Proceedings of the Fourth Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly assembled under the provision of the Assam Re - organisation Meghalaya Act, 1969

The Assembly met at 10 A.M. on Monday, the 15th June, 1971 with the Speaker in the Chair.

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PRESENT

        Prof. R. S. Lyngdoh, Speaker in the Chair five Ministers, one Minister of State and forty Members.

Mr. Speaker :- Hon. Members of the House, the first item of today's list of business is the announcement of the Report of the Business Advisory Committee.

        I called a meeting of the Business Advisory Committee on the 7th June, 1971 to settle the Business for the current Budget Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. A draft calendar for the meetings of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly prepared by my Secretariat was circulated to the hon. Members present in the Committee. The Committee had considered the draft calendar and approved the same, a copy of the approved calendar has already been circulated to all the hon. Members

        I hope this has the approval of the House.

        Now the second item of today's list of business is the announcement of the names of Members nominated to the Panel of Chairmen for the current Budget Session of the Assembly :- 

        I appoint the following personnel to the Panel of Chairman under Rule 9 of the Assembly Rules for the current session of the Assembly :-

  1. Shri John Deng Pohrmen, M.L.A.
  2. Shri Rokendro Dhkar, M.L.A
  3. Shri Singjan Sangma, M.L.A
  4. Shri Nimosh Sangma, M.L.A.

        The third item of today's list of business is the announcement of the resignation of an hon. Member.

        Under Rule 186 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Assam Legislative Assembly as modified and adapted for the purpose of Meghalaya legislative Assembly, I hereby inform the House that Shri Simon Jenkin Duncan an elected Member of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, has duly resigned his seat in the said Assembly by writing under his hand addressed to the Speaker with effect from the forenoon of 19th April, 1971 which reads as follows :-              

"The Speaker,

Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, Shillong.

Sir, 

        I beg to report the resignation of my seat in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly with effect from the 19th April, 1971 (forenoon).

Yours faithfully,

S.J. DUNCAN"

19-4-1971.

Mr. Speaker :- Now I would request the Hon'ble Finance Minister to read the budget Speech for 1971 -72, a copy of which would be circulated to all the hon. members.


BUDGET SPEECH.

Mr. BRINGTON BUHAI LYNGDOH (Minister Finance) :- Mr. Speaker. Sir., I rise to present to the House the Budget for the year 1971 -72. This is only the second year of the Autonomous State but it rings, in the hope, of her attaining full statehood soon. The momentous announcement made in this behalf by the Prime Minister in Parliament on the 10th of November last has been received with great joy and appreciation by the people of this State. We hope that the Government of India would quickly respond to the enthusiasm of the people and give this a concrete shape by introducing the bill of the full statehood to Meghalaya in the current Session of Parliament. In it only will the political processes find the happy culmination which the people of this region aspired for and struggled with remarkable patience for all these years.

        Unfortunately, however our State and the entire nation for that matter, are passing through very great strain and stress on account of the happenings across the border in East Bengal. The war between an organised army and the unarmed civil population in East Pakistan has cast a very dark shadow over the entire sub - continent. Hundreds and thousands of people men, women, and children, ole feeble and injured are seeking refuge in our territory. We have so far two and a half lakh of evacuees in Meghalaya and many more are daily pouring  in along the entire stretch of the border. The problem is assuming alarming proportions everyday. As the Hon'ble Members are aware the functions relating to Relief and Rehabilitation are carried out by the State Government on behalf of the Government of India and Government of India bears the entire expenditure Till recently, the Government of Assam was functioning as such agent of the Government of India for Meghalaya area as well. Now Government of Meghalaya has been looking after the functions failing with in its area. The State Government has been doing whatever possible to provide shelter, food, medical aid, etc. to the refugees. I shall be giving a detailed account for the relief work done by The State Government elsewhere in  the speech. This is a gigantic task. It has caused a good deal of strain in the economy of the border people, which itself has been in a bad shape for all these years after the partition of the country. Naturally, our people are worried. It has been the endeavour of the Government of India to send back the refugees to their respective places as soon as a favourable condition is created in East Bengal for their safe return. Government are also aware of the possibility of undesirable elements like agent provocateurs, saboteurs and Pakistani spies coming into our country along with the refugees. This matter has also been receiving serious attention of the Government.

        The administrative machinery of Meghalaya both in the Secretariat and the Directorate has been set up by and large on the basis of the recommendation of the Department of Administrative Reforms of the  Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. The system of integrated Directorate with the Secretariat has been adopted in a number of selected departments with a view to ensuring efficient discharge of functions, particularly in matters relating to developmental programmes. The functioning of the basic structure of the administrative machinery is not well on the way.

        Government have decided to create a full fledged district in the Jaintia Hills and two more Civil Sub Divisions, one at Nongstoin in Khasi Hills and the other at Simsanggiri in Garo Hills.

