Budget 2023-24 is futuristic, also takes care of liabilities left by past govt: Khaling

Tuesday, May 23, 2023 06:30 [IST]

Last Update: Tuesday, May 23, 2023 00:52 [IST]

Budget 2023-24 is futuristic, also takes care of liabilities left by past govt: Khaling


GANGTOK,: The SKM government, besides strengthening revenue generation and implementing people-centric schemes since 2019, has been paying for the excessive liabilities left by the previous SDF government, said SKM spokesperson Jacob Khaling on Monday.

Khaling was sharing to media about the key allocations made in the State Budget 2023-24 like construction of new houses, incentives to farmers, grants for various sections of the society and infrastructural requirements like roads and healthcare.

Economy suffered world over due to Covid pandemic but as the pandemic started fading away, we took austerity measures and were successful in stabilising our State economy which is heading towards a progressive direction at present, said Khaling.

Besides working towards improving our economy and also providing welfare measures for the people of Sikkim, the annual State budgets in these five years have seen our government making payments for the huge pending bills left by the previous SDF government, said the SKM spokesperson. He gave the example of the Greenfield airport at Pakyong and the 1000-bedded new STNM Hospital that were commissioned before the 2019 election.

“The Pakyong airport was commissioned during the SDF government who did a huge propaganda and sought votes on this. Unfortunately, they did not paid compensation to the people who gave their lands for the airport project. Planes started flying and landing at the airport but the landowners did not get their compensation due from the past SDF government,” said Khaling.

He informed that the SKM government last year paid more than Rs. 20 crore as land compensation and in this budget, Rs. 10 crore has been allotted for the same.

“Similarly, our government is making payments for the unpaid dues of new STNM Hospital. These are some examples of the liabilities we have been taking care of so far. They (SDF) have no right to pass negative comment on our budget because we are paying for what they have left unpaid,” said the SKM spokesperson.

The party spokesperson also dismissed the claims that SKM government has taken Rs. 19,339 crore loans in these four years, excessively higher than what SDF government took in 25 years.

“With full responsibility I say that our government has not taken loans more than what the previous government took. We took some loans from the Centre during the global economic slowdown. However, we have not done it in an illegal manner or mortgaging Sikkim as the SDF is alleging.”

“Firstly the SDF is talking about the direct loans taken during its government and not listing the projects like Teesta Urja Ltd for which their government had stood as a guarantor before the banks which amounts to almost Rs. 10,000 crore. Secondly, they have conveniently subtracted these guarantee loans to show that they had taken less loans during their term. The same loans where their government was the bank guarantor has been then cleverly added to the burrowing of our government to inflate it as a colossal debt figure. If we compare with the guarantee loans, 86% loans are of SDF term and only 14% were taken by the SKM government,” said Khaling. 

The SKM spokesperson also reminded that the Sikkim government can take loans not more than 3% of its GSDP and within the limitations imposed by the Sikkim Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act. We have burrowed what is only permissible and not more as accused by the SDF, he said, adding that the Centre has also imposed a blanket ban on State governments taking loans from private financial institutions.

At the outset, Khaling hailed the recently passed State Budget 2023-24 as futuristic and committed to the people, especially the villagers. Money will go directly and indirectly to the people of Sikkim through various schemes and cash incentives, he said.

Earlier, SKM spokesperson Bikash Basnet thanked Chief Minister PS Golay and the State government for passing the pro-people budget that will benefit the people at the grassroots level. The budget is pro-environment and also tries to address the concerns over climate change by forming a high-level commission which will definitely do a great job, he said. He informed that the budget also allocated Rs.7.50 crore for distributing invertors to the poor families for avoiding problems when power supply is disrupted due to various reasons.


Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi