his Chamber with some of the leaders whether to adopt the same system as done in the past. As regard the need to continue with the Committee system, he suggested that it depends on the members of the House. However, he expressed the view that the matter should be entrusted to the Rules Committee and to take the views of the members and that for the time being in this Session, members may be allowed to submit their Cut motions to all the demands.

4.RULING FROM THE CHAIR :

        Having heard the opinion from both sides of the House on this question, the Chair agreed to review the decision and to re-convene the meeting within a day or two and to issue invitation letters to the members to be invited to this meeting accordingly.

5.GENERAL DISCUSSION ON THE BUDGET :

        Dr. Mukul Sangma, initiated the general discussion on the budget. He suggested increase allocation of funds to the key development departments and requested the Government to present the actual fiscal position of the State and not to resort to loan component from NABARD and other agencies unnecessarily. He reiterated re-allocation of funds to the Health, Agriculture, Industries, Soil Conservation, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary departments, P.W.D. and other development sectors.

        The hon. Member, lamented at the plight of the farmers living in the flood prone areas in West Garo Hills and urged the Government to take immediate steps to extend relief measures to the victims affected by the cyclone and natural calamities who were now shelterless in the Betasing Block and adjacent areas. He stated that if it is a surplus budget, people have a right to get the relief in  time otherwise, he felt that it is a gross violation of fundamental right of the people. He further pleaded for the setting up of a maternity-cum-child Hospital in Tura as that in the Ganesh Das hospital in Shillong. He also suggested updating of the Industrial policy, 1997 and to increase the incentives for agro-based Industries so that the agro-based products can  be converted into value added products in order to boost the revenue of the State.

        Shri H.S. Lyngdoh took part but since the time was up his deliberations remains inconclusive, to continue on the next day.

6.ADJOURNMENT :

        The House rose at 2 p.m. and stood adjourned till 10 a.m. on Tuesday, the 19th June, 2001.

Secretary,

Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.