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.
Starred questions Nos. 53 to 63 with Supplementaries thereto, Nos.64 to 72 without Supplementary were disposed of. Unstarred questions Nos.22 to 25 to which written answers have been given, were laid on the tables.
Under Rule 300 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, Shri. T.H. Rangad, raised a point of order with regard to the Notification issued by the Assembly Secretariat on the constitution of the High Power Committee for selection/finalisation of tenders for the reconstruction of the new Assembly building and other matters connected thereto. He stated that this High Power Committee was not technical in nature and proposed that the reconstruction of the building be taken up by the technical department under the supervision of technical experts.
Replying to the point of order, the Chair pointed out that this High Power Committee comprises of technical experts and officials of the concerned departments and it was not a fact that technical personnel was not included.
Shri. T.H. Rangad called the attention of the Minister incharge Education, under Rule 54 (1) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business to the news item appearing in "Mawphor" dt. 28th March, 2002, under the caption "Ujor ka FKJGP sha u Mintri Pule Puthi halor ka Tender Pynbiang Computer."
Moving this Calling Attention motion on the above subject, Shri. T.H. Rangad, stated that specifications on the N.I.T. are very specific and exclusive barring other companies from posting the tenders for computerisation of the Education Department. He requested the concerned department to review this tender again in consultation with the Information Technology department by keeping it in abeyance so as to give a chance to local entrepreneurs who would like to take up the job. He urged upon the Minister incharge of Education and the department as a whole to go through this entire computer education process and review the whole thing so that it does not suffer but produce the best result in the State.
In reply to the Calling Attention notice, Dr. Donkupar Roy, Minister incharge Education apprised the hon. Member from Laban that the contention of the FKJGP as appeared in the news item was not true as the terms and conditions have been prepared after proper thought and having gone through the terms and conditions of other States in the country with an objective not to prevent the local institutions to bid but to ensure that the students of the State have quality IT education at part with other States in the country and that the certificate received are well recognized by all States in the country. He also stated that it is necessary to tie up directly with the company to ensure that the experience which they have in other States will be shared and this will benefit our students and that since the companies that have tendered have already implemented similar projects in other States in the country, the risk that the project may fail is minimized as has been clearly indicated in the tender paper that all these big companies/institutions should have local partners/franchise at Shillong or Meghalaya in order to ensure that local people are benefited from this project and at the same time students get quality IT education.
The Minister incharge further stated that there was no ill motive on the part of the Department while laying stiff norms and that it was with the sole objective of providing quality IT education to the students of the State, and to ensure them a brighter future and that besides the terms and conditions before fixing, were duly vetted by the Department of Information Technology, Meghalaya. He assured that the points raised by the mover have been taken note of and will be looked into by the concerned department.
Shri. Sujit K. Sangma took part in the resolution moved by Shri. N.N. Simchan on 20.3.2002. He reiterated the need to extend more financial assistance to the Higher Secondary School at Rongjeng and requested the Government to release the sanctioned grant immediately to avoid any untoward situation threatened by the teachers and to enhance the amount from Rs.30,000 per month to Rs.1,05,000 per month. He supported the Resolution.
In reply to the points, raised by the mover of the resolution and the participants, Dr. Donkupar Roy, State Education Minister, informed the House that the authority to give opening permission to colleges in the State lies with the N.E.H.U. and does not entail financial commitment by the State Government. However, he stated that the State Government is not in a position to extend additional grant to non-Government Colleges due to financial constraints. He gave detailed figures of grant-in-aid extended to non-Government Colleges upto 1-2-1999 and assured that the Government is committed to extend financial assistance to private colleges by giving a lumpsum grant-in-aid as and when permits. He requested the mover to withdraw his resolution.
The resolution was withdrawn by the mover with the leave of the House.
Shri. N.N. Simchang moved the following special Motion under Rule 130 (A) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business.
"That this House do not discuss the matter of urgent and public importance regarding the order issued by the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council imposing house tax to the Rabhas, Kochs and Hajongs residing in Garo Hills.
The mover stated that recently the autonomous District Council of Garo Hills has issued an order to the Rabha, Koches and Hajong residing in akhing land not in cadastral areas to pay house tax with immediate effect. He requested the State Government to take up the matter with the Garo Hills District Council so that these people are exempted from double taxation.
