By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, March 8: The ninth session of the 14th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile opened here today with the budget session of the Tibet’s Government in exile.
Finance Minister (Kalon
) of the exile government Tsering Dhondup tabled the budget plan for the fiscal year 2010-2011.
The proposed budget has a total outlay of over 913 million rupees, against the predicted revenue of about 848 million rupees for the fiscal year. Out of the total budget proposed, about 28 per cent of it is allocated on increasing awareness of the issue of Tibet, 28.77 percent on welfare services, 17 percent on education, 11.29 percent on running cost of the administration, 8.70 per cent on health, 3.97 per cent on religion and culture and 2.28 per cent on others.
During the Tibetan legislators will discuss and approve the budget that covers the administration of all the government offices, including overseas offices in 11 different countries, and specific welfare programmes and services that are to be undertaken in various Tibetan settlements in India, Nepal and Bhutan.
The speaker of the Parliament Mr Penpa Tsering earlier told Phayul
that at least 3-4 days would be spent on the budget session alone.
The 11-day session, which will go on till March 20, is the last budget session of the 14th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile.
The life of the parliament is five years.
While tabling the budget plan, Kalon Tsering Dhondup said the expenditure estimates are in compliance with the two primary tasks of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile of firstly to find solution to the issue of Tibet and secondly to look after the welfare of the exile Tibetan community.
Mr Dhondup also said the Chatrel
or, the voluntary tax paid by Tibetans through the Green Book (Tibetan identity document issued by the exile government), remains the most stable and reliable source of revenue for the Tibetan administration. He said between fiscal year 2008 and 2009 alone, the Tibetan administration received over 87 million rupees from over 107,000 Green Book holders. He said the total amount received was over 17 million rupees more than as predicted by the administration for the fiscal year.
According to the finance minister, as on January 31, 2010, there are over 136,000 Tibetan exiles who have registered for the Green Book. Of them, he said, over 132,000 have received the document so far.
An estimated 150,000 Tibetans live in exile, the majority of them in India and Nepal.
In his opening speech, Penpa Tsering, the speaker of the Tibetan parliament, expressed gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his blessings to humanity and for the continuous efforts towards the cause of Tibet.
The speaker also paid his respects to the Tibetans who have lost their lives for Tibet, and expressed concern for the life and safety of Tibetans inside Tibet, saying situation there was becoming tense and worrisome.
Chinese Communist authorities in Tibet last week reportedly arrested hundreds of Tibetans
under the newly launched “Strike Hard” campaign to avoid any signs of unrest ahead of the 51st anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day.
The Tibetan parliament also paid its respects and tribute to three eminent personalities who passed away recently, Nuba Choedak Gyatso, former speaker of the Tibetan Parliament, a former Tibetan Khetsun Sangpo Rinpoche and a former German Foreign Minister Count Otto Graf Lamsdorf.