Proceedings of the Budget Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly held at 9 A. m. on Tuesday, the 18th June, 1974 in the Assembly Chamber, Shillong.
Present - Mr. Speaker in the chair, five Ministers, two Ministers of State and - hon. Members
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
(To which replies were laid on the table)
Mr. Speaker : Let us begin the business of the day by taking up Unstarred Question No.12.
Subdivisional Officer for Veterinary of Simsanggiri and Tura
Shri Choronsing Sangma asked :
12. Will the Minister - in -charge of Veterinary be pleased to State -
Whether a Sub -divisional Officer for Veterinary is serving both at Simsanggiri and Tura?
If so, the reasons thereof?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister -in -charge of Veterinary) replied :
(a) - No.
(b) - Does not arise.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw asked :
13.. Will the Chief Minister be pleased to State -
Whether the Government is aware of the fact that the Shillong South Division of the Public Works Department ,has grown too large to be administered as one Division?
If so, whether Government proposes to set up a separate Public Works Department Division for the Bhoi Area, out of the present Shillong South Division so as to accelerate the pace of development in that area.
Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) replied :
The proposal to split up the Division is already engaging the attention of the Government.
Prof. M. N. Majaw - How many Divisions will there be in the proposal of the Government intending to split up the Shillong South Division?
Shri D. D. Pugh (Minister of State, P. W. D.) - Mr. Speaker, Sir, no firm decision has been taken yet but we think that it will be split into two.
Shri H. Hadem - Mr. Speaker, Sir, when will this proposal be implemented?
Shri D. D. Pugh (Minister of State. P. W. D.) - We hope to complete the procedure soon after the current Budget Session.
Mr. Speaker : Let us now pass on to Item No.2 in today's list of business. Mr. Rowell Lyngdoh. The Member is absent.
Let us pass on to Item No.3
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh : Mr. Speaker, Sir, regarding the Assembly papers I beg to state that we have got them just before we enter the house today. We never received these papers earlier as it was the practice while we were in the Assam Assembly. There, we used to get all necessary papers on the night before the House meets on the following day. But in our Assembly we never receive even the order papers in time.
Mr. Speaker : Mr. Lyngdoh, if you like to come forward with essential suggestion on this, I would request you to please come to my Chamber and discuss. I will direct the Secretary to see that all papers are received by the hon. Members in time.
Shri Maham Singh : Mr. Speaker, Sir, may we also submit a discussion that very few questions have been replied by the Government?
Mr. Speaker : The remark of Mr. Maham Singh is relevant in so far as the past sessions are concerned. But it is not relevant with the questions of the Current Session. However, may I request the Government to come with the answers every day to at least 15 or 20 questions. Otherwise, it will be difficult for this House and for the State to know the real facts which the people of the State wanted to know. All the Ministers, I think, must feel that it is their duty to perform the House and the people of the State through this House about what the people wanted to know. But of course, as I have always observed, there are certain types of questions which are really difficult to answer. Certain Statistical type of questions are really difficult to answer timely but in certain straight - forward questions Government should not find any difficult to reply and they should come prepared with them.
GENERAL DISCUSSION ON THE BUDGET
Let us pass on to the item No.3. I have received a letter from the Whip of Congress Parliamentary Party, Mr. Maham Singh, Leader of Opposition that he is not participating. So, I call upon Mr. Hopingstone Lyngdoh to speak. I will give him 30 minutes.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh : Mr. Speaker, Sir, at the outset I offer my thanks to the Finance Minister and congratulate him for his efforts to present this budget before the House. Sir, the budget speech of the hon'ble Finance Minister is beautifully printed and the content of which is full of many hopes and aspirations that the Government envisaged during the Fifth Plan period. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the budget speech of the Finance Minister as presented in this House, indicates certain achievements in the last few years of the fourth Five Year Plan as well as marks the beginning of progress of developmental activities to be taken up during the Fifth Five Year Plan. Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is an element of doubt in the budget speech as will be evident if we look at page 3 of the Budget wherein the achievement and progress as stated are at least minimum. It was stated that 701 kilometres of roads were constructed during the fourth Plan Period. Now, the question is what are those roads, where are they and what were the conditions of those roads. Whether the Government has really completed those roads ? Not only that, it was also stated that 901 schools were established, 130 drinking Water Supply Schemes completed in the State, 138 hospital beds and dispensaries extended, and 139 villages in the rural areas electrified. Is it a fact ? This is my pertinent question and sense of doubt. Where are those schools established where are those hospital beds extended nobody knows ? If that could be done, I wonder why the Government could not do one dispensary or extend one hospital bed either in the Mawthengkut or Mawhati Constituencies which are the most backwards places in the State for better benefits of the people there. Even in the whole Nongstoin Sub-Division Sir I do not find any single Water Supply Scheme implemented. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir there is really a great doubt on the aspirations and commitments of the Government all through the budget speech. Even the Mawlai Water Supply schemes which is supposed to have been completed long time back is not at stake. What is this Mr. Speaker, Sir, ? Where are those villages electrified.
Mr. Speaker :- Do you mean to say that villages that had been electrified are non - existent ?
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- There is a doubt, Sir, because I do not see those villages electrified in the rural areas as it was mentioned in the budget speech. Of course, not to speak of Mawlai one of the most thickly populated villages in the town and which was electrified due to its nearest location from the Transmitter and Power Station. So, Sir, I have some doubts on the inspirations and thinking of the Government. The Finance Minister also stated that the country is facing an acute economic inflation and this is an All India phenomenon. I quite agree with him. But according to me, Sir, the great inflation is due to the spiraling rise of prices of the raw materials and commodities, Sir, I think, even the Education Minister will not be able to complete those 901 school buildings within the Fifth period with only 5,000 rupees worth of grants that used to be given to each school building. It was not be sufficient to roof the school building even because during the last five years with five thousand rupees you could get 15 bundles of C.I Sheets to roof the school building. But now, you cannot get even 10 bundles of C.I sheets with this five thousand rupees for roofing the school building. So far a school which needs 10 bundles of C.I sheets for roofing, an amount of Rs. 16,000 will be required. So, these schools which have been stated here do not exists at all. Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is the condition of these schools as well as the water supply schemes, the electrification schemes and so on so forth.
Sir, I will come now to the most difficult task that the State has been facing to day and for that matter, the House is facing today. Sir, the size of this budget which has been presented before the House by the Finance Minister shows that in every provision there is too much dependence on the grants from the Central Government. The major amount which has been proposed in the budget is expected to come from the Centre.
Mr. Speaker :- Other hon. Members praise the Government for not imposing new taxation.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- Of course that is another aspect of the matter. What I mean to say is that when you read the budget speech of the Finance Minister, you will find that in every item of the proposed schemes of the Government submitted for approval by the Planning Commission it is stated 'regrettable and unfortunate' that the Sixth Finance Commission did not accept the proposal of the Government. This shows the attitude of Central Government towards our State Government to the extent that all the Central Grants will not be paid to meet the size of the plan as proposed by our State Government. Here, Sir, there is a doubt which I want to express before the House. As one of the hon. Member has said yesterday that there is a doubt and this inflation is the lack of confidence of the Central Government in our State Government.
Mr. Speaker : So it is a contradiction. You said that the State Government seems to depend solely on the Central Government. But at the same time you said that the Central Government is not sympathetic towards the State Government.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh : There is no contradiction, Sir. The State really depends much on the Centre but the attitude of the Central Government shown today towards our Plan is rather indifferent.
Mr. Speaker : When you tell the House the Central Government seems not to be sympathetic towards the State Government, you must at least substantiate your statement.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh : Yes, I will substantiate. As one of the hon. Member has stated yesterday, the report of the Auditor and Comptroller General of India is an eye opener to our State Government. The Government of India is watching whether this amount of Rs.15.38 crores given to our State as relief for six months to render help to the refugees who have come to our State in 1971-72 is properly utilised or not.
Mr. Speaker : Are you trying to create some prejudice in the minds of the members of the Public Account Committee?
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh : No, Sir, it is a statement of fact. I am just trying to show that the report that has been placed before the House shows that the Government has not been able to utilise the money. I am not making any comment on this point But it is only a matter of quotation of what has been presented to the House.
Mr. Speaker : It is not a correct quotation. I think you have interpreted it in a different way. The question is whether the money has been utilised or not and the question whether the Government has been able to produce documentary evidence are two different aspects.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh : I do not want to interpret anything. But the fact remains that an amount of Rs.15.38 crores was given to our Government to utilise for the relief of the refugees in 1971-72. But till today , the items of expenditures were not accounted for or the utilisation certificate has not been furnished and everything is under enquiry by our Government. So, this is one doubt which I have got while discussing this budget and the Government of India might have got some doubt about our Government in the matter of allocation of money by the Sixth Finance Commission or the Central Government.
Sir, another aspect is that it seems our Government is lacking the confidence of the Government of India because of the very approach to the Fifth Five Year Plan. Some small States like Nagaland and Manipur have got the share which they demanded from the Government of India and the Sixth Finance Commission.
Mr. Speaker : I think it is better not to pass any remark either in favour or against other Governments. I do not think any State in India gets whatever it demands from the Planning Commission.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh : Now, Sir, what we have seen on the floor of the Parliament on the 17th April, 1974 ? According to the newspaper on the 18th April, 1974 the Government of India has cast some doubts and some reflection on our State Government regarding the movement and the disturbances here in our State regarding the boundary and the incidents in the borders and there is a question that our Government is playing with some .....
Mr. Speaker : Mr. Lyngdoh, let us be realistic. It is not a question of the Government of India suspecting anything against the State Government. But when you refer to the newspaper report, it was one hon. Member from the Opposition who had some elements of doubt about that matter.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh : Now, Sir, there is a remark in the Parliament by the Home Minister, Mr. Dikshit that this thing has been there in the national forum and this element of doubt has been raised in the Parliament, and this Sir, has damaged the image of the State that the Members of the State Cabinet are the organisers of some international organisations. According to me, Sir, this is a very serious question. Why the State Government is not coming forward with a statement and clear the doubts that we are connected with the international organisation like the M.R..A., C.I.A. etc. It is all the more imperative in view of the security of our State and the sensitiveness of this corner of the country.
Mr. Speaker : Do you maintain the view that these international agencies were responsible for all those movements?
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh : That is a question in the Lok Sabha. Our Government was charged; our Ministers have been charged, Why no statement was made to this effect.
Mr. Speaker : They will come forward with a statement before the House not outside the House.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh : But nothing has been done yet. Now there is another aspect, Sir, it appears that we have been lacking the confidence of the people of India themselves. I wonder why this Government is not aware of its own boundary and its jurisdiction. There is a news- paper report, which appeared in The Statesman of 20th May, 1974 wherein it has been stated that all the eastern States have submitted their suggestions on the boundary question with Bangladesh. But our Government did not say anything regarding settlement of boundaries, i.e., territorial jurisdiction of the States bordering Bangladesh and our country. I do not know whether it is for economical benefit of the State or for otherwise, the State Government did not say anything on this question.
