The Sikkim Legislative Assembly (SLA) on May 20 successfully passed the General Budget for the financial year 2023-24, amounting to Rs. 12,146.51 crore. The momentous event took place on the final day of the Seventh Session of the Tenth Assembly, also known as the Budget Session 2023-24, at the SLA. The budget was presented to the House on the first day of the session, May 17, 2023, by Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang, who is also the Minister-in-Charge of the Finance Department, Government of Sikkim.
The financial profile of the budget for the upcoming fiscal year reads as follows: "Against a gross expenditure provision of Rs. 12,146.51 crore, the net outgo amounts to Rs. 11,806.51 crore after accounting for recoveries of Rs. 340.00 crore." The Sikkim Appropriation Bill, 2023 (Bill No. 08 of 2023), related to the Annual General Budget 2023-24, was also passed during the session. The Chief Minister, who also holds the portfolio of the Finance Department, introduced and moved the bill for consideration.
The Sikkim Appropriation Bill, 2023, is enacted in accordance with Article 204(1) of the Indian Constitution. Its purpose is to authorize the appropriation of funds from the Consolidated Fund of the State of Sikkim to meet the expenses charged on the fund and grants provided by the Sikkim Legislative Assembly for the Government of Sikkim's expenditure in the financial year 2023-24.
During the session, Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang presented various reports, including the Evaluation Report of Compliance to Provisions of the Sikkim FRBM Act for Fiscal Year 2020-21, the Medium-Term Fiscal Plan for Sikkim 2023-24 to 2025-26, and the Annual Consolidated Audit Report on the Accounts of Panchayati Raj Institutions & Municipalities for the Financial Year 2021-22. Additionally, Shri Aditya Golay, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, presented two reports of the committee: the 130th Report on Comptroller and Auditor General of India for the year ended March 31, 2015, and the 131st Report on Separate Audit Report on the Accounts of Sikkim State Legal Services Authority for the years ended March 31, 2015, to March 31, 2018.
Furthermore, Speaker Arun K. Upreti presented the Annual Reports of various Government Departments in the House. These reports included the Annual Progress Report of the Ecclesiastical Department for the years 2021-22 and 2022-23, the Annual Report of the Rural Development Department for the year 2021-22, the Annual Report of the Printing and Stationary Department for the year 2021-22, and the Annual Progress Report of the Agriculture Department for the year 2021-22.
In his valedictory remarks, Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang expressed gratitude to Governor Shri Lakshman Prasad Acharya for his valuable address on the first day of the Budget Session. He also thanked Speaker Shri Arun K. Upreti for successfully conducting the budget session for the financial year 2023-24. The Chief Minister highlighted the key aspects of the four-day session and expressed his delight at the passage of the State annual budget, which focuses on the welfare of the rural population. He congratulated the Members of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly for their support in passing two University Bills aimed at transforming Sikkim into an education hub.
Chief Minister Tamang acknowledged and appreciated the valuable suggestions provided by the members during the session, assuring them that all suggestions would be given due consideration. He extended his gratitude to the Deputy Speaker, Chief Secretary, Director General of Police, Additional Chief Secretaries, Secretaries, the press and media fraternity, and all others involved in the seamless organization of the Budget Session 2023-24.
Speaker Arun K. Upreti expressed satisfaction over the smooth conduct of the four-day-long Budget Session 2023-24. He thanked the Governor for his insightful budget address and the Chief Minister for presenting a budget aligned with the aspirations of the people of Sikkim. Upreti also commended all the members of the House for their active participation and positive deliberations, while upholding the decorum of the Assembly.
The valedictory remarks also witnessed the participation of MLAs D.R. Thapa, Em Prasad Sharma, Smt. Farwanti Tamang, Smt. Rajkumari Thapa, L.N. Sharma, and K.S. Lepcha. The session concluded with the House being adjourned sine die, marking the successful completion of the Budget Session 2023-24.
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