Proceedings of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly assembled at 9.30 a.m. on the 10th September, 1976 in the Assembly Chamber, Shillong, with the Hon'ble Speaker in the Chair.

Present - Minister-Eight, Minister of State-Three, members-Thirty three. 


QUESTION AND ANSWERS

Mr. Speaker :- Let us begin the business of the day by taking up unstarred question No.1.

UNSTARRED QUESTIONS

(Replies to which were laid on the table.)

Jowai Government College

Shri H. Enowell Pohshna asked :

Will the Minister in-charge of Education be pleased to State -

1. (a)

Whether the proposed construction of the buildings for the Jowai Government College has been abandoned?

    (b) 

If so, Why?

    (c)

If not, why was it not stated during the last four year?

    (d)

Whether Government is aware of the inconvenience faced by the students of the Jowai Government College in the present hired building?

    (e)

If so, what steps do Government propose to take to ameliorate the difficulties of the students?

Shri Peter Garnett Marbaniang (Minister of State, Education) replied :

1. (a)

No.

    (b) 

Does not arise.

    (c)

Due to paucity of funds

    (d)

Yes.

    (e)

Plans and estimates for the College buildings have been received from public Works Department. Necessary steps are being taken to accord Administrative Approval to the work.

Shri S.D. Khongwir :- May we know when the land was last purchased, just a rough idea?

Shri Peter Garnett Marbaniang (Minister of State, Education) :- Sir, I require notice for that.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Supplementary to (c). May we know why it has taken so long to provide the funds? It is four years now.

Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- I can reply to that. This is a plan programme and it is under he Planning Commission and so we cannot proceed without the allocation. During the last discussion with the Planning Commission, we had asked for funds with regard to two Colleges; Jowai College and Tura College. Tura College has already got some buildings and we have to allot more amount to Jowai College, but because of the fund difficulty we cannot do so. The delay is, therefore due to paucity of funds.

Mr. Speaker :- Now let us come to the next item. Mr. Mylliemngap has expressed the other day his desire to participate in the discussion. he may do so now.

*Shri G. Mylliemngap :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, while associating with the motion brought forward by the hon. member for his attitude which he has expressed in the last sitting of this House in connection with this programme which is rather mild in form that what he used to do on previous occasions. Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is because of the fact that this programme is a national programme and nobody can deny the fact that this programme is a national programme and nobody can deny the fact the there is a need for this programme in our great country, India. It has been correctly stated by Hon'ble Prime Minister that the annual birth rate of India is equivalent to the whole population of Australia. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is a great need for this programme at the national level and we all know, Sir, India is a sub-continent by itself  and there are different people, different communities and different conditions prevailing at different places. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as you know, a society is formed by a group of families and if the families are not worthy, then the society in which they live may also be unworthy too. Quoting Thieyer "As are families, so is society- if well ordered, well instructed an well governed, they are the springs from which  go forth the streams of national greatness and prosperity-of civil order and public happiness". Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, my submission is that we cannot over-took this important programme which the whole country is facing at present because population of a country has a close relationship with the national resourcefulness. It is a fact that if the country is overpopulated, there is a problem and it is also a fact that if the country is under populated, it is also a problem. Therefore in either way there are problems and we know for sure that in Australia and Sweden especially, these countries are facing problems of under-population and they have to adopt children from developing countries like south-east Korea and south-east Asian countries. Here Mr. Speaker, Sir, this problem was discussed the other day and the hon. Member from Mawhati has dwelt on the implementation part of it. When I go into the implementation part of it. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to submit that while implementing any particular programme or scheme there are targets fixed for such schemes or programme and there are certain norms and conditions to be abided by the implementing agency. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, when it is specially a national programme, the people in the field who are directing responsible for implementing this programme, feel that it is their responsibility to achieve grater targets so that they can get a better goodwill  from the authorities concerned and in this process, there can be an over enthusiasm while implementing this programme. There are also bad element, Mr. Speaker, Sir, who would always like to take advantage of any new programme, particularly at the village level and sometimes the people because of the ignorance and because of certain social obligations to the workers and the people working for this programme may commit some lapses here and there and also there are inducement in the implementation of this programme because of the economic condition of the people and also because of their ignorance about the matter effect of the operation which they are undergoing. It has been reported Mr. Speaker, Sir, that people from village, on every market day go to the Family Planning Centre and get themselves sterilised and in the next market day, the same man came again to the centre with the hope that he will sterilized and money will be paid to him. This is a sheer ignorance of our poor people and it has been reported that there was an incident that the husband who is working in one place with a meagre wage, one day undertook the operation and when he was paid, he went home and gave the money to his beloved wife. But in course of time, a sign of weakness developed and when the wife asked him the reason why, the husband told here that he has undergone sterilisation. They were not having a female child, and in our custom, we know that female daughters are very very essential and very valuable to our families. The wife scolded her husband with all sorts of abusive words and she told him from now on, I will do whatever I think best. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think the implementation of this programme is in line with the pattern laid down for the whole country. In this connection, I may not be wrong to say that the problem that they are facing is different from the problem which other parts of the country are facing. Here I think better information and guidance should be given to the families in order to have good and healthy children and not to have 12 children whom they cannot support properly and they will not be worthy citizens. Instead of having many children, it would be more advisable to have 4 or 5 and make them worthy citizens of the country. I feel that type of information and advice could be imparted to the people instead of inducing them to undergo sterilisation without taking into consideration their health factors, their educational background and without taking into consideration their health factors, their educational background and without taking into consideration the abuses of such inducements. I feel that since this programme, as I have said, is a national programme on the patter laid down by the Centre, the Departmental of the State Government should take these factors into consideration and implementation should be properly examined because as you have remarked the other day, Sir, that the saying of the day is work more talk less' I quite agree, and under this particular programme Sir, if it is properly implemented even if we work more, it will be fruitless. It all depends on how it is implemented Mr. Speaker, Sir, I feel that our State while dealing with this programme, has to examine it not from triangle point of view-only 3 sides-but it has to examine if from the square point of view, that is from all 4 sides. We have to take the lesson from the problems which are being faced by many countries. There are no problem without any solution and there is no solution which does not bring forth a new problem. Therefore, we should take a lesson when our State is still in the stage under which we can examine the problem for the better prospect of the future of our State and the problem for the better prospect of the future of our State and the warfare of its people.. We have to see that it is of no use having a big population which is not worthy of the name, but at the same time we have to see also that we should have enough population which will not be a problem to us.  Therefore, I feel Mr. Speaker Sir, as it is we have to do it and in implementing this programme because of our people being very poor and the reason for all this poverty, ignorance and diseases is because of lack of family welfare, and family planning. A couple go on producing children year after year without considering the after effect of such repeated birth; and here in our society when a child is sick, we blame the 'nongshohnoh' that the child has been 'khapthlen' and we also blame that children are sick because of 'ka dait ka taro; or 'ka shwar', and even go to the extend blaming 'u kni' or 'u kong' that he has 'ai ksuid' (Laughter). Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is a common phenomenon - when a child is sick, even at the initial stage they blame 'u nongshohnoh' and all that. But all these are due to  the effect of constant giving birth to the children which ultimately effects the poor health of the family as a whole. They use to claim that when a child is given birth it brings with it food, etc which, of course, nobody will agree. We have to see and plan and here we cannot avoid, the Government also should not belittle the problem, but it should come in a big way to tackle the problem as a whole and see that is congenial to the local conditions prevailing in our State, because, Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is said that a family without happiness is like a house without a roof. Therefore, Mr. Speaker Sir, it seen that the problem should be tackled at the national level;' but the programme to be implemented in our State should be congenial to our local conditions.

