Proceedings of the Budget Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly assembled at 9.30 a.m. on June 23, 1978 in the Assembly Chamber, Shillong with the Speaker in the Chair.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us start the business of the day by taking up Unstarred Question No.9.
(To which replies were laid on the Table)
Block Development Committees
Shri B. Wanniang asked :
9. Will the Minister in charge of Community Development be pleased to state -
(a) Whether it is a fact that members of the Block Development Committees from the Gram Sevak Circles are now to be elected ?
(b) If so, what will be the procedure of such election ?
Prof M.N. Majaw (Minister, Community Development) replied :
9. (a) - Yes.
(b)- As this will be a simple tribal or village type of election, it will be open and by counting of heads.
Shri Maham Singh :- 9 (a). Mr. Speaker, Sir, have rules been framed as to who will be entitled to the members and who will be the voters ?
Mr. Speaker :- I think that is a separate question altogether.
Shri Maham Singh :- In this connection, accendy to what procedure the member of the Block Development Committee from the Gram Sevak Circles have to be selected ? it is connected.
Mr. Speaker :- I don't think it is connected.
Shri Maham Singh :- Who will be the voters and who will be the members ?
Prof M.N. Majaw (Minister, Community Development) :- I may explain that, Mr. Speaker, Sir. In every Block there are 10 Gram Sevak Circles. Each of these circles sends one member to be a member of the Block Development Committee. In the past, Government had always nominated such members/persons or appointed such persons. But the new Government feels that we must be more democratic and that we should allowed the people of that area to elect a person to be a member of the Block Development Committee. Therefore, the Government has decided that those ten members-one coming from each Gram Sevak Circle-will be elected by the electorates which will be in this manner, two persons from each village. There are about 15-20 villages under each Gram Sevak Circle and from each of these villages two would be elected to the Gram Sevak Headquarters where the presence of the Chairman will be there. This is done by a simple tribal method or merely the counting of heads. One of these will be elected and that person will be the member of the Block Development representing that Gram Sevak Circle.
Shri Maham Singh :- My question is different. Whether it will be by adult franchise or by any other methods ?
Mr. Speaker :- Obviously, adult franchise.
Shri Maham Singh :- Unless we know how this election is to be held whether it will on adult from here ?
Prof M.N. Majaw (Minister, C.D. etc) :- In our simple, villages, to use such heavy terminology will not be proper but if the hon. member would like it to be legal, it will be an electoral college, under the Gram Sevak Circle and in the presence of the Chairman and the B.D.O. of that Block, one person will be elected.
Prof P.G. Marbaniang :- When will the elections be conducted ?
Prof M.N. Majaw (Minister, C.D. etc) :- Notices have been sent out giving 30 days' time.
Confirmation of Gramsevaks/Gramsevikas
Shri H.L. Nongsiang asked :
10. Will the Minister in charge of Community Development be pleased to state-
(a) Whether it is a fact that the Gramsevaks and Gramsevikas are not confirmen in their service ?
(b) If so, the reasons thereof ?
Prof M.N. MAJAW (Minister in charge of Community Development) replied :
(b)- Because the Community Development has not been made a permanent Department and the matter is under consideration.
Shri Mukul Das :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, whether the Gram Sevaks are supposed to be absorbed in the Agricultural Department ?
M.N. Majaw (Minister C.D. etc) :- No, Sir.
Stipend for Vocational training to artisans
Shri S.P. Swer asked :
11. Will the Minister in charge of Industries be pleased to state whether Government proposed to increase the amount of stipend for vocational training to artisans in and outside the State ?
Shri P.R. Kyndiah (Minister, Industries) replied :
11- There is no such proposal at present.
Expansion of Government Hospitals in Shillong
Shri S.P. Swer asked :
12. Will the Minister in charge of health be pleased to state whether Government propose to expand any of the Government Hospitals in Shillong Town ?
Shri J.D. Pohrmen (Minister in charge, Health and F.W.) replied :
12.- Yes, it is proposed to expand the Civil Hospital, Shillong during the next 6th Plan.
Prof P.G. Marbaniang :- Is this proposed expansion to be taken up in the same site.
Shri J.D. Pohrmen (Minister, Health etc.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, yes.
Prof P.G. Marbaniang :- Is the Government aware that the present site will be not sufficient at all for any expansion of the hospital ?
Shri J.D. Pohrmen (Minister, Health etc.) :-The Government is aware of that.
Ambulance for Nongstoin P.H.C.
Shri H.L. NONGSIANG asked
13. Will the Minister in charge of health be pleased to state -
13. (a) Whether any ambulance has been allotted to the P.H.C. at Nongstoin ?
(b) If so, how many ?
(c) If not, the reason thereof ?
Shri J.D. POHRMEN (Minister in charge of Health and F.W.) :-
13. (a), (b) and (e)- Order for an ambulance have already been placed and its supply is being awaited.
Shri Mukul Das :- Whether the Government knows that the ambulances at the Tura Civil Hospital are very few ?
Mr. Speaker :- That is not a question relating to question No.13 Supplementaries should be asked through the question concerned.
Shri H.L. Nongsiang :- May we know when this will be allotted?
Mr. Speaker :- The approximate time that it will be supplied. That is what the hon. member would like to know.
Shri J.D. Pohrmen (Minister, Health etc.) :- It will take about 4 to 6 weeks to get it from the firm.
Shri P.G. Marbaniang :- When was the order placed?
Shri J.D. Pohrmen (Minister, Health etc.) :- On the 28th of March, 1978.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us now come to Item No. 2 -Voting on Demands for Grants. Will the Chief Minister move Grant No.21?
Shri D.D. Pugh (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, on the recommendation of the Governor, I beg to move that a sum not exceeding Rs.645,25,000 including the sums already voted on account for the relevant services be granted to the Minister-in-charge to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending the 31st March, 1979, for the administration of the heads "265-other Administration Services-III-Gazetteers and Statistical Memoirs, 277-Education, 278-Art and Culture, 579-Scientific Services and Research and 677-Loans for Education, Art and Culture".
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved and here against this particular grant there are two cut motions. One is in the name of Mr. Manik Das and the other in the name of Shri D.N. Joshi. Both of them appear to be similar and identical. I think we might as well club them together.
Shri D.N. Joshi :- Yes, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- Will any one of you move the cut motion ?
Shri Manik Das :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the total provision of Rs.6,45,25,000 under Grant No.21, Major Head "277-Education" at page 193 of the Budget be reduced to re.1, i.e., the amount of the whole grant of Rs.6,45,25,000 do stand reduced to Re.1.
VOTING ON DEMANDS FOR GRANTS
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved and now you can start the ball rolling.
Shri Manik Das :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, before I go into the policy of the Government regarding education I would like to give some statistics regarding education in our State. As you are aware, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the percentage of literacy in Meghalaya is 29.49 per cent. The total number of educational institutions, as on December, 1977, is : Pre-Primary Schools 363, Primary and Junior Basic Schools 3,350, Middle and Senior Basic Schools 365, High and Higher Secondary Schools 148, Colleges 12, Law College 1, One University, Teachers' Training Basic and Non-Basic Training Schools 10, Teachers Training College 1.
