PREVIOUS HOUR

PK/MCM/1N/12.00

SHRI JESUDASU SEELAM (CONTD.): It is only 6.89 per cent. The SC population in this country is 16.2. (Time-bell)

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Please conclude.

SHRI JESUDASU SEELAM: Similarly, for the tribals, the non-Plan and the Plan put together, it is 695, mere a token of .4 per cent. Sir, I would like to sum up by saying that this listing out is fine, but once it is listed, allocation has to be released, and the released amount has to be spent. This is part (a). Part (b) is, the demand of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, through their representatives, is that the percentage equivalent to plan funds, at least, Plan funds, should be spent on their welfare, through a proper mechanism, a proper mechanism not only at the State and Centre level, but also at the district level. If you look at that, I can understand, the hon. Finance Minister may say that certain amounts like defence cannot be earmarked. I am saying, Sir, that please spend 15 per cent of the defence money on SC/ST boys to prepare themselves to compete, because there is no reservation in defence. We want them to spend that money for preparing themselves to enter the Defence Forces, without any reservation.(Interruptions)..

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: No, no, you are just making a speech. Please conclude.

SHRI JESUDASU SEELAM: Sir, I wanted to speak, but I was not given an opportunity.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN:Your Party has been given only twenty minutes. You yourself have taken ten minutes.

SHRI JESUDASU SEELAM: Where do I speak, Sir? If I cannot speak here, where can I articulate the aspirations of the poor? I would only submit that okay, for whatever is allotted, we are grateful for that. I am grateful that, for the first time, you have listed out certain Ministries, because it was never existent for the last six years. We are only hopeful that the trend is reversed by the hon. Finance Minister. We only request that whatever amount is allocated, must be released on time. Even today, about 53 per cent of SC/ST money has not gone to the States.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Please conclude, Mr. Seelam.

SHRI JESUDASU SEELAM: Now, you are left with only ten days. They have to spend it. What is the point in allocating this, Sir? (Time-bell) This allocation should be spent.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: You are repeating the same thing. Please conclude. Please conclude.

SHRI JESUDASU SEELAM: Thank you, very much, Sir. I, once again, compliment for reversing this trend, and we, only, request, that the hon. Finance Minister may kindly see...(Interruptions)

: 00, 00 ֋ .......(־֮֬)

SHRI JESUDASU SEELAM: Who will be answering, Sir? Who will tell us? If I go to the Ministry for Social Welfare, they say, "we will not answer it".

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: What I am saying is, you have already said this. Don't repeat. Even if you want to cover, you can cover new points, not the same points. Please conclude.

SHRI JESUDASU SEELAM:I will not cover any new point, Sir. These amounts may kindly be enhanced, as per our demands. If you want the SC/ST empowerment in a meaningful way, their needs have to be specifically identified. What they need is, quality education; what they need is, basic health facilities in the villages; what they need is proper implementation of what we say. What we do is different from what we say. (Time-bell) We request you to kindly stick to the allocations and spend them properly. And, once, again, I thank the hon. Finance Minister, for, at least, reversing the trend of non-existent allocations to original. I would only hope that whatever corrections can be made can be made now...(Interruptions).. (Ends)

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Shrimati Vanga Geetha. Your party time is over, but you have been permitted by the Chairman only to raise that particular issue.

SHRIMATI VANGA GEETHA (ANDHRA PRADESH): Sir, I thank you for having given me this opportunity. I will confine myself to only one point. I would like to draw the attention of the hon. Finance Minister to the issue of exploitation by the moneylenders in the name of micro-financing the State of Andhra Pradesh. Sir, the people are being trapped and exploited, and, they are being forced to pay interest rates, ranging from 36 to 50 per cent, and, in some cases, hundred per cent also. Sir, there are number of instances where people have committed suicides, and poor women also forced into prostitution. Their exploitation is continuing. It is widely reported in the newspapers. I am quoting the issue from the item published in the leading Telugu daily, 'Eenadu'. The whole issue has been reported in this.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Don't show the papers.

(Followed by 1O/PB)

PB-GS/12.05/1O

SHRIMATI VANGA GEETHA: Sir, we need to control these illegal and coercive methods of money-lenders. I request that the Government of India should initiate and take stringent action and save the poor. Sir, the Collectors of Krishna and Guntur districts of Andhra Pradesh have openly come out against these private micro-finance institutions and exploitation of the women.

Sir, I request the Government of India to bring out a comprehensive legislation to curb such illegal activities and save the people and women from this exploitation. (Ends)

SHRI RAVULA CHANDRA SEKAR REDDY: Sir, on this issue, we gave a notice as it is a matter of urgent public importance. The reason is ... ...(Interruptions)...

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Now, you need not explain it. She has already explained it. Leave it, Mr. Reddy. ...(Interruptions)... Prof. Bhandary. ...(Interruptions)...