Now while going through the Budget Speech it appears that the Finance Minister did not or could not catch what were really the entries of the budget Speech itself, any way the budget Speech was prepared by persons behind, I would like to hear the reply from the Minister concerned. Another thing, Sir, if we distinguish the Budget Speech that has been placed before the house now and the Budget speech of last year, we will find that in the last year's Budget Speech for every item the Government has set up machineries to implement this provision and that provision - everywhere machineries - but it seems the machineries have failed and now no more machineries. (loud laughter).
Here we get a new thing Sir and no more machineries. One thing, Sir, which I do not see here and that is the policy statement of the Government on industries. No doubt, Sir, it has been stated here that on agriculture they will give more emphasis. I agree to this approach that we will give more attention to agriculture and the Government will itself take up irrigation schemes departmentally and all the major schemes for development of agriculture. I really appreciate this attempt of the Government. Last year also the Government set up some machineries for the development of agriculture and they have made some marks here and there. In my area also they have put some scratches on the barren lands........
Anyway, I hope, Sir, the present approach of the Government towards agriculture will yield results. But towards industries I am not sure as to what policy the Government is going to adopt although we have lots of raw materials. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Finance Minister has stated in the Budget Speech, that the country is passing through a crisis - there is shortage of coal, shortage of power and electricity, shortage of petroleum and petroleum products etc. But here Sir, in our State we have got every thing; we have got electricity, we have got coal, limestone, sillimanite, bamboos, pine trees etc. Everything is there but I do not see any favourable approach towards industrial development of the State. We have got here only some marks here and there on the same Mawmluh Cements and Kommara lime stone and there are some writings on the wall about the Ply- wood Factory Ah! Ply- wood Factory. There is a strong feeling of resentment among the people of Jowai and Shillong for the action of the Government. It has been alleged that the Government has leased out the entire reserve forest of the State to that M/s Meghalaya Ply Woods. These reserve forests were created under the Constitution. Not only that but long ago since the British time and then under the Indian Constitution it is envisaged.
Mr. Speaker :- Under the Constitution? (laughter)
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- Yes Sir, the Khasi Hills, Garo Hills and Jaintia Hills District Councils have got the right on all the forests, under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution but the Reserve Forests Sir, are under the State Government. So, Sir I think the Reserve Army of India will never be sent to the front unless there is a question of surrender from Delhi in time of war. So the Reserve Forests will not be utilised unless the country or the State is going to collapse economically, but this Government has now leased out these Reserve Forests; 48 sq. miles of Nongkhyllem, 45 sq. miles of Narpuh II 38 sq. miles of Narpuh I and 35 sq. miles of Saipung Reserve Forests have been leased out to this Mr. Ply Wood Co. ( laughter)
( Voices- M/s. )
I don't care whether it is Mr. or Mrs., but plywood is plywood ( laughter). So Sir, the prospect of our future natural wealth and vegetations in the State will be doomed. Similarly is the case with the limestone at State will be doomed. Similarly is the case with the limestone at Komorrah which is known to the Ministers for its wealth. Having leased out this limestone of Komorrah, it is surprising that the rate is only Rs.18.76p. per metric tonne, while the market price of the same in Bangladesh.........
Mr. Speaker :- Has there been any change of the lease? Perhaps I am out dated, because I came to know that there was some change so far as that stands, which you narrated just now.
Shri H. Lyngdoh :- If there is a change, it's alright, as long as it is a change for the better. But what I mean is that the policy of the Government towards exploitation of natural wealth seems only for the benefit of outsiders and Ministers.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Lyngdoh, any natural wealth has to be utilised but it must be utilised according to optimum economic consideration.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- That is what I mean, Sir, but it must be utilised in the proper way and according to the market price. Of course it has been stated that they will try to do this paper pulp, they will do something, but Sir, this subsidiary industry will be constructed there at Byrnihat a master plan for some outsiders. You may say long live Rajasthan or you may say long live anywhere. Before we try to exploit our mineral resources, we must first have a plan of where to locate our industries. For paper mill industries, we may propose to locate it at Lynggngam, which is between Khasi and Garo Hills and there we can get plenty of bamboos from both the districts. Sir, we must have also a plant for potato dehydration where the people now are facing low prices in the market. We may establish one dehydration plant in Barapani or Mairang where the potatoes are produced. Then Sir, we may plan also for a factory for the pineapples which are produced in our State and which we can export outside. We may establish Canning factories one at Cherrapunji, one at Jowai, one at Garo Hills and one at Nongstoin. In that way Sir, these industries will grow because the raw materials can be found from the surrounding areas and also it will give employment to the people of the State belonging to respective localities ( Bell rang ).
Mr. Speaker :- You have crossed the time limit, Mr. Lyngdoh. You will have time in the cut- motion on the specific subject. Now, Mr. Nongtdu, please confine your speech within 10 minutes.
Shri Onwardleyswell Nongtdu :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, at the very outset I would like to congratulate the Finance Minister for the detailed budget presented in this House, especially Sir, when I looked in the budget I find that few schemes for construction of new roads in Jaintia Hills have been included in the budget, which in the last two and a half years there were none. We found that even new roads constructed in Jaintia Hills during 1970-71 and 1971-72 were stopped from 1972 up to date. Therefore, Sir, I feel that the Government will take prompt action to complete those old roads and also start construction of the new roads provided in the budget. I find also, Sir, from the detailed Budget Estimates of revenue and expenditure of the P.W.D. at page 149, few of the schemes provided here are there for the third time, especially items 16 and 17; suspension foot bridge over river Saittyrlong ( near Sutnga ) and suspension footbridge over river Mustem ( near Sutnga ). This is the third time Sir, that these schemes have been included in the budget, I feel that the P.W.D. in particular, has been very unfair to the Finance Minister in this respect. I believe that this year we will see on these schemes provided here, the works also must be in progress.
In the field of education, Sir, as it is at present, I think that no one is proud of the standard of education in our State. The standard of education is going lower and lower every year. It seems also as if education is being neglected while we concentrate in other fields of activities in the State. While going round my district, Sir, I found many L.P. School buildings, M.E. School buildings are in a tottering condition, which are in fact not proper and safe for holding school sessions, so also we find in some cases of high school buildings. The standard of education is no doubt in a bad condition. Sir, we find also that in schools, the number of books is increasing every year but instead of having a better standard but the standard is going down lower and lower every year. There must be something wrong somewhere, Sir. It may be that the appointment of teachers is not done strictly according to merit or it may be that supervision is neglected at present, it may be also due to the lower standard of education at primary stage. Sometimes the students find it very difficult to pick up when they come to Class IV. One the other hand, it is impossible also for the teachers of M.E. Schools to teach the majority of them the lessons which they are supposed to learn in Class IV and it will be too late to teach them the lessons which they are supposed to learn in the primary stage. Whatever may be the reasons, I feel that there is a necessity to review the standard and system of education in the State. Much has been said about job- oriented system of education in our State but I have seen that nothing has come out uptil now. So I think it will not be too late to urge upon the Government to completely review the system of education at this stage. The system of education as it is today seems to help the majority of the students after matriculation or even after graduation only for the white collar jobs and not for any other types of jobs. Actually, education needs to help the students after the school days or after graduation to take up any job in the field of agriculture or industries or even trade and commerce. Therefore, I think that it is high time now that the Government should review the system of education. It is for us to do and see about the future generation. Shall we have a generation of young men and women fit only to be clerks and peons or shall we have a new generation who are ready to take up any type of jobs in the State? This will not only help the Government to solve the employment problem, but will also help the State economically.
In fact, Sir, at present even sports and games is being neglected in the schools. I feel that at least one trained teacher in every M.E. school should be appointed to teach the students about physical education or given them physical training. Sir, now-a- days we find that many students use to gamble and drink. I believe the students who gamble or drink did not do it just for the sake of gambling or getting drunk, but there is something within them that is being satisfied and often due to frustration. So, Sir, it is for the Government to review the system of education and see that at least these wants, needs and desires of the students are engaged in some other fields. If we neglect this, I feel that at some future time something will come up. At present, in every part of the country, we find students' unrest but we are very fortunate that up to this day, we find very little unrest among the students in our State. So, Sir, if the students find something that can do for them better than drinking or gambling, then there is no problem to ask them to stop drinking or gambling. Education must study the desires and needs of the students of today. During our school days, our needs and desires are quite different from those of the students of today. Therefore, we must try to find out a system of education which will fit in with the needs and desires of the students of today. Thank you, Sir.
(At this stage the Deputy Speaker occupied the Chair.)
* Shri B.B. Shallam :- Sir, I am happy to say that in the Budget Speech stress and emphasis were given on agriculture and I have no doubt about it when the Finance Minister said that 82 per cent of the population of Meghalaya solely depend on agriculture. So, I think that it is right and proper that we should give it a top priority. We know that our State is short of foodstuff. We have to bring food from other States and if these things are allowed to go on our people will suffer in the long run. So, Sir, that is why we should further improve our agriculture. I would like to mention that there are certain things that are happening in our State. There is jhum cultivation. As many members have expressed that this type of cultivation causes lots of damage to our State specially this shifting cultivation in the hill slopes which causes erosion and denudation of the top soil which ultimately lessons the fertility of the soil. So, I feel that as far as practicable we should find out schemes so as to avoid this menacing problem and our people should be given alternative land so that they can do away with jhumming and shifting cultivation.
Another problem which I would like to ventilate here is the problem of quality bone meal. As you know, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, our people in Jaintia Hills need a lot of bone- meal. Last year the quantity was about 1,000 tonnes whereas this year it has increased by another 300 tonnes. So the quantity comes to about 1300 tonnes. From experience, I found that our people had to face great hardship. For one thing, they do not get good quality type of bone- meal. There are various types of bone- meals one is Rallis Company bone- meal, second is Agro Industry bone- meal, third is Hill Corporation bone- meal and fourth is Gauhati bone- meal. I would like to bring out here the grievances and sufferings of the people in Jaintia Hills as they could not get the right and good type of bone- meal. As a result, the yield of the crops was also affected, specially paddy. They prefer to have this Rallis type of bone- meal which is to their satisfaction and they always try to procure the Rallis bone- meal. But , unfortunately, the supply of the Rallis bone- meal was also inadequate. So they have to buy low quality type of bone- meal such as those of the Agro Industry bone- meal. I was asking the cultivators why they do not like the bone meal from Gauhati or the Hill Corporation. They said that for one thing the quality of the Rallis bone- meal is much better than the quality of those other bone- meal, and secondly, when they apply this Rallis bone- meal, they found that the lands consume less whereas when they apply those other types of bone meal, they consume more. For example one bag will be enough if they apply the Rallis Bone- meal and two or three bags will be required if they apply the other types of bone- meal. So, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg upon the Government to please take steps to see that such bone- meal that is needed and required by the people should be supplied to them. That will also help increase production of foodstuff. And secondly, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I feel that alternative lands should be found out for this shifting cultivation. If we allow the people to go on with this type of shifting cultivation, then I do not know that the fertility for the soil will go. So this is the position of agriculture in our State.