Considering the percentage of literacy in the State, we find that our State by far is on e of the most backward States in India as far as education is concerned. There are certain defects at the grass root itself because Primary Education is quite mis-managed by the authorities concerned. You will appreciate that unless we are able to train our children by giving best education, unless we are able to give them basic foundation at the primary level, it will be very difficult for the children to cope with the changing trend of education which is prevailing in the whole country. As you are aware, Sir, primary education is completely managed by the District Councils. The District Councils do not have sufficient staff and efficient machinery to run primary education. Under qualified teachers are given employment and these appointment are always politically motivated. The funds which are earmarked for education in the District Councils are invariably utilised for other purposes with the result that the teachers do not get their pay even for moths together and they are put to great hardship. I have certain suggestions to make regarding primary education in our State. Mr. Speaker, Sir, first of all, I suggest the District Council Primary Education Board be set up and the State Government must provide efficient officers from the Education Department to be at the helm of affairs. Moreover, the State Government must provide two Deputy Inspectors of Schools to look after education side of the District Councils. I also suggest to the Government, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that a proper Selection Committee may be constituted for Selection of Primary School teachers and it should not be left to the Executive Member of the District Council to do whatever he feels like. As far as education is concerned I think there is no need to change the rules governing the policy of education. The Education Department should be divided into two broad divisions concerning the services viz. the school services and the Education Services. the School Services should have 3 grades, the low services, class II services and class I services, viz, selection grade. The selection grade be manned by Deputy Inspector of Schools, Assistant Inspector of Schools and senior headmaster of high schools. The Education service should be divided into 3 grades to be manned by lecturers in Government colleges. Grade II posts should be occupied by principal of colleges, inspectors of schools and senior professors holding the posts of heads of departments. In other words, departmental heads and Deputy Director of Public Instruction and Grade I posts should be manned by the Director of Public Instruction. Mr. Speaker, Sir, our Government is still following the education rules farmed by the Government of Assam. I suggest that the education rules should be revised to conform to our local needs and conditions which are prevailing in the State. I also suggest that there should not be overlapping of school services and education services. An Officer from the school service should not be put in the education services superseding the legitimate claim of an officer of the education service and there are such instances in our State also. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Government is spending huge sums of money on education specially for the construction of buildings, purchase of furnitures and books etc. The Managing Committees of Government Aided Schools, M.E. Schools and High Schools are normally selected at the local level and thereafter approval is given for the M.E. section by the Deputy Inspector of Schools and for the High School Section by the Inspector of Schools I find in may of the Managing Committees there is a lot of party politics involved. As I have said earlier, Mr. Speaker, Sir, let party politics be away from the educational institutions. Let the Education Department be looked after by persons who are connected with education. Interference by political parties and politicians must be stopped henceforth. The President and Secretary of these Managing Committees should not be members of any political party or they should not have any political inclinations. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I also feel that the Secretary of these schools should not hold dual charge of headmaster-cum-Secretary. The role of the headmaster is sole connected with education of the children and not to look after construction of the buildings or purchase of furnitures or purchase of books etc. Normally, it is seen that the Secretaries of these aided schools instead of improving the standard of education are mostly busy with funds and other such matters. There is a normal tendency that whenever a particular building is constructed the Secretary of school submits the utilisation certificate. Mr. Speaker, Sir, mere submission of the utilisation certificate to the authorities concerned does not necessarily mean that the construction work has properly done and the Government funds properly utilised. Therefore, I strongly suggest the creation of a special cell to check the mis-appropriation of funds. Technical staff should be provided for supervising the construction work of the Government sided schools Mr. Speaker, Sir, some schools get huge grants from year after year and there are schools which are not receiving grants for year together. I suggest that such disparity must be stopped. The Government should immediately go into the distribution of funds to various aided schools for the last 3 or 4 years to ensure that those schools which have not got sufficient funds in the last couple of years should be provided with their due share. Scholarships to poor students are normally paid towards the end of the year. This puts the parents and the students into great inconvenience. I suggest that the scholarships to poor student should be paid once in three months. Sir, as far as the scholarship to the border students are concerned, I find that the list of the border area villages prepared and kept in the office of the Inspector of School is not upto the mark, and several village which have been included in the list, do not fall within the limit of the border areas. The students from those villages are being paid their scholarships year after year. I suggest that he list of border area villages should be revised and the rules as laid down should be strictly adhered to. Sir, the Inspector of School at the district level handles huges sum of money but unfortunately the Government has not provided this department with an accountant. I feel that an Accountant must be appointed to maintain up-to-date accounts at the district level. Sir, Science education in the State is very vital because if our children are to get employment it is essential that in future our education must be job-oriented. There is a special Officer for Science education in the office of the D.P.I. but I am surprised to see that this officer has never visited any district so far. I suggest that the Special Officer for Science education must conduct training at the district level and he must personally supervise these training centres. the post of the Instructor meant for Science education in the district level should be upgraded to the rank of the A.S.I. Some teachers have been appointed on a Half a Million Jobs Programme and they have been getting a consolidated pay of Rs.210 per month. I suggest that their services should be regularised and their pay scale increased as per rules and regulations of the Government. There are some teachers who are employed under this programme and when they resign from their post, the authorities straightaway appoint new persons in their posts. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to inform this august House that the teachers who have been employed under Half a Million Jobs Programme, cannot be replaced by new appointments after their resignation. This is a scheme of the Government of India and there are specific rules and regulation laid down by the Central Government. In principle, the Government has agreed to increase the pay scale in respect of Fourth Grade Employees in Government Aided Schools, but this has not been implemented by the Government so far.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, games and sports have been totally neglected. The School sports which were supposed to be held in Shillong recently were not held in Shillong this year. 45 schools were expected to take part in the school sports. Even the rural school sports were conducted. But unfortunately due to the wrong policy adopted by the Government resulting in the cancellation of the meet, we have lost the scholarship which were supposed to be given by the Government of India to those talented students who excel in sports. The State Sports Council under the Chairmanship of the previous Education Minister had decided that till the creation of the proper infrastructure the State Sport Meet should be held in Shillong. For holding State Meet we require proper ground and also require Stadium facilities. But this is not adhered to. Mr. Speaker, Sir, there are certain problems which our college teachers are facing. I would to know from the Government whether it has decided to extend the benefit of gratuity to the retired teachers. Moreover the increase in the Contributory Provident Fund as per suggestion of the Meghalaya College Teachers Association has not been implemented so far. This is putting the college teachers in great difficulty. Over and above, there has been no fixation of pay of principals in the deficit colleges so far. Mr. Speaker, Sir, here I would like to say a few words about the North Eastern Hill University. We are no doubt happy that the present Vice-Chancellor has started this University from a scratch and within 4 months of its existence, the departments of English and Mathematics were created. And within 8 to 10 months other departments were opened and the first examination in the North Eastern Hill University was conducted within 8 months of its existence. The life in the University campus is very normal. There is a proper academic climate prevailing in this University. I have come to know that according to the University Act, a Committee has been appointed for forwarding a panel of names for the Vice Chancellorship of this University. I strongly suggest to the Government of India from the floor of this august House that no political person having any political affiliation should be appointed in this coveted post. Let the North Eastern Hill University be out of the party politics. The atmosphere in our University should not be polluted by same political leaders for their vested interests.