*Shri S.D. Khongwir :- I also would like to say a few words in the discussion of this very important motion that has been brought by the hon. member from Mawhati, Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is the first time in the history of this Assembly that, I, as a member have very participated in this particular subject and actual, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am not at all, even today inclined to participate in the discussion, but what has prompted me to take the floor this morning is that I happen to meet some Garo friends, yesterday who reside at Balat area and by and by having a discussion with these friends of mine from Balat and sensing what was in the air, I just asked them some questions about this family planning programme. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am not prepared to enter into the academic discussion on this subject, but because I understand that it is a very very important policy matter that is involved and in this I would like to confine myself to any information that I have collected through a reliable source and one particular area, i.e. the I.B. at Balat, the place of operation. I was told, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that for a person who had unwillingly undergone this vasectomy operation, if he had only one child there was a certain rate to reduce or offered as an incentive. For a person who had two children the rate was lower. And so the rate was lower still for person who had 3 or 4 or 5 children. Mr. Speaker Sir, the actual rate is that for a person with one child, the rte paid to undergo vasectomy operation is Rs.120 for a person with two children, the rate is Rs.110 and for person who have 3 or 4 or 5 children, the rate is Rs.60. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, a team of doctors was sent to the Balat I.B. We have been told and also given complaints that during those days about 50 men were operated upon and after that women were operated upon and after that women came also for operation. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as already mentioned by the hon. member from Sohryngkham, I do not know how these people can understand about the meaning and necessity of the family planning programme, its usefulness. Mr. Speaker, Sir, when these people, about 200 and odd, when to attend this camp to get the operation, the personnel from the Department came to them and showed the notes the money blue notes, green notes and pink notes; there were many colours. They said to the people "Now if you come to this camp for undergoing this operation, you will be handsomely paid." You can very well imagine, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that a very poor villagers, how much Rs.120 may mean to him. So may be because of this monetary incentives, these people from this area have gone there without consultation with their respective families, without the consent and knowledge of their wives. Most probably they had just gone there to undergo this operation for 4 or 5 minutes but I believe that the main thing is that they wanted this monetary incentive. I was also told of a certain specific case in this area where a husband who is about 28 or 30 years of age was also enticed by this programme. His wife was still very young, they have only 2 children. So this husband went to this camp and go this operation done and thus as already mentioned by the hon. Member from Sohryngkham, a few weeks later there was  some feeling of weakness in this person and he no longer became the active partner of his wife (laughter). Mr. Speaker, Sir, while on this, I would only like to relate over very short story of the wife who had filed a divorce suite before a Judge and when describing about here husband to the Judge, she said, "your Honour. my husband is a very good person, he never smokes, never drinks, I am still to catch him in a lie, he never comes home late at night in fact, your Honour my husband is a model husband. Then the Judge was amazed and asked the lady it this is your description of your wonderful husband when he is model husband, why have you come here to get your divorce." Then she replied, "Well your Honour, my husband is not exactly a working model" (laughter). So Mr. Speaker, Sir, it may be because of this operation. I am not going to discuss about other areas where the operation had already been done. I will confine of this area only where 150 or 200 husbands had already undergone this operation. I will not feel anything for the persons of 60 years or 70 years of age undergoing this operation. It does not matter. But still Mr. Speaker, Sir, in 1976, we have witnessed so many very old men still wanting to do justice (laughter) So if we take from than standard ...................

Mr. Speaker :- That is still an encouragement.

Shri Stanlington D. Khongwir :- So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, from that standard, even for a person of 60 or 70 years of age, I think I am not wrong to say that he is still very active and fruitful also (laughter). So here I would like to put some questions in so far as the mode of payment to the patients is concerned. I was told yesterday Mr. Speaker Sir, that one Unit Malaria Officer of Shillong had done this operation. On this, again Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not know whether a Malaria Officer is competent to do the operation and about the mode of payment.

Mr. Speaker :- Whether the Malaria Officer was a qualified doctor?

Shri S.D. Khongwir :- He is a doctor in-charge of Malaria, he is to eradicate the mosquitoes. About this mode of payment, I was told yesterday that for  a person who has got 3 or 5 children, he was paid at the rate of Rs.60 whereas in the register, it has been incorporated that this particular person has got only I children because the rate for a person who has got one children is higher .........

Mr. Speaker :- In other words, people who were doing the  operation are setting 50 : 50 from those who undergo the operation.

Shri S.D. Khongwir :-  I just want to point out these things to the Government and if the Government thinks fit and proper, they can enquire into the matter. One with these few words I resume my seat.

Shri Reidson Momin :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would to like to participate in this discussion on the motion brought by Mr. Majaw, the hon. Member from Mawhati. The motion Mr. Speaker, Sir, reads "That this House do now discuss the Family Planning Policy and Programmes of the State Government" Mr. Speaker Sir, we have had many occasion in the past to discuss this programme as the programme is a national programme and a national policy which we have also adopted in this State. Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is a noble programme and a very important policy of the Government of the State level and also the Centre. We all know the very meaning of this family planning, and of course recently, the Government have been giving certain monetary grants or remuneration or incentives and for which certain centres have come forward with certain anomalies in the operation or implementation of this programme. I do not know exactly, Mr. Speaker, Sir, whether it is a fact or not because I have never received such complaints from my constituency or from my District also personally. Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do believe that there might have been certain anomalies or there might have been certain irregularities in the implementation of this programme by the officers concerned.

        But as it is, the Family Planning Programme adopted by the State Government, as adopted by the Central Government, there is nothing wrong, Mr. Speaker, Sir, rather I admire and appreciate our State Government for adopting this policy or national programme. When we talked about Family Planning, as I had the occasion to speak in this august House, that Family Planning does not necessarily mean lessening the population or curtailing our tribal population. It only means that we should produce healthy children and also we should have a happy life by having  healthy mother, healthy father and also healthy generation. It does not necessarily mean and after one child we should not produce any more or we should undergo vasectomy operation. This vasectomy or tubectomy operation is necessary only for those sickly parents so that they will not be able to produce any more children and not damage their own health. So Mr. Speaker, Sir, there may be certain irregularities, certain anomalies in the implementation of the programme but he very idea of this family planning is very good, it is a noble idea and this is a very important national policy. Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. Members who have spoken about the irregularities in payment of money or inducement for taking money of those people who have come forward for undergoing vasectomy or tubectomy operation. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not know how far it is true but my common sense I can tell that this Family Planning Programme has been renamed as Family Welfare Plan and as such, Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is my full conviction that this money has been given to those parents who have undergone this operation. Money has been given to them so that they can nurse themselves, they can recoup their health after operation. They are given 100, 200 or 60 rupees. This money is for being utilised for better food, certain victims and substantial food so that they can recover.

Mr. Speaker :- They why there are different rates?