        Considering the difficulties of getting experienced and trained staff from Assam, direct recruitment of certain posts in the secretariat and the Directorate is being made. In order to have a uniform standard of recruitment for the various posts which are outside the purview of the Assam Public Services Commission, Government have set up a Selection Board consisting of a Chairman and two other members. The Board has already taken up its work.

Review of economic condition.

        The trend of the economy in the State follows to a large measure the main trends of the national economy. A review of the national economy on the basis of the provision estimates prepared by the Central Statistical organisation indicates that the growth of the national income of India at 1960-61 prices was only 2.4 per cent during the year 1968-69 over that of the previous year. This rate of growth was not sufficient to offset the rate previous year. This rate of growth was no sufficient to offset the rate of population growth and consequently the per capita income for the year slipped back slightly.

        The unemployment problem continued to deteriorate and in certain parts of the country, it seemed to be coming near the explosion point. Government of India is fully alive to the problem. A Committee has also been set up to go into all aspects of the problem. A crash programme on a nation wide basis is under implementation from April this year through a net work of labour intensive programmes. This programme would cost Rs.50 crores a year and is designed to create over 4,00,000 additional jobs. It may also generate a multiplier effect each year. An allocation of Rs.25 lakhs for the two districts of Meghalaya has been made under a centrally sponsored scheme for the year 1971-72.

        The pressure of rising price was keenly felt in Meghalaya during 1970. The production of rice in Meghalaya in 1970-71 on indication available appeared to have increased only marginally from 1.08 lakhs tonnes in the year before to 1.12 lakh tonnes. Floods damaged autumn paddy in some 2,400 hectares. Maize production was also virtually at the same level of about 8,000 tonnes. Last year potato suffered very badly and the production went down to 68 thousand tonnes from 106 thousand tonnes in the previous year.

Flood and other natural calamities.

        Extensive damage was caused by flood to standing crops in the plain areas lying on the Western and the Southern part of the Garo Hills District and communication was also disrupted. Government have considered the measures necessary to stop recurrence of floods in these areas. Three Flood Control Schemes, namely. (1) Construction of Bund at Nidanpur (Garo Hills) (2) Construction of Bund at Gialbari (Garo Hills) and (3) The Construction of Bund at Dawki (Jaintia Hills) were included in our draft plan proposal. The first two schemes are meant for protection against floods  of Jinjiram River which is a tributary of the Brahmaputra and the third scheme envisages protection from the Bian River of a highway and some buildings. For undertaking investigation of these schemes, an allocation of Rs.5 lakhs has been made for 1971-72 with a total fourth plan outlay of Rs.40 lakhs within the overall outlay for the State. The first two schemes will have to be taken up in consultation with the Brahmaputra Flood Control Commission also as these relate to tributaries of the Brahmaputra. The State was affected by unprecedented rainfall during 1970 and the turn out of crops was on the whole unsatisfactory. Scarcity conditions and economic distress in some areas necessitated relief measures from the Government. During the year 1970-71. Government have sanctioned Rs.3,97,000 for Border Relief Schemes, Rs.1,84,500 for Test Relief Work in scarcity areas not covered by the Border Relief Scheme and another amount of Rs.1,17,100 for Graduation Relief to the people affected by floods and other natural calamities, etc.

Fourth Plan and the Annual Plans

        The Planning Commission has not so far agreed to increase the Fourth Plan outlay from Rs.38 crores which was carved out as Meghalaya's share from the total outlay of Rs.65 crores for the Integrated Hill Plan  of Assam. We tried to impress upon the Planning Commission that the needs of a new State like ours cannot be met by carving out a share of the Integrated Hill Plan alone. In order to make up the deficiency we have drawn up special programme outside the Plan relating to regrouping of villages, rehabilitation of the border area economy, roads of economic and strategic importance, Shillong water supply and development of towns. The total cost of these programmes is Rs.37.70 crores of which our requirement for the 4th Plan period would be of the order of Rs.13.95 crores. The Schemes were submitted to the Prime Minister also. We have not yet received a final decision of the Government of India and the Planning Commission. Some of these schemes are still in the process of examination in the concerning Ministries of the Government of India and in respect of the schemes like regrouping of villages in Garo Hills and the improvement of Shillong, there have been favourable indication that Government of India might agree.

        For the annual Plan of 1970-71, the Planning Commission fixed the outlay at Rs.7.25 crores of which Rs.7.10 crores from the central assistance, 90 per cent as grant and 10 per cent as loan. For 1971-92, a draft plan of the order of Rs.11.70 crores was submitted to the Planning Commission. There were several rounds of discussion on the draft Plan and finally, the size of the Annual Plan for 1971-72 has been fixed at Rs.7.95 crores.

        Before I go into the budgetary position, I would like to place before the Hon'ble Members of the House a brief account of the important activities and development of some of the Departments.

Communication

        In pursuance of our policy to give first priority of Roads, the Public Works Department of Meghalaya has mobilised all available technical and financial resources to take up execution  of road works all over the State. Rupees 325 lakhs have been allotted this year for these works alone.