Thirdly, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am thankful to the Government for making roads as another important subject giving it a second priority. But though second in priority, I find, according to the financial position, that money meant for roads is more than the money meant for agriculture. I am thankful to this because according to my understanding unless roads are open- when I say roads I mean good roads and not inferior type of roads, no improvement and development can be made. But I am shocked to see that there are a number of roads which do not deserve to be called roads. According to the Budget Speech, it was found that at the end of the Fourth Plan, the Km. rate is 3350 Kms whereas at the beginning it was only 2649 Km. thereby showing an increase of 711 km or 438 miles. But I must tell you, Sir, that I do not blame the Government because the Government is good......( laughter) ... but it is the duty of the implementing agency to implement the schemes. But, it was to my surprise to see that last year money was allotted to us by the Planning Commission, but if my information goes alright, a lot of money was surrendered. What are thy doing?. They should be prompt, be up and doing. We must be on our footing to build our roads. We must remember that our State is only a infant State. It is also in a strategic position from the defence point of view. So I urge upon Government to see that the Department concerned see to its duty to improve our communication. I have been travelling in Jaintia Hills, Khasi Hills and Garo Hills sometimes and I had expected that there should be Mohorirs, Overseers and S.D.Os to be present on the road to see if there should be one or two repairs here and there... But these people were sitting with a hooca somewhere and smoking and not to be found in the road. So can we expect good road? As one hon. Member has said that those labourers should not go to the kitchen of the Overseers and the S.D.Os and wash their utensils and clothes ( laughter) and sometimes even their dhoties. We should see that the work is done with enthusiasm. We should see that there must be good development in our State, otherwise it will be meaningless----( Bell Rang ).....to make provision for road construction.
Please allow me few minutes more Sir, as there are lots to speak about education. I am fully aware of the fact as same of my friends have already expressed about the wrong policy of education, especially now- days. Sir, I must suggest that there must be complete overhauling of the Cabinet- ( Voices; of the Government ). No: not of the Government, the Government is if is good ( laughter ). I mean of the system of education. I wonder to see especially now- a days how the students are passing their Matriculation, passing B.A. etc. and I am surprised to see that these students, even though they have obtained their degree, their standard of education is not up to the mark. They seem that they are book- worm so to say, they are passing their examination by learning by heart. My child, and not only my child, there are same other children also who read their books by getting every going by hear without really understanding what they are reading. So Sir, I suggest that there must be complete overhauling right from the lower classes and they must be taught in such a way that they know carefully what they are reading in their classes ( bell rang).
Just a minute Sir, one thing more which is very important is that due to the pressure of the Government of Assam the office of Post and Telegraph Centre will be shifted to Gauhati. Sir, I may say that this is a very sorry State of affairs. So, let us write to the Government of India not to shift the Central office from Shillong just because of the pressure of the Government of Assam. The Central Government offices have been here all along and they must remain here. I request the Government through you Sir, to have the Post and Telegraph Training Centre here at Shillong and I feel that our Government should take strong steps in this matter ( Bell rang ). With these few words, I resume my seat.
*Shri Pleander G. Momin :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it has been a great privilege to have this opportunity to participate in the Budget Speech made by the Finance Minister on the floor of this House. At the very outset Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to make some observations in the field of employment. As you are aware the employment problem is one of the most vital and burning problems not only within the State of Meghalaya but also for the entire country of ours. When Meghalaya came into existence the Government of Meghalaya has formulated specific policies of reservation of seats in all categories of services for the different communities of Meghalaya. In view of this Government policy 40 per cent of the vacancies are reserved for Garos, the other 40 per cent are reserved for the Khasi and Jaintias and so on. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, each and very Meghalaya was very happy in the sense that Government would strictly adhere to its employment reservation policy and, as such would strictly adhere to its employment reservation policy, and as such employment opportunity will go to every individual within the State of Meghalaya irrespective of different communities. But Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, Sir, to my utmost surprise and disappointment although more than three years since the inception of the State Government of Meghalaya have already elapsed hitherto. I found that not even 5 per cent out of the total strength of employees is being represented by the Garos at present. Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is something wrong somewhere in the Government machinery in implementing this policy decision. I therefore, would like to elucidate some of my observations in this regard. Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, with a view to the poor staff representation from among the Garos under the Government and to fulfill the Government declared reservation policy for the Garos, the Government of Meghalaya have constituted special Selection Board some time in July, 1973 to recruit the Garo candidates to fill up the post, of L.D.A. and Typists in the Secretariat as well as in the Directorates. As a matter of fact quite a number of Garo candidates applied for those pastas and out of those candidates 56 Garo candidates are declared qualified by the said Selection Board. It is really unfortunately to mention here that out of these 56 qualified candidates only 28 candidates are given the benefits of employment opportunities and the rest are left aside on the ground that there are no reserved vacancies for the Garos available at that time. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, then the Chief Secretary has passed on order some time in July 1973 stating that some of the reserved posts which have been earmarked for the Garos have been filled up the non-Garos on adhoc basis at the initial; recruitment, since no suitable Garo candidates are available at that time. Therefore, those non-Garo candidates appointed under the reservation quota for the Garo should be terminated so as to enable the Government to fill up those posts by the Garo out of the panel list of successful Garo candidates prepared by the Special Selection Board under the State Government of Meghalaya. But Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, to my utter surprise, the Department concerned has circulated the order contrary to the original order passed by the Chief Secretary stating that all the persons appointed under adhoc basis should be terminated (bell rang) and ultimately the order was complied with the services of some of the Garos were also terminated.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- You will get two minutes more.
Shri Pleander G. Momin :- As such instead of getting the benefit of employment, the Garos were deprived of getting employment opportunities in the State. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, regarding this contradictory circular issued by the Department, I would like to say that this is intentional and willful manipulation by the authorities concerned which ultimately results in the discrimination of the Garos in the field of employment. And to my information, even qualified Garo candidates, when they approached to authorities, they were given the reply that there is no reserved vacancies for Garos available. Meanwhile the employment authorities places their requirements with the same authority to furnish suitable Garo candidates to fill the reserved vacancies, the same authority replied that no suitable candidates are available.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is my firm belief that this is a case of manipulation, injustice and nepotism and ill-treatment to the Garos (Bell rang) in the field of employment. I have many other points to place before the House but there is no more time. I would, however, request the Government through you, Sir, to see that these malpractice, and nepotisms prevailing in our Government Departments should be strictly checked. If this is allowed to continue, I am afraid (Bell rang) time will come when the Garos will not be able to bear it and it will affect integration of the State. Thank you.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Miss Percylina Marak. You have got 5 minutes.
*Srimati Percylina Marak :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while congratulating the Finance Minister for his budget speech presented in this House, I would like to make some observation. My observation will mainly focus on Social Services since I will not get much time. I welcome the Schemes laid down by the Government in opening up an Ashram type of Residential schools for the children of the villages engaged in jhum cultivation. In this regard, I would like to say that the teaching methods in the Pre-Primary and Primary levels should be completely reviewed and I suggest that all these schools should be provided with adequate teaching materials. Some of the hon. Members have said that standard of education is going low and low and I quite agree with it, and in order to improve the standard, I think it should be started right from the bottom. So mere learning of the alphabets and numerals will not catch the interest and attention of the children as they are brought up in a very free and easy going life. But more interest is expected from such children if they are taught in a play- way method. So I feel that the children of these schools should not be neglected but should be provided with teaching materials and aids like sand- Box, Scrap Books Counting Beads, Toys, etc, I have suggested in the last session that Training Centres for Pre- Primary and Primary School teachers should be set up. Again I emphasise the need for such Training Centres at least one in each headquarter of the Districts in our State at an early date.
Now I come to adult education. To cope with the developmental programmes of the Government, I feel that adult education is very important. This scheme has been taken up by the Development Blocks and I feel that the same should be continued in the future also but in an intensive manner. The most convenient time, I would suggest, that adult education should be imparted is during the leisure time of the people when jhumming is not done, that is after the harvest, during the months of October, November and December. For this, if the educated unemployed youths are trained and sent for field work, it will be more effective.
Then I come to another point. There is a Hindi Training Schools in Shillong that needs accommodation. The Managing Committee of this schools have written to the Government, but up till now they have not got any reply. So I would request Government to see that this Training School gets accommodation.
Regarding development of sports and games, in the last two years, State Athletic Meet was held in Shillong. This year it was proposed to be held in Tura. But it was postponed for want of good and standard playground till date. Although I am a member of the State Sports Council, I do not know whether the venue has been shifted to Shillong or not as I was not informed. Anyway I hope the Government will take necessary steps regarding this to avoid difficulties in the future. And I request the Government to speed up the construction of the Tura stadium. I feel that by changing the venue of this Meet every year we can encourage the youngsters in every nook and corner of our State in field of games and sports.
Then there is a need for a District Library-cum-Auditorium at Tura. I request Government to kindly speed up the construction of this building. The as stated by the hon. Members. I would also like to inform the Government that for better type of education, the syllabus, in the High Schools course should be revised. Then another needs is regarding technical education for girls (Bell rang). I think that a Polytechnic School for girls at Tura, Shillong and Jowai should be opened. It will be of great help for the girls of our State. I have got some more important points but there is no time, I will take my seat.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Mr. Hadem. You will also get 5 minutes.
Shri H. Hadem : Only 5 minutes, Sir. So I do not know where to start and where to end.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : You can start whichever way you want. (laughter).
* Shri H. Hadem : First of all I would like to congratulate the Government and also the Finance Minister for presenting the budget which is so comprehensive and so detailed and while congratulating him, I hope my hon. friend, who has just now referred to it, will have confidence on the issues published by one newspaper, The Statesman, and share the same congratulation by turning over to the news item, of the same paper dated 15th June under the caption "No Parasite". I will just read the first and the last sentences since there is no time : "Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh, the Finance Minister of Meghalaya, has brought down his State's budgetary deficit to Rs. 94.75 lakhs from the previous year's Rs. 7.32 crores and the years before last's Rs. 2.86 crores". The last sentence runs : "It would be well for the Centre to realise that Meghalaya, in spite of its limited be well for the Centre to realise that Meghalaya, in spite of its limited resources, does not intend to be a parasite on the Centre'. So, Sir, I hope the hon. Member from Pariong will share the same praise in the last month's issue.
Secondly, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I would particularly extend my congratulation to the P.W.D. (R. and B.) which have this year presented before us separate detailed schemes to be implemented within the year. I hope, Sir, in the near future other Departments will also do the same so that more clarification can be given to the House. But, in this connection, it is also very unfortunate to note that there are some portions where there is mis-spelling of names, @@@Aiti as in page 149 in respect of the name Parsi or something like that. I hope that the Government, after the Budget Session, will please correct them accordingly and not to look at them as only printing mistakes. Secondly, Sir, I would like to put out to two different things here in the P.W.D. Budget. In the second item appearing in the first page, we find the consolidated estimate of revenue expenditure of the Autonomous Districts - Item No. 2 : Jaintia Hills District but if we first turn to page 117, we find that instead of Jaintia Hills District, it is written Jowai District. This is a serious mistake and I hope that the Government will correct it. Sir, since I do not have much time at any disposal, I will again turn to page 140. There are two items which appear to be within the Jaintia Hills budget - (i) construction of a two storied building at Tura for Class I Government employees; (ii) construction of police quarters for Inspector, Sub-Inspector, Assistant Inspector, Havildar, etc. and the amount earmarked comes to Rs. 1.48 lakhs. I think this is also a mistake because it comes under the Jaintia Hills budget which ought to have come under the Garo Hills budget which ought to have come under the Garo Hills budget.