Shri M. Reidson Momin :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not know why payment is made at different rates. It may be the policy of the Government but I do not know the exact reason and I have got nothing to say about it. The Hon'ble Minister in-charge will reply and elucidate this point. The Hon'ble Minister incharge will reply and elucidate this point. So Mr. Speaker Sir, this money is not an inducement, I believe nor it is a bribery. It is some sort of giving a chance to recoup the health after undergoing operation. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have go nothing much to say that we cannot discard this noble policy of the Government and this is an important policy and we should carry on. If there is any allegation of irregularities or anomalies committed by the officials, there should be proper investigation. In this connection, I would request the Government, through you, Sir, to find out some alternative ways and means under this Family Welfare Programme so that family Planning my be practiced without undergoing this operation because thee had been a lot of talk and criticism against the Government due do this incentive. So with these few words I resume my seat.

Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would also like to associate myself in this discussion. Mr. Speaker, Sir, ever since the dawn of civilization human race had been facing various problems. At first they had to face the problem from nature only, viz., rivers, rain, sun mountains, etc. Then he had to fight against wild animals, insects and the like. Lastly, the human race is fighting against its own growth and we have accepted this problem of over population. We remember there was a time when Australia was over-run by the rabbits, then in the recent past we have witnessed the whole world is fighting against the mosquitoes. In this bid they invented very powerful D.D.T to kill mosquitoes and eradicate Malaria. Initially they were successful but we have seen now this problem of mosquitoes remains unsolved. Now we are fighting against our own creation but I do not know whether we will be able to solve this problem of over population. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we are trying to lessen the human population; in other words we are attempting to eradicate our own creation. I do not know how far we should go ahead with this programme even thou we have accepted this as a problem. No doubt it is a problem but I feel this programme should be implemented in such a way what it does not hurt anybody. Sir, what I am afraid is, as we have heard from many of the Speakers today, that in implemented the Family Planning Programme, many tactics have been adopted either by giving an incentive or co-ercion. Sir, we are also afraid that by adopting these incentives or co-ercive methods it will have a bad affect on the Tribal population especially to the weaker section of the community in backward areas like the small tribes of ours. The Schedule Tribes in Indian,  especially in our hill areas are decreasing, as reported somewhere in some newspapers, where research was conducted by some demographers and found that we are not in the increase but on the contrary we are decreasing rapidly.

Mr. Speaker :- Comparatively or proportionately, the increase in the population amongst the tribal people in less than any other community surrounding them. That is not a fact to say that the hill tribal community is decreasing rapidly.

Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. You have enlightened us. They were not increasing proportionately like other communities. But then Mr. Speaker, Sir, we are such a small community a tribe that if we are going to enforce this programme without proper planning and if this programme is ruthlessly implemented in our State the tribal population may be wiped out in a very short period of time. So, Sir, I am afraid that our people in the very near future, may blame us that we are responsible for wiping out or for demolishing the tribal people in this North Eastern Region and we may become, a specimen only in Museum and other cinematographs. Only with these few words Sir, if all the Government is to implement these programmes and enforce them, no doubt, we are accept them. But we have to see also that due care should be taken so that it should not affect much of the population structure of the tribal community.

Mr. Speaker :- Now, the Minister in-charge of Family Planning to reply.

*Shri S.K. Marak (Minister, Health and Family Planning) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am really grateful to the hon. Member from Mawhati for bringing us this motion in this House.

        (At this State, the Speaker left the Chamber and Shri H. Hadem, Chairman took the Chair)

        From the trend to the talks, I can understand that this House as a whole had accepted the principles of Family Planning. In the past we have almost in every session, discussed about Family Planning and the hon. Members have expressed that it should be accepted in our State.

Shri F.K. Mawlot :- We have not accepted it.

Shri S.K. Marak (Minister, Health and Family Planning) :- I am not saying that you have accepted it. From the trend of the talks it appears to me that even from that side just now, the hon. Member who has spoken has accepted the principles. Whether we accept it or not, Mr. Chairman, Sir, we cannot do anything much about that. This is a nation's programme. I would like to call it a national policy but it is an inter-national programme. Even we had attended any Conventions held abroad on how to curb and how to maintain this population structure as an optimum level. This programme is an adopted policy and a world programme. We all know that those planning and programmes were adopted and respected by each and every citizen of the country. So, at the very outset, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to read out what very recently Madam Prime Minister had stated about those programmes. May I read out. I will quote "Family Planning is an essential part of our scheme on national development. We need family planning not because we are again more children. But because we want every child to have the best opportunity possible in life-we want our children to inherit a better world" This is very clear. The country as a whole, is not against more children. What the Prime Minister wants is to impress upon every citizen in the country to produce Children and also be sure that they grow well, they thrive well. It is very clear here that they will be able to inherit a better word than outs-the better world than what the present generation is having. I would like to say that definitely as we want prosperity, good health, better change and better standard of living. That is what everybody desires as a father mother as a family, a community and as a country. This subject, as I have stated earlier, had been discussed at all levels and perhaps, it is also being discussed in between husband and wife, husband and husband. I am glad that may of the hon. members had spoken sometimes against and sometimes in favour and they have agreed that this programme is a must. Only in the implementation part perhaps the hon. Members were not satisfied. Let me read it again so that it will enlighten the House and it will be more informative, "The Family Planning Programme is an essential scheme to curb of population explosion with a view of eradicating poverty" This has been incorporated in one of the Prime Minister's Twenty Point Economic Programme and the announcement of the national Policy thereafter. The policy and guidelines have been enforced by the Government of India and it is the duty to see that they were properly executed throughout the whole State. Till today, we have utilise the services of about 212  personnel and sterilized about 1,180 persons. In the District of Garo Hills 816, Khasi Hills 80 and Jaintia Hills 21. In the Ganesh Das Hospitals 235 cases from 1st April, 1976 to 1st July, 1976. The State figures were from 1969 till February 1976 as shown below :-

1968-69

1969-70

1970-71

1971-72

1972-73

1973-74

1974-75

1975-76

374

382

565 

520

379

758

930

2,087

        The tempo of this year has gone up partly due to increase compensation which was earlier at the rate of Rs.25.00 of all cases which has row been modified this year. The rate is -

 

 

 

2 children

3 children

4 or more children 

1

 

 

 

 

(2)

(3)

(4)

Rs. P.

Rs. P

Rs. P.

Acceptor

-

-

-

-

100  

50  

25  

Motivator

-

-

-

-

24.50  

24.50  

19.50  

        The other reason which could be attributed to this great tempo is an intensification in the Family Planning education programme, the achievement of which is indicated below for 1976-77 (upto 31st March, 1976)

 

Rural

Urban

(1)

(2)

(3)

Film shows held

-

-

2

18

Exhibition held

-

-

-

-

Boarding put up

-

-

-

1

Educational group formed.

-

-

43

18

Meeting held

-

-

34

19

Orientation camps held

-

-

4

-

Number of meetings attended

-

-

162 (approx.)

        These are the programme which are taken up side by side with Family Planning. The people who come for sterilisation are told about the implication of having an undertaking. They have to give an understanding. The undertaking is given in the application form like this :

        Full name :

        Full address : 

        Date :

        Religion and Community :

        Persons willing to undertake this should give in writing in this particular form :

        Please arrange to have me/my wife sterilized. Our ages are ....................... and ...................... years respectively. We have been married for ........................ years. My wife had .......................... pregnancies and .................. children are not/now alive. They are all in good health and their age are .................. Our income is Rs. ...................