SHRI RAVULA CHANDRA SEKAR REDDY: Sir, VVIPs from ...(Interruptions)... They are going there and encouraging those micro-financing institutions. In the name of NGOs, they are exploiting the people. This should be curbed. ...(Interruptions)...

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: She has already mentioned that. There is no point in further elaborating it. ...(Interruptions)...

SHRI RAVULA CHANDRA SEKAR REDDY: Sir, it is a very serious matter. Ninety-one people in one district ... ...(Interruptions)...

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: No; no; whatever she wanted to say, she has said. ...(Interruptions)...

SHRI RAVULA CHANDRA SEKAR REDDY: Sir, it is a very major issue.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Okay.

SHRI RAVULA CHANDRA SEKAR REDDY: We wanted to raise it through a Special Mention.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: You can give a notice for a Special Mention. We have not prevented you from doing that.

SHRI RAVULA CHANDRA SEKAR REDDY: Sir, I would request the Minister, through you, to take some stringent action against these people. We will pass on this information to him. Let him make take some stringent action. We will pass it on to him. We will pass it on to him.

SHRIMATI VANGA GEETHA: Sir, I will pass on this information to the hon. Finance Minister for taking necessary action.

0 ִ ӛָ (ײָ) : ֮֮ߵ ֳ֯ן , ֯ ֳָ ֌ ֮֯ ֮ ָ פ ֳ֯ן , ֕ ִ ׾ ӡֵֻ ӓֵ֟ ֕ ӡֵֻ ָ ֓ ֻ ֮ ׾ָ֓ Ӿ, ֮ ӲӬ ֌ , ֲ ֤֕ ״ֻ , ֲ ָ ֮֯ ֤֕ ֮ ֱ ׻ 70 ֤ ׬ Ӿ ֮ ֻ , ߅ ָ 58 ֤, ֕ Ӿ ٣ ãן , ִ ֛ ׸֟Ԯ ֵ ֯ ֕ Ӿ ֻ և, ָ ֛ , ײֻ֕ , ֮ , þã ׿ ׾֬ , ֳ ־ֿ֋ , Ӿ ־

, ָ ֕֙ ׻֋ ָָ ָ ׬ ֵ ֿ ֓ ֤ Ӿ ãן ׸֟Ԯ , ָָ ֟ , ָ ו ִ ׻֋ ֟ , ֮ , ָ ֟ , ׻֋ ٣ ֲ֕ Ӿ ֮ , ֟

֕ Ӿ ߮ ֮ , ֲֻ ߮ ֮ ֮ ֛ , ֿ ֮ ߟ ֮ ߟ ָ ֻ֕ ־ã , þã ־ã , ׿ ־ã , ֱև ־ã , ױ ֤֕ ִ ? ֯ ֮֯ ִ þָ֕ օ ֯ ׾ ֮ Ӿ ֲ ָ߲ , ֮ ֕֙ Ӿ ָ ֮֮ ׻֋ ־֮֬ ֵ פ ־ ֮ Ӿ ֻ , ֳ , ָ Ӿ ָ ׬ ֓ ־ֿ ֓և ־ã , 80 ןֿ֟ ֮ ֑ ߴӟ 1951 51 ןֿ֟ ֤֮ օ (1 ָ ָ)

SC/12.10/1P

0 ִ ӛָ (֟) : ֕ ֙-֙ ֳ 24 ןֿ֟ ָ ֵ 60 ןֿ֟ , ֓և ׾֬ Ӿ ֵֻ֮ , ߛ ֜ ָ ֓ ֤֕ , ֓ ֤֕ , Ӿ ־ã , Ӿ ׾ ֮ ֮ , Ӿ ׿ þã ־ã , ֿ , ֤֕ ֟ ֮֟ ָ ָָ , ߋ ָָ Ӿ ׾ ׻֋ ״ֿ֮ ֵ֮ , ָ ״ֿ֮ ֵ׮֟ ׻֋, ״ֿ֮ ׻֋ ־ֿ ִ ӓֵ֟ ִ֬ ־ã ֋ , 1978 ײָ ִ ӓֵ֟ ־ ㋅ ֤ ָ ױ, ֲ ™ߵ ֮֟ ָָ , ִֵ ָ ־ օ ָ ܵ ָ߲ , -ׯ֔ , ߟ ֋ Ӿ ִӟ ֕ օ Ӿ ֲ ֛ ֤ , ֵ օ ֱֻ ֛ ׻֋ ָ օ 1990 ֻ ֤ ָָ ֮߅ , ײָ ֟ ֲ ־ ִֵ ֟ ӓ ֤ ָ ֛ ֟ ֲ ָ߲ ֻ֮ ׻֋ ֟ , ֲ ָ ָ ֵ, ָ ֻ ֆ ӓ ֤ ָ ؙ ֟ 1990 ֻ ֤ ָָ և ָָ ֮ ֤ ײָ ןָ ׸֟Ԯ օ ָ߲ ןָ ׸֟Ԯ , 滛 Ù, 滛 և ׯ֔ ןֵ ןָ ׸֟Ԯ օ ֟ߕ ָ߲ ׸ָ ֻ ֤ ײָ ܵ ӡ ֮

ֳ֯ן : ӛָ , ׯϋ֮ ײֻ , ָ ׻֋

0 ִ ӛָ : Ӿ ֟ , ֮ ..(־֮֬)..