As there is not much time I will now refer to the speeches made by hon. Members who have vehemently criticised the Transport Department. It seems that they have been concentrating on a particular incident which appears to have occurred in the first part of June, 1974. This regarding the service of Bus No. MLX 13. This incident was incident was made a capital issue for discussion within the House. I personally think that this sort of incident need not be exaggerated because the machines are always .......(Bell rang).
Shri W. Cecil R. Marak : On a point of clarification, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that sort of incident is very regular.
Shri H. Hadem : That is a matter of opinion. But I am confident that our Government has done so much which the British Government could not do in a hundred years and even the Government of Assam, in 20 years, have not ventures to undertakes plying of regular bus services from here to Tura. Secondly, Sir, even we the elected representatives are supposed to have break-downs (laughter). Just now I see hon. Members going out and coming in. That is also a kind of break-down. Lastly, Sir, the hon. Member from Nongtalang himself had a break-down yesterday while coming from Mawryngkneng. (Bell rang)
There is one point more. I feel that we should not make hypocritical comment whether we speak of the Cabinet or about a representative in the Planning Board. It is, however, surprising that nothing has been mentioned about the State Family (Bell rang).
I would recommend that the hon. Member himself be nominated as a member of the State Family Planning (Laughter).
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Mr. Hadem your time is up.
Shri H. Hadem : Yes, Sir, and I hope that the Government would sincerely implement the schemes which are in line with the Budget speech and I hope that in the next Budget Session, we will have no more occasions to say anything against the Government. With these few words, Sir, I resume my seat.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Mr. Brojendro Sangma.
Shri Brojendro Sangma : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, first of all I would like to congratulate the Hon'ble Finance Minister for his efficiency and wisdom of expression in his budget speech. Before I make some observations, I would like to join hands with my previous Speakers who have spoken before me. The Hon'ble Finance Minister has placed before us these two volumes of the budget estimates for the year 1974-75 and has allocated funds to respective departments. But here I find that there is no detailed scheme in respect of some department, except the P.W.D., to be implemented during the current year. I do not know the actual difficulties and reasons why the detailed schemes could not be prepared for other departments. As I said, no detailed schemes in respect of some departments are placed before this august House. So I personally feel that without any detailed scheme how could the Hon'ble Finance Minister allot amounts to respective departments and how can we determine which scheme are going to be taken up during the year and whether any fund will be allocated to them or not. Of course, I also realised that the Government could not prepare all the detailed schemes at all. Therefore, I would request the Government, through you Sir, to kindly prepare the detailed scheme of all departments and place them before us during the budget session so that we can examine and study whether such schemes are really beneficial or not to the State as a whole.
Secondly, Sir, I come to general education. Each and every one of us knows about the present system of education that is generally being imparted to the students. It is really dissatisfying to note that right from the L.P. Schools to High Schools the standard of education has gone down. Unless the present system of education is changed and improved, I think our students will become more worthless. If the same system of general education continues like this, I am sure the students will turn out to be of no use to the country in future. Not only that. Even the economic condition of our State will go from bad to worse. Therefore, I would suggest to the Government, that an Expert Committee may be appointed in our own State so that it can study and find out the main defects in the present system of education and then try to find out ways and means how to improve the standard of education in future. I hope it will help surely to bring about the right way how to improve the standard of education in future in our State as a whole.
Next, Sir, I come to Fishery Department which is a very important department. A lot of improvement is yet to be made of the fisheries in our State. I got some practical experience as to why we can not improve the fisheries up till now. Because the Government is giving only individual subsidy of a small amount, say of Rs. 750 per head for the construction of a tank of size of one acre. So I think it is really impossible to construct tanks of one acre with only such a small amount. Therefore, I would suggest that the amount may be given on measurement basis according to the P.W.D. schedule of rate. It may be 50 per cent or 75 per cent whatever it may be, according to the size of the area of the tank constructed.
Lastly, Sir, my next point is about tourism, I am glad to make some suggestions to the Government in regard to this Tourism Department. Sir, there is enough scope for improvement of tourism centres in our State. In our State there are large numbers of wonderful caves. These caves are the gifts of nature and many of them are located in Khasi Hills like Wanokchiring, Rangbaljong, Panikundur and Marasora, not only Siju in Garo Hills. These are located near my native village at Chilbak. They have got their own beauty and we can improve in further beautifying and protecting them if Government pays proper attention to them. There is a peculiarity with the caves in Rongbaljong. Even without any rain some some times flood occurs in that area and submerges even the tallest trees and thee are many white fish and other kinds of fishes during the flood and it is really a good place for fishing. So Sir, I hope that it will attract not only outsiders or tourists from out side but even our own people from Meghalaya. They may also visit these spots at any time they like if Government can provide the transport communication to the respective spots. I therefore request the Government thorough you, Sir, to make thorough survey of all these places and improve the tourists centres in our State so that we can attract more and more tourists from outside to visit from outside to visit our State and thereby enhance the revenue of our State ...... (Bell rang) ...... Another point Sir.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Your time is up.
Shri Brojendra Sangma : Thank you, Sir.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Now, let us take up item No. 4. The Minister in-charge of Finance to reply to the general discussion of the budget.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, at the outset, I would like to express my great appreciation to the members of this august House for the keen interest and their lively participation in the debate on the affairs of the State. I am particularly struck with the constructive and responsible approach throughout the discussion on the budget proposals before this august House. I would also like to express my special appreciation to the hon. Members of the Opposition who, in the course of their discussions, have showed a very responsible attitude to the interest and purpose for which we were elected as representatives to this House. I mean the purposes to serve the people and to build up our State. However, in the course of human affairs everywhere in any country, we have an exception in this House also. I refer to the hon. Member from Mendipathar, Mr. S.N. Koch. Yesterday, the hon. Member, against the trend of the debate of the whole week, has struck a bitter and negative note to the extent of saying that we are now entering upon the period of darkness. If I remember correctly, for the first para of my budget speech i.e., "it marks the completion of the Fourth Five Year Plan and the beginning of the Fifth Five Year Plan". The hon. member has suggested these words. "It marks the completion of the planning of Ministers and officers towards a mis- rule and we are now entering upon the period of darkness, the beginning of confusion". As soon as I heard this statement, I was alert waiting expectedly to hear on what basis the hon. Member had made this very striking, very bitter and very negative note. I was waiting patiently with may pen on my hand to note down by then throughout his speech, there is no subject listed, no instance cited to substantiate his very gloomy and very dark statement. Throughout his speech, he has directed only to the suggestion of separation of the Judiciary from the Executive which we have declared before that it is the policy of the Government to achieve this directive principle of the Constitution for gradual separation of the Judiciary from the Executive. I am afraid and I do sympathise with our human weakness. Sometimes, when we have some some bitter personal experiences somewhere that situation, that State of mind covers and blurs of our confusion on all other aspects of the State and the Government. As a responsible leader elected by the people to this House I would appeal to him not to allow his personal experience nor personal bitterness to blur and cloud to the real objective and background of the total activities of the State as a whole. Sir, apart from this, as I have stated, I owed a great deal to the trend of the discussion in this House and to the attitude shown by the leaders of all sides of this House. I may quote the remarks of the hon. Member from Umroi, Mr. Dlosing Lyngdoh when he stated that we have demonstrated a new style in the various ways in the country. The 'Meghalayan style' and this is one of the very important features of the style, that Meghalaya style that we demonstrated in this forum or body in the State. I believe some or many of us have had the occasion to see the functioning of the Legislature in other States, in other countries, and I believe they might have gathered enough about the role of members in those legislatures. Another matter which I am most happy and thankful to the hon. members, is the solid and spirited support from all sides on the general economic policy enunciated through the budget documents in the State in particular to the top priority given to the agricultural and allied Sectors. In this connection, I am intrigued by the analogy expresses by the hon. Member from Sohryngkham, Shri Mylliemngap, who has given his analogy of Punjab and West Bengal. Well there may be other factors also for which there is a difference in development and progress of the two States. But Sir, I am inclined to agree with the hon. Member that one of the major factors in this difference of development and progress between these two States is the choice of priority between agriculture and Industry.
I would also entirely agree with the hon. Member from Phulbari, Shri Akrammozaman, when he stated that there is no worth-mentioning of any improvement in the State unless it is aimed at improving the lost of our agriculturists because 82 per cent of the population of our State are agriculturists. Therefore, in this matter, I want to express my appreciation of the solid and spirited support from the hon. Members of all sides of this House in so far as they give priority to this most vital aspect of our life. This is the most vital subject of development for raising the general standard of living of our people. That is agriculture and other allied subjects.
Now I am also referring to some observations made by the hon. Members before I come to other particular subjects. First of all, I would refer to the very strong but well balanced expression of the hon. Member from Jaiaw, Shri P.R. Kyndiah, on the Finance of the State. His comments on the Planning Commission's allocation to the State and the Finance Commission's award for the State are also shared by the Government. We have placed a plan for Rs.203 crores before Planning Commission and after some time, in view of the over all financial strain in the country, we have placed a core plan of Rs.124 crores. We had expected at least that this core plan will be accepted by the Planning Commission specially in view of the national objective to remove regional imbalance and regional disparity. In the context of this national objective, Meghalaya a very backward, a very difficult Hill State, has a top place in the consideration of the Planning Commission. As I have stated earlier in my budget speech, the final size of the State plans are yet to be determined after the meeting of the National Development Council and we expect more sympathy and consideration for our State in matters of plan allocation. As for the Finance Commission's award I will have nothing more to add here than what I have already stated in my budget speech. But I only fully share with the feelings and sentiments expressed by the hon. Members on this score, particularly about the non-acceptance by the Finance Commission of the subject of our border areas in the form of transport subsidy and then again the policy of the Government to recommend the importance and the needs of the unique institutions that we have in the District Councils. Now another matter of general interest in the State is one point raised by the hon. Member from Phulbari, Shri Akrammozaman, and that is on per capita income of the State. On this I may inform the hon. Member that we have not yet had the time or the machinery or the equipment for a thorough statistical assessment on the per capita income in the State. But what we have done for the purpose of placing the facts of Meghalaya, as far as this subject is concerned is taking Meghalaya per capita income as 60 per cent of the per capita income of the State of Assam. When we take this 60 per cent as the per capita income of the State of Assam the per capita income of the State of Meghalaya comes to 327. Again here, the hon. Members will realise that this 327 also did not represent the uniform per capita income in the State. Here Shillong alone will contribute a large part and and minus Shillong, the per capita income will be very much lower than 327. It may come to 200 or even to 150 in other parts of the State. Therefore, we have tried to show the real condition obtaining in Meghalaya as of today even after 26 years of independence. Regarding the apparent contradiction made by Shri Akrammozaman who pointed out 20 and 60, the figures arose in this way. Of course, we have stated in our Draft Proposals for the Fifth Plan, on a tentative estimate, taking the per capita income as 60 per cent of the per capita income in Assam . In the National Draft Plan, which has been finalised in the Fourth Plan Documents, the consumption per months at 1960-61 prices was estimated as the minimum standard, i.e., at 1960-61price level, Rs.20. Now, if we consider the price level, the whole price index number since 1961-62 has risen to 283.2 in March, 1974 and the figure of Rs.20 will then be above Rs.40. Therefore, there is no contradictions between Rs.20 at 1961-62 prices with the present statement of Rs.40. Actually, at the present level it will be Rs.40.6 per head per mensem. That is the minimum basic need so far as consumption level at current prices is concerned.
