Manipur Government introduced seven bills on the floor of the House on the first day of the 13th session of the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly on August 20. To the dismay of many, none of them reflected the demand for lifting of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, AFSPA fagged by the Manipur Human Rights Commission recently.
Reports said, leader of the House, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren introduced ‘The Lainingthou Sanamahi Temple (Second Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Bill No. 19 of 2021)’ and ‘The Manipur Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland (Second Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Bill No. 21 of 2021)’.
Deputy Chief Minister Yumnam Joykumar, who is also state Finance Minister, introduced ‘The Manipur Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (Third Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Bill No. 20 of 2021)’ and ‘The Manipur Goods and Services Tax (Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Bill No. 21 of 2021)’.
Labour Minister Thokchom Satyabrata also introduced ‘The Manipur Legislature (Removal of Disqualifications) (Sixth Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Bill No. 18 of 2021)’, ‘The Manipur (Courts) (Second Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Bill No. 23 of 2021)’ and ‘The Manipur Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021 (Bill No.22 of 2021)’, reports added.
Assembly Observes Obituary for Seven Departed Leaders
The first day of the 13th session of the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly began on August 20 with an obituary reference to the seven departed political leaders of Manipur and former secretary of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, who passed away during the pandemic.
Reports said twelve members from both the treasury and opposition bench, including leaders of the House and Opposition, shared their condolence messages for the departed souls during the opening of the 13th session which will have three sittings.
The names of the political leaders who passed away mostly while battling COVID-19 are former MP, Lok Sabha from Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency (ST) Paokai Haokip; former members of Manipur Legislative Assembly, Laishom Lalit of Keishamthong Assembly Constituency; Wangkheimayum Brajabidhu of Lamshang Assembly Constituency; Irengbam Ibohanbi of Oinam Assembly Constituency; Thangjam Nandakishor of Kshetrigao Assembly Constituency; Purul Shepu Henry Paotei of Karong (ST) Assembly Constituency and Vivek Raj Wangkhem of Kshetrigao assembly constituency.
The obituary reference was also given to deceased Thangjam Megharaj, former secretary of the Manipur Legislative Assembly.
The House observed a two-minute silence in honour of the departed souls, reports added.
Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Bill, 2021
Hill Areas Committee of Manipur Legislative Assembly has recommended the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous Councils Bill, 2021. The Committee drafted the bill and submitted on August 19 to the State Government to table on the floor of the house.
Speaking to media regarding the newly drafted bill at Hotel Classic Grande, Imphal, committee chairman K Leishiyo said that the Article 371C of the Constitution of India provides a separate scheme for the administration of hill areas in the state through the Hill Areas Committee and District Councils.
Notably even after getting the statehood in 1972, the ADC has been implementing the Act which was enacted by Parliament since the time when Manipur was a union territory, he said. So, the Hills Area Committee had unanimously drafted the bill for the welfare of the people of the hill areas, he added.
The chairman informed that the bill has been submitted to the state government so that it can be tabled on the floor of the Assembly and for passing it in the interest of the people living in hill areas.
Committee member TN Haokip stated that if the newly drafted bill is passed by the August House and turned into an Act, it will be effective in bringing great development to the hill areas.
Another member of the committee, Alfred Kanngam Arthur said that the Hill Area Committee has been constituted with a sole purpose of ensuring accelerated development of the hill areas and to promote unity between the people of the hill areas and the remaining sections of the state.
The very reason Article 371C was inserted, was to empower the state to help its domiciles and residents to grow hand in hand, he further said, adding that the committee has come together to bring a draft bill for the state to legislate and enact which would bring the people closer and grow together to bear the fruit of democracy together.
The newly drafted bill mentioned of provisions to take into consideration the current ground realities in the Hill Areas of the state including increasing the number of constituencies of the Autonomous District Council to 31, of which three members to be nominated and further in the delimitation process of the 28 constituencies, 3/4th of the seats shall be allocated as per population representation of the areas covered under the Autonomous District and 1/4 of the seats shall be reserved for socio-economically backward areas and need based special geographical areas within the respective Autonomous District.
The draft bill also lists creation of Hill Areas Secretariat for managing and coordinating the working of all the Autonomous Councils, reviewing and monitoring all the projects and programmes undertaken by Autonomous District Council. Coordination and management of the budgetary allocation as per department or area-wise requirement for the Hill Areas of Manipur is also mentioned.
Providing first and second appeal with regard to the adjudication of an election petition under the Bill is also listed.
It also mentions creation of an Executive Committee under the Autonomous District Councils which shall act as a cabinet of the Autonomous District Council and states that the Executive Committee shall have members not exceeding seven.
The draft bill mentions bringing in Hill House Tax within the purview of the Autonomous District Council. It further mentions more effective and active involvement of Hill Areas Committee in development and economic planning including budget planning and allocations for the entire Hill Areas for the state.
CM on White Paper on COVID-19
Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on August 20 informed the House that the State Government will furnish a white paper on COVID-19 management in Manipur shortly.
Reports said the demand for furnishing a white paper on COVID-19 management was moved by Opposition MLA K Meghachandra as a call attention motion in the 1st sitting of the 13th session of the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly.
Raising the motion, Opposition member K Meghachandra urged the Government to explain if there are any lapses in managing the COVID-19 pandemic as death toll has mounted to 1732 as on August 19.
Meghachandra further said that the COVID-19 positivity as well as the mortality rate is also considerably high as compared to other States.
He further asked what reports/findings were submitted by the Central teams sent by the Union Government to oversee COIVD-19 situation in Manipur twice.
He said MLAs and frontline workers have been fighting the Covid pandemic dedicatedly by opening Community Home Isolation Centres in 60 ACs of the State and sought a white paper on Covid management expenditure from the Government.
Continuing that many COVID-19 deaths were not reported, the MLA asked what packages is the Government planning to give to the next of kins of those who died of COVID-19 under National Disaster Management Act.
Responding to the call attention motion, House leader Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren said that it cannot be confidently predicted how the COVID-19 will unfold in the future, reports added.
He also acknowledged the contribution of the House to arrest the spread of coronavirus which is largely driven by the highly contagious Delta variant in the second wave.
There is sufficient healthcare infrastructure such as oxygen, manpower, Covid beds, ventilators etc to tackle the pandemic, the Chief Minister informed the House.
Maintaining that a white paper on COVID-19 Management will be furnished shortly, the Chief Minister urged the members of the House to ramp up the vaccination drive in their respective Assembly Constituencies, reports added.
Manipuri Language Day Observed
Commemorating the inclusion of Manipuri language in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution, the State Government and many organisations observed the 30th Manipuri Language Day on August 20.
Reports said the Directorate of Language Planning and Implementation, Manipur organised the observation at the hall of State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT) at Lamphelpat. Commissioner of Education, M Harekrishna, Director of Language Planning and Implementation, Th Chitra, Assistant Professor of Manipuri Dept, Manipur University Dr N Sanatomba and social worker and activist of the 8th Schedule movement Leihaothabam Sharatchandra attended the programme among others.
Speaking on the occasion, Th Chitra said the mothers have a big role in teaching their children their mother tongue and should ensure that the child learns the mother tongue first. One should be well versed with the mother tongue and should never consider that a child speaking a foreign language as an advantage, she added.
Moreover, Patriotic Writers Forum (PAWF) Manipur also observed the 30th Manipuri Language Day at the residence of Sagolshem Bidhu in Awang Leikinthabi Santipur.
A press release by PAWF Manipur informed that during the observation, Nandeibam Pramoda was conferred with the R Kathing Tangkhul Literary Award-2021 for her patriotic short story titled ‘Sana Ahingba Machu’ today.
Educationist & Cultural Activist, Dr S Manaoton, president of PAWF Manipur, Naoroibam Khamba Luwang, life member of PAWF Guwahati, KC Mangang and renowned lyricist Waikhom Bihari graced the occasion as the presidium members, added the press release
MP Sanajaoba Calls for Classical Tag of Manipuri Language
Extending greetings on ‘Manipuri Language Day’ to those who are trying to promote the language, Rajya Sabha MP Leishemba Sanajaoba said the day has been annually observed as ‘Manipuri Language Day’ since August 20, 1992, the day when Manipuri language was included in the 8th schedule along with Nepali and Konkani language.
To promote and make Manipuri language achieve recognition as a classical language, concerted efforts and initiatives are needed from the public, the state government, scholars and authorities concerned, Rajya Sabha MP Leishemba Sanajaoba said on August 20 speaking to the media in a video clip issued from his office in New Delhi.