ֳ֯ן : ֋, ׻֋ ә ױ , כ ׯϋ֮ ײֻ ׻֋ ֮

0 ִ ӛָ : Ӥ ֟ ֵ , ׻֋ ײָ Ϥ ָ߲ ãן פ ֟ , Ӭ ֤֕ և ֟ , ׸ָ ֣ Ծָ ֟ օ ֤֕ ֤ ִ ׸֟Ԯ , ִו ׸֟Ԯ , ֮֕ן ׸֟Ԯ ײָ ֮֕ן ׸֟Ԯ , ֻ ֮ ֤, Ը ײָ , ָ߲ ֛և ֛߅ Ӿ ֮ ־ã , ׾ Ӿ ִ֬ ָ, ִ֟ ӓֵ֟ ֕ ӡ ..(־֮֬)..

ֳ֯ן : ָ ֯ ӓֵ֟ ֕ ָ ֟ ,

0 ִ ӛָ : , ß־ פ - ֲ , ֲ ß־ ӓֵ֟ ֕ ־ã ָ, ִ ׾ ־ã ָ ֓ ֮֮ߵ ָ ӕ , ן ֳָ ֌ , ָ ֙ ָ ֮֮ߵ ֤õ ָ ֓ ִֵ ִ , ׻֋ ֟, ׯϋ֮ ײֻ ִ֬ : ֮֮ߵ ӡ ֲ Ӿ ׾ , Ӿ ֻ 70 ןֿ֟ , ָ ׾ ֮, ֤֕ ֮ , ֲ ֓ ֤֕ ֋߅ ֲ ֣, ׯϋ֮ ײֻ ִ֣Ԯ - ֮־֤ (ִ֯) (1 ָ )

MP-HK/1q/12.15

ֻ (֜) : ֳ֯ן , ׾׮ֵ (ܵ 3) ׾֬, 2006 ִ֣Ԯ ֮֮ߵ ׾֢ ӡ ֟ ׻֋ ֮־֤ ... ָָ ִ֟ ֗ ֵ , ֗ ֵ ӟԟ ו֮ ֵ 2005-06 ׻ֵ ֵ , ׮׿֟ ׸ãן ֤־ ֋օ ֮֮ߵ ׾֢ ӡ ֮ ָ ֮֯ ׸ֵ֟ , ֕ ֟ ןֿ֟ , ֮ ߵ ָ ֛ , ָ ךև ִ֮ ֛ ֕֟ ָ ֛ ֣-֣, ϟ ֟ ָ ֮ ߱ , ֻ ãן Ϥ , ֻ ãן ֮ ֮ ֙ ֟ , ָ ׻֋ - ֮ ֛ , ״ֻ֟ ־ָ ֮֜ , ־ָ ֮֜ פ ָ ֮ ֣״ և , ߵ ָ , ߵ ִ ו ָ ֕ ךև ֮ , פ ָ ֮ ϵ֟ , ׮׿֟ ֮ ֳ ״ֻ ֳ ״ֻ֮ ֣-֣ ֤ ר ߅

֮֮ߵ ֳ֯ן , ֬ ״֮֙ օ ֟ Ӭ ָ ֻ ֮֮ , Ӿ ֟׮ֳԸ ֮֮ Ӿ ָ ׮ֳԸ , ׻֋ օ ֕֙ ֮֮ߵ ׾֢ ӡ ֟ ־֮֬ Ӿ ֟׮ֳԸ ֲ , ֲ Ӿ Ӥ þã ֋, ׿ ׾֬, ֓և ֮֬ ֣-֣ ׾֬ֆ , ־ֿ֋ , Ӿ ־ֿ֋ , Ӿ ֮ Ӿ ֤ ָ ׮ֳԸ ׾ "ָ ׮ִ ֮" ӟԟ ָ "™ߵ ִ ָ ָ ֮" , ִ ׬ ֳ ״ֻօ "ִ ֤ ֕ ֮" ֮֯ ִ ״ֻ ֮֮ߵ ׾֢ ӡ "ִ ֤ ֕ ֮" ֯ ו֋ ֯ "™ߵ ִ ָ ָ ִ" ӟԟ ׸ָ ׌ פ ָ , "ִ ֤ ֕ ֮" Ӿ Ӥ, ָ߱ ֻ ֤ Ӿ ãן ו ָ ֟ , Ӿ ָ ־ֿ , ׾ ֮֮ߵ ׾֢ ӡ ֿ ָ ֮ ׾׮ֵ ׾֬ ִ֣Ԯ (ִ֯)

