Friday, July 31, 2009

Sikkim need to increase our revenue generation: CM

Rs. 828 crores project in government salaries this financial year.

40% arrear to Govt employees with retrospective effect of Jan 1, 2006.

Gangtok, July 30: Reiterating the need for increasing the State’s revenue, Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling today called for a ‘collective responsibility’ among all to cut down unnecessary expenditure even a major chunk of the State’s annual budget goes in paying salaries to Government employees.In the last financial year alone, the State government had spent Rs. 514 crores in paying salaries which is a big burden for the State, said Mr. Chamling while presenting his vote of thanks on the concluding day of the budget session in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly.Further, we are projecting that the sum in paying government salaries will increase this time due to paying of arrears and we are estimating that a sum of Rs. 828 crores will be spent this time in salaries, said Mr. Chamling. The House must take this seriously, he said. He also informed the House that provisions have been made to pay 40 percent arrear to the government employees with the retrospective date of January6 1, 2006.We must balance the present rate of increase of government expenditure and salaries with a proportionate increase in the revenue generation besides instituting stringent policies towards curtailing non-plan expenditure and maintaining austerity measures in government expenditure, said the Chief Minister. Only then we will have a sustainable economy or I fear that Sikkim will be like other States having a huge deficit, said Mr. Chamling. He also informed the House that Sikkim has only Rs. 86 crores as loans to pay. Sikkim has not become a loan defaulter and has this unique image in the nation, he added.The Chief Minister said that the State government is already working on key revenue areas like hydro power, tourism and industries in the State.Sikkim is assured of a minimum of Rs. 150 crores annually from the Teesta Stage V hydro electric plant which has started its operations, said Mr. Chamling. He added that Sikkim will get around Rs. 1000 crores annual from the power sector by 2015 and sought support from all sections of the society towards the hydro power projects.Earlier, the annual budget of 2009-10 was passed today in the House.Dedicating the budget to the development of Sikkim’s future, the Chief Minister said that the funds allocated in the budget to the departments must be well utilized on thrust areas and on Sikkimese people. He directed the departments to first fix their areas of priorities for the development of Sikkim and Sikkimese people.“The people of Sikkim have a belief that the SDF government in its new term will do something new and better works this time. We must remain committed to the aspirations and expectations of the Sikkimese people”, said Mr. Chamling. At the same time, the Chief Minister sought cooperation and support from the people in the developmental activities. He said that the State government is not limited to infrastructural development but wants to change the mindset of the people through inclusive development.Mr. Chamling also spoke on the thrust given by his government to develop capable human resource in the State. We have allocated 10 percent of the budget for conducting capacity building programmes for the youths, he said.In other list of business in the final day of the budget session, the demand for grants for various departments was passed in the House. The Sikkim Road Reserve (Protection and Preservation) Bill and Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Amendment Bill were also passed in the House.