        My wife and I realise that we cannot have any children after the operation and this request for operation i.e., for my benefit and the benefit of my family and for the welfare of my children, i.e., the fuller family life and the health of my wife will be permanently damaged if she has any more pregnancies.

        I certify that the particular stated above are true and that in the event of false information, the Compensation Money paid to me will be retuned to Government.

Witness :

        1. Name and Full Address :

            Signature ......................................

        1. Name and Full Address :

            Signature ......................................

SIGNATURE OF HUSBAND/WIFE

Remarks of Medical Officer :

        Operated on .............................. at .....................................

        Operation fixed on ........................ by .................................

        Date .................................

        Signature .................................

SIGNATURE OF DOCTOR

Shri S.D. Khongwir :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, may we know who has signed this form and whether the contents of this letter have been explained to a person who does not understand English in his own vernacular.

Shri S.K. Marak (Minister Health and Family Planning) :- Yes, it has been explained and doctors went in group to Balat and conducted this programme. The element of any compulsion involved was not here. It was purely voluntary undertaking with full knowledge and consent of the person themselves who like to understand it. We all know it is not possible on compulsion or to force a man who is not willing to undergo operation. I myself am afraid of pushing injection and doctors will not compel me.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- What about the cases of women?

Shri S.K. Marak (Minister Health and Family Planning) :- I am coming to that. But there is no compulsion. First of all the doctors will examine whether the persons are physically fit for injection. If they are found fit, they will be given injection and operated upon and if they are not physically fit then they will not be able to operated upon. Then they have to furnish the declaration after operation as given at annexure III as follows :- 

        Certified that I am married with ...........................................(                               ) living children and that my wife/husband has not undergone Sterilisation Operation before. In the event of any false information, the compensation money paid to me will be refunded to Government.

        Dated ................................ 197.................

Mr. Chairman :- This does not mean that unmarried people are sterilized.

Shri S.K. Marak (Minister Health and Family Planning) :- Well Mr. Chairman, Sir, it is extremely difficult to judge in modern generation as to who is married and who is not  married by their mere appearance. You know now a days there are so many surgical operation to make them young. there are so many cosmetic surgeries, so many make ups and I do not think that even the doctors will be able to identify whether they are married or not. Any way it depends on that declaration and people who make a declaration are paid cash, through the form at annexure 4. This is a Coupon Book for the Doctor :-

COUPON BOOK FOR DOCTOR

        1. Name in full ....................................................

        2. Age ........................ 3. W/o. or H/o (full name) ..............................................

        4. Age ......................... 5. Address ....................................................................

        6. No. of Children (a) Male ............................. (b) Female ..............................

        7. Referred by ................................................ 8. Referred No. ...........................

        9. Service rendered : I.U.C.D./Insertion/Vasectomy/Tubectomy.

       10. Date of insertion/Sterilisation .................................

       11.Case Card No........................ 12. Name of Doctor (Full Name) .............................

       13. Address .............................................................

        I declare that this is my first insertion/operation for which I have received Rs............................   

        For vasectomy and tuberctomy for which I have received Rs.................................. for transportation. On completion of the operation they are paid the cash through the form in annexure 4 and are watched for a couple of hours. They leave the camp and go home. They are instructed to contract the nearby medical officer in case there is any complication.

        In the event of complication/fatality such case are governed under rules for grants and financial relief, which has been made by the Government of India and Published by us on 12th February 1976 in the Gazette (Annexure I) According to this once the complication started such case are to be brought to the notice of Additional Civil Surgeon, who get such information through his staff at the Sub-Centre. They are to be given free medial treatment over and above payment of Rs.5 per day from the 7th day for the loss of wages. He has to report the details of the cases to the Committee consisting of Secretary Health, Director of Health Services and Deputy Director of Health Services (I.P) for post facto approval.

        In addition to the sterilisation cases in the existing 8 centres in all the districts such cases could also be taken up in the existing hospitals/dispensaries/Primary Health Centres, However, to augment such activities the department had organised 10 camps in Khasi and Jaintia Hills These are at Cherrapunjee (2); Mawlong (8); Shella (27); Patharkhmah (25); Balat (103); Marngar (16); Barapani (3); Nayabunglow (26) approximately; Ichamati (39); and Dawki (approximately 70). [The figures in the brackets indicate the number of persons operated. Hence the local doctors are given demonstration through operations so that they can expand such activities in their own areas. Thought these 264 cases have been sterilized and usual medial benefits have been rendered to the locality.

        Now this connection, I would like to enlighten the position. I have personally talked with the medical officers with regard to compulsion persuasion or enticement. I am told that in Garo Hills alone about 2,000 people have gone for such operations to Assam because the Goalpara area is much nearer that the hospitals in Garo Hills. So hundreds of people have gone there. I think they must have gone there voluntarily to Assam for vasectomy. This is what I have been told. So, if the people go to Assam for operation the the other States will get the benefits and they can easily reach their target. Of course, I am not after the target but at least we have to show something as our achievement to show that we are in line with the national policy.

        To continue with the statement let me read. "First 9 places were taken up by the Ganesh Das Hospital from 17th June 1976 till 3rd September 1976.

Cherrapunjee

-

17th June 1976.

Mawlong

-

9th July 1976

Shella

-

9th August 1976

Pynthor

-

12th July 1976

Balat

-

4th August 1976 or 6th August 1976

Marngar

-

31st August 1976

Barapani

-

3rd September 1976

Nayabunglow

-

May-June 1976.

        Trained and Untrained staff were taken along with funds". Now there was an allegation that currency notes were displayed on the table like ten rupee notes twenty rupee note and red ones and one hundred rupees note in bundles. I have enquired into this matter and I am told that they have kept the money in the bags. In this connection, I am to say that even in the banks the cashier keeps the money in the drawer and that they would produce money only after you have presented the cheques and after ascertaining your signature. Even, then, that is after looking at the signature, the cheques would be passed on to another clerk. It is only after the usual procedure is observed that the money is given. But it would not be displayed. So I do not for a moment believe that the doctors and medical staff detailed at Balat would displayed the money. After all they are senior officers having enough experience after a long service in hospital and so it is unthinkable that they would go there just to entice the people with money. They have gone there to do their work rather than to show pictures of money and they have enough experience to convince the people by words of mouth. They have been all along nursing so many patients from all over the State and so they need only to speak to the people. So, Sir, I do not accept the allegation as correct. As a matter of fact, they kept the money in the bag and so they did not display.

Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- But we have received a report that they did display the money on the table. We can bring witnesses to this House if there is a challenge.

Mr. Chairman :- The money could have been put on the table for immediate disbursement. So it does not amount to displaying it.

Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister, F.P.) :- Well Sir, I do not think it is with a view to enticing the people. It is something like a propaganda, as in the election when we canvass for a particular candidate. Now I shall read the statement.

        "The Ichamati camp was conducted by Additional Civil Surgeon (FP) Shillong. 5 doctors were taken 2 were trained and were from Shillong Civil Hospital. 2 were trained in Ganesh Das Hospital for 10 days. The fifth one was Dr. Rawat. from permanent advance she had taken Rs.4,000 Detailed documents are available.

        However, there are some cases of complication in the later. The Superintendent, Ganesh Das Hospital got information about 5 cases but could only search to 2 person who were brought by A.D. NMEP to the Civil Hospital. Another person came on his own to Out-Patient Department of Das Ganesh Hospital Police Bazar. The detailed investigation report on the later is in annexure 5. These person have since recovered has been discharged."