        The important achievement during the year 1970-71 is the completion of Dudnai bridge the first high level permanent bridge in Meghalaya which was formally opened to traffic on 27th November, 1970. Another major bridge that has been completed during 1970-71 is Mahadeo Bridge on the Baghmara-Maheshkhola Road. With the completion of this bridge, the bottleneck of through communication in the border areas of Garo Hills has been removed to a great extent. Works on several other important roads and bridges are in hand of the Department.

Water Supply

        The Public Health Engineering Department undertook several water supply schemes with a target expenditure of Rs.41.00 lakhs during the year 1970-71.

        Schemes like Umsong, Thadrang, Thyllaw, Thangsning, Lawsohtun, Umkardaw, Lamin and Cherrapunji have been completed in this year. These schemes will benefit a population of 11,600 approximately covering an area of 9 villages. The work of the 16 continuing schemes like Mawlai, Rymbai, Baghmara, etc., are in progress and it is expected that 9 of these schemes will be completed during 1971-72.

        Besides these, it is proposed to take up 40 new schemes both in urban and rural areas in 1971-72 in order to achieve the physical target to give benefit to a population of 41,580 approximately.

Agriculture

        The Agriculture programmes for the Fourth Five Year Plan have been drawn up with the two main objectives of creating conditions conductive to accelerating the pace of agricultural production and to enlist people's participation in the adoption of improved agricultural practices. This will be done by systematic efforts to extend the application of science and technology, creation of more favorable economic environment strengthening of the administration and supervisory machinery, assuring adequate supply of inputs and other requirements and bringing more areas under minor irrigation wherever facilities therefore exist. The annual plan for the year 1971-72 is  Rs.67.00 lakhs from the total 4th Plan approved outlay of Rs.289 lakhs. The target of additional food production aimed at during 1971-72 is 150 thousand tonnes against 117 thousand tonnes and 123 thousand tonnes established for 1969-70 and 1970-71 respectively.

        The target of additional areas proposed to be brought under minor irrigation during 1971-72 is 3,600 hectares. The scheme for Land Reclamation aims at bringing 5,520 hectares or more areas under cultivation. An area of 5,000 hectares is proposed to be brought under high yielding varieties of rice, while improved varieties of seeds will cover about 28,220 hectares during the year. For the transport subsidy scheme for carrying fertilizers to the interior, Government sanctioned an amount of Rs.2.74 lakhs during 1970-71 and the scheme will be continued this  year also. Provision has also been made for Plant protection measures, agricultural implements, commercially crops, manures and fertilizers.

        Horticulture plays an important role in the economy of the State. A comprehensive plan for horticultural research and development has been taken in hand.

        In my last Budget Speech, a mention was made of the schemes for the introduction of a Small Farmers Development Agency and a Marginal Farms Agricultural Labour Agency. Government of India have since allocated two projects of composite type, one in the U.K.J. Hills and  the other in Garo Hills.

        Further, certain scheme to be financed by grant assistance, with foreign collaboration under the Freedom from Hunger Campaign Programme are likely to be approved by Government of India for this State. These schemes relate to training of progressive farmers by organising demonstration on farmers fields, organisation of training camps, short institutional training courses, discussion groups and setting up a custom services unit. At the instance of this Government again, the Government of India is considering favourably a proposal for locating a special project for intensive development of agricultural and allied subjects, with Norwegian collaboration. This Government also propose to set up certain agro - based industries with financial assistance from various institutions including the World Bank. A project report in the matter has already been submitted to the Government of India for consideration. The required funds for these special projects will be available outside the State Plan allocation.

Animal Husbandry and Dairy

        The schemes under this sector have been designed, as I mentioned in my last Budget Speech, with the objectives of increasing the supply of protective foods, and for that matter to improve the animal health as well as to diversify the economy of small farmers. The total approved  outlay for Animal Husbandry and Diary Development Schemes during the Fourth Plan Period is Rs.150 lakhs. The approved allocation for 1971-72 is Rs.22 lakhs against Rs.20 lakhs for 1970-71. The schemes included in the Plan relate to establishment of new Veterinary Dispensaries and improvement of existing Veterinary Dispensaries, establishment of two Key Village Blocks, one intensive cattle development project, re - organisation of Live stock Farms accelerating the pace of cattle, poultry, piggery sheep and goat development schemes. Under the Dairy Development Programme, a scheme for a Central Diary is proposed besides extension of the coverage under the rural milk supply scheme. One creamery is also proposed to be established at Tura during 1971-72.

Fisheries

        In the sector for development of fishery, the schemes included in the Fourth plan relate to establishment of fish seed farms, financial assistance to private pisciculturists, conservation and protection of river and other natural fisheries, research and training and development of reservoirs. The administrative and supervisory machinery will be strengthened. An allocation of Rs.4.00 lakhs has been provided for the year 1971-72. The target of fish production during the Fourth Plan period is 1,000 tonnes and for this year production of 200 tonnes has been aimed at.