Mr. Speaker :- Do you mean that all political leaders are polluted including yourself and myself ?
Shri Manick Das :- N.E.H.U. is our University and as such the University should prosper. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have put across certain suggestions to the Government and I hope the Government would consider these suggestions and implement these in due course. Thank, you, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Shri D.N. Joshi :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am very much thankful to my friend, Capt. Das, for having dealt with the subject so elaborately but again there are some points on which I would like to throw some light. So I take this opportunity to cover these points as far as possible. Sir, in the State of Meghalaya, beginning from the pre-Primary stage we have to take up education upto the University stage. Now in Meghalaya the Government has appointed teachers in pre-Primary schools in our State. But in the matter of awarding pay and allowances to the pre-Primary teachers, the Government is not as prompt as in the case of other schools. The teachers of the pre-Primary schools have sent representations to the Government for fixing their salaries and making funds available in time so that they could be paid. But in many cases they are to run for pillar to post and the matter was taken up in a haphazard way at the very last stage and I am afraid the teachers are uptil now thinking that in days to come they will not get their pay and salary in time. Sir, my friend has already said that in the Primary schools managed by the District Councils, the teachers do not get their pay in time. As a result there is anomaly, some lacuna and some weakness on the part of budgeting in or accounting of the District Council for which the teachers have to suffer. The Government of Meghalaya has earmarked the money to the respective District Councils. I do not know how that money is pooled, under what particular head? But the money finds its way somewhere else, to some other Departments and the poor teachers had to suffer. Such cases have come to our notice, times without number. On occasions on the floor of the Assembly we have urged the Government to look into this matter and see that he teachers get their pay regularly and in time and we had also suggested that the teachers who are serving in the interior should not be subjected to come over to the District headquarters to take their monthly salary from the District Council. Teachers should not be subjected to go to the Department/District headquarters here in Shillong. Unfortunately, the teachers are coming and leaving their classes which is a very sorry state of affairs. Sir. Therefore, to do away with these anomalies, I suggest that primary education in the State should be taken over by the State Government so that the mode of appointment of the teachers would be free from all these hand ships and these sufferings. I should say, are not only sufferings of the teachers but it is a lost to the students, our tiny tots. Not a single hour of the school time should be spent in other matters, in other things and in other considerations except teaching in the classes. Sir, there a re Primary Schools under the State Government also in the city of Shillong and its suburbs. They are being looked after by the State Government. Again here also in the matter of making grants to the primary schools, the schools falling under the Shillong Municipal and Cantonment area are a little more fortunate than their counterparts in the suburbs of Shillong because all these primary schools, lying in the suburbs of Shillong the grants reach much later than the grants received by the schools within Shillong. So the teacher serving in the schools in the suburbs suffer a lot. So this anomaly should not be there. Government should look into the matter and try to evolve and devise some ways and means to see that the teachers in these suburban schools by the State Government get their pay in time.
(Mr. Deputy Speaker in the Chair)
Sir, there are venture schools in the primary stage in different part of the State in the interior, but for a number of years, those venture schools do not get the attention of Government in time and not only the students have to suffer but the teachers and the public also. The population of our State in the interior is such that it is very thinly populated and according to the schools rules, a school cannot spring up within a radius of 5 miles. But for reasons of difficult communications, our own children are not supposed to traverse of one or two kilometres for going to school in a different village or different area and come back in the evening braving the hazards of nature, braving the in clemencies of weather and also braving the loneliness of the area. They are very much uncared for and, therefore, whenever there are few houses, provisions should be made enabling the small village to have a school of their own and Government must come to their aid immediately after the school is established. We must see that each and every young boy and girl of our school get free and compulsory education. My friend has just said that the percentage of literacy in our State is only 29, something. It is not a very fair picture, but it is quite gloomy. Even after thirty one years of independence, the percentage of literacy in our State is so low. It must increase and the increase in percentage is possible only when the Government rise up to the occasion and take up the task of educating each and every child and not allowing them to be deployed in house-hold duties or allowing them to be stranded.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in the matter of M.E. and High Schools in the State, there are three categories of schools. One is Government M.E. school and High school, the second one is the private schools falling under the deficit system of grant and the third category the schools getting ad-hoc grant. Beside these three categories, there are other kinds of of schools which are run by private agencies charging exorbitant school fees from the students. These private agencies impart education in European, style i.e., in English language. In the schools manned and managed by our people, English education is being imparted together with other subjects. In the State of Meghalaya barring a few schools, the medium of instruction is English in high school stage and the students are required to learn and write English from the beginning of M.E. school stage. But there are agencies which are running the schools not under the direct supervision of the Government. So two types of children and citizens are being manufactured. The children reading in Indian type schools grow up with a different outlook with various problems of life with an Indian outlook whereas the children of affluent people who can afford to go to such institutions run by private agencies where there is no Government supervision whatsoever grow up with a different outlook to different problems of our society and the country. The outlook of these two types of students is quite different to problems of life in the society. Thereby, a time comes in the life of these two types of people after they grow up to be healthy citizens of the State when their interest clashes in the matter of making plans and programmes for the speedy and uniform evaluation of the society. Therefore, I suggest to the Government that direct supervision to these schools run by private agencies should be there from the Government side. They should not be left to their own lot and the Government must see that the children of those schools also get the same type of education where the sense of patriotism, sense of oneness and the sense of belonging and reciprocal relationship among sections of people is taught. Unless the Government lay down their hands for supervising the work of these big institutions run by private agencies, I am afraid the two classes of citizens with different outlook will grow. So the Government must be careful and have direct supervision of these schools also. Now Sir, I have found there is disparity in pay structure of the teachers and other staff serving in schools covered under deficit system of grant and under ad-hoc system of grant. The disparity is such that it is beyond one's imagination that the school teacher under the deficit system of grants gets double the amount which is given or can be given to a graduate teacher or master's degree holder serving in a private school governed by ad-hoc grant. Why this disparity, Sir? The Government is giving grant no doubt. But it is a fact that the teachers serving in both these categories of schools had to give the same amount of education for teaching the children belonging to the society. Why this disparity in the service condition under the civilised Government, a Government which is committed to do away with all sorts of anomalies prevailing in the society. The teachers are the most respectable people in the society. Their profession is most respectable but they do not that amount of respect and honour in the society because of economic hardship, they have to take up such work that their honour and dignity in in sometimes marred. They have to go for their livelihood on different house seeking, for tuition. Can we not make the teachers free from their anxieties free from anxieties of meeting their own and their family members' need ? Can we not pay them an amount that will at least make them sufficient to make both