SHRI JANARDHANA POOJARY (KARNATAKA): Sir, it is stated that some of the industrialists, who earn more than Rs.10 crores, pay no tax and whereas the Government employees pay the tax and even the employees of the private sector also. Sir, it is stated by the hon. Member of this House who was also the former Finance Secretary and the former Reserve Bank Governor. He raised that point in the Budget discussion. But, unfortunately, the Finance Minister has not answered this and, I tell you, Sir, it is going to give a wrong message to the entire country. Will the hon. Minister take some steps to cover these people also under taxation laws? Thank you. (Ends)

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE (SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM): Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, I am grateful to the nine hon. Members who participated in this brief and in someway a curtailed debate. But there is pressure on time, I have to be in two Houses. So, I will try to deal with many of the points that they have made. We have dealt with at great length the philosophy behind the Budget and many of the questions that were raised I made an attempt to answer in my reply to the General Debate in the Budget. This, of course, is only the Appropriation Bill, concentrating on the Expenditure side and how we are allocating money to various Heads of Expenditure, various Ministries and various Departments. Sir, in my opening remarks I did point out the massive allocations that we have made to the flagship programmes and the massive allocations were made to the six components of the Bharat Nirman. (Contd. by 1r/KSK)

KSK/12.20/1R

SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM (CONTD): Just to recall the figures, for the flagship programmes, the allocation has increased from Rs.39,500 crore in the Revised Estimates for the current year to nearly Rs. 55,000 crore in the Budget Estimates for the next year. There were also other programmes like the Indira Awas Yojana, Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana where huge outlays have been made. For Bharat Nirman, as I said, against the Revised Estimate allocation of Rs.13,907 crore for the current year, the allocation for the next year will be Rs.19,415 crore. So, I don't think that anyone can really say that the allocations are not adequate. Having regard to our resources, I think, we have strained every nerve to make larger and larger allocations.

Some comments were made upon decreasing subsidies. I am afraid, that is wrong. Subsidies are not decreasing. The subsidy level has maintained the same level of about Rs.46,000 odd crore. Food, domestic urea, imported urea, de-controlled fertiliser, petroleum - the subsidies are being maintained. But, as I said, one does not look at the allocation for subsidy because in food, we were running account for the Food Corporation of India. Similarly, in fertiliser, there is a running account with the fertiliser companies. There are some arrears to be paid, but arrears are paid as and when revenues permit it and we are also looking at innovative instruments to pay off the arrears of the Food Corporation of India. Cabinet has just approved special bonds for them. Let not anyone worry that subsidies will be curtailed. I have repeatedly said in the House that in a poor country, some part of the food has to subsidised. Equally, in a country where a large proportion is that of farmers, some part of the fertiliser cost has to be subsidised. If there are two subsidies which have to be carried on in any developing country like India, they are food subsidy and fertiliser subsidy. Even in the paper on subsidies, which I first presented in 1997, and an updated paper, which I have presented last year, there is no attempt to curtail the food and fertiliser subsides. These are what we call 'merit subsidies'. There are 'non-merit subsidies'. The attempt is to focus on non-merit subsidies and progressively reduce the non-merit subsidies. Food subsidies and fertiliser subsidies are merit subsidies. What we are proposing is not to curtail the subsidies but to target them at the truly poor and the needy. The fertiliser subsidies can be given directly to the farmer. That, I think, would be an improvement on the present system. Similarly, if food subsidies can be targeted in a manner so that the cost of delivering the subsidy is not greater than the subsidy, then, I think, you get more money, more dime for the buck. The cost of delivering food subsidy today, according to the Economic Survey, is more than the cost of subsidy itself. Therefore, what we are proposing is that food subsidy must be targeted and delivered in a manner so that cost of delivery does not exceed the subsidy and the fertiliser subsidy must be targeted in a manner where it reaches the farmer directly. We are working on that.

Sir, Mr. Narayanasamy said about allocation to the Food-for-Work Programme and the NREGP. Sir, the allocation to the Rural Employment Guarantee Programme is based on some assumptions. As I said, we are allocating Rs.12,870 crore, of which the initial allocation in the SGRY is Rs. 2,700 crore. The food component is not provided, as a matter of practice, in the Budget Estimates. The food component is reflected in the Revised Estimates. Say, for example, take the current year. We began by saying that for SGRY, allocation was Rs.3,600 crore, but at the end of the year, it was Rs. 7,650 crore. We are following a consistent accounting practice. The food component is not entirely reflected in the Budget Estimates; it is reflected in the Revised Estimates. That, again, is an accounting issue. NREGP is an obligation under law that anyone who presents himself as one member of the household and demands employment, he has to be provided employment for 100 days. (continued by 1s)

GSP-NB/12.25/1S

SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM (CONTD.): Therefore, the money that is being provided is based on estimates. If more money is required during the course of the year, more money will indeed be provided. There is no question of avoiding the obligation under law.