Weights and Measures Organisation

        The Metric system of Weights and Measures is compulsory in all transactions for trade and commerce. The State Government is taking necessary steps for enforcing the provisions of the Weights and Measures Act and Rules for the benefit of the people. To educate the people about the need for adoption of the Metric system fir proper weights and measurement, arrangement for adequate publicity is also being made.

Community Development

        Community Development Programme is implemented in 24 blocks in this State. Out of these blocks, 13 are in Stage II and 11 are in Post Stage II. The Programme for Community Development being part of the over all programme of the State as a whole, the aim is to provide extension services to the rural areas. Steps will be taken to improve village roads to connect with roads as many villages as may be possible with the available resources.

        The developmental activities of the blocks would also be augmented by the funds available from the Government of India under the Tribal Development Schemes.

        Besides the centrally assisted scheme of Applied Nutrition Programme and the centrally sponsored scheme of Pilot Research Project in Growth Centres will be implemented.

Co-operation.

        The Co-operation Movement in the State is yet to secure a deep and firm footing. A joint Centre-State Team which undertook a study of the movement some years back recommended that almost all cooperative activities in the State, i.e. credit supply of essential commodities, marketing of produce should centre round Marketing Societies known as the Sub area Co-operative Marketing Societies. The co-operative Development Programme is being oriented to this approach and  some progress has been made towards building up a more a effective structure in credit and other allied fields We have 21 Sub - Area Marketing Societies in the State up to 1970-71 with about 400 affiliated Service Societies.

        The setting up of the Meghalaya Co-operative Apex Bank in February 1971 marks an important development in this sector. The Bank has at present an authorised share capital of Rs.50 lakhs. The State Government has also participated with a share capital contribution of Rs.6 lakhs and other managerial assistance in the year 1970-71 Government also propose to take up the establishment of a Co - operative Training Institute during 1971-72.

        In this State, there is great demand for fertilizers and the Assam Hills Co-operative Development Corporation is taking up and the agency for distribution of chemical fertilizer to the Societies in this State.

        The Fourth Plan outlay for Co-operation is Rs.120 lakhs and for 1971-72 an allocation of Rs.18 lakhs has been made.

        The Hon'ble Members of this august  House, while participating in the last year's Budget discussion rightly expressed considerable interest in the working of the Co - operative Development programme in the State I also associated my feelings in this regard. The Co-operative Sector has a tremendous role to play in the economic development of the State. Government will continue to extend all possible help and support to bring about a healthy growth of the movement. But unless the Government efforts are supported by vigorous participation of the people the movement cannot succeed. In this respect, I believe the Hon'ble Members can make significant contribution for the success of the Co-operative Movement in the State.

Forest.

        As regards forests our aim is to gradually increase our dwindling forest areas up to the national standard of 60 per cent. This aim will be achieved through afforestation and also by acquiring barren land for reservations.

        This year besides, taking up the usual schemes of afforestation of valuable species to replace the shrub forest, it is also proposed to take up new method of proper land use like farm forestry. Also to maintain sustained supply of water in the existing hydro - electric project and to check soil erosion it is proposed to take up the conservation works in the catchment areas of these projects. Further, greater stress will be  laid upon the plantation of economic, medical and fast growing species to meet the existing needs of the forests based industries. An amount of Rs.20 lakhs is proposed to be spent on various plan schemes during the current financial year.

Soil conservation

        The principal object of the Soil Conservation Programme is to wean away the people from the evil practice of jhum cultivation and destruction of forests by fire which leads to terrible consequences in the form of soil erosion and reduction of soil fertility The main programme of works for implementation of the Soil Conservation Scheme relates to (1) Afforestation of eroded hill slopes of these regions, (2) Terracing of hill slopes for settle cultivation, (3) Pasture Development and (4) Cash Crop Development. An area of 1974 acres have so far been covered under the above afforestation programme. Similarly, 2281 acres under Terracing for settled cultivation and 187 acres for Pasture Development respectively were taken up during 1970-71. The Soil Conservation Programme has an allocation of Rs.118 lakhs for the Fourth Plan period and for the year 1971-72 Rs.18 lakhs have been provided

General Education 

        Expansion and improvement programmes under the head General Education call for the a cautions approach and the Education Department has now addressed itself to the task of taking stock of the actual affairs for a proper assessment. Hon'ble Members are aware that Government desired to set up a Committee to go into the various aspects of education system in Meghalaya. Such a Committee is being set up soon.

        During the current session, Honours Classes in Economics and Political Science have been introduced in the Tura Government  College. Step are also being taken to introduce Pre - University Science course in the next session.

        In the field of Secondary Education, efforts are being continued for its improvement. Recurring and non - recurring grants-in-aid to the Government Secondary Schools for the pay of teachers, construction and extension of buildings, purchase of requirements etc., are being provided  to the extent, possible. Similarly , Government will continue to give aid to the District Councils as usual for maintenance and control of the Primary Education which is entirely under the District Councils. Which Attention also has been paid to its expansion programme in consultation with the District Councils.