ends meet? Sir, our State is a welfare State. The students are the aspiration of the society and the teachers are the builders of the society. So, attention must be given to these two sections of the society, the students and the teachers. I had suggested and maintained and remarked, Sir, that in our State, the Government must make education upto matriculation standard free and compulsory. Our people are poor, the people belonging to any group, linguistic, religious and otherwise, most of them are poor. So, in order to meet the ends of justice, it must be made free and compulsory, as some of the sister States have embarked upon this scheme. Let the Government be bold enough. Even in Assam, a very big State, I found that the statement given by the Minister-in-charge of Education where he said that by taking over all the schools and making education free upto matriculation standard, the State had to bear the additional expenditure of 19.09 lakhs. If that is the case, here in Meghalaya where the student population is not as big as that of Assam the additional expenditure to be met from the State will no even be 1/4th. If it is compared to Assam, it will be a very small amount. So, given proper attention and discrimination, I believe the Government can embark upon this scheme. Sir, in the previous Assembly the Governor had announced through this Address in this august House that the Government is constitution the Pay Commission but when I consulted the budget, I do not find any allocation made - If the Government can do in earlier to constitute the Pay Commission, the better for the State, for the living condition in Meghalaya where the mode of transport is not as easy as obtaining in other parts of the country. Life is very hard here. Therefore we do not have to stick to the recommendation of the Pay Commission of the Government of Assam and it is unjust here in Meghalaya. So we must see that the Pay Commission is constituted earlier. It should be made as early as possible so that the benefits to our workers both in the Government and in the semi Government departments out of the recommendations of the pay Commission should be made available to our teachers. When the Government of Assam gave some sort of dearness allowance from a particular date, and I have seen the Government of Meghalaya also has agreed to give the same to its teachers. Why is it that implementation is very late ? In the matter of dearness allowance which our poor teachers got from this, 50 per cent of it was held up while in the case of Government servants they get their pay according to the recommendation of the Pay Commission. They will also be affected it is held up. But in the case of the poor teachers holding up of dearness allowance is too much. So it should be released forthwith. Time without number on the floor of the House I have advocated for building up the society. They should be at least free from the anxieties of their old age. The Government school teachers get their benefit but what about other teachers who equally serve the society and the State. Are we always to follow the old method of embarking upon a new scheme ? Let us embark upon this scheme of giving old age benefit for our teachers either in the form of pension or any other form. But something must be given to the teachers who have served the nation for long sixty years.
Sir in the matter of constitution of Management Committee, I have found, as my friend has rightly said that some extraneous considerations sometimes have been given. I should be fair and free without any connection with any extraneous condition, political of others. Many schools have to suffer from these anomalies to which my friend has rightly referred. Sir, I forgot a point in the matter of primary schools managed by the District Councils in the matter of inspection of Schools. I had suggested that Inspection staff under the District Council should be recruited from all sections of societies up till now is not the practice at least in Khasi Hills. Under the District Council there are school managed by the people where different languages and other than Khasi are taught. There are Bengali, Nepali, Hindi also Assamese schools but the member of the inspecting staff comes from a particular community, a Khasi community or our tribal community who may not know other language. They may know only bus we cannot expect them to know at least all. So in order to be very effective inspection in the academic schools of the State the people belonging to other communities should be recruited in the inspection staff.
Mr. Speaker :- Who will recruit, the State Government or who?
Shri D.N. Joshi :- The District Council.
Mr. Speaker :- Is it not an autonomous body ?
Shri D.N. Joshi :- It is an autonomous body but we can give suggestion that it is antonomous body comprised of the inspection staff loaned from the District Council for recruitment of staff from different linguistic groups.
Mr. Speaker :- I think you have stretched the subject a little too far beyond the limit. Leave something for the Minister to reply.
Shri D.N. Joshi :- In other to do away with these anomalies and shortcomings I have already suggested that the entire administration of primary education in the State in order to make it effective for the benefit of the society should be taken up by the State Government. That is one of my demands. Sir, we may call it medical, industrial, nevertheless training of our youngster either in medicine or engineering is a subject which should be covered by education. I have on many occasions been advocating on the floor of the Assembly that since we have got a University in our State now, a number of faculties are being taught in the University but we are still not having a medical college an engineering college nor an agricultural college. Therefore, I suggest to the Government without losing any further time that a medical college, an engineering college and an agricultural college also should be started and we can have the nucleus for all these three colleges. For an engineering college there may be a polytechnic institute, for the medical college there are a number of hospitals here that can be expanded and a college started and for the agricultural college also near Umroi and Barapani we have number of complexes e.g. the Soil Conservation Training Centre can form the nucleus for agricultural college. There is no dearth of land here. Our Government is kind enough and if it so desires it can acquire suitable plots of land near about those complexes and start a college without so much finance. But the only thing required is determination. So with these words Sir, in the absence of any concrete subject in the matter having been taken up by the State Government I cannot but disapprove the entire policy of the Government in the matter of education and suggest that the grant be reduced.
Shri Mozibar Rahman :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, a lot of suggestions have been given by the mover of the cut motion. Mr. Manik Das and out hon. Member, Mr. Joshi. I think if certain number of suggestions are carried out by the Government in place of reducing the grant from Rs.6,45,25,000 to Re.1. it should be rather increased. Of course some of the initial difficulties in the administration which have been shown by them should be removed especially the mismanagement of Primary Schools, which can be solved by taking them over by the State Government itself. The inspecting service in the Primary Schools level by the District Council has been very poor and the standard of education has fallen very low which may affect our future generation very badly. In some other institutions certain things are lacking. In Garo Hills there is one junior basic training centre at Rongkhong where a number of primary teachers are trained. Their medium of instruction is not Garo. But in that particular training centre the instructor is only in Garo language, there is no Assamese instructor or Bengali instructor, as a result, the teachers whose medium of instruction is Assamese or Bengali, are practically getting no instructions or training and this has also badly affected the standard of education in the primary level. In the matter of the North Eastern Hill University, though I know it is not within our jurisdiction, I could not understand what the mover of this cut motion was trying to say in regard to the high post of that University, i.e., the post of Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor. In the beginning of the University, the Chancellor was Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the greatest political leader of the country and the Vice-Chancellor was not a political leader and in spite of that, the mover himself has assured that N.E.H.U. is very much successful in the achievements of its aim and objectives and that the atmosphere in that University was quite congenial. Has he not contradicted himself by saying that no political leader should be placed in the helm of the University affairs. I could not understand why he has contradicted himself. In the matter of venture High Schools and M.E. Schools where the teachers are getting only 150 or 250 rupees a month. I request the Government to afford to increase their pay from what they are getting now, which is lower than the pay of a peon or a chowkidar because they also have to quench their stomach. Nobody can afford to do service without food. I appeal to the Government to consider it to increase the pay of these teachers as early as possible.