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Sir, if the Minister can summarise it would be better because the maintaining is to reply to our speeches. We do not want to hear the policy of the Government because  it is known. the question now is to reply to our speeches. We do not want a long speech on the policy of the Government on family planning.

Shri H.S. Lyngdoh :- The reply should be relevant to our speeches.

Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister, Health) :- This in reply to the allegation's and is very much relevant to what the members has said.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- What about the allegations made in the House? We want only specific points and not the whole report.

Mr. Chairman :- I think it is the privilege of the Minister in-charge to give them to reply and you reply to the specific allegations made in the House.

Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister, Health) :- Thank you, Sir, they want my reply.

Mr. Chairman :- If you want to reply then you can give them a reply and your reply to the specific allegations made in the House.

Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister, Health) :-  Sir, I would like to go into the details of my reply so that there will be no misunderstanding in the future. This subject has come up in the House so many times. So I would like to go into the details as I would not like to give to you for any other clarification. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I think you will give me the necessary time.

Mr. Chairman :- Yes, you may proceed.

Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister, Health) :- Sir, I will read out this report. It is to the D.H.S. Family Planning. It reads like this : "I along with the Surgeon Superintendent, Civil Hospital, Shillong on the 13th August, 1976 have verified the following cases of complication after vasectomy operation who were admitted to the Civil Hospital, Shillong on the 10th/11th August, 1976 night at 12-30 a.m. The case were brought by the Assistant Director of Health Services (Malaria ) and Ganesh Das Hospital team from Ichamati.

        (1) Shri Sudhin Marak of Kentapara village;

        (2) Shri Hari Charan Nath of  Tyllab village.

Both of them were operated by the Medical Officer in-charge of Mawlong and Assistant Surgeon I, Cherrapunjee Rural Family Welfare Planning Centre on 31st July 1976. They were not followed up till 10th August 1976. They developed complication with pain, swelling and discharge. It was found the incision was not in proper site. It may be mentioned here that on 31st July, 1976 as per tour programme,  the Additional Civil Surgeon (FP) went to Ichamati to supervise the camp. It was, however, not know as to what arrangement was made for proper follow up of each case. Such complication due to lack of people panic and for obvious people may not like to come forward in future. It was told by the Unit Officer, National Malaria Eradication Programme and Medical Superintendent, Ganesh Das Hospital the public have told that there are three more cases of complications. Since the case were not followed up for 9/10 days there may be more complications. Director of Health Services has written a letter to the Additional Civil Surgeon (FP) to provide free transport to these cases to Civil Hospital and follow up all the cases".

        Here it may be mentioned that last year also there was a complication in Shella after operation was done by District Family Planning Bureau from Shillong. When I visited Shella last time along with the Lady Health Visitor from Cherrapunjee, the people were narrating about the case of complication and they were afraid to undergo sterilisation operation. We had to make a lot of persuasion to the people. The recurrence of incidents will surely retard the response of the people to come forward  for sterilisation. The Unit Officer, National Malaria Eradication programme told me that even our health staff may be beaten by the public next time if we ask them to come for sterilisation. The additional Civil surgeon (FP), Shillong has been telling us that lack of response is the reason for low performance in the district. But we have learned from Malaria and Ganesh Das Hospital team that the people are really coming for sterilisation but it is only due to our lack of follow up the proper services in time that we are losing the cases.

        The follow up of cases is very very important and this fact has been stressed time and again. The follow up should be done by local staff or special team. I had to bring this to the  notice of the director, Health Service so that the programme which has started gaining momentum in the district due to recent involvement of Malaria and Ganesh Das Hospital team may not receive a set back again.

        This is the detailed report. There is another report of a death case due to sterilisation. Actually we do not have any such report but we are trying to find out if there is any truth and I assure the members that we will find it out. In this connection I would like to State that people sometimes made a mistake. There are other operations and people made the mistake that the death is caused either by vasectomy or tubectomy, but people do not really die of this. We are mortals and we will all die one day.

        Now the Family Planning Programme is a complete integrated scheme with stress on health and welfare of mother and child. The targets on each of the components from 1st April, 76 to 31st March 1977 has been fixed by the Government of India and achievements thereon till 31st July 1976 are shown below :

1. Immunization of pre-school children (0-5 years) against diphtheria; target for 1976-77 is 10,000 and the achievement is 5741; (2) Immunisation of School children (6-11 years) against diphtheria target for 1976-77 is 10,000 and the achievement is 2,363; (3) Immunisation of pregnant mother against tetanus, target of the same year is 10,000 and the achievement 1,602; (4) Prophylax is against blindness among children, target for 1976-77 is 40,000, but we have achieved very less only 2,887; (5) Prophylaxis against the nutritional anemia among (i) mother the target for 1976-877 is 20,000 and the achievement  is 4,109 and (ii) children, the target for same year is also 20,000 and the achievement is quite good 14,528.

        Further to fill these welfare measure and meet the cost of sterilisation, Government of India have provided the following amount to fulfill the targets. Unless the targets are achieved, we shall lose 8 percent of our plan allocation additionally. It is in the interest of the planned development of economy we should pursue this with greater vigour. In this connection, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I think the leader of the House will bear me out because he was present at the last Chief Minister Conference held at Delhi and I have here an extract of the proceedings on population control as a national policy. The statement is made by Dr. Karan Singh, Minister of Health and Family Planning. this is in April 1976. From the Statement given by the Government of India, it is seen that our rate of coverage is 5.40 whereas all India average is 31.60. Unless we come to a substantial degree we would not be able to combat successfully the rapid population growth and the purpose of planning / development would be defeated. Now this is very important. We are doing some achievement, but Mr. Chairman, Sir, it is only 5.40 per thousand whereas all-India average is 31.60, and so our target is very low.

        About the case cite by hon. member M.N. Majaw it is stated that the complaint filed thereon before the Deputy Commissioner Shillong has been obtained. So this complaint had been lodge, complaint against the S.I. in charge of Malaria Eradication Programme Nongpoh and U was Khyndeit also of Nongpoh regarding misleading and cheating the women of Sonidan village, Khyrim Syiemship. The complaint was from Ka Bekil Khyndeit and other in their petition dated 2nd September 1976 addressed to the Deputy Commissioner, Khasi Hills District, Shillong-1 which says : "Kindly allow us to place the following serious complaint before you for your sympathetic consideration and necessary action :-

Complaint No.1 - That on Tuesday, the 24th August, 1976 the S.I. incharge of Malaria Eradication, Nongpoh and one U Wes Khyndeit held a meeting at the village of Sonidan, about 30 miles along the Umsning-Jagi Road at about 8 p.m. only for women.

Complaint No.2 - That those two persons stated in that meetings that if any woman went to Shillong and they accepted oral medicinal treatment for the prevention of pregnancy, they would be rewarded with a cash payment of 500 rupees each.

Complaint No.3 - That in reply to several questions from the women present in that meeting, those two persons stated above reiterated that there would be no physical or other type of operation to be preformed upon the women and that the treatment would be purely oral and medicinal for which, compensation would be paid at the rate of 500 rupees per head.