Technical Education

        The Shillong Polytechnic at Mawlai is being strengthened with the required staff as well as the provision of necessary tools and equipment for imparting training in various diploma courses of Engineering. Facilities for water supply, electrification, transport staff quarter etc., in the Institutions are receiving urgent attention of the Government.

Health

        We have at present 4 hospital and 67 dispensaries in the State, it is proposed to establish two more hospitals and 6 dispensaries in the State during the year 1971-72. The number of beds is also proposed to be increased by another 172. There are at present 175 beds. Besides, three more Primary Health Centres, one T.B Clinic and 3 Maternity and Child Welfare Centres are proposed to be established during this financial year. The construction of a 25 bedded hospital at Cherrapunjee is in progress and is like to be completed within this year.

        In order to ease the difficulty of getting qualified  doctors to work in the outlying dispensaries and Health Units, etc., Government decided upon a scheme to give some financial incentives to the doctors. It is hoped that this incentive scheme would attract the service of qualified doctor to serve in the outlying areas.

        With the functioning of the Directorate of the Health Service in the State, it is hoped that the matters relating to the medical needs could be given proper attention.

Tourism

        Government have an earnest desire to develop tourism to the extent that potential for it exists in the State. It is, however, felt that with the resources available, our initial efforts should be to identify a few places of Tourist interest and concentrates on their development rather than splitting up our resources on too many projects.

Supply

        The supply position of food and other essential commodities is on the whole fairly satisfactory. Meghalaya as a whole is a deficit area with respect to production of food grains and other foods stuff and therefore, we have to import rice, sugar atta, flour, sujee, mustard oil and other edible and non - edible oils from outside to meet the requirement of the State.

        A scheme to ensure adequate supply of certain essential commodities to the border people and if necessary at subsidised rates is under consideration of the Government. The necessity for such a measure has assumed greater importance in  the context of the influx of refugees in the border areas where the economy has been under considerable strain. Government of India is being requested to finance the scheme.

Industries.

        I am happy to say that the Meghalaya Industrial Development Corporation has since been set up with the main object of speeding up the industrialization of the State. The Corporation has at present an authorised share capital of Rs.1 crore. An Advisory Board called the Meghalaya Cottage Industries Loans Advisory Board also looks in to the need for financial assistance to deserving persons who intend to set up small scale industries in the State. To encourage local people to take up industry, the Industries Department provides for grant in aid, improved tools and implements and also stipends for training in different crafts. A team of local entrepreneurs and artisans were also  sent to various industrial centres in the country to familarise them with modern methods and techniques of production.

        The need for a planned survey of the Industrial potentialities of the State as was emphasised by me last year has received urgent attention of the Government and the National Industrial Development Corporation has been entrusted with the works of conducting a techno - economic survey of Meghalaya. Such a survey will certainly help us in industrialisation of the State in the power direction.

Mining and Geology

        The works in connecting with mineral development in the State have up till now been entrusted by us to the Directorate of Geology and Mining, Government of Assam under an arrangement as contemplated under section 61 (b) of the Assam Re organisation (Meghalaya) Act. Steps have however been taken to set up our own Directorate of Mineral  Resources soon. During the year 1970-71, certain important works like (1) test drilling in the metalised belt at Tyrsad, Khasi Hills, (2) investigation of high grade lime - stone along the Jowai - Badarpur Road, (3) proving by drilling of lime stone at Darang - Eraning and (4) investigation of the keolin rock in Darungiri in Garo Hills were taken up. Besides the above it is proposed to take up detailed mapping of the Mawphlang - Tyrsad belt, systematic geological investigation of base metal around Barapani, investigation of fire clay in Songsak area (Garo Hills) and investigation of coal in the Bapung area during the current year.

        The Geological Survey of India has also been working in this area but their works are mainly confined to systematic geological mapping which are to be followed up by detailed and intensive work later on. The base metal investigation near Umpyrtha is in progress under the Geological Survey of India.

Rural Electrification.

        Under rural electrification programme the objective of the Government is to cover important areas in the State not only to provide electrical power for agricultural purpose, for lift irrigation etc., but also for industrial development of the State. According to the present arrangement all these schemes under this programme are being implemented through the Assam State Electricity Board. The power needs of this region have got not yet been assessed as it depends much on the finalisation of the industrial programme. However for electrification of village during the year 1970-71 an amount of Rs.23 lakhs has been sanctioned as loan to the Assam Electricity Board. During the year 1971-72 it is proposed to electrify about 50 villages and an allocation of Rs.38 lakhs has been made under the plan.

Sericulture and Weaving

        Sericulture as an Agro- Industry holds out good possibilities in Meghalaya because of its climatic suitability. Besides the proposed expansion of the existing farms and grainages, certain collective Mulbery Garden and Eri Concentration Centres are being set up in order to boost up production of Cocoons. Apart from the production or Mulbery and Eri Cocoons, possibilities in regard to Muga also are being looked into. In regard to  weaving, the existing Weaving Training Classes would be continued and setting up of a few extension service centres particular in Garo Hills are likely to be taken up.