Sir, Mr. Reddy mentioned about various allocations; allocation for the Mid-day Meal Scheme and the Rural Health Mission. Allocations have been made for Mid-day Meal Scheme and the Rural Health Mission. As the scheme is implemented, we will know whether the allocations are adequate or not. As far as we are concerned, these are flagship programmes, these are important programmes and these are our obligations. I believe, enough money has been allocated, but as the year progresses and we see the capacity of the Ministries and the States to spend, we can revisit these figures later.

Now, I come to the Non-Plan expenditure. Sir, this is one of the lowest increases in the Non-Plan expenditure in many years. Please look at 'Budget at a Glance'. The Non-Plan expenditure increases from Rs. 3,64,914 crore to Rs. 3,91,263 crore, which, I believe, is one of the smallest increases in recent years. We have actually squeezed a lot of Non-Plan expenditure. But, as I said, bulk of the Non-Plan expenditure is committed; interest payments are committed, Defence is committed, salaries and pensions are committed, subsidies are committed expenditure, and, there is not much room to play around with Non-Plan expenditure. Even so, we have limited the rise of non-Plan expenditure to approximately 5.5 per cent, which is one of the lowest increases in recent years.

Sir, Mr. Barot mentioned about allocations to Animal Husbandry. Sir, in the current year, we allocated Rs. 367 crores. We think, by the Revised Estimates, they will be able to spend only Rs. 305 crore. So, if they can only spend Rs. 305 crore in the current year, for the next year, we have provided Rs. 378 crore. I think, Parliament should call each Ministry/Department to account, when the outcome Budget is presented and the Chair allows a discussion on outcome Budget, to ask them, "why did you spend less than what was allocated".

There is no point in allocating money unless money is spent. For Rural Electrification, where it is being done through the NTPC, NHPC and the public sector agencies, the allocation is increasing from Rs. 1,100 crore in the current year Revised Estimate to Rs. 3,000 crores in the next year. So, let them spend the money, and, then, we will see what requires to be allocated. For Indira Awas Yojana, we allocated in the BE Rs. 2,498 crore. They have spent nearly all of it. They have spent Rs. 2,475 crore. For the next year, I have increased it to Rs. 2,625 crore.

Sir, likewise, for the SC/ST, the allocation for the current year was Rs. 11,040 crore and they have been able to spend Rs. 11,492 crore. For the next year, we are proposing Rs. 12,591 crore, and, since hon. Member has -- I must congratulate him -- looked into what we call Statement No. 21, I would urge all hon. Members to look at Statement No. 21. It is not correct to say that Statement No. 21, which is on page 62 of Expenditure Budget Volume-I, is the only money that is being spent on SCs/STs. These are what we call exclusive schemes for SC/ST and where the SC/ST component is identifiable. But, when we spend on Sarva-Siksha Abhiyan, when we spend on Mid-day Meal Scheme, when we spend on rural electrification, the benefits go to the entire population including the SC/ST. So, it would be wrong to compare the proportion of the SC/ST population and take this figure of Rs. 12,591 crore as a proportion of total expenditure, and, say that figures don't match each other. That would be -- if I may say, with great respect -- rather superficial reading of the situation. These are exclusive allocations but the general spending on all projects also goes to the benefit of the SC/ST. Sir, there was some point about lending by cooperative banks, some point about moneylenders. Sir, as I said in an answer to a question last week, every State has got a law making it illegal for usurious rates of interests. This is the Anti-Usury Act. It is called by different names in different States. (Contd. by 1T/sk)

SK/1T/12.30

SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM (CONTD.): These laws are age-old laws. In Tamil Nadu, I believe, this law was passed in the 1930s. Every State has such a law. The point is, this law is not used by the State Governments. Under this law, any lending above a certain prescribed rate of interest -- and if I recall, the rate of interest for lending to farmers is about 12 per cent or so -- any contract, oral or written, where the rate of interest is above the prescribed rate of interest, is an illegal contract. That part of interest is illegal. Nobody can enforce it. But, the States must take action; take civil action and criminal action. Let me say, put six moneylenders in prison tomorrow under criminal action, half of the problem will be solved. But, the States are not taking this action. What is the point of the States in passing the buck to the Central Government when the power is with the State Governments to take action?

As far as micro finance is concerned, you will recall that in paragraph 55 of my Budget speech, I did mention that "A Bill to provide formal statutory framework to the promotion, development and regulation of the micro finance sector will be introduced in this Session". The Bill is more or less complete in the drafting. If all goes well, I will introduce it when the Parliament re-convenes on the 10th of May. That Bill will be introduced in the Budget Session of Parliament. And then, we can debate the merits of that Bill.