Replying to the points, Shri. H.S. Lyngdoh, Minister incharge of District Council Affairs informed the House that imposition of house tax and land revenue was imposed by the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council under the provision 47 of the Assam Land Regulation, 1886 as adopted by the Government of Meghalaya as well as by the concerned District Council for the purpose of levying house tax in every male member who has attained 18 years of age taking part in cultivation of land at any time during the year of assessment or on each family or house and that the rate of tax, the class of person, the locality and the mode in which it may be assessed, shall be determined by the State Government. The Minister incharge stated that on the basis of this Regulation, the District Council of Garo Hills in a meeting held on 26-3-2002, had decided to impose house tax on land revenue on the Rabha, Koches and Hajongs residing in East, West and South Garo Hills and accordingly had issued an order to this effect on 11th May, 2001. However, he assured that he will take up with the Garo Hills District Council to see that these people do not have to pay double taxation.
Shri. T.H. Rangad, moved motion No.1 of Second batch :
"With a view to ensuring meritorious recruitment of the various Government services, this House do now discuss the need to amend the relevant provisions of the Meghalaya Public Service Commission (Limitation of Functions) Regulation 1972".
The mover emphasized of the necessity to review the provisions of the M.P.S.C. (Limitation of functions) Regulations 1972 and that a time frame be provided for holding of examination. He proposed that Government should identify the area for constructing the examination hall by allotting sufficient space for conducting examinations and for use by other departments and to reconsider the whole examination and interview procedure so that there is no over-recommendation by the M.P.S.C. The mover also lamented on the inadequacy of staff, equipments in the M.P.S.C.
Shri. K.C. Boro took part.
Replying, Shri. L.A. Sangma, Minister incharge programme Implementation & Evaluation apprised the mover and the participant that the M.P.S.C. is a constitutional body and its primary function is to conduct examinations for appointment to the services in the State and that no direct recruitment to services in the different departments of the Government could be done except through M.P.S.C. as provided in paras I and II of the M.P.S.C. (Limitation of functions) Regulation 1972 as laid down in the Constitutional provision of Article 320 (3) of the Constitution of India. The Minister incharge gave a categorical outline on the procedure of recruitment by the M.P.S.C. However, he stated that Government is taking steps to modernise the examination system of the M.P.S.C. and fund have been provided in the current budget 2002-2003 to solve the problem of accommodation, for holding of examinations etc. and that Government is exploring the possibility of re-arranging the present accommodation so that sufficient rooms are provided to the M.P.S.C. for conducting examinations. As regard delay in conducting examinations, the Minister incharge further informed that such examinations have to be held during holidays in schools and colleges due to no availability of its own examinations hall by the M.P.S.C.
To another point raised by Shri. K.C. Boro, the Minister incharge stated that the MPSC is functioning with impartiality, without bias or prejudice towards any community and should recommend a person for appointment in line with the statutory provisions laid down and that appointment of a member of the MPSC. from the minority community is not considered necessary.
Shri. T.H. Rangad moved motion No.2 :
"With a view of curtailing Government expenses this House do now discuss the need to stop creating of posts of Chairmen with Minister of State or Minister rank with all facilities simply to accommodate the MLAs of the Ruling site."
Moving his motion, Shri. T.H. Rangad, expressed great concern on the appointment of Chairmen by the Government which has resulted in wastage of public money. He cited examples of a Minister holding the charge of minor departments like Weights and Measures and Printing and Stationery whereby a single file could hardly go to him within a year. He further drew an instances from the Government of Assam whereby the cost of administrative machinery was so high and felt that this should not be allowed to happen in Meghalaya. He suggested that only professionals should be posted as Chairmen and not persons from political parties.
Shri. C.R. Marak, Shri. N.N. Simchang supported the motion whereas Shri. Sujit K. Sangma opposed.
Replying, Shri. D.D. Lapang, Deputy Chief Minister stated that under the National policy, the State is expected to adopt decentralisation of fund in order to bring administration closer to the people.
He mentioned that during the inception of the State there were only three districts, three Development Blocks whereas today, there are seven districts and thirty nine Blocks. With regard to the posts of Chairmen, he stated that in the D.P.D.Cs. they need proper monitoring of the schemes at the District level and it is imperative to have the Ministers or Ministers of State involved in developmental works at the State level since their concentration as Chairmen is upto expectation and that as per guidelines of the Government of India that without proper planning development will not come in its right perspective. The Deputy Chief Minister, further stated that though the department is small, yet is has to extend full exercise in the jurisdiction to implement the schemes and to find out avenues to channelise the funds properly. He called for the cooperation of members from the Opposition to work together for the speedy development of the State and replied to the clarifications of the mover and participants.
Since the time was 2 p.m. the House stood adjourned to meet again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, the 3rd April, 2002.
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