Land Revenue and Reforms

        The system of land revenue in Meghalaya differs from place to place. The entire area has not been cadastrally surveyed. Steps to study modern land reforms are being made and in the light of land reforms available in  other parts of the country, a proper study  will be made to examine how far land reforms that will work to the benefit of the people in Meghalaya will be practicable.

        The State does not also have a uniform system of maintaining records of rights. Steps to evolve a system by which ownership of land can be identified are being studied so that cultivators who form the majority of the population will obtain the benefit that is being offered by the different financial institutions.

Taxes and Excise

        The Assam Taxation Laws (Meghalaya) Modification Order, 1970 since issued by the Government of India has been brought into force with effect from 2nd day and of April, 1970. The taxes levied under the following Assam Taxation Laws will now be collected by the Government of Meghalaya within the Meghalaya area :-

  (1) The Assam Sales Tax Act, 1947.
  (2) The Assam Finance (Sales Tax) Act, 1956.
  (3) The Assam (Sales of Petroleum and Petroleum Products, including Motor Spirit and Lubricants) Taxation Act  1955.
  (4) The Assam Purchase Tax Act, 1967.
  (5) The Assam Electricity Duties Act, 1964.

        The Assam Amusement and betting Tax, Act, 1939 has already been adapted by us. Two district offices have been set up at Shillong and Tura for administration of these tax laws.

Relief to Refugees

        As I mentioned earlier, the Government of India has entrusted to the State Government the functions in connection with the relief work for the evacuees from East Bengal. The State Government had to organise the entire set up as we did not have adequate, machinery to deal with situation of this magnitude. As the influx was very heavy and sudden, it was not possible to accommodate the refugees immediately in ready camps and school buildings and other public buildings were occupied by the refugees. Though, initially, we had come across difficulties in getting suitable flat land for construction of camps, roofing materials etc. about 30 camps have by now been constructed. For medical aid, stock of medicines is beings built up, but to get doctors and the other paramedical staff is a big problem even now. We have tried to get doctors and other staff from Government of Assam and the Government of India. A contingent of doctors from Delhi has since arrived and the doctors have been sent to various camps in the Garo Hills and the Khasi - Jaintia Hills district. Some more are expected to come within these days. Steps are also being taken to engage the qualified doctors and other staff available from amongst the refugees on a system of daily wages. Some voluntary agencies from this State are doing good work in the camps. A team of doctors from Nagpur and another team from Benares have also come to Meghalaya for this purpose.

        As the Hon'ble Members are aware, the refugees are given daily ration at the rate of Rs.1.10 per day per head as prescribed by the Government of India. The Food Corporation of India has undertaken  the job of supplying food and other essential commodities and they are going to have their godowns at Shillong and Tura where adequate stock would be built up.

        A colossal programme like this naturally causes severe financial and administrative strain. We have made a provision of Rs.10 crores for the various expenditure in this connection for the year 1971-72. Though the evacuees are being given temporary shelter and relief in this country till conditions, are created for their safe return, this huge population of evacuees now numbering two and half lakhs is too big a burden for a small and hilly State like ours to bear. Therefore, the Government is taking up the question of sending the refugees to other States.

        The impact of the disturbances in East Bengal is indeed a tremendous one on Meghalaya which has just completed only one year of its existence. The present influx has more than doubled the population of the border areas. Prices of all commodities have risen, food supplies have to be increased many fold, a heavy burden has fallen on the transport facilities available, destruction of jungle wealth and vegetables have led to local resentment and also great health hazards have been caused to the population of the border areas. The Socio-Economic tension accompanying such a heavy influx, more particularly when the economy of the border areas of Meghalaya has been badly disrupted ever since the creation of Pakistan and where even in normal times special border programmes have to be undertaken to rehabilitate the border economy, can be well imagined. The problem has been still further aggravated by the constant firing on the border by the Pakistani forces. This has not only caused loss of several lives and property but has resulted in a great deal of panic among the local population. This has also led to virtual desertion of some villages and the local people in the border themselves have become some sort of refugees. Government has to give help and shelter to these local refugees also. The Government is determined to and that the interest and welfare of the border people are not harmed of jeopardized on account of the influx.

Meghalaya Subsidiary Force.

        Government of Meghalaya has recently decided to set up a force to be known as Meghalaya Subsidiary Force. An Ordinance to this effect has already been promulgated. The main duties and functions of the Force will be to assist and aid the Police in the maintenance of law and order in Meghalaya to collect and communicate to the Deputy Commissioner intelligent affecting law and order and any matter relating to any village and town administration, to report crime, accidents etc., to the Deputy Commissioner, to protect, Government and other public properties, prevent commission of any cognizable offence, etc. Besides the Force will also assist the Deputy Commissioner and the Subordinate officers in maintaining order and discipline in Relief Camps. The Force may be required to do such social work also as may be entrusted by competent authority.