Now, I will refer to the employees under the Half-a-Million Jobs Programme. Their cases have not yet received the consideration for the last three or four years. Neither the increment nor any sort of regularisation on their service was given. In this respect, I request the Government to kindly consider it and take the matter in hand. In this connection, much discussion has been raised earlier and I do not like to add more. I believe the present Government has been sincere since the very inception and is expected to extend its efforts to raise the level of education and to uplift the people and consider the matter in due course. With these few words I resume my seat.
Shri D.D. Pugh (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, at the very outset, I would like to observe that the objective of both the cut motion, which you in your wisdom, has clubbed together is to disapprove or criticise the education policy of this State of Meghalaya. I, therefore, feel it right and proper to make a general policy statement. In doing so, I would like also to point out that a policy of any Government in any sector and in respect of any sphere of activities stems from the objectives or objectives that a Government has before it. In the realm of education, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to begin by stating that we as a people especially, we the hills people not only of the State of Meghalaya but also of the entire North Eastern region are by nature democratic, we are by nature wedded to democracy. Therefore, I would state that the first objective of the Government is to remove ignorance from the State. I believe that removal of ignorance is an absolute must if we are to really and truly make democracy succeed in our State. With this end in view Mr. Speaker, Sir, our Government policy has to go in for an expansion of School education and also in keeping with the national programme, to go in for adult education and non-formal education as well, so as to ensure that in the quickest time possible, ignorance is removed and democracy is given a better chance of success. In other words, in order to achieve this objective, viz., removal of ignorance, in the first instance, Mr. Speaker, Sir, this Government policy is to continue giving or sanctioning grants-in-aids to the District Councils on an increasing scales and also on more liberal terms. Secondly, we intend to achieve this objective of removal ignorance by rendering assistance to the various agencies who are involved in the field of education and we have to do this in the form of both recurring and non-recurring grants. Thirdly, Mr. Speaker, Sir, we believe in the saying "Survival of the fittest". In other words, it is our contention, it is our believe that in this very highly competitive world only the fittest will survive and, therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the policy that stems out from this is to go in for qualitative improvement of Education in the State. To this end we have already, Mr. Speaker, Sir, increasingly organised seminars, workshops and conferences to improve the teachers ability to teach. We have not only organised such seminars, workshops and conferences, but we have also participated in seminars, workshops and conferences, which have been organised either by the Department of Continuing Studies of N.E.H.U. or organised by any other agency in the country because we believe that we as a People and as a State, can expect to get better qualified teachers or young men to join or take up the teaching profession, as has been stated by my colleagues, the Deputy Chief Minister in charge of Finance and also in the Governor's Address. This Government is committed to constitute a Pay Commission and I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that we hope to be able to announce the constitution of this Pay Commission in this very Session of the Assembly (Applause). The intention of making this announcement or statement is to show that we, as a Government, are as concerned about the plight of the youth and the people who are involved in the profession of teaching. We feel sure that the Pay Commission, when it completes its task, will also come up with proposals on how to rationalise and improve the pay structure for not only other employees of the Government but also in respect of the teachers who, as we have always said, are the nation builders. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I believe that we cannot, we just cannot, develop our State in the interest of our people unless we are able to produce and also to provide the necessary human resources to utilise and exploit the natural and material resources which our State abounds. Therefore, I am prone to agree with the suggestion made by the hon. mover of the cut motion that education should perhaps be job-oriented I have only said 'prone' I have not said that I agree because I believe that the real objective of Education or the aim of Education should be not only to produce schools which will give job-oriented courses. But what we should aim at is to produce useful citizens. When I say "useful citizens", Mr. Speaker, Sir, I mean citizens who will be useful to themselves and to the entire society of the State and the country. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is a need to introduce suitable syllabi. In this connection, I would like to state that the policy hitherto formulated and followed is under the examination and scrutiny by the State Council of Educational Research and Training. We are examining it and we hope to be able to make necessary or to bring in the necessary reforms. On top of it, as you very well know, Mr. Speaker, Sir, on the 30th June, 1975, subject to correction, the State Government had appointed an education Commission. I am glad to inform you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that the Education Commission has completely its task and the report has been submitted to the Government and soon we hope to be able to place a copy of the report, findings and recommendations of the Education Commission o n the Table of this House.
Fourthly, the objective of this State Government is to do justice. But that, I mean with the intention to do justice. We stand committed to remove regional imbalances and we intend to do this by giving greater attention to the comparatively more backward sections of the people and to the comparatively more backward areas.
The fifth objective the Government Mr. Speaker, Sir, is to make Meghalaya strong. We want to make Meghalaya a really strong State because we believe with all our hearth that unless Meghalaya is strong , India, as a country, cannot be strong. If Meghalaya for some reason or the other, continues to be backward, continues to be weak, India as a whole is bound to remain weak to that extent. to achieve this, Mr. Speaker, Sir, i crave your indulgence to allow me to state that while there have been different schools of thought who have defined and studied the aims of Education in diverse manner, I believe that it would be relevant to the discussion we are now participating to state that one Mr. Raybourne, who I consider to be the greatest educationist and who has come to this country from oversees in a book entitled "Progressive School" has this to say. Raybourne has said that the "aims of a progressive school should be to produce prophets. Now, by the word prophets Mr. Speaker, Sir, Raybourne did not mean a person who can foretell whether it will rain today or tomorrow or whether the world will end today or tomorrow. By prophets he means a heretic. it is a very wrong or, perhaps, obnoxious word. A heretic as you very well know, Mr. Speaker, Sir, is a person who finds that it is very difficult to believe. If you tell him that 2+2-4 he will find it very difficult to believe. He does not believe until he is found out the truth for himself. And once a heretic finds the truth, he is also prepared to lay down his life for the truth. I believe, Speaker, Sir, that not only our State but what our country today also needs is to produce prophets and I have no doubt in my mind that if we, through our educational institutions right from the pre-Primary stage upto the Post-Graduate stage, produce prophets I am sure and I believe with all my hearth that we can contribute through our educational institutions, to make our State strong and to also contribute to making the country as a whole strong. I would, however, like to take this opportunity of cautioning that in our anxiety to achieve all the wonderful things that we have in mind today for our State and our people, we should not be allowed to be carried away by our enthusiasm, we should at all times remember and bear in mind the truth in the saying that 'Rome was not built in a day; It is a time consuming thing in creating anything new, in creating anything wonderful and anything of any worth is a time consuming thing. Secondly, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to remind myself first and the members of this House also that I do nit believe that there is any Government under the sun which can implement its policies, however good, correct and wonderful they may be, without the co-operation of the people. Therefore, through you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to take this opportunity of appealing for the cooperation of the people through the elected representatives who are present here today. Finally, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to make two more brief submissions. The first one is that the state of things obtaining in this State is the sphere of education, all the existing rules and regulations to which the hon. Members who have participated in the cut motion have had occasion to refer are not one and the same thing as the education policy of the State or the Government. Secondly, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to remind the hon. Members of this august House that the budgetary provisions made did not reflect the education policy of this Government for the simple reason that the procedural requirements in the rules of the executive business and other rules are such that the budget was prepared long before we even got elected. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in making that statement, I wish to assure however, the Members of this House that I have no intention to cast any aspersion on any Member, I have no intention of casting any aspersion on any political party, I have no intention of blaming anyone or blaming any political party. But the fact remain that the budgetary provision to which reference has been made both by the Mover of the cut motion and the hon. Member who supported and the third hon. Member from Rajabala who had occasion to state that it should not be reduced but should be increased, I repeat, that these budgetary provisions are not ours. Of course, Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is quite possible that during the year as we go along the financial year, we may have occasion to come forward with some changes which will and can be regularised in the form of supplementary demand which can be brought in the future.