Sir, as far as lending by cooperative banks is concerned, cooperative banks, as I have said, are in a shambles. We have now worked out a Rs. 14,500 crore package, based on the Vaidyanathan Committee Report on revamp. I have held meetings with the State Finance Ministers. I have written to the Chief Ministers and the Finance Ministers. Every State has to sign an MoU. If the MoU is signed, a Special Audit will be conducted, beginning the 1st of April. After the Special Audit, money will be provided for bringing about the regulatory and legal amendments, and after that, money will be provided to restore the capital adequacy of the cooperative banks. It is a Rs. 14,500 crore package. I have already posed it to the Asian Development Bank. They are willing to support it. I will pose it to the World Bank. Let the Chief Ministers please instruct their Ministers to sign the MoU. I have started receiving letters from some States. They are willing to sign the MoU. Once the MoUs are signed, the cooperative banks will be restructured and restored to health. But, they must lend. Now, today, I have announced in the Budget, for crop loan, if the cooperative banks lend at 7 per cent, they shall, if they lend at 7 per cent, NABARD will provide refinance at an appropriate rate so that they can lend at 7 per cent. Today, what is happening is, the apex bank charges one and a half per cent, DCCB charges one and a half per cent and the PSES charges two per cent and two and a half per cent. Now, what is the justification? There is no justification to add one and a half per cent, one and a half per cent and then two and a half per cent. That adds another 6 per cent to the lending rate. Therefore, unless they confine themselves to 1 per cent at each level, then, from the refinance rate to add 3 per cent, you can't lend at 7 per cent. I will ensure that refinance is provided at a proper rate so that they can lend at 7 per cent. But, they must also get their house in order. And, I would urge the State Governments to get their house in order, as far as lending by cooperative banks is concerned.

Sir, Mr. Poojary mentioned the point about tax. I will deal with it in the Finance Bill. But, since he has raised it, I will deal with it. I am not happy that only about 80,000 people, who admit to an income of over Rs. 10 lakhs, pay tax. We know them. Every one of us knows a number of people who have an income of more than Rs. 10 lakhs, but they don't pay tax. It is in order to identify these people that we have got the Annual Information Report. It is to identify these people that we have asked banks to report on large cash transactions. We have now done surveys of what we call high spending on high value items. Letters have gone to a large number of spenders. I have taken the power in the Finance Bill to mandatorily allot PAN numbers. All this put together, we will zero in on the people who have got high incomes, high expenditure, but, don't pay tax. You may have seen an advertisement in this morning's paper where a man is wearing a mask and we say, "We know who you are. Pay your tax." We are zeroing in on these names. We have a large number of high value transactions. Seven items are there in the area. Every one of them, who has participated or is a party to these high value transactions, has been notified by a polite letter. We are expecting response from them. Some are responding. If they don't respond to our polite letter, we will probably send them a stronger statutory notice. (Contd. by 1u)

-SK/YSR/12.35/1U

SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM (CONTD.): But I am confident that this number will increase, and I will reach the bulk of these people with high incomes and high expenditure but 'low' or 'no' tax. It is inconceivable that there are only 80,000 people in this country who admit to have an income of Rs.10 lakh. I think there are enough in South Delhi alone; there are enough in Chandigrah alone; and there is enough equal number in Ludhiana alone. How can it be that only 80,000 people admit to have an income of over Rs.10 lakh? It is a shocking state of affairs. But I am addressing it very seriously, and the results will be apparent. One reason the result will be apparent is the rise in Personal Income-tax this year. Most people are now beginning to pay their PIT. We will get better figures from March 15 of advance tax payment. But I am confident that I will reach them. I share Mr. Poojary's concern. I am at the job and we will reach these people.

Sir, I request the House to support the Appropriation Bill. I have to go to the Lok Sabha for the Finance Bill debate.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: The question is:

That the Bill to authorise payment and appropriation of

certain sums from and out of the Consolidated Fund

of India for the services of the financial year 2006-07,

as passed by the Lok Sabha, be taken into consideration.

The motion was adopted.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: We shall now take up clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill.

Clauses 2 to 4 and the Schedule were added to the Bill.

Clause 1, the Enacting Formula and the Title were added to the Bill.

SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: Sir, I beg to move:

That the Bill be returned.

The question was put and the motion was adopted.

(Ends)

DISCUSSION ON THE WORKING OF THE MINISTRIES OF PANCHAYATI RAJ AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT...(contd.)

 

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Dr. K. Malaisamy, your party has 11 minutes. Please, keep this time in view.

DR. K. MALAISAMY (TAMIL NADU): Thank you, Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, for having given me this opportunity to speak on a very, very important subject, namely, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj. I am very much familiar with this subject. Since I come from a village which is backward, I know the problems and prospects of villagers.

Sir, India is a vast country with huge magnitude of rural base. That is why it is said that India lives in villages. Any development or growth in the country is meaningless unless it is translated in villages. Sir, the problems of villages are manifold. We are fully aware that one-third of the world's poor are in India; more than one-third of the total population of India are below the poverty line; and more than 50 lakh persons are unemployed. What I am trying to say is that the magnitude of the problem not only in villages but also all over the country is very, very huge. That is why the problems in villages are massive and gigantic. Hence, it is a great challenge indeed.

Sir, a right focus has been given on the development of villages ever since Independence. Several programmes were thought of, including the Community Development Programme, which was a historic landmark in the history of rural development.