Budget for 1971-72

        Sir, I now come to the Budget Proposals. The Budget estimates for 1971-72 now presented include the provisions made in the Vote on Account Budget passed by this august House in March last. Some modifications in the estimates of the whole year under certain Heads have however been made in the light of further scrutiny as well as new requirements arising. The State Government had also to make a temporary augmentation of the corpus of the Contingency Fund by Rs.2 crores by an Ordinance in May last as the permanent corpus of Rs.50 lakhs was grossly inadequate to meet the sudden and unforeseen expenditure on account of the relief measures about which I have earlier dwelt at some length. Correspondingly, an Ordinance for appropriation of the same from the Consolidated Fund of Meghalaya was also promulgated. Both the Ordinances are being placed before this Session of the House. In view however, of the inclusion of the estimates on this account in the detailed Budget, the temporary augmentation of the corpus of the Contingency Fund will expire and the amount appropriated will stand retransferred to the Consolidated Fund on the 1st July, 1971 i.e. as soon as the Budget is passed.

        The estimates of receipts and expenditures for 1971-72 pertaining to the districts were first placed before the respective District Councils and the Government considered the comments and suggestions made. Some Hon. member in the District Councils while discussion the budget estimates expressed a feeling that Government would not get give any consideration to the various suggestions of the District Councils for increasing any provision in the budget. This is not correct. Efforts are made to make adequate provisions whenever, it is considered necessary and is possible. Hon'ble Members are well aware that Budget estimates are formulated taking into account the probable requirement and the overall resources position of the State. The provisions for plan schemes have again to be made in accordance with the priorities as well as within the plan allocations available. Therefore, it would be appreciated that though it is not always possible to make substantial changes in the estimates in the same year, the suggestions of the District Council serve as a valuable guide to the Department in formulating budget estimates for the subsequent years.  Krishna

        The Budget for the year 1971-72 at a glance will be as below :-

RECEIPTS

Items

Amount in lakhs of rupees

A. Receipts in the Consolidated Fund -

(i) Statuary grant under Finance Commissions Award.

2,97.00

   

(ii) State's share of Central taxes and duties under the Finance Commission Award.

1,51.06

   

(iii) Central assistance outside the Finance Commission Award for non- plan expenditure -

   

          

(a) Grant   ..      ..       ...         ..     .

10,02.59

   

          

(b)  Loans  ..    ..       ...      ...      ..

36.00

   

(iv) Grants from Ministry of Transport for construction and maintenance of border roads.

15.95

   

(v)  Central assistance for plan expenditure -

   

          

(a) Grants       ..         ...       ...       ....       ...

6,70.05

   

         

(b)  Loans       .. .         ..         ..          ..

74.45

   

(vi)  Central assistance for Centrally sponsored schemes.

1,49.13

   

(vii) State's receipts     ..    ..    ..    ..     ..   ..

1,21.26

   

(vii) Loans from Life Insurance Corporation of India.

30.00

   

(ix) Temporary ways and Means Advances from Reserve Bank of India.

1,10.00

   

Total - A

26,57.49

   

B. Surplus in the Public Account .. .. .. .. .. .. 

800

   

C. Opening cash balance  .. .. ..        .. .. 

(-) 70.66

   

Total - Resources (A - B -C) .. ... ... ...

25,94.83.

   

EXPENDITURE

(In lakhs of rupees)

Item

Plan

Non-plan

Total

A. Expenditure -

 

 

 

 1. Gross revenue expenditure 

5,66.29

 

16,73.52

 

22,39.81

 

      Deduct recoveries      ..     ..      ..

5.00

 

79.21

 

84.21

 

      Net revenue expenditure ... .. .. ..

5,61.29

 

15,94.31

 

21,55.60

 

 2. Gross capital expenditure 

3,72.46

 

4,86.98

 

8,59.44

 

     Deduct recoveries     ..

9.12

 

2,10.23

 

2,19.35

 

     Net capital expenditure 

3,64.34

2,76.75

6,40.09


 Total - A 

Gross ..     ..

938.75

 

2,160.50

 

3,099.25

 

Net    ..      ..

9,24.63

 

18,71.06

 

27,95.69

 
 

B. Closing cash balance           ..      ..   ..

 

 

(-) 2,00.86

 
 

Total - (A+B)      ..

9,24.63

 

18,71.06

 

25,94.83

 

        Thus, the Budget Estimates for 1971-72 is expected to close with an over all deficit of Rs. (-) 200.86 lakhs. The deficit gap of Rs (-) 60.46 lakhs in the estimates for 1970-71 now comes to Rs. (-) 70.66 lakhs under the revised estimates. The amount of Rs.1 crore which we had taken into account on the Receipt side last year as loan assistance from the Government of India did not come to us as such, as the Government of India did not agree to convert the Ways and Means Advance initially granted to us to a long term loan. The enter amount has instead been fully recovered in the same year. It may be recalled that our accounts opened with debit balance which came as a share of Meghalaya from composite Assam when the State came into being and the debit balance itself was Rs. (-) 98.14 lakhs. There had been and considerable increase also in the capital expenditure during 1970-71. The deficit gap for 1970-71 would have been higher still but for some savings in the revenue account.