Finally, I would like to state, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that I am indeed grateful to the hon. Members who had participated in the debate on this cut motion. I am grateful to them for the wise counsel that they have given ; I am grateful to them for the reasonable and perhaps just suggestions they have made. I wish to assure that every single proposal, every single suggestion has been taken note of and every one of them will be examined and given the consideration they deserve. In passing, I would also like to state that as I have sat listening to the debate, I have found that it was not really the policy as such that was under fire, it was not the policy as such that has been criticise excepting the principles when the Mover of the cut motion proposed that primary education should be taken over by the State Government and also perhaps with the exception when the hon. Member from Mawprem, Mr. Joshi, raised the point of policy that he contended that there was need for the Government to have greater share or greater hand in the affairs of the private institutions. (Shri D.N. Joshi-supervision) Yes, supervision. I stand corrected. In this regard, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am sure that the hon. Member is fully aware of the provisions of the Constitution. Nevertheless, by way of reminder, I would like to read out the provisions of Article 30 under the heading "Right of minority to establish and administer educational institutions Clause (I)-All Minorities whether based on religion or language shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. Clause (ii)-The State shall not in granting aid to educational institutions discriminate against educational institutions on the ground that it is under the management of a minority whether based on religion or language. Subject to the provisions of the Constitution, I am still prepared to give the assurance to the hon. Member from Mawprem that we shall have the point raised by him, the suggestions made by him examined and considered.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I come to the last part of my reply, I have found that in reality and in truth, it was not the policy as such that was under fire, but perhaps the functioning of certain Schools and Colleges : what has been done is to streamline the administrative defects, the administrative short-comings and so on and so forth. All the same, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I repeat that every single suggestion made, every proposal made has been noted down and they shall be given the consideration that they deserve. I say this for the simple reason that we on this side of the House are just as concerned if not more than the Mover of the cut motion and the hon. Member who has supported the cut motion for the welfare of the people and our anxiety to improve the standard of education in the State and make it more meaningful. With these few words, I request the hon. member to kindly withdraw his cut motion.
Shri Manik Das :- Before I withdraw I would like to seek clarification from the Hon'ble Chief Minister. He has stated that Government would give due attention to comparatively backward areas and backward people. What does it mean by that ?
Shri D.D. Pugh (Chief Minister) :- I said what I mean and I mean what I said. There are area comparatively backward, that means in comparison within the State itself. There are some areas because of some difficulties of terrain, that is that Sir .....
Shri Manik Das :- I would like to say what are the backward areas in the State that more attention is to given to them.
Shri D.D. Pugh (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have spoken as simple as I can, I cannot further elucidate.
Shri Manik Das :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am not quite clear. The Hon'ble Chief Minister had mentioned that Government would give more attention to comparatively more backward areas and people of the State. It means the whole of the country or within the State Meghalaya. I would like to know which of these areas you consider more backward areas ?
Shri D.D. Pugh (Chief Minister) :- I will give an example then. The Khadarshnong in Khasi Hills is far far more backward than Cherra or Shillong.
Mr. Speaker :- I think that is enough. It is upto you whether whether you will withdraw the Cut Motion as requested by the Chief Minister? Or we will have a division?
Shri Manik Das :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in view of the assurances given by the Hon'ble Chief Minister my cut motion.
Mr. Speaker :- Has the hon. member leave of the House to withdraw cut motion (Voices - 'Yes', Yes'.). The Cut motion is with leave of the House withdraw.
Now I put the question. The question is that a sum not exceeding Rs.6,45,25,000 including the sums already voted on account for the relevant services granted to the Minister in charge to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending 31st March,1979 for the administration of the heads '265-Other Administrative Services-III Gazetteers and Statistical Memoirs, 277-Education, 278. -Art and Culture, 279-Scientific Services and Research and 677.- Loans for Education, Art and Culture".
(The Motion is carried and the Demand passed).
Now will the Chief Minister move the Grant No.22?
Shri D.D. Pugh (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, on the recommendation of the Governor, I beg to move that a sum not exceeding Rs.11,57,000 including the sums already voted on account for the relevant services granted to the Minister-in-charge to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1979 for the administration of the head "205-Other Administrative Services-IV Census, Vital Statistics, Guest Houses, etc."
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. Since there is no cut motion, I put the question before the House. the question is that that a sum not exceeding Rs.11,57,000 including the sums already voted on account for the relevant services granted to the Minister-in-charge to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1979 for the administration of the head "265-Other Administrative Services-IV Census, Vital Statistics, Guest Houses, etc."
(The Motion is carried and the Demand passed).
Now will the Chief Minister move the Grant No.23?
Shri D.D. Pugh (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, on the recommendation of the Governor, I beg to move that a sum not exceeding Rs.3,96,000 including the sums already voted on account for the relevant services granted to the Minister-in-charge to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1979 for the administration of the head "265-Other Administrative Services-V-Miscellaneous Administrative Services".
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. Since there is no cut motion, I put the question before the House. the question is that that a sum not exceeding Rs.3,86,000 including the sums already voted on account for the relevant services granted to the Minister-in-charge to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1979 for the administration of the head "265-Other Administrative Services-Miscellaneous Administrative Services".
(The Motion is carried and the Demand is passed).
Will the Deputy Chief Minister move Grant No. 24.
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Deputy Chief Minister) :- On the recommendation of the Governor, I beg, Sir to move that a sum not exceeding Rs.16,75,000 including the sums already voted on account for the relevant services granted to the Minister-in-charge to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1979 for the administration of the head "266-Pension and other Retirement Benefits".
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. There is one cut motion in the name of Shri Drubanath Joshi.
Shri D.N. Joshi :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that he total provision of Rs.16,75,000 under grant No.24, Major Head, ''266-Pension and other Retirement Benefits at page 195 of the Budget be reduced to Re.1, i.e., the amount of the whole grant of Rs.16,75,000 do stand reduced to Re.1.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved.
