Attended the concluding day of the two-day session of Sikkim Legislative Assembly.

The three Bills which were introduced in the House yesterday were unanimously passed by the House.
Among others, the Demands for Excess Grants and Appropriation forF2011-12 and the First Supplementary Demands -for- Grants for 2018-19. which I had presented yesterday as Minister In-Charge of Finance, Revenue and Expenditure, were both passed by the House during the Financial Business.

As the Minister-In Charge of Finance, Revenue and Expenditure Department, I introduced the Appropriation Bills for the Demands for Excess Grants and Appropriation for Financial year 2011-12 and the First Supplementary Demands -for- Grants for 2018-19, which were both passed by the House unanimously.

Hon’ble Member Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha today moved the Private Member’s Resolution No 2 on the theme “Protecting the land of Sherpas under the provision of Revenue Order No. 1 of 1917.”
I expressed my serious reservations against this resolution and opposed it vehemently as it is completely against the interest of not only the Bhutia-Lepcha (BL)community but also against the interest of the entire Sikkimese people. It would tantamount to dilution of Old Laws,which we hold sacred and sacrosanct at all times. Protection of Old Laws and Article 371F will always remain our Government’s prime principle and under no circumstances will we allow them to be tampered with.

I categorically stated that the Sherpa community was categorized as BL with the Scheduled Tribe Order of 1978, which primarily categorized them as Scheduled Tribes. On the other hand, Revenue Order No 1 of 1917 specifically provides for protection of land of the members of the BL community. The Sherpa community enjoys all other rights and reservations enjoyed by the BLs but protection of land granted under Revenue Order No.1 cannot be extended to them as this right granted in 1917 itself was only for the Bhutias and Lepchas and not for any other sub-tribes which were later categorised as BL in 1978. Keeping these factors in view, the State Government thought it pertinent to bring out a legislation to protect the rights and ownership of agricultural land of the Sherpa Community from alienation. Hence, the Sikkim Regulation of Transfer of Land(Second Amendment) Bill came up in this Assembly session. This legislation, I must say, is even more stronger than Revenue Order No.1 and will serve as an effective tool that gives complete protection of the land rights of our Sherpa brethren .

Moreover, the resolution moved by Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha is not a State subject but falls under the jurisdiction of the Union Government.
On the recent pay revision based on the recommendations of the 7th Pay Committee, I stated that any dissatisfaction on the pay hike should be put to rest. We have tried our best to provide the best possible to our Government employees, when most of the states are yet to implement the revision, and those that have implemented have granted much lower than that of the Central Government employees. But inspite of the financial constraints, like most state governments face, we have ensured that our employees are paid better than their Central Government counterparts. About the arrears being released in three annual instalments, I reminded that even a prosperous state like Gujarat under the leadership of the then Chief Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, paid off the arrears to Government employees in five instalments.