Sanajaoba said Manipuri language was not included in the 8th schedule easily. The inclusion came only after repeated demands were made over an extended period of time and several movements carried out by Manipuris, he added.
The demand to recognise Manipuri language as a classical language was proposed during his first session at Rajya Sabha on September 22, 2020 after he was elected as MP Rajya Sabha from Manipur, he said. Till date, only six languages of the country have been recognised as the classical language. If Manipuri is included among the classical languages, then it will become the 7th Indian classical language, he added.
For Manipuri language to achieve the desired recognition as a classical language and to include it among the languages imprinted on the Indian currency note, concerted efforts are required, he asserted.
Independence Day 2021 Amidst CorCom’s Total Shutdown
The Manipur Government celebrated India’s Independence Day 2021 on August 15 at the 1st Manipur Rifles Parade Ground in Imphal amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the total shutdown calls announced by CorCom and other groups in the state.
Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren hoisted the National Flag and took salute from the parade at the celebration programme at the 1st MR Ground.
“Hoisted the National flag and took salute from the march-past contingents at the Independence Day celebration in 1st MR Ground. As we attain 75 years of Independence, may our great Nation continue to shine bright and may this spirit of freedom bring glory to this vibrant Nation,” Nongthombam Biren tweeted.
No unwanted incident occurred during the total shutdown imposed by the proscribed umbrella organisation Coordination Committee (CorCom) and was ended peacefully, however, security was tightened up on the streets and in Imphal city areas.
The total shutdown was imposed across Manipur from 1 am till 6:30 pm on August 15 boycotting 75th Independence Day celebration in Manipur.
The other groups who called total shutdown boycotting India’s 75th Independence Day included United Naga Council (UNC), the Joint Tribe Council, Non-SoO Kuki militant groups, Alliance for Socialist Unity, Kangleipak (ASUK).
Dr. RK Ranjan Says Bus Services between India and Myanmar Soon
Bus services between India and Myanmar will be introduced soon and a Passport Seva Kendra can be opened in every district, Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Education Dr. RK Ranjan said in Moreh, Tengnoupal district on August 18.
The Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Education, speaking at a grand reception programme in Moreh, also said that the state government will implement water supply system with the vision ‘Harr Ghar Jal’ of PM Narendra Modi by the year 2022, reports added.
The minister was received by different civil body leaders, women organisations and student bodies at the Hill Tribal Council (HTC) Conference Hall with a Kuki trumpet salute. Presentations were given to him by different organisations and representatives. Different leaders gave their opinions for the development of the Moreh town.
Reports said the union minister in his speech mentioned that as per the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India cannot become a developed country unless Northeast states are developed. So, there is a special vision to develop the Northeast states, he said. Northeast states should be the gateway of India to the Southeast Asian countries. For this, a good relationship should be maintained with the neighbouring countries, he said, adding that Northeast states have lots of natural resources.
Representatives of different civil bodies such as BJP Tengnoupal Mandal, Meetei Council Moreh, Hill Tribal Council, All Community Development Organisation Moreh, Tamil Sangam, Manipuri Muslim Council Moreh, Gorkha Samaj, Moreh, KSO Moreh Block, Moreh Youth Club, Kha Nongpok Apunba Nupi Lup, Nupi Khunnai Chaokhat Lamjing Lup and Kuki women Union and Human Rights, Moreh attended the programme, reports added.
Referee Tekcham Ranjita for Asian Cup Qualifier at Lebanon
FIFA Referee badge holder Tekcham Ranjita from Manipur has been appointed as match official for AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022-Qualifier Group D to be held in Lebanon from September 17 to September 23.
Reports said the 33-year old Ranjita was approved by FIFA and got her badge in 2017. She is the lone active women FIFA Referee Badge holder in India. She was also approved by the FIFA Referee Committee for the FIFA World Cup in 2018.
Ranjita hails from Khongjom village in Thoubal district and she became the second referee from Manipur to be awarded the FIFA badge after Ch Keilyani Chanu, who is no longer active, reports added.
After her stint in football career, Ranjita enrolled as state Class III referee in 2007 and later elevated to National Grade (CAT-2) in 2016. She is currently employed as constable and posted in 9th Indian Reserve Battalion (Mahila Battalion), Khuman Lampak.