Two hon. Members have made some general remarks of general interest regarding the Finance and Planning Departments; the hon. Member from Sohryngkham, Shri G. Mylliemngap and the hon. Member from Mawkhar, Prof. A. Warjri.
Shri Mylliemngap has made a sweeping remark that the Finance Department is very fond of objections; and, then again that the delay in the Finance Department has caused the surrender of various schemes. Well, Sir, it is a very very strong remark and I took up the matter immediately. On Saturday I requested the hon. member at least to bring up some facts to help me in my reply to the charges. However, I will have to study certain facts before understanding the remarks of the hon. members when they expressed their views on the working of the Government in respect of various Departments. We have joint responsibilities; a body in unison in the administration of the State or in the Cabinet or the Ministry. Therefore, it cannot be said that one Department of the Government is playing against the other Department. It is totally wrong. We have read somewhere in the papers here and there in the country of how there was a division in the Ruling Party- dissidents and non-dissidents; ministerial and non- ministerial. But in the actual working of the administration in the State there is no such thing as one Department playing against the other. I can assure you, Sir, that this is not a fact and I would like to remove all kinds of doubts especially in Meghalaya. As I would like to remove all kinds of doubts especially in Meghalaya. As it is at present, Meghalaya is the most stable, most tranquil State administratively and politically in India; we have perfect union, perfect unity and understanding. There is no question of one Department taking the credit and the other getting the blame so far as the administration of the whole State is concerned I will quote certain facts on the question of surrender. In the Fourth Plan period, when Meghalaya first came into being in 1970 as an Autonomous State until the end of 1973- four years- we had a Rs.38 crore Plan as share from the Hills Plan of Assam. Now Sir, whether we have, in fact, failed in the utilisation of this Plan money and had surrendered or not, as I have stated in my Budget Speech and documents, the hon. Member will remember the total estimated expenditure during the Fourth Plan period which was Rs.37.44 crores from the total estimated expenditure of Rs.38 crores. Any reasonable hon. Member would say that Meghalaya had not been failing and surrendering money in various sectors of the Autonomous State. We had, in fact, began from a scratch when we got the new State and we had difficulties of machineries, equipments, officers, staff etc., and despite these difficulties, we were able to execute to the extent of Rs.37.44 crores. Therefore, on a general remark that there ahs been surrender and that one Department is to be blamed, I should say that is very unkind on the part of any hon. Member of this august House. Again, even, for that small surrender the hon. Members know that surrender happens because, say, out of Rs.10 lakhs for a scheme on certain buildings we have to face the question of land. As you know, availability of land does not depend on the Government machinery. It is up to people's willingness also. Take for example the Shillong Water Supply Scheme. It is a Rs.4 crores project; we have got the money for that. There is no dearth of officers and machineries to implement the scheme. I think the hon. Member from Sohryngkham knows very well that it was in his own village and from his experience whether he can say that because of the Finance Department that we cannot execute or because of the failure of the P.H.E. There are various factors involved in the execution of schemes. We have the Indo- Danish project. Yes, we have executed and it is a great deed but that depends not only on the Government of India alone nor on the Danish Government alone. It depends on many factors. As a matter of fact, we had expected the Danish team to arrive here by January last. They came only last week because of blocking of visas, passports, etc. Therefore, before the hon. Members make any sweeping remarks, I would request them to first of all, meet us and study the whole thing before any sweeping remarks are made on any matter.
Then again let us see about the progress and implementation. So far as implementation is concerned various schemes will go through various levels of the departments and then finally come to Finance Department. In the year 1973 ending 31st March, 1974, we have a total of 8,383 proposals received from various departments. More than 3,000 proposals were received during January, February and March. Imagine the situation in the Finance Department. Proposals are expected every moth to be received from Departments for sanction and implementation. But out of 8,383 proposals for the whole year, only in the last months of January, February and March we received more than 3000. In the month of March alone, we received 1975 proposals. Even then the hon. Members criticised the Departments. During this last hour rush, the Finance Department has to examine all the proposals of 1975 in one or two weeks alone and how many of them have been accepted. We talk about this question without really knowing the facts and figures. Just because it is the talk in the air we catch these talks in the air, we open our mouths here in this august House. These are irresponsible statements on the part of responsible leaders. It is necessary that whatever we say, we have to go thoroughly into the matter and not simply say what we catch in the air.
Well, in this connection, Prof. Warjri had voiced certain amount of suspicion about the efficiency of the officers in the Finance Department so far as Plan allocation is concerned. It is a very delicate matter indeed. I did not expect that a responsible leader would say openly here in this august House and before the public the things which he could have taken us into confidence in some informal discussions. However, I would like to reply because it has been raised. I would like to emphatically State that the presentation of the case before the Finance Commission as well as the Planning Commission has been done with all the machinery of the State as a whole. It is not a question of one department only. At the top there was a meeting of our Chief Minister and Planning Minister with the Planning Minister of the Government of India and Members of Planning Commission. There is no question to be singled out for any one or any officer or any department in this matter.
Then, I would again State that so far as the case of the State is concerned, it was placed most thoroughly and it has received also the appreciation and understanding of the authorities in Delhi. Well, somebody and understanding of the authorities in Delhi. Well, somebody had remarked during the discussion may be the Hon. Speaker, himself had said to just compare with other States. No State that presents a case before the Government of India gets what it wants. It is not quite the same as the Government of India, allocation. We have convinced that the need of the State is Rs.203 crores and that we have the capacity to implement and use this amount of Rs.203 crores during the Fifth Plan period. That is quite a different thing from the fact of how much money is there in the country to distribute to the States. People who have got a family will understand that the need of a child may be many ,many things, but he would give according to his budget. So this is also a very wrong suspicion, a very wrong kind of thinking without really comparing the figures, without really going into the details of the machinery and the processes of planning and plan distribution in the country. However, it may be that these things are raised for the general understanding of all Members so far as these questions of State Finance are concerned.
This morning the hon. Member from Pariong, Mr. Hopingstone Lyngdoh, also had raised a very sensational topic in the State. This was triggered through certain questions asked by a number of MPs on the 17th April which was published on the 18th April and that is the question of leaders in Meghalaya being involved in certain subversive foreign international agencies i.e. number one. And that there is a doubt about certain organisation that is the Moral Rearmament and the participation and involvement of certain leaders including Ministers in the State. As already corrected by the Hon. Speaker, this is just a mere question. It is not even an assertion of facts by the Members who raised this question in the Parliament and, therefore, it is totally wrong to say that the Parliament had thought so. So many Members like Mr. Koch may raise anything against the Government and such feelings should not be taken as the decision of the House and whether it is a fact and so on and so forth. But since this matter has been discussed I would say that there was no warrant from the Government for a statement. Sir, this is a question of a Private member in Parliament asking a question about certain matters about certain organisations outside the Government. Therefore, it is not a question for the Government to answer about this MRA or any other organisation.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- There was a statement made by the Home Minister.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance etc.) :- There was no statement made by the Home Minister. However, I would State categorically that none of the Ministers in Meghalaya is connected or involved or associated with any subversive organisation in the country. This, I can say very definitely and categorically. Now, so far as the MRA organisation is concerned, it has been functioning in India for a long time. Its headquarters is at Pangkhani. And it is a matter of opinion whether this is a good Organisation and whether this is being financed by the Congress, Swatantra or Communist Party. This is clearly a matter of opinion. We have plenty of Organisations which are subjected no doubts whether they are being financed by Russia or China or any other country. There are such organisations. But at least I will give some facts about the attitudes of the public leaders of India towards this MRA Organisation and its programmes. First of all, just near our home, I would remind the Members that the programme of the MRA was inaugurated by the Hon'ble Speaker of the Assam Assembly Mr. Barua in Gauhati and the Chairman of the Reception Committee at Gauhati was the Vice- Chancellor of the Gauhati University. And the Song of Asia organised by the MRA which was held in Calcutta has been inaugurated by the Finance Minister of West Bengal, Mr. Ghose. This Song of Asia was witnessed by the Cabinet Ministers of the Government of India, including the Home Minister, Shri K.C. Pant. This is a matter of opinion. It is like any other Organisation and any other programme. It is like the Indo- Soviet Cultural Organisation where the hon. Member, Shri Jormanick Syiem, is the President. Well, this is a matter of opinion. Why do we attach so much amount of suspicion to this Organisation. This is also like the International Red Cross Society which may be financed by America, Russia or China. But these organisations are meant for the good of the society and they propound better ideas for life, such as purity, honesty and the like. So, before I close I will quote the statement of the Head of our State, Shri B.K. Nehru, who was the Governor of the 5 States, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura on the MRA Organisation. This was recently before he left for U.K. as High Commissioner. He was inaugurating the MRA Centre in Jorhat when he made the statement.
"Why do I regard MRA as a good thing? Because it is in essence the teaching and not only the teaching but the practice of morality.
My presence here, because of the fact that I happen to occupy the position of the Head of the State, means three negative things which are very important.
One is that MRA is not a sectarian activity. If it had been, it would not have been possible for me to be here. The second is that it is not in any sense a partisan political activity; again if it had been, I would not have been here.
And the third is that it is not a subversive organisation. Otherwise, again I would not have been here.
I think these three negatives are important and now let me come to the positive part. The importance is not in the membership of MRA, but in the leading of a good life, by your devotion to the principles of morality, above all, by your regard for what strikes me as the great slogan, if I may call it, of "What is right?" 'Not who is right?" and furthermore your practice of tolerance and your understanding of the other person's point of view".
In my quoting all this statement, it does not mean that I or any one hold that any organisation is good or bad. Therefore, we should not really be swayed to it. We had specially for the last 10-25 years of independence the Communist Party of India. We do not know whether it is a national or international party. But in the Chinese aggression we heard the falling of the two views or the two wings of the Communist Party of India, whether the Marxist Communist Party of India supported the Chinese aggression against India. So compared to that, this is a very minor matter for any one to attach any importance to this organisation, whether it is religious, non- religious and social welfare organisation. Now Sir, if I am not mistaken, the hon. Member from Mawkyrwat, Mr. Rowel Lyngdoh, made a remark in the context of the development of the State as a whole. He said that the most important factor is the human factor. This is true. We have the air in which there is oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen. We have water, we have the soil, we have many things which are the factors for development of our State. It is true to say that human factor is the most important. But I will disagree with the hon. member when he mentioned and when he confined human factor only to a very small section of the population of the State that is the officers. That is not the real human factor for development. First I will say that the most important human factors are ourselves. We are the leaders who have gone to the public in 1972 and say that we are here to devote ourselves to the development and welfare of the people of the State. We are the most important factor. Then we have the Syiems, the Lyngdohs, the Headmen, the leaders of the Church and the people. The ten lakh and eleven thousand are the factors, the total human factors for the development of the State. This is true. It is very important to realise this and not to be adverted to unrealistic imagination and thinking that one person alone or one or two or only one section are responsible.
Another remark this morning about Meghalaya not representing its case in the Indo-Bangladesh boundary which appears to have been agreed upon in a resolution between the Prime Ministers recently. I would like to clarify that so far as the Meghalaya part is concerned in this Indo-Bangladesh boundary there are no more disputes. That was decided long time ago and there is no dispute between India and Bangladesh so far as this part of the country is concerned. That is why there is no question to represent during the talk of the two Prime Ministers recently in New Delhi on the question of boundaries between the two countries. In the report we have certain references to adverse possession. This settlement of adverse possessions was there some years ago under the Nehru Noon Agreement on certain boundaries. They have not been able to finally settle the question for these adverse possessions. These are questions to be settled in this Indo-Bangladesh Agreement. The agreement represented only those places which legally fall within India but were adversely possessed by nationals of Bangladesh. Those places will have to be transferred to India. Then again those places which legally fall within Bangladesh according to the boundary already fixed but which up till now were adversely possessed by nationals of India those areas may have to go to Bangladesh but we do not know yet the details because this has in principle already been decided. An enquiry will be made to find out the boundaries of these adverse possessions. In case the inquiry finds that some areas are occupied by Bangladesh nationals the areas which should have been in Bangladesh but had been adversely occupied by our nationals these areas will be transferred to Bangladesh.
( At this stage, the Speaker occupied the chair )
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, on a point of information and clarification. There is a dispute in Shella area where the Bangladesh nationals occupied vast area of the cultivated lands of the Shella people. The question is between the Commandant of the 85 Battalion of our side and the counterpart of Bangladesh side.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Finance Minister) :- Truly I have stated that the question will be settled. Those area adversely occupied by us which fall within the Bangladesh area will have to be transferred to Bangladesh nationals and those areas or places which were adversely occupied by the Bangladesh nationals but which fall within India will have again to be transferred to India. These are the agreements which were recently reached in New Delhi.
Now I would like to touch upon the subjects that all Members have covered for the last few days' discussion. Now there are three or four observations on various subjects. First there are constructive and positive suggestions from the Members in various sectors which the Government should take note and actually we have taken note of all of them, and there is no question to reply to them. It is a matter of taking note, accepting and implementing as far as possible. Therefore, there is no case for reply to those suggestions. Again there are remarks, observations and suggestions relating only to a particular spot or locality, say, a particular Water Supply Scheme somewhere in Jirang or somewhere in Patharkhmah or somewhere in Garo Hills to which I consider that a reply is not necessary. It is not the concern of all hon. members, but the concern of that particular area. Therefore, I do not think it is desirable to reply to those cases which are of local nature. I will try to send the replies which we have received from the Departments to the members concerned as far as possible in the form of clarification and also the Members will be apprised of the progress of the work. That we will send to the hon. Members concerned. The third category will be about the observations which have a bearing on the general administration of the State. We may fruitfully discuss these in this House and try to reply to them. Members may have noted that I have taken pain to take note of all the schemes for 4 hours every day. I was present in this House to take note of all the points while listening to their speeches. I have got them typed and I have classified them. Most of the Members spoke on agriculture and industry. Notes on their speeches, suggestions and remarks have been sent to the Departments. They are looking after them, and in fact, they have sent report to me on the various subjects and observation.
First of all I come to agriculture in which almost all the Members have touched. I think the Members who have spoken on this important subject were Mr. Akamozzaman, Mr. P.R. Kyndiah, Mr. Winstone Syiemiong, Mr. G. Mylliemngap, Mr. S.D. Khongwir, Mr. Reidson Momin and others to whom I was listening. However, I will try to reply to some specific points. I will try to reply to some subjects which have a general bearing on the State. Mr. Salseng Marak, has laid emphasis that in the approach to revitalise agriculture, one very important factor is the use of scientific method, the modern method, and the application of intensive multiple cropping, to conserve and for the best utilisation of our land which is very vast and which is difficult to brought under permanent cultivation. This I am in full agreement. Mr. Kyndiah, has suggested that in view of the apprehension that potato may be facing keen competition in the country, intensive and extension of pineapple cultivation should be done. It has got a market in the country and also outside. Mr. Syiemiong has rightly emphasised the need to do more research in the soil and has suggested for better and more improved soil testing equipments and machinery. Since Mr. Rowel Lyngdoh has emphasised one factor, I would say to the suggestion of Mr. Khongwir that it is right to educate the people about various methods and use of fertilizers and insecticides. The hon. Member from Mawhati, if you can recall in the last session, has cited an example that people in the Umsiang area were invited to attend meeting for education them about agriculture, to the extent they were paid Rs.6 a day for attending. Therefore, the hon. Members will appreciate that the Government is fully alive to the question of human factor. It is a mass factor. There is need or remove apathy from them the need to give extensive education, the need to give them knowledge to the extent of paying them for attending lectures of the Department on the various aspects of agriculture.
Many suggestions were made here for consideration with regard to industries. Mr. S.P. Swer has bought forward a picture of the life of the tribal people. I had an experience in the years 1955-57 when there was a proposal from the Government of Assam to nationalise all the coalfields in Cherrapunji and to be given to 2 or 3 companies to operate them. There was a big agitation for and against and ultimately it was discussed in the residence of Mr. Chaliha, the then Chief Minister of Assam. This is the picture brought forward by Shri Swer, that a tribal has a life which consists of a very complete unit of a home, a garden plus some chicken, plus some pigs, goats cattle and vegetables. This is the life of a tribal who is happy in his home. It will be very difficult to imagine a change to a barrack life in the industries or factories. It is a question for us to decide, whether we prefer a change of live and go for a new life of industrial barracks and flats. This is what Mr. Swer has cautioned and it is for us the leaders of the State to consider how to strike a balance between the present need to develop industries and at the same time not to disturb the life of the people that has been going on the in State. I would like to say that in the general discussion in the budget, Mr. Lyngdoh, Mr. Kyndiah, Mr. Mawlot and others said that when we start industries, we should not start industries just for the sake of industries. We should see that first and foremost the industries will benefit the people and the effect it will have on the socio economic life of the State. This has been also been expressed in the House and Government will take note of these feelings and expression in the House.
Now, Sir, in my budget speech I have stressed very much on the need for power development in the State. For agriculture, for industries for street lighting and electrification of our homes, power is very important. On this, Mr. H.S. Lyngdoh has stated this morning about the great power potential we have in our State. The Chief Minister once stated in one of his arguments, when we pressed our case for creation of a Hill State, that we have always great power potentialities. Our State is viable and has listed power development as one such potential. Therefore, I agree with the hon. member from Pariong that this State has great power potential and that it should be developed.
Then again the Member from Umroi stated that the people do not like to sacrifice their cultivable land for the sake of power generations. This is to be viewed objectively. With regard to the road which is opened from Barapani to Tyrso, we have to cross many paddy fields. So we had to sacrifice lot of paddy lands as we think that this road is very important more important than that much of sacrificed paddy fields. So, we should not say that we will not sacrifice the paddy fields for power. It should be viewed objectively. Therefore, for the sake of a few acres of land we should not stop power development. I wonder whether those objections that were made in the year 1957 against the Umiam project were valid in the light of our experience today. The people of village Mylliem, Mawmluh, Nongstoin are now having electricity, would you say now that those objections made against the Umiam Project were valid?
Now, Sir, it is very rightly stated by the hon. Member, Shri Rabha that health is wealth. Therefore, as stated in the budget speech, as a matter of policy, we learnt that the Government of India is now re-formulating the plan in view of the financial strain and difficulty in the country and they may withdraw more from the Social Service sector. However, in our State, we have stated that we have to stress that we are not going to take away from this very important social service- health because this is a very important factor, a human factor, so to say, as Mr. Rowell Lyngdoh said. It is very important for the development of the State. Sir, on the question of health again there was a general demand of more hospitals more beds, more dispensaries and so on. Yes, we are in full agreement with the need to have more dispensaries, more hospitals, but at the same time there is the question to equip those dispensaries, and hospitals with doctors. Shri Samsul Haque has stated that there are 3 dispensaries and that all of them are without doctor we have great difficulties in this respect. What is the use of constructing hospitals and dispensaries when they have just been eaten up by while ants and are being used as cattle sheds and so on? This is so because we have no doctors. When we came as an autonomous State, we saw this problem and we tried to give incentives to the doctors to go to the interior. We tried to give incentives in the form of pay and allowances and we had improved a little. As a matter of fact, we have made much improvement from what it was in 1970. Yet, after these incentives were advertised, doctors came, but you know they do not stay for long. I think the hon. Members will know about this from experience. The doctors run away and we cannot force them to stay as we have not executed a bond to make them stay with us. So they run away from their posts as there is no good school, market no transport and so on in rural areas and so they run away to the town. So this is a big problem. Therefore, in our pursuit to build or to have more dispensaries and hospitals we also have to think to having doctors and pharmacists to serve in these dispensaries and hospitals.
Then again, there is the question of the Planning Commission in respect of Plan allocation. Every year the officers of the department of Health in the State had a meeting with the officers of the Planning Commission in the totality of the fixing of the plan allocation in the State. Having fixed the number of dispensaries in the State in that particular year, then the Planning Commission issued a document approving of the schemes on hospitals and dispensaries and we cannot change that within a year. This, of course, had to be implemented and then of course others will come in future. For the present the decision was that each Block should be provided with one Primary Health Centre. That decision we cannot change. We cannot give two or three Health Centres to each Block. So we have to stick to the original decision of having one Primary Health centre in one Block. of course the apprehension is wrong that it will be always in Block headquarters. This is not necessary.
Now about education. Several members who had suggested and spoken this morning including also Mr. Nongtdu, Mr. B.B. Shallam had stressed the need for a change in the system of education. This is a national problem really. The whole of India has been seized for this problem for years together. I do not know whether gradually we are going to change or we will still be in the same what they say a white collar system of education. It is not the Government to decide on this. In one meeting one leader spoke strongly against the general education system, about the I.As., the B.As and the M.As and so on, I just asked the leader "are you prepared to abolish all the Arts Colleges in your area?". He got stuck there. It is a very difficult question when it comes to ourselves. Are all of us here, prepared to say, "let us stop the arts education at Tura, Jowai and Shillong or at Mendipathar," I think there is one Arts College at Mendipathar. Are we prepared now to change all the arts subjects or arts education and thoroughly go for science? So let us examine ourselves and consider very seriously and when that is done, let us meet in the next session and discuss if we are really serious about this change in the system of education.
Now there was a question from the hon. Member, Mr. Kurbah, why the headquarters of the office of the School Board of Education should be in Tura. His remarks are uncalled for. Well I think it is really difficult to reply to this obvious wrong reference about the location of certain offices by saying that the Board being located at Tura, students from here will have to go to Tura. What about students from Tura having to come here? There is no thought at all. Then also the question of some offices. What benefit or otherwise if it is located in any part of the State does not arise at all. Whether we sit here or somewhere in Mawphlang, or Umroi or Tura, it does not affect at all. This is very strange in deed.