Shri D.N. Joshi :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, under this Grant the Government propose to give pension and other retirement benefits to employees serving under the Government and to the family of the employee after he dies during service or after retirement. Sir, I have seen in the matter of granting pension, the Government and their files do not move even after the retirement of the employee, in the absence of monthly salary which he usually used to get during the tenure of his service, he along with with his family members has to pass through difficult ordeal in the matter of survival. Sir, in advanced countries, nay, even in other States of our country, the pension and other retirement benefits that acre under the rules to the Government servants and to other eligible employees, are given immediately after the retirement. But here in our State, to my dismay and to the dismay of those unfortunate retired people, the pension comes very very late. It takes sometimes years together to get the pension. How does this Government expect these faithful Government servants who did their best during the tenure of their office to survive without nay means of livelihood in the absence of pension and other retirement benefits. In the Transport Department, there are cases of pension to retired employees pending not only for months together but for years together ranging from one to nine years. I know that the Transport Department was run under the joint Corporation of Meghalaya and Assam. There may be some difficulties in sorting out the things. But nevertheless Government must prepare in time knowing fully well that an incumbent has to retire. Before retirement, they must set the file moving and all the information collected in time so that immediately after retirement, the persons gets the benefit and is not subjected to any sort of hardship for want of money. Sir, during their tenure of office, they enjoyed the salary and the dearness allowance as recommended by the Pay Commission and adopted by our State. But after retirement, the pension and other retirement benefits are not the same amount as they used to get during the tenure of their service. It is much less even less than the meagre amount of pension which may be either half an hour or one-third. That also, if they do not get in time, how on earth can we expect them to live and survive and also their children who are entirely dependent on them to survive. Now, Sir, apart from the pension calculated on the basis of third pay, last drawn, they are entitled to get the dearness allowance (At this stage, the Speaker left the Chamber and the Deputy Speaker took the Chair). Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while they are in service, the quantum of dearness allowance is much more than the quantum of dearness allowance admissible under the existing rules to the retired personnel. They get much less of dearness allowance they used to get during the tenure of their service. Sir, according to rules governing pension, the quantum of money to be laid in the form of pension should be, unless otherwise revised, according to the rules laid down. The dearness allowance should not be sliced because for retired personnel, the business people are not going to supply the essential commodities at reduced price. For them also, the difficulties and hazards pf price rise and dearness is equally the same. Therefore, the practice of giving less dearness allowance to the pensioners should be done away with forthwith and full dearness allowance benefit should be given to the retires personnel as enjoyed by them during their tenure of office. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in the matter of family pension, I have found that the practice is to lower the quantum of money to award pension to less what the employee used to get or is entitled had he been living. But the pension benefit accrues only to the employee having been dead. Does the Government think that with the minor children, the person responsible for the upkeep of the family especially the wife can carry on with that meagre sum of money which is less than the pension benefit to the employee to pull up in these hard days. So I demand and I urge upon this Government that the pension benefit to be accrued to the family after the demise of the pensioner or the serving personnel should be such as to be equal to the benefit he would have enjoyed had he been living. As I have already stated, the files must move very fast and the pensioners or the retired personnel should not be subjected to wait indefinitely for their pension to come and go on incurring loans with heavy interest thereby marring the future of their children. So with these few suggestions, because these are the suggestions which the Government has to see in matters of their entire policy of giving pension and other retirement benefits, I want that the whole grant be reduced to rupee one.
Shri Mukul Das :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to make some observations on the cut motion moved by the hon. Member, Mr. D.N. Joshi. So far as the question and other retirement benefits is concern, we have been especially in our State this question, to a good extent, has been avoided because we know the people generally from the poorer sections, become interested to be employed in different department of the Government. The main reason of their interest for employment is that they are very poor. Had there been no poverty in our State in our country these people in big number would have not come to the offices to the Government in order to be employed. I am sure such big number of unemployed persons would not have definitely come to one and all. Generally the people come to be employed in the departments in order to survive in the society, in order to keep then provisions for the future of their children and I understand these are main reasons that one becomes interested in employment. Now, considering these points as they want to keep a provision for their future children the question of benefits and retirement benefits is very important to them. Sometimes I have seen there are authorities even in our State, those who are receiving pension money from the Government, they have to produce certificates from the M.Ps. M.L.As and M.D.Cs in order to show to the Government repeatedly, that they are entitled to get this pension money from the Government till now. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I fail to understand why a person who served under the Government for his whole life and when his relation after his expiry is entitled to get this money why the certificate from a responsible representatives again necessary to be produced months after months. This is a very important question before us and I feel these poor people should not be harassed. Because under no circumstances the reason of getting this pension money which has already been approved, legally admitted, can be challenged and there are instances, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. Unless the Government becomes very cautious, very careful about this nuisance in our State in connection with our poor people suffering the people will never come forward to help the Government in future. I am afraid and I should say to that extent, that this certificate business from the elected representatives has become a headache to the poor people. This is very important and interesting business although I do not deny the necessity of this certificate in other affairs. But it has gone to that extent that it has become a very sad and very painful subject to the poor people of our State. The most surprising point is that even the members from the Scheduled Caste, Community, the Harijan Community whose interest has been safeguarded by the constitution, of our country has not taken into consideration. It is surprising to us even when the question of Harijan the Scheduled Castes in our country should get top priority these people are being neglected. I do not know why. The reason may be shown that they are not Government employees and they are serving under some semi-Government Organisations. But I feel whether they are under the Government or under the autonomous organisation, or organisation having a connection with the State Government as well as the Central Government they should be given the benefit especially to the Harijans and the Scheduled Caste Communities. There are instances where even, lady who has rendered service for 46 years, right from her childhood of her life and belongs to the Harijan Community even she was refused even the gratuity from the Government. It is so painful. I should go to that extent that during the previous Government regime, I do not know whether the hon. members present here will agree with me or not that a bill was introduced on the floor of this House to entitle M.L.As for pension. Taking into consideration the legality, the importance of the Government officers serving under the State Government whether they are gazetted officers or secretaries, or directors of any class or status by giving the whole life service should be given the equal treatment so far a pension and retirement benefit are concerned. For instance the Community Development department, I know people from this Department, go to their representatives with complaints. They have given service for the whole life, they serve our country and people they are not entitled to get pension. There are employees in this Department who are supposed to be absorbed in the Agriculture Department, but they are not absorbed. Those are Gram Sevaks, Extension Officers, Section Assistants etc. Some of of them are to be absorbed in the Public Work Department. Until and unless they are absorbed, they are not supposed to get this pension. I put this question to the Government, through you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, why they are given the equal facilities as the other Government servants are given?
What is the difference between the services given to our people by the Government servants and the persons who are serving in different departments that they are not supposed to get pension. Whether there is any difference in it? I challenge. There is no difference. Why these people will not get pension? There may be some sort of difficulties or there may be some procedures and technicality but why we are not interested to spend to speed up to regularise these cases. So again on the floor of this Assembly I bring this question because I believe no Government of any country in this world whether Central Government or State Government can run its administration without the service of the Government servants. If the Government claims that I do not believe that the administration and functioning of the Government runs out of the service of elected representatives. So today if I am alone on the floor of the Assembly I would put forward a request in order to come to the depth of the matter that why a public representative is entitled to get pension giving service only for 5 years ? Why not a Government servant after giving his whole life service? Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I put forward a very sincere request to the Government to be considerate so far the question of the employees from the Scheduled Caste and Harijans Communities is concerned. Thank you. Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir.