Sir, the Ministry of Rural Development and the Ministry of Panchayati Raj have played vital, excellent, and significant role in the development of villages. Sir, over a period of time, several thoughts were given by our politicians as well as bureaucrats to it. Several new schemes were conceived, and several earlier schemes were restructured, revamped and improved. (Contd. by VKK/1W)

VKK/1w/12.40

DR. K. MALAISAMY (CONTD.): ....with the result that the focus now has been shifted to the development of rural areas. Sir, as far as the Ministry of Rural Development is concerned, it consists of three Departments -- Department of Rural Development, Department of Land Resources and the Department of Drinking Water Supply. Sir, as far as rural development is concerned, it has been envisaged for alleviation of poverty, generation of employment, social security, infrastructure development and improving the quality of life, especially of the people living below poverty line. Sir, for improving the quality of life, they have taken care of five important areas, namely, health, education, drinking water supply, housing and roads. Sir, to achieve this goal, they have gone through several initiatives, as I said earlier. I may touch and go because of want of time. Sir, the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana, Swaran Jayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana and Rural Housing are the major schemes which have been implemented by the Rural Development. Then, coming to land resources, Sir, it increased the biomass production by developing wasteland. Not only that, it provides support service to land reforms, revenue system and revenue record. Then, it also undertakes the development of desert areas and drought-prone areas. Sir, the basic aim of the whole thing is that the Constitution warrants the village to formulate, develop and execute the schemes which I have mentioned.

Sir, now, I come to drinking water supply. Here again, now, this is the most important. It is a key of paramount importance meant for rural development and the result is that Accelerated Rural Development Water Supply Programme has taken care of it with all seriousness. Total sanitation scheme is also popular. Sir, I will now come to the most important part of the core observation. Sir, in the Budget, namely, Demands No.78, 79 and 80 relating to Rural Development, Land Resources and Drinking Water Supply were there. As the Finance Minister has just now mentioned what it was and what it is; we have been increasing under every scheme and we are giving lot of money. Starting with the Prime Minister followed by the Finance Minister, what they say is, money is not a problem; we are giving in abundance. Sir, my observation is, as far as SGRY is concerned, the House and the hon. Deputy Chairman are fully aware that it envisages additional employment and food security and creation of durable assets. This is the basic purpose of this scheme. Sir, what we are able to see is 75 per cent is given by the Centre and 25 per cent is shared by the States and even among the 25 per cent, it is being shared by the three tiers of the local bodies in the ratio of 20:30:50. Sir, what I am trying to ask here is this. In the Revised Budget, the amount of Rs.3,650 crore set apart under SGRY, now has been reduced to Rs.2,700 crore, namely, consisting of cash component and the foodgrains component which makes it to Rs.2,700 crore. I want a specific answer from the Ministry: How Rs.3,650 crore which was originally estimated in the Revised Budget has been reduced to Rs.2,700 crore? This is my first point.

Sir, coming to rural housing, there has been an increase in outlay. I don't deny it. But whatever increase is given in the infrastructural development, roads and bridges, etc. the quantum of increase, according to me, is very, very marginal. Sir, coming to the other aspect, namely, in rural housing, the allocation of Rs.2,497 crore has been just increased to Rs.2,600 crore and odd. Again for infrastructural development, for earlier year, it was Rs.21,354 crore. It has just been increased to Rs.24,047 crore. (Contd. by MKS/1x)

MKS/PSV/12.45/1X

DR. K. MALAISAMY (CONTD.): What I am trying to say is, the increase given is marginal, not substantial. Sir, in other words, whatever grant the Government gives, under various schemes, is inadequate. In fact, I had been listening to the Treasury Benches, I mean, the UPA allies, who were discussing the Appropriation Bill. It looked as if they were speaking from the Opposition Benches. They were nice enough, and they have to be complimented for calling a spade a spade. They have nicely told how it is lacking, how it is inadequate and how it is ineffective. This has been pointed out by the Members from the other side, not from this side. Sir, whatever amount was given, as was rightly said by them--I endorse their view--was not given on time. I tell you an example. Suppose a house is to be built; it comes up to a little level. The first instalment was given a long time back. They have to wait months and months together to complete the house. If you really want to give a grant, why can't you give it on time, in one instalment? That is my point, Sir.

Sir, coming to my specific point, what I am trying to highlight, again and again, is that if at all a grant is given under various Schemes, under the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, or whatever it is, it is not inadequate. This is number one. Even if it is adequate, it does not reach the beneficiaries in time. Sir, as a student of management, I have been taught, a long, long ago, the parameters for service and the parameters for assistance to the effect that it should be continuous, that it should be equal, that it should be timely and that it should be adequate. These are the four points for consideration. Their service and assistance should work together. Similarly, there should be 3A's, namely, it should be available, it should be accessible and it should be acceptable by the beneficiaries. I would like to know whether these kinds of parameters are met by them. I very much like those people, Sir.