So, I would really appeal to the hon. Members that when we sit here we represent the State as a whole and then we look at the State as a whole and not only in any particular constituency, in northern or southern area. We have to look at the State as a whole, so the location of offices will not really affect any part of the State. Therefore, why talk or ask for the reasons why we go there? It is not necessary at all for us. Why we do not have it here in Shillong or in Jowai or in Tura, it is very difficult to say. But at least we would expect a little faith on the part of the hon. members on the Government when we decide about this detailed administrative matter. Mr. Marak has rightly stressed the need for regular inspection of schools. As human beings we are all subjected to the weakness of the need to be supervised, to be looked after. Therefore, it is true that the supervision and inspection not only of schools but of all the Departments are very necessary. Recently we have decided that for L.P. Schools the inspection staff of the Government will be placed under the District Councils who are now in direct charge of L.P. Schools. We welcome this suggestion and will try as far as possible to implement this decision and also to strengthen the inspection and supervision of the schools especially in the interior areas. Mr. Sangma had advocated strongly for setting up of Nursery schools. I am very much inclined to agree with him that the L.P. schools either private or District Council or Mission run are there today. If we just look at the figures of enrolment we have 80,100 and so on. But when we classify we find 2 or 3 or 4 students in class I, II or III. The 80, the 100 are the tiny tods who just create confusion. The teachers will have to look to the discipline of the tiny tods and will have no time to teach class I class II and class III. We feel that the lower sections in the Primary schools should be separate. Here again this is a matter of funds and a matter of human factors. In the villages where there are good social welfare organisations as we have at Mairang and other places where they run Nursery schools. They are doing very well of course with the co-operation they get from the District Councils and the Blocks.
Now, Sir, regarding P.W.D. the hon. Member, Shri Mawlot, has made a general remark that there is duplication of works by D.C., P.W.D. Blocks and District Councils and there is lack of co-ordination. Well Sir, I would like to say that the question of duplication is not really there. It is a question perhaps of inadequate co-ordination. So far as the P.W.D. is concerned. they are undertaking the construction of long distance road like Shillong- Tura Road, Shillong-Nongstoin Road etc. Whereas the roads for horse riding, footpath etc., are being looked after by the D.C., P.W.D. So there is no duplication of work. There are rural roads connecting one village with another; there are some bridges over certain small rivers for which naturally P.W.D. will not be interested. They are being looked after by the District Councils, Blocks etc. Of course there is need for more co-ordination. There are many Departments which are incharge of big projects, they develop a totalitarian outlook. The top- heavy P.W.D. is engaged with big projects and as such they are not interested in small works. Therefore, we should have smaller agencies to look after those small projects which are also equally important.
Regarding transport we have heard a lot of complaints against Shillong-Tura Bus Services. Yes we do have complaints whenever we have any machinery. Well, if you have electric connection in your house, then there will be fusion, break-downs and power failures. Of course if we do not have electric light naturally there is no complaint. This is the case with all human beings. Anyway, whatever complaints are made against this Shillong-Tura Bus Service we take them as compliments because we know there would not have been any complaints had we not put buses between Shillong and Tura. I remember, we had shouted a lot in the Assam Assembly during 1961-62 on the need to have buses between Shillong and Tura. Today, when we have really taken up this route and introduced buses, we are hearing complaints. We take them as compliments since it shows that we are taking keen interest. Of course I will not say that it has been alright. There are so many things to be done. You know there are shortages of tyres; also the organisation of this Department is no new that we cannot expect perfection. Even in the old organisation of Assam there were lots of complaints. Therefore, I would request the members to consider all these problems sympathetically. Of course I do not want that the Department should run like this. We will look into this with special attention and care. In this long distance line we shall be giving special attention for better buses, better spare tyres and so on.
Now, regarding administrative re-organisation of the State, we have stated during the Governor's Address that in view of the difficult terrain and the vastness of this land, there is a great need for improvement in the administration so as to bring the Government and the administrative machinery closer to the people. In this context, we have proposed to create more districts and sub-divisions. In fact, we have already proposed to take up during the Fifth Five Year Plan period opening of 2 more districts and 4 more sub- divisions and one of them we have already completed i.e. the opening up of the Ri-Bhoi Administrative Unit. Mr. Akramozzaman supported by Mr. Reidson Momin have reiterated the necessity of creation of one Administrative Unit in the Garo Hills comprising of the Dadenggiri and Selsela Development Blocks. This also will be properly looked into and considered by the Government. Of course, I would like to clarify one mistaken idea which is perhaps, not made seriously by Mr. S.D. Khongwir about the creation of 10 more sub-division and 5 more districts in this district alone so as to draw more sub-division and 5 more districts in this district alone so as to draw out more funds from the Government of India. This is a wrong notion indeed. In so far as plan funds are concerned, it does not matter with how many districts we have. The question of opening more districts is from the normal fund- normal expenditure.
On forests, some hot questions have been raised on the floor of the House and that is about the lease of the Reserved Forests to the Meghalaya Plywood Factory. We have paid special attention to the feelings of the people in this respect. Accordingly, the Government had revised the arrangement in this project. I would like to place before the House the real picture of the whole State in so far as forests are concerned. Let us remember one thing that in our State we have only 3 per cent reserved forests whereas 97 per cent are non- reserved forests. Therefore, we should not really be so much exercised one the question of only 3 per cent. Secondly, I do not fall in line with Shri Lyngdoh when he stated that if this 3 per cent of reserved forests would be utilised, our State would be barren.
Mr. Speaker :- But he agreed to the optimum utilisation.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- That is after your suggestion or somebody's suggestion. But for regeneration of our forests we must utilise our forests every now and then so that unvaluable trees are deforested and other highly valuable species of trees are regenerated. But Sir, what happened in the last few years. We have some difficulties in the tender for the utilisation of our forests. Nobody came forward to accept the tender; they are not interested since there are lots of problems like lack of markets, transport problems, etc. In fact in certain parts of Garo Hills we have to burn the forests to clear-fell the trees so that good trees of modern value with modern methods are regenerated. Nobody has any interest to come even for a firewood or charcoal. There were some sal trees in some parts of the State in the last few years. Members have stated in some parts of the State in the last few years. Members have stated that the rate is far below the scheduled rate of 1965. Well, the Government of Assam had increased that rate in certain parts of Upper Assam. But we have to look to the fact of the case. Even at the rate of 1965 we have found that no one came forward to lease our forests and it seems that we have to sell even below that. These are facts on which we cannot make any suggestion blindly without proper thinking, not to speak of increasing the rate that Assam had revised for the forests of Assam. In the budget debate, some hon. Members have stated that we should go more for industries based on our local resources and nothing else. We have got our own resources so far as plywood is concerned. We are interested that our reserved forests should not be just exported outside the State. This is the reason why we have agreed to have this Plywood Factory in Meghalaya. It is not only from the reserved forests that the Plywood industry may have its raw materials; it can have also from the private forests of the State but we must have certain measures to ensure adequate supply of trees to the industry. Efforts should be to ensure and make this industry successful. For the Forest Department we will have wood market for the produces of the reserved forests, to replant our forests we are having a sort of free labour to remove the old trees and replant our trees according to modern methods and to multiply the new and good species of trees which are valuable and precious. However, in response to the feeling of the public we have revised our understanding with the Plywood Factory and we are also trying to supply through the private tribal contractors. Let us remember that opening of market in Byrnihat more private tribal contractors would come forward to buy the trees out of our reserved forests.
Sir, on the question of judiciary in the District Councils Mr. Jormanick Syiem has stated that the District Councils are the the autonomous bodies. Yes, so far as judiciary is concerned, the State Government had nothing to do. But according to the present amendment, the District Court of the District Councils and Subordinate Courts should come under one system. For instance, the Courts of Garo Hills and Jaintia Hills District Councils would form their respective District Courts of the Government. We have also a general agreement for the Court of the District Council here. There are some difficulties about absorption of staff and so on, I hope it would be implemented and I think this would solve the problem. Officers of the Courts will then be transferable from time to time at least once within 5 years and not to get stuck for 10 or 15 years as is now in the District Councils.
On the working of the C.D. Blocks, well it is a common talk for all these years since 1972. There is a condemnation of the working of these Blocks. The condemnation has gone to the extent of even suggesting to do away with all the Blocks. But if we really abolish the Blocks, there will be something almost like a revolution in the rural areas. These Blocks were conceived by our great Prime Minister late Jawaharlal Nehru to accelerate the pace of development and for better administration of the rural people of the State and the country. Thus by bringing the Blocks right into the interior of the rural areas it will help those rural people to come into closer contact with all the plans and programmes of development of the Government. A misconception of the Blocks arose. They were looked upon as the development departments and expected to spend a lot of money to develop the areas, which is a wrong notion. The main thing is the association of the people in development and progress. The purpose of the block is to create development consciousness among the people, to create incentives for higher standard of living, for better communication, better roads, better health and sanitation. In a word "to create wants not to satisfy wants". The Blocks are only the agencies the catalysing agents to arouse the people to develop in all spheres of life. Of course there are so many defects as human beings. But I would lay more responsibility on the leaders because whenever we have to implement any scheme, it is not only the B.D.O. who will decide, but there are other members of the B.D.C. like the M.L.As, the M.D.Cs, the Syiems to discuss about the schemes in the B.D.C. and its Members have a very important role to play in considering and discussing the developmental schemes within the limit of the amount of money that is available for discussion. They determine the priority of the schemes to be given. Besides that, they also appoint Sub-Committees consisting of M.L.As, M.D.Cs, etc. You cannot blame the B.C.O. alone for misuse of funds. With this understanding, we have to depend on these Blocks for our better progress and the Members of the B.D.Cs have to be more vigilant and we also expect the B.D.Cs and Sub- Committees to help the people to live up tot he standard. Let us be sure to uphold the true meaning and purp0ose of these Blocks when they are trying to serve in the interest of the people in changing their attitude, their outlook towards development and progress, as I said earlier.
Now, Prof. Warjri had referred to the condition of the police that we have inherited from Assam and that we have not been able to improve them. Well, Sir, let us also consider a bit about the time element necessary for any change that may take place since we have taken over the Police force in January, 1972. Just to say that this Government will overhaul and improve its condition within a period of 1½ years will too much. But we do intend to improve them and we have laid down schemes and proposals of that purpose. One is that in so far as the condition of the Police Reserve is concerned, we have sanctioned for their improvement. But it is not easy to say that we can do it overnight. Even for selection of sides for their quarters as the hon. Member from Mawkhar has experienced, I believe it is not easy at all. We have decided since 1970 to construct a Circuit House in Tura Town, but selection of site took us three years. So this question of selection of site is not easy and therefore we cannot blame the Government for that. So also we cannot say that within a short span of time or within this year we will be able to complete the selection of site for the police.
As regards the conditions in the Jails, I agree with the hon. Members who pointed out the congestion that we have in the Jails. But I also like to give one caution here in our approach to the Jail conditions. The other day, we have a meeting with the Joint Select Committee of Parliament in which some discussion took place about the general approach to the Indian Penal Code and allied matters and there one of the subjects of discussion was about the approach to the jails. That is, whether we should make the jail a place for comfort or a place of punishment. When we sentence a person to imprisonment, does it mean that we are going to punish him or are we sending him to a place of comfort? So in this question we have to strike a balance. What type of punishment to be meted out to the criminal for his acts against the society has to be determined. Therefore, we cannot be too sentimental about the conditions of these criminals in jails.
