Gangtok, September 22, 2020: The Sikkim Legislative Assembly tabled and passed two new bills, six amending bills, and one appropriation bill on Monday. According to an IPR release, Chief Minister P.S. Golay launched the Sikkim Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (Amendment) Bill 2020.
According to the bill’s statement of objects and reasons, the State government felt it was necessary to amend the Sikkim Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2010 in light of the Government of India’s decision to allow the State to borrow up to 2% of GSDP in the current year 2020-21 to offset financial hardship caused on the State government’s resources due to the serious negative effect of Covid-19. The bill was considered and passed by the House, the IPR release mentions.
The Khangchendzonga Buddhist University, Sikkim Bill 2020, was introduced by Education Minister KungaNima Lepcha and was also approved by the House. He stated that the proposed university will be associated with the University Grants Commission(UGC), once it is constructed and operational.
The Board of Open Schooling and Skill Education, Sikkim, Bill 2020 was also introduced by Lepcha and passed by the Assembly.
The Assembly also passed the Sikkim Municipalities (Amendment) Bill 2020, which was introduced by Urban Development Minister Arun Upreti. According to the bill’s statement of objects and reasons, it was deemed necessary to amend the Sikkim Municipalities Act 2007, among other things, to provide for the deferment of municipal elections in the event of certain unprecedented exigencies, such as the ongoing Covid -19 pandemic situation, and to make municipal elections apolitical. The Sikkim Municipalities Act 2007 requires amendments to Section 12 and the addition of a new section 14A.
The Assembly also passed the Sikkim Essential Services Maintenance (Amendment) Bill 2020 and the Sikkim Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill 2020.
The Assembly passed the Sikkim Motor Vehicles Taxation (Amendment) Bill 2020, which was introduced by Transport Minister SanjitKharel.
According to the bill’s statement of objects and reasons, the State government has deemed it necessary to amend the Sikkim Motor Vehicles Taxation Act 1982 to provide a rebate of 20% on payment of a one-time tax consisting of a single/lump sum amount payable of the existing annual tax for five years at a time for all categories of vehicles to benefit the general public of Sikkim.
This amendment, which includes a 20% refund incentive, would encourage people to pay the one-time tax for five years at a time. This would save the public the inconvenience of having to visit the Regional Transport Office every year, as well as reducing foot traffic in the offices. According to the IPR release, the amendment also offers the flexibility of paying the tax for one or more quarterly periods, annually, or as a one-time charge at 5 times the annual tax, either directly at the Regional Transport Office or through online payment via electronic means.
The Assembly also passed the Sikkim Forests, Water Courses, and Road Reserve (Preservation and Protection) (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
According to the amendment bill, bamboos will be removed from the definition of trees to exempt bamboos cultivated on private and other non-forest areas from the requirement of a permit for felling or transit under the said Act, which will encourage farmers and cultivators to plant bamboos, thereby increasing their field income.
Furthermore, the Central Government has amended the relevant section 2 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 to remove the word “bamboos” from the definition of “trees,” and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has directed all North East States to make the necessary amendments to their State Forest Acts.
The Chief Minister, who is also the Minister-in-Charge of the Finance Department, submitted the First Supplementary Demands for Grants for the Financial Year 2020-21 at the financial business.
The first batch of Supplementary Demands for Grants for 2020-21 includes 34 grants totaling Rs 45123.63 lakh in gross additional expenditure, with Rs 25422.02 lakh in income and Rs 19701.61 crore in capital. The House voted and passed the first Supplementary Demands for Grants 2020-21.
Reference – http://www.sikkimexpress.com/news-details/municipal-polls-to-be-apolitical-in-sikkim