Sir, coming to IAY, a housing scheme, which is a very popular scheme, I am sorry to say that, though it is popular, though it is well received by the people, not even one-tenth of the total requirement or the demand is met. This is the point. Sir, if you could kindly excuse me, the allocation has been reduced by the Central Government. I am speaking about Tamil Nadu. The same situation would have been felt by the other States. I have got the figure, Sir. The allocation was reduced, in 2005-06, from Rs.143.59 crores to Rs.130.25 crores due to revised formula. I do not know under what intricacies their formula has been revised. If it is revised, why should there be a reduction? The result is a reduction of nearly 7,000 houses from the originally proposed figure, I mean, 39,909 pucca houses and 58,568 kachcha houses were damaged due to floods. The hon. Deputy Chairman knows that due to Tsunami, followed by the unprecedented floods, in Tamil Nadu, houses were damaged; they had washed away. Under your Scheme, you have got the necessity of going in for dwelling houses and upgrading the kachcha houses. When the proposal is there, when the natural calamity has occurred, should he not take a special venture to see that something is done substantially? In spite of the fact that the proposals have been sent, nothing is being done. ...(Interruptions)... I am anxiously waiting how Mr. Narayanasamy will react to it.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: He has reacted! ...(Interruptions)...

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: Sir, Tamil Nadu has got a very good allocation, and the money is received by them......(Interruptions)... Though the Central Government gave the money......(Interruptions)...

SHRI P.G. NARAYANAN: He is always against Tamil Nadu. ...(Interruptions)...

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: I am telling my hon. Minister, Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar, that he should tell the people that the money was given by the Central Government. ...(Interruptions)...

DR. K. MALAISAMY: Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, as you are aware, 3.84 lakh BPL families are being identified 'homeless'. The proposal for additional allocation from the Government of India has already been there; I do not want to go into the details. (Contd. by 1Y)

-MKS-TMV-KLG/1Y/12.50

DR. K. MALAISAMY (CONTD.): My only point, and I insist on it, is that a peculiar situation has arisen in Tamil Nadu after the Tsunami and unprecedented floods. In such a situation, whatever the proposals that have been sent by the Tamil Nadu, should you not consider them? Should you not give extra consideration to them? That is my question. (Time-bell)...

Coming to an important area, in these days, human lives become static, stagnant and almost lifeless, if you are not provided with power. Power supply is to be provided everywhere. It is not so easy. In remote places, God-forsaken places, inaccessible places, particularly, in tribal areas where power supply is not there, the only solution that you can think of is expanding the non-conventional energy. I am told that nothing has been done in spite of the fact that non-conventional energy arrangement has been there. It has not reached any of the tribal areas.

Coming to land resources, though there is abundant scope for developing desert land or wasteland or drought-prone areas, very little has been done. As far as this aspect is concerned, I submit, Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, that, in Tamil Nadu, in respect of wasteland development there has been a major breakthrough. They have done wonderfully well and they have gone too far, as far as the development of this area is concerned. Why don't you take some hints from such ideas and do something? More allocation is necessary for the development of land resources.

Coming to very specific problem relating to Tamil Nadu--Mr.Narayanasamy may kindly listen to me and then react--as far as the SGSY Schemes are concerned, the nationalised banks are charging different rates of interest while lending to Self-Help Groups. They are lending them money. There is no doubt about it. As far as the nationalised banks are concerned, one bank is charging one rate of interest and another bank is charging another rate of interest. That is number one. Number two is, when they are lending to NGOs, they are lending at a lesser rate of interest than the rate of interest being charged to Self-Help Groups. Can't they do anything in this regard?

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Dr. Malaisamy, please conclude.

DR. K. MALAISAMY: Sir, coming to one important aspect, which is specific and peculiar to Tamil Nadu, nearly 562 Town Panchayats, which were under the Tamil Nadu Municipalities Act, were downgraded and reclassified as Special Villages. Now, they come under the Panchayat Act. With the result, whatever grant that they have been getting or that the Urban Development Ministry used to sanction, that is stopped. Now, these Special Villages do not receive any assistance either from the Rural Development Ministry or from the Urban Development Ministry. None of them is assisting. Now, these 562 Town Panchayats, which have been classified as Special Villages, are neither here nor there. They are in-between. They are helpless. So, something has to be done. The Tamil Nadu Government has sent a specific proposal in this regard.

Coming to the wage component....

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Dr. Malaisamy, please conclude.

DR. K. MALAISAMY: When we give employment or manual labour to a member of a family, etc.,--our Minister was very happy about it and he has mentioned that--the wage component is five kilograms of rice and the rest in cash. The cash component and the rice component put together are being paid as wages. Now, they felt that five kilograms of rice was too high and that the quantity should be reduced to three kilograms. Reducing it from five kilograms to three kilograms is well taken. On the other hand, should he not be compensated for that? Or, shouldn't the cash component be enhanced? You have not done that. You have reduced the quantity of rice from five kilograms to three kilograms, but the cash component remains as it is. Is it not an injustice?

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Dr. Malaisamy, please conclude. You