Prof. Alexander Warjri :- But the majority of them are not convicts, they are under-trial prisoners.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Yes, I am very sorry that the under-trial prisoners and the convicts should have the same fate as the criminals. It happened because of difficulty of accommodation. We have seen these problems and I can assure that we are seriously looking into the matter.
Now coming to the border areas, we have discussed time and again in this august House about this subject and we have the same view. But in so far as the specific case is concerned which may also be relevant to other areas of the border as raised by Mr. Galynestone Laloo, it really happens that I also come to know about that area especially the Shillong-Dawki road and the area across the Umsong river. The area is really the most difficult, a very very difficulty area and they were treated as the border area by the Vaghaiwalla Commission. As stated by the Chief Minister the other day, the question of drawing a line somewhere in this area to avoid misuse of funds meant for the border people will have to be looked into, by this Government. The hardships of that area will be looked into by the Government and we will see that they do not suffer just because of their being located outside the radius of 10 kilometres.
Sir, on the question of Municipality, we have two contradictory expressions of views in this House. One from Shri Jor Manick Syiem and another from Shri Joshi. Shri Jor Manick Syhiem has shown great appreciation of the improvement all around through the Municipal Administration as to today. And the implication from Mr. Syiem is that they should be encouraged to go forward and improve further the condition of the Town, while Mr. Joshi made a political- not administrative or economic, demand on the abstract theory of democracy in the realistic situation as exists in Shillong today. Well, we say that we shall follow the rules of pragmatism rather than any abstract system. We shall follow only one ism-pragmatism. Therefore, I would request the hon. member from Shillong Cantonment, Mr. Joshi to sincerely consider from the practical, pragmatic point of view and then to have a very quiet discussion in the next session. ( Laughter ).
Sir, on the question of co-operation, well, Shri Jormanick Syiem referred to the question of impracticability of these 5,000 people required for forming a co-operative society before we register the society. We have had complaint which is a complaint almost against every society. We have complaints on the co-operative societies in the State of their failures and in fact they are failing. They have not been able to succeed. Therefore, as a new State, we have the opportunity to look afresh and we are looking afresh into this question on how to make every society viable. Therefore, we consider the population of at least 5,000 will make the society viable. That is the minimum membership of 200 families. At least with 200 families they will be able to form a society, therefore, it will cover a population of 5,000. On this score, let us see how this project works out. We are not bound to this forever. We will see as it works. Well, I would appeal just at present that he will try to make this scheme a success, as it is now, and see how to improve it later.
The hon. Member, Mr. Koch, is solely concerned with the subject of judiciary. He has condemned the Civil District Rules and Orders imposed by the British and that they are continuing now in our hill areas. There has been a change with the functioning of the District Councils since 1952. There have been so many changes. The condemnation that we are perpetuating is totally wrong because the District Councils that we are perpetuating is totally wrong because the District Councils that we are perpetuating is totally because the District Councils have made their own rules on administration of justice. The have not just followed the Civil District Rules of the British. In the matter of application of the C.P.C. and the Cr. P.C. the hon. Members may read the 6th Schedule of the Constitution, on paragraph 4, which States that in the District Council Courts, the C.P.C. and the Cr.P.C. shall not apply. Now, it is for us to consider whether we need to apply the C.P.C. and Cr.P.C. My thinking in this matter which I may place some proposals to the Cabinet is this, that we will have to strike a balance here. Wherever qualified lawyers appear as in Jowai Court, Shillong Court and Tura Court, then there is need to apply the C.P.C. and the Cr.P.C. In the rural areas like Pamshutia, Baghmara, etc., where there is no lawyer to apply this C.P.C. and Cr. P.C. is meaningless. Good sense only will prevail in these courts.
Sir, as the time is up, I will come to the last point. Shri Pohshna made five or six remarks which really are not good or desirable to discuss in this House. But regarding the empty office of the Civil Surgeon in Jowai, I would clarify. First of all, it is not a fact that the Government had not paid any attention to it. We have created the post of Civil Surgeon in that District and then we have to fill the post. We did have an officer posted there, but then it so happened that the officer got sick. Of course, it is a common experience that officers with the help of the M.L.As sometimes, manage to defeat their transfer orders. Meanwhile, not to leave it totally empty, we have authorised the Civil Surgeon, Khasi Hills to attend to that hospital some days in a week or in a month. These are the difficulties.
Shri H.E. Pohshna :- I did not simply charge the Government for non- appointment. Appointment is there in the Gazette. We have seen it, but actually...........
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance, etc) :- I have explained that. Mr. Speaker, Sir, looking at the problem from outside, is not so difficult, only those who are inside alone understand. There are so many difficulties. Then Mr. Speaker, Sir, as the time also is up, I feel that perhaps it is not very much necessary to go more into the details. As I have already assured the House that to some of the detailed suggestions regarding particular matters which affect only a particular area or constituency or village, we will try to send the information or clarification to the hon. Members. Sir, we have tried to discuss here matters which have generally affected the State as a whole.
Shri D.N. Joshi :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I feel I have to make certain observations regarding creation of minority cell in respect of employment and other doubts which have created in the minds of the minority communities. In order to dispel the doubts, the Finance Minister has not given the reply.
Mr. Speaker :- The Minister has understood. Is it the sense of the House that we continue the sitting for a few minutes more till the Finance Minister finishes his reply? ( Voices- Yes, Yes).
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance, etc) :- I have forgotten to reply and to discuss the general subject of employment, especially on the question of the percentage fixed by the employment, policy in the State. Sir, on this subject, the hon. Members had spoken here inside the House about the inadequate representation of Garos in the various departments and sentiments of the Members on this question. So, in view of the situation we have considered and adopted this employment policy on the percentage basis among ourselves- 40 per cent fort the Garos, 40 per cent for the Khasis- Jaintias, 15 per cent for general and 5 per cent for the other tribals. I am very glad that on this policy, we have full support of the House. No Member had ever raised any objection to this policy. On the whole, every one has been realistic to appreciate the conditions prevailing in the State. Now in the implementation, perhaps there is a case that the hon. Members had expressed very much on this. As I have just said about the policy, a change can be brought about on this question of long history, where we cannot do in a day, a month, a year or in a decade. Let us apply our minds. For example, when we got the autonomous State, I took the statistics of employment. In the Assam Secretariat alone, there were 388 tribals and of these, 350 are Khasis- Jaintias. This is the fact that had been in existence at the time when we came into being. First of all, we take according to the Government of India's decision that the districts come over to us automatically- all staff, officers, tribals, non- tribals, Garos, Khasis, Jaintias- we have no option to select this way or the other. They come as they area. Therefore, how do we expect that we have 40 per cent reservation in the district offices right now. We made this reservation of 40 per cent for all future recruitment. We cannot expect the district offices all at once to have a change, to dismiss 60 per cent and to bring about the 40 per cent reservation. This is impossible. No administration can do that. This is only for the future. Now there are thousands of employees in the District offices. We cannot bring this 40 per cent reservation in the one thousand existing staff. I think we should appreciate this position. In the Secretariat, 350 Khasis- Jaintia employees are there. We cannot say- remove 300 and employ others. I would appeal to all Members to appreciate this fact- that this provision is made only for future employment.
Shri Reidson Momin :- We are not demanding removal of the existing staff, but new recruitment.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance, etc) :- Let us appreciate the position about the new recruitment. The present imbalance will continue with gradual change in 5, 10 or 15 years as the present incumbents retire, in one sense. We have been very very vigilant in this regard so far as implementation of the policy is concerned. One hon. Member had remarked this morning that in Tura, we had appointed a Special Committee to enquire and look into the implementation of this 40 per cent reservation. We did, and what more can we do. I can not expect very much because we have also one factor and that is the Public Service Commission. The Public Service Commission makes the appointment of all clerks, typists, officers and staff in the Directorates and the Secretariat. Government cannot interfere. We cannot even wink or whisper or say anything so far as the Public Service Commission is concerned. The Public Service Commission will go according to its own principle of examination and give the names according to merit. So, I would suggest to the hon. Members who had expressed strong views on this that we sit after the session and look into these matters carefully and calmly and examine the papers received from the Public Service Commission and see what the Government does.
We are saying about bureaucrats. It is not a question of bureaucrats. Government cannot simply go and by-pass the Public Service Commission. Sir, when I went to Tura, I do have these complaints and I took them up promptly. I think the hon. Member, Shri Brojendro Sangma, made a complaint in certain cases. I took up the complaint. Again Shri Nimosh Sangma also made a complaint. I took up the case about non- receipt of letters informing the candidates for interview. These cases happen everywhere. Whether we blame the Government or the Secretariat or the Inspector of Schools or the Post offices- these are matters that we cannot avoid and we are trying to evolve a better and more effective process of reaching the information to the candidates concerned. We have the difficulty in Garo Hills where we do not have newspapers as we have here. It is very difficult in the sense that we do not have wide circulation of newspapers there. But we are trying our best to use the D.C., B.D.Os and others as means of communication to the public.
Mr. Speaker :- But you have not replied to the points raised by Mr. Joshi.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance, etc) :- Sir, I am coming to that.
Shri D.N. Joshi :- Sir, I raised the question of minority.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance, etc) :- Sir, this may be discussed in the general discussion.
Mr. Speaker :- I think Mr. Joshi was referring to the difficulties of the minority communities in the educational institutions and not employment.
Shri D.N. Joshi :- Employment also, Sir.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- There are no questions of minority groups in Meghalaya. I think the Muslims or the Hindus or Assamese or Bengalese are not minorities.
Mr. Speaker :- Not minority!
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- They come under general. There is no question of minorities within the meaning of this policy.
Shri D.N. Joshi :- I wanted the reply from the Finance Minister to the creation of the Minority Cell as is the practice in the Government of India to look into the well- being of the minority.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- It is difficult. However, we will be considering the suggestion of the Member.
Shri H. Hadem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think our Official Language is English, whether tribal or non-tribal.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) : Anyway we will have plenty of time during the discussion of the cut motions. That is all I have got say.
Mr. Speaker : In fact the clarification sought for by Mr. Joshi should have come in the form of a question.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) : This will be looked into.
Shri D. N. Joshi : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I was expecting to get the the reply from the Finance Minister about the implementation of the U. G. C. This is a matter of general policy. I do not know why the Finance Minister is not replying.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) : General policy.
Mr. Speaker : Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :Let me clarify the point. Mr. Joshi wanted to know whether the Government of Meghalaya will implement the pay scale of the college teachers as recommended by the U. G. C. In this respect, I think the Finance Minister is well aware that all the colleges in Meghalaya are affiliated to the Central University. So, Mr. Joshi wanted to know whether the Government have taken up with the U. G. C. to ensure that the College teachers in Meghalaya get the benefits as other college teachers under any Central University. That is the point.
Shri D.N. Joshi :- That is my point, Sir, I have made this observation in the speech I made yesterday.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- The recommendations of the U.G.C. are very serious and have far reaching consequences. Therefore, the Government has taken this very seriously and is considering all the likely implications and will come to a decision soon.
Mr. Speaker :-The House stands adjourned till 9 a.m. on Wednesday the 19th June, 1974.
Shri R.T. RYMBAI,
The 18th June, 1974.
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.