        For the year 1971-72, however the estimates under both Revenue and Capital expenditure have increase. We have to provide for an amount of Rs.1.70 crores towards repayment to the Government of India alone on account of past debt liability apportionable between Meghalaya and Assam. On the other hand the position in the Receipt side remains more or less the same as in the last year. Therefore, the increased estimates of expenditure as well as the revised deficit gap of Rs. (-) 70.66 lakhs of 1970-71 raise the deficit to Rs. (-) 200.86 lakhs for 1971-72.

        I am now happy to present a Budget with this over all deficit before this august House. But this is unavoidable, Hon'ble Members are well aware that the immediate need of this new State is to lift the economy from its present underdeveloped stage, rather a hard task to which the Government has sincerely addressed itself. The scope for mobilising additional resources at this stage of this State is very limited. Though Meghalaya has been required to take over a share of the debt liability of the past, the investment from such liabilities did not create corresponding resources to tap right now, towards reducing the deficit gap occurring in our Budget. Sustained efforts will however be made to raise additional yield from the resources under the existing measures of taxation, and also to exercise economy wherever possible so that the deficit gap can be reduced to some extent.

        Sir, I mentioned while presenting the Budget last year that Meghalaya did not get a separate award of the Finance Commission and only a share of the award  to composite Assam was available to us. The needs of a separate and small State like ours would justify more than what was perhaps taken into account while considering the award  to the composite State. Therefore, we may have to move the Government of India to give us necessary financial assistance to tide over the deficit.

        But Sir, the greatest task before us, as I have said, is to lift the economy of this new State by the quickest possible development and economic growth so that dependence on outside assistance can be dispensed with as early as possible. Towards this objective, the State Government has embarked upon a developmental programme which should not only enable us to reach the All India level of per capita income but also to build up an economy of self sufficiency in the State. We have been trying to take proper advantage of the modern avenues opened up by the various national policies in the fields of agricultural and industrial development, generating employment opportunities and self employment, etc., that would provide us the means and accelerate the pace in attaining out set objectives. A climate of confidence has already been created in the country. I am sure, our efforts will get full support of our people.

        With these words, Sir, I conclude and I beg your leave now to present the Budget Estimates for the year 1971-72.

JAI HIND

Mr. SPEAKER :- After the speech of the Finance Minister, I would like to request all the hon.. Members to collect all the Budget papers and documents from my Secretariat as soon as the House rises.

        Now, I come to Item No.4 of today's list of business. I request the Finance Minister to lay the Meghalaya Contingency Fund (Augmentation of Corpus) Ordinance, 1971 (Meghalaya Ordinance No.2 of 1971).

Shri BRINGTON BUHAI LYNGDOH (Finance Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to lay the Meghalaya Contingency Fund (Augmentation of Corpus) Ordinance, 1971 (Meghalaya Ordinance No. 2 of 1971).

Mr. Speaker :- Item No. 5 I request the Finance Minister to lay the Meghalaya Appropriation Ordinance, 1971 (Meghalaya Ordinance No.3 of 1971)

Shri BRINGTON BUHAI LYNGDOH (Finance, Minister) :- Sir, I beg to lay the Meghalaya Appropriation Ordinances, 1971 (Meghalaya Ordinance No.3 of 1971)

Mr. SPEAKER :- Item No. 6. The Finance Minister to lay the Meghalaya Speaker's (Allowances and Privileges) Rules, 1971.

Shri BRINGTON BUHAI LYNGDOH (Finance, Minister) :- Sir, I beg to lay the Meghalaya Speaker's (Allowances and Privileges) Rules, 1971.

Mr. SPEAKER :- Item No 7. The Finance Minister to lay the Meghalaya Deputy Speaker's  (Allowances and Privileges) Rules, 1971

Shri BRINGTON BUHAI LYNGDOH (Finance, Minister) :- Sir, I beg, to lay the Meghalaya Deputy Speaker's (Allowances and Privileges) Rules 1971.

Mr. SPEAKER :- Item No. 8 The Finance Minister to lay the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly Member's (Salaries and Allowance) Rules,

Shri BRINGTON BUHAI LYNGDOH (Finance, Minister) :- Sir, I beg to lay the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly  Member's (Salaries and Allowances) Rules, 1971.

Mr. SPEAKER :- We have transacted the business of the House listed for today and  in order to give opportunity to the Members to study all the Budget documents, I adjourn the House till 10.00 a.m. on Wednesday the 16th June, 1971.

(The House was then adjourned).

 

Sd/-

Dated, Shillong

Secretary

the 15th June, 1971.

Meghalaya Legislative Assembly,

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