Shri D.N. Joshi :- Before the Finance Minister replies to my point, I seek the indulgence on some more views. I have to make one point. It is supplementary if you allow me Sir.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Yes.
Shri D.N. Joshi :- Sir under this Government in various departments there are people who are serving but who are termed as temporary Government servants but nevertheless they have put, some 25 years of service and some 20 years and they are still working and are called as work-charged men. But after putting 30 or 35 years of service they are termed as temporary Government servants though the onerous task discharged by them was for the benefit of the society. But unfortunately these Government servants are denied their pensions and other retirement benefits in any form whatsoever. So I urge upon the Government through you Sir, that the case of these unfortunate employees should be taken into consideration and they should be made without any further delay eligible for pension and other retirement benefits according to the limit of their services rendered to the Government. Thank you Sir.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- May I call the Deputy Chief Minister to give a reply.
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Deputy Chief Minister) :- At the very outset I would like to congratulate the hon. member from Mawprem who has moved this cut motion so that we could have an opportunity to discuss this particular grant. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the hon. member being an experienced legislator I had expected that he would offer the Government a more fruitful discussion on this particular subject. But Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, he has not indicated in precise terms the particulars of the policy which he proposes to discuss in this august House. Otherwise, we could have a real gainful discussion and more explicit discussion on this problem. Nevertheless, the hon. member as well as the hon. member from Dalu had raised certain points in connection with the payment of pension and other retirement benefits. I had expected that the hon. mover would discuss on the policy of the Government in relation to pension and other retirement benefits but the major part of the deliberation was on certain grievances and on e of the grievances is in connection with the delay in the payment of pension of the Government servants. Well, Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, in so far as this particular aspect of the problem is concerned I would like to inform the House through you, Sir, that the Government have taken steps to simplify the procedure with a view to eliminate the delay caused in the payment of pension to the persons who are eligible to get pension. Previously a Government employee can apply for his pension one year in advance of retirement. But as I have stated Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, now an employee can apply for pension two years in advance and the the Government has done this with a view to remove delays as had already been mentioned by the hon. mover. (At this stage the Speaker occupied the chair) Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the matter of granting pension and other retirement benefits we are following the Assam Service Pension Rule of 1969 and this has been adapted to the Government of Meghalaya.
In so far as the subsequent amendment that Assam Government brought forward, it is not automatically applied to our Government. Also Mr. Speaker, Sir, for the benefit of the House, I would like to inform that with effect from 10th July 1977 the Government had raised the age retirement from 55 to 58 years. I think this is well known to all the Members of this august House. Mr. Speaker, Sir, a Government servant on retirement is entitled to a pension calculated on certain basis a provided in the rules already mentioned i.e. the Assam Service Pension Rules, 1969. Also Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is a benefit of family pension. For the benefit of the members, I would like to inform that the Government in 1975 had increased the family pension from twenty five rupees to forty rupees per month and also the maximum has been raised to Rs.200 p.m. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would also like to inform the House through you, that the Government in November, 1977, had sanctioned an adhoc increase of Rs.10 in pension to all the State Government pensioners and this will take effect from November, 1977. it is a fact Mr. Speaker, Sir, that complaints from various quarters have been received and so far as the delay in payment of pension is concerned, as I have stated earlier, the Government are taking steps and the Government servant has to submit his pension papers two years in advance so that by the time he retires, all formalities would have been completed. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. mover had also brought to the notice of the House certain delays in the payment of pension with regard to the staff working in the Transport Corporation. Well Sir, I must inform the House that the grant relates to pension to Government employees and not to the employees of the Transport Corporation. There is a suggestion made by the hon. Member from Dalu that the pensioner should get the same dearness allowance as serving Government servant gets. Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is a far-fetched suggestion. As the Hon'ble Chief Minister had already stated in this House and also the Government through the Governor's Address, we have already stated that a Pay Commission will be constituted and the constitution of the Pay Commission will be constituted and the constitution of the Pay Commission will be announced during this session itself. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the terms of reference of the Pay Commission, we will also examine the possibility of examination of the various problems faced by the pensioners and also examined the existing rules in so far as payment of pension and other retirement benefits is concerned. The hon. Member from Dalu had stated that even after the pension payment order has been issued the authority concerned will insist on a certificate from an M.P. M.L.A. or other public leaders. Well Sir, I must inform the hon. Member that one pension payment order has been issued there is no need for a certificate from any other authority. If the hon. Member has got any specific grievance, we can see to it and you can inform the Government and we shall definitely look into this. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. mover of this Cut motion has also suggested that the pension benefit should also be extended to other local bodies. But I must say that the present grant relates only to the State Government servants and also to legislators and not to the persons who are in the local bodies or institutions. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I have already stated the hon. mover of this Cut Motion has, pointed out certain grievances and on of them is the delay in the disposal of pension cases, I would assure Mr. Speaker, Sir, that the Government will look into this and with the simplification formula adopted by the Government, there will be no more delay in so far as payment of pension to the employees is concerned. So Sir, with these assurances and information, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I request the hon. member to kindly withdraw his Cut Motion.
Shri D.N. Joshi :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have very attentively listened to the Finance Minister to the discussion and suggestions but I think I have failed to listen to him properly or the has failed to give a reply to one point. In my concluding speech regarding the Government servants who were termed as temporary Government servant or work charged people.
Mr. Speaker :- Let me interrupt a little bit, Mr. Joshi. Since there are hardly two minutes left, I have to take the sense of the House that the present sitting extends till this particular business is disposed of.
(Voices - Yes, yes.)
Shri D.N. Joshi :- I want a specific reply on that.
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Deputy Chief Minister) :- That has posed a new question altogether. I will try to oblige the hon. member in so far as the adhoc or work-charged or temporary employees are concerned. Mr. Speaker, Sir, only under the definition of qualifying services, definitely they can get all the benefits of pensions, otherwise not.
Shri D.N. Joshi :- Since the Finance Minister has assured the House that will try his utmost to see to it that all Government ....
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Deputy Chief Minister) :- No, I have not said that. Only that if they fall within the category of qualifying services.
Shri D.N. Joshi :- Since he has also assured the House on how best he will try, on that assurance from the Finance Minister, I withdraw the cut motion.
Mr. Speaker :- Has the hon. member leave of the House to withdraw his cut motion?
The cut motion is with leave of the House withdrawn.
Now let me put the main question. The question is that a sum not exceeding Rs.16,75,000 including the sums already voted on account for the relevant services granted to the Minister in charge to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending 31st March,1979 for the administration of the heads "266-Pension and Other Retirement Benefits".
The motion is carried and Grant No.24 is passed.
The House stands adjourned till 9.30 A.M. on Monday, the 26th June 1978.
|the 23rd June, 1978.||
Secretary, Meghalaya Legislative