Complaint No.4 - That because of the extreme poverty of the families in Sonidan, the complainants/petitions were tempted to accept the offer of 500 rupees per head and therefore, agree to go to Shillong in a Government jeep along with the two persons mentioned above.

Complaint No.5 - That on the following morning i.e. Wednesday the 25th August, 1976 only 11 women could be accommodated in the jeep together with U synshe Umbah, an acting Sirdar of the villages and S.I. incharge of Malaria Eradication, Nongpoh, with whom they had traveled up at Umsning.

Complaint No.6. - That these women/petitioner, 9 of whom were from the village of Sonidan, one from Mawpat village and another from Jair village, had been entrusted by their families to the care of U Synshes Umbah and the S.I. in charge of Malaria Eradication, Nongpoh for bringing the women upto Shillong.

Complaint No.7. -  That both U Synshe Umbah and the S.I. in charge of Malaria Eradication got down from the jeep at Umsning and refused to continue the journey to Shillong, thereby leaving the petitions only with the drivers of the jeep, who drove them straight to the Family Planning Centre at Police Bazar, Shillong.

Complaint No.8. - That at this Centre the petitioner had to wait until almost midnight for the arrival of the doctors who was supposed to treat them.

Complaint No.9. - That after the doctor had taken down the names of the petitioner, he asked whether they would agree to being  physically operated upon for the purpose of sterilisation.

Complaint No.10. - That when the petitioner flatly refused to submit to an operation, the doctor ordered them to get out of the Centre and go away as he could not look after i.e. unless they agree to being operated upon.

Complaint No.11. - That the petitioners had never been to Shillong before and were is an utterly helpless  State and did not know where to stay even for the night, and so in their helplessness, they had to yield to the proposal of the doctor viz. by being operated upon/sterilisation.

Complaint No.12. - That two days later i.e. on the 27th August, 1976 the doctor paid the petitioner from Jair 100 rupees and to the other 10 petitioners, 25 rupees per head despite the strong protests from the petitioners against the quantum of compensation paid; contrary to the 500 rupees per head which had been offered in the presence of many witness at Sonidan village.

Complaint No.13. - That because of the loss of blood and other complications, the petitioners have become so weak as to continue staying in Shillong for more than a week, whereas they had been clearly told in Sonidan village that they would have to stay only for one night at Shillong.

Complaint No.14. - That the petitioners will try their best to return of their villages on Friday, the 27th August, 1976 since they have left all their little children behind crying in the villages.

        Under the Circumstances narrated above, the petitioners/complaints strongly urge upon you to take strong necessary action and to punish those who have mislead and cheated us as also to compensate us for the grievous loss we have suffered.

Thanking You,

Yours respectfully."

        So this is the complaint as a whole submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, Khasi Hills, Shillong and since it has already been in the Court of law, I do not think we are competent to pass any judgment on this. Already the Deputy Commissioner has written .................

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- It is not a formal case, Mr. Chairman, Sir. These ladies did not want to file a case and enter into a  procedure of the case. They only submitted a complaint to the Deputy Commissioner, and whether that is subjudice.

Shri S.K. Marak (Minister, Health) :- Yes, it is very much subjudice and the report is awaited. So regarding this payment of compensation about which some Members have stated that money is not properly utilised. Of course, as we all know, we cannot do away with certain irregularities because not only in this Department, but in other departments irregularities is there. But we are trying to strengthen the operation, at the same time payment should be made  and certain encouragement given. So I would just request the hon. members if there are specific cases where some people who have undergone operation were paid only Rs.30 to 50 when they were promised Rs.120 to bring them to the notice of the Government. And I will see that they are promptly attend to without a written complaint from the person concerned, it is extremely difficult to find out the actual facts. Certain members have stated that without the consent of the wife or the husband, operation is being done, but the new system is that this is not necessary, because they have to filled up, the forms and they will be examined properly, and later on if they are found fit, they are operated upon. As we all know that our State is small State with a population of about one million and the tribals somehow or other are producing more. As we have been told in the  villages if you ask them how many children they have produced, they will say only 5 and if you ask about the surviving children, they will say only one. These are the practical difficulties that the tribal people have been living since generations. Somehow or other, the rate of survival is very very low. The reason being lack of proper education, proper nutrition and proper medical care as has been pointed by the member who has spoken about the family planning programme that we are stressing more on the child and mother care programme that we are stressing move on the child and mother care programme that we are stressing more on the child and mother care and then we have not forced anybody to accept. Of course this is a policy of the Government of India to persuade the people to take a family planning.

        Now I will read out the revised rate of compensation payable on the spot in can for undergoing sterilisation operation or I.U.D. Insertion with effect from 1st May, 1976.

Acceptor with two or less living children - Vasectomy Rs.100.

Tubectomy - Rs.100

Acceptor with three living children - Vasectomy Rs.50

Tubectomy - Rs.50

Acceptor with four or more living children - Vasectomy -Rs.25

Tubectomy - Rs.25.

        

        So we are simply trying to implement in our own way the plans and policy of the Government of India which is very much our policy. I do not think the officer have promised Rs.500 because every field worker has been informed of the rate. I do not think there is any truth about this. One of the hon. Members has suggested that we should adopt certain methods in our State in respect of family planning. Now because of scientific advancement because of drugs and other things, the methods become easier, but it is not so done. Our women folk and men folk used to go to the quack before launching this programme, there were so many witch doctors who used to say if you come to me I will give you a drug which will give you 6 or 7 children. This is a tribal tradition. But since then we have introduced this I.U.D. etc. for control of birth. There is another way which is being practices by the hon. Member from Pariong. That is celibacy (laughter)  and this is a natural method for birth control (laughter). 

Shri S.D. Khongwir :- He was never offered the incentive (laughter)

Shri S.K. Marak (Minister, Health) :- So I have taken note of all suggestions given by the hon. Members and I will see that they are properly implemented in our State. But my only request is that we have to be in line with the national policy. We all know that the parents are anxious to give proper food, proper education to their children. As a community we have that desire, so also the Government have that desire like an individual father or mother. So I would just appeal to the hon. Members that in future not to reject the national policy so that it may not create a wrong impression. With these observations and with this reply I once again thank the hon. Members for bringing this motion in this House and I also thank all other hon. Members who have participated in the discussion of this particular subject in this House.

*Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would just exercise  my right to reply briefly. I would only like to rectify the notion which has cropped up in the reply of the Minister that I have approved of the family planning programme. I was going to tread upon the subject but the Chair over-ruled, so I only spoke on the implementation of the programme, but I had continued to oppose these artificial methods. There are artificial methods which are blessed by God and blessed by man. But the crux of the problem is that, whether we should go for this sterilisation or not. If we look at the 'Spectrum' of 30th July, 1976 where the tribes of the North East are dying out and in a few years we will have no population left to live in this State. Regarding the complaint at Sonidan. I  really must congratulate the Minister for the sincerity he has injected into his reply that he is really considering these complaints and allegations and also for reading them before the House.

Mr. Chairman :- I do not know, if there is any scope for replying to a motion.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- I would draw your attention to Rules 283 and 284.

Mr. Chairman :- Here motion includes resolution also.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- I shall refer to Rule 284 which reads - "subject to the provisions of sub-rule (3) of Rule 283, the reply of the mover of the original motion shall in all cases conclude the debate.

Mr. Chairman :- But there is no such precedent in this House.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- But this is the latest edition.

(A voice - It is only a reprint)

        The preface to this edition reads "the rules have, therefore, been reprinted incorporating all the amendments effected up-to-date for the convince of all concerned".

Shri S.D. Khongwir :- Where there is a definite rule we need not go by precedent.

(Voices - Yes, yes)

Mr. Chairman :- You may carry on.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, what I was trying to bring home is that serious matters are coming up for lack of lack of follow up action. I am glad that the Minister in-charge has already read out the report prepared by his Department but what we re-emphasise is the follow up action is very important. Because, Mr. Chairman, Sir, those eleven women had to be carried physically from Sonidan and Mawpat since there is no motorable road. Out of these 9 women from Sonidan are still suffering from complication and they have no money to come to Shillong for check up. They are still bleeding. It is due to lack of proper follow up action.

Mr. Chairman :- Do you think this will come out in course of enquiry.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- I am discussing this so that the Minister in charge may taken note of it. Then Mr. Chairman, Sir, we have got a definite information of unmarried persons who were being lines up for sterilisation. This is a problem of destruction of our tribes.

Mr. Chairman :- Discussion on motion No.6 is closed. Now motion No.7.

Shri S.D. Khongwir :- I will not move.

Mr. Chairman :-  Motion No.8

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Since I intend to speak on similar subject on some other day, I do not like to move this motion.

Mr. Chairman : Motion No.9.

Shri S.D. Khongwir :- Sir, I beg to move that this House do now discuss about the need to recommend to the Government of India to suitable amend the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India so as to provide a six year term to the elected members of the District Council in place of a five year term".

Mr. Chairman :- Is it proper for this House to discuss?

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- It is in the form of a recommendation. We can recommend.

Shri S.D. Khongwir :- Since it has been admitted by the Speaker himself we should not challenge his decision.

Mr. Chairman :- I am not challenging; I am only seeking the opinion.

Shri E. Bareh (Minister in-charge of Agriculture) - Mr. Chairman, Sir, from the tone of the motion it appears something definite we are doing. It is better if the hon. Member comes forward with a resolution so that it can be discussed.

Shri S.D. Khongwir :- Let us postpone this motion now and both you and the hon. Speaker sit together to decide on this.

Mr. Chairman :- No, I sought a clarification; I do not disallow this motion. We can take up another item of the business if during interval a point of order is raised. But nobody raised any point of order.

Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Since this has been admitted, it is better we discuss.

Mr. Chairman :- I did not disallow. He can raise a discussion.

*Shri S.D. Khongwir :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I shall be very brief. 

        Now Sir, according to sub-para 6(a) of para 2 of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India there is a provision, as there is also provision in the Constitution for other directly elected bodied like Lok Sabha, State Legislatures and District Councils. There is also provision for  election on the adult suffrage. My only point is to suggest, if there is scope of such a suggestion, to suitably amend the Sixth Schedule i.e. sub paragraph 6(a) of paragraph 2 of the Sixth Schedule that the life of the District Council may be extended to six years in places of the present term of five years. Mr. Chairman, Sir, there is a trend in the country today to extend the life of the elected Legislatures like the Lok Sabha and State Legislatures from a five year term to a six year term. As we are very well aware, Mr. Chairman, Sir, that in this Constitution, if I am not mistaken, there are only three directly elected bodies. Those are the Lok Sabha, the State Legislature Assemblies and the District Councils. Mr. Chairman, Sir, if the trend of mind of the country today in so far as the State Legislative Assemblies and the Lok Sabha are concerned, I think a bill has already been introduced before the Parliament. I think it is only right and proper for the third directly elected body also to fall in line with them. With this suggestion Mr. Chairman, Sir, my request to this Government is to impress upon the Government of India, through this House, to suitable amend in Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India so as to provide a six year term to the elected members of the District Councils in the State of Meghalaya not to speak of our Sister State of Assam.

(Voices - Time is up)

Mr. Chairman :- Please do not misunderstand the time is upto 12 O'clock. It seems that nobody is interested to speak. Let the Minister reply.

Shri D.D. Pugh (Minister District Council Affairs) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, on the motion that is now under consideration, there is really not much that could be said for the simple reason that while I  do not question the propriety of the fact that a discussion has been sought to be raised on the subject now under the consideration really speaking the matter is one which directly and more intimately concerns the District Councils themselves. I have said that I do not question the propriety because I believe that anything which affects or is likely to affect the Socio-Economics and political life of the people is and should be the concern of the elected representative sitting in this House. Nevertheless Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would say also that there is not really much that could be said because this matter concerns the District Councils directly and more intimately. And since the District Councils are responsible institutions which have responsible representatives - elected representatives, this House nor this Government could not really be expected to take an initiative in the matter that has been suggested in and through the motion. I personally would have expected the various Executive Committees of the various District Councils to have approached the State Government and to discuss the matter with the State Government as they have done in the past on numerous other matters and problems. In fact, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would submit that it won't really be proper for the State Government to initiate any action on the proposal to take up with the Government of India the desirability to so amend the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution so as to extend the life or the term of the District Councils from the existing five years term to a six years term. Unless the District Councils themselves make a request to the State Government in this behalf, it would, I think, also be improper for the State Government to take the initiative in this matter without consulting the District Councils. Anyway, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would only like to assure the House, through you that the point made by the hon. mover of this motion have been taken note of and that they shall be borne in mind if and when, the State Government is approached by the District Councils authorities to initiate action in this regard.

*Shri S.D. Khongwir :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I fail to agree with the Hon'ble Minister that this matter should only come at the initiative of the District Councils themselves. Well, Mr. Chairman, Sir, we all remember some time last month, the bill was placed in the Parliament seeking to extend the life not only of the Parliament but also of the  State Legislature. What we want to know Mr. Chairman, Sir, is whether our State Legislature, our Government of Meghalaya have requested the Central Government to extend the life of our State Legislature including the other Legislatures from a term of five years to six years. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would only like to point out to the Government as I have already had an occasion earlier, that in so far as the scheme of the Sixth Schedule is concerned, the State Government is very much in the picture. The overall supervisory power and authority is with the State Government. Mr. Chairman, Sir, if we read the Six Schedule to the Constitution of India, we will find that the Government has got a lot of initiative to take in so far as the welfare of the District Councils is concerned. We can not say, Sir, that the Government of Meghalaya has got nothing to do, or take the initiative in so far as the District Councils are concerned. This is a very wrong notion, and it my tantamount to shirking of responsibility. So I would suggest to the Government through  this House, Mr. Chairman, Sir, that despite the fact that the District Councils may not take the initiative or request the State Government because it would not be nice for them to take a direct request. Mr. Chairman, Sir, that goes for me as a member of the State Legislature if I write a letter to the Home Minister of India or to Mr. Swaran Singh suggesting to extend of the life of the State Legislature. It would look very bad, I do not know how to face the public with such a plea. So Mr. Chairman, Sir, even though the District Council have not requested or suggested to the State Government for this extension of life. I think there is no harm for the State Government at its own initiative to take up this matter with the Central Government.

Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would request you kindly to permit me to speak on this very important matter.

Mr. Chairman :- You can do that but before you speak anything I may point out that the same argument has been put forward by the hon. mover of this motion that the Parliament has been taking the initiative extending the present life of the Parliament and the State Assemblies from a five year to a six year term. Para 21 entrusts all powers for this. If the Parliament can, I think, if necessary we can do it in the same way.

Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I appreciate the sentiments expressed by the hon. Mover of the Motion. But while  we talk about certain proposals for the amendment of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India, we would not be concerned with only one particular restriction regarding the terms of office and to simply recommend to the Parliament to make the term of office from 5 to 6 years. Therefore, I would like to discuss with the leaders of different groups in my chamber as this question may lead to a number of complications. It will be better for us, the leaders of the State, to put our heads together and discuss whether this proposal to extend the term of office by amendment requires the consideration of other proposals which also need an amendment of the Constitution. Because there is a proposal that Parliament and the State Legislatures would have a term of office for 6 years in place of 5 years, should we on that basis  also take this initiative to recommend to the Government of India or to Parliament a similar term? Any proposal for the amendment of the Sixth Schedule is a matter to be discussed thoroughly first. I know a lot of talk is going on at Delhi about the amendment of the Constitution. Therefore, I would request the hon. Mover of this Motion including other Members of the House to please consider the desirability or otherwise of taking up this matter on this single issue.

Shri Grosswell Mylliemngap :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, may I know who fixes the term of office?

Mr. Chairman :- The Constitution itself but Parliament has got the authority to amend the Sixth Schedule also. I think this matter is closed now.

Shri S.D. Khongwir :- I just want to say that I got the message of the Chief Minister on this.

Mr. Chairman :- We come to another additional Motion. Mr. Mawlot. But I would request Mr. Mawlot to first take off his hat please. Actually it has been the practice and particularly it is termed as a nigh cap (laughter).

Shri F.K. Mawlot :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, with due respect to the members of this august House, I beg to request you to allow me to use this cap.

Mr. Chairman :- No no. You have been ordered to take of your hat.

Shri F.K. Mawlot :- Alright Mr. Chairman, Sir, I beg to move that this House do now discuss the application and implementation of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 by the Government of Meghalaya.

Mr. Chairman :- Motion moved. Now you can discuss. 

*Shri F.K. Mawlot :-  Mr. Chairman, Sir, the Contract Labour Act was passed in 1970, but the Government of Meghalaya has not implemented this Act since its passing till March, 1976. It is only after March 1976 that this Act was enforced in Meghalaya. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I think the Government knows perfectly well the implication or difficulties which this Act may bring to our people and that is why they have not thought of its implementation in the State. Well, Mr. Chairman, Sir, the Act was implemented but my intention of bringing this motion for discussion in this House is to request the Government to reconsider whether this Act will really help our own people in the State or will do otherwise. According to the Act, the contractors in our State were given the extracts of the Act within some sections it was provided that they will have to follow strictly the extracts of the Act supplied to them. Mr. Chairman, Sir, the contractors are requested to register their labourers whom they are employing in their works. In any contract work where the number of workmen exceeds 20 the contracts are required to registered the names of all those workmen as well as to furnish a security deposit of Rs.30 per head. Now Sir, the contractors has to maintain those registered labourers for the whole year. Whether he has some work or not, whether he employs them or not, he will have to register because the Act says that if the contracts is found to employ more than 20 person in his contract work then he falls under the purview of the Act. That means he will be punished. While appreciating the implementation of the Act, I see that there are reasons to reconsider whether the Act will do some good to our people. Mr. Chairman, Sir, the facts stands that in our State of Meghalaya we do not have that mush of excess people who can be termed permanent labourers. That means the people who have nothing to do but to depend solely on some employment to be given by others to pull on with their lives. Each and every one of us know that our people are having their own ways of living and that is only for a few days in  a year that they can spare their time to seek employment to supplement their income. So it is difficult to say that we have regular labourers because there are only seasonal. A man living in a village may have-he must have, a small plot for gardening where he has to do with his own hands; or he may have cattle or sheep. The people in the village do not let their spare time to pass by. If they have spare time they spent that time by working under somebody's employ or seek other employment. So Mr. Chairman, Sir, as I have said earlier, the whole population in Meghalaya cannot be classed as labourers as these are only seasonal. I think this is the reason why the Government has not implemented the Act till March of this year because the Government have noticed the complications in the Act. So Mr. Chairman, Sir, the version which I have received from many contractors from various parts of the Khasi Hills District is that the Labour Commissioner has given an order that they should register their labourers or they should not. There is no compulsion. Well, Mr. Chairman, Sir, the question of compulsion does not arise. If the contractors have registered, they can employ them and if they have not registered it is because they do not need more than 20 person to be employed in their works. There may be some urgent work for reasons know to the contractors and the principal employer that they have given the terms and conditions to the contractor to have them execute the work. Now for construction of a road of, say, half a furlong where the place is rocky, it is then difficult for the contractor to complete the work with 19 labourers within, say, 15 or 20 days; whereas in the contract itself it has been mentioned that the work should be completed within such and such date. They have specified the date. But of the contractors employs more than 20 persons to complete the work, then he falls within the purview of the Act. So, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I do not know how far it is true, but the version is that it is up to the contractors to register their labourers or not. I see that this puts the contractors in danger. So when this Act in implemented they would have to register their labourers. One thing mores Mr. Chairman, Sir. In Sec.9 of the Act : Effect of non-registration. No principal employers of an establishment, to which this Act applies, shall -

(a) In the case of an establishment be required to be registered under section 7, but which has not been registered within the time fixed for the purpose under that section.

(b) in the case of an establishment the registration in respect to which has been revoked under Section 8, employ contract labour in the establishment after the expiry of the period referred to in clause (a) or after the revocation of registration referred to in clause (b), as the case may be."

        So this is the effect of registration; if the contractor does not register his labourers he may not be given any work. So, Mr. Chairman, Sir, if the version is correct that it is up to the contractor, I beg to request the Government to pay attention to Sec.9 of the Act. Again I come to where I started. We do not have permanent labourers. If you  require the contractors to register the number of workers when he cannot even get the local people to be registered as his labourers, he has to get them from somewhere outside. And getting some labourers from outside would mean that we are depriving our own people of doing the work. Sir, is that honest? Is that appropriate? Well, we may say that it is not really a contract labour which helps employ the people of the State. The poor people in the whole State, especially in the interior, do something to survive with their sources of income, besides seeking employment. So they have to get themselves employed as labourers. So Sir, there was no case in the construction of any road or bridge in Meghalaya which was not competed because of dearth of labourers. If I remember aright, when the construction  work of the Shillong-Mairang Road was one and also of the Mawphlang-Balat Road, the labourers all the time were from Maharam Syiemship and that they have got the praise to the Assam Government for their hard work. There was no report of such dearth of labourers in the Khasi Hills District at least. With regard to other parts I do not know but in Khasi Hills all the works had been done by the Khasi people. So it would not be good if the contractors have to bring labourers from outside just because they cannot get our own people registered and thereby depriving our own people. What will be the fate of our people? So, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I see that there is no urgency in the implementation of the Act.

(Bell rang)

Mr. Chairman :- You can continue on the nest day fixed for Private member's Business.


ADJOURNMENT

        The House stands adjourned till 9.30 A.M. tomorrow, the 11th September, 1976.

D.S. KHONGDUP,

Dated Shillong :

Secretary

The 10th November, 1976

Meghalaya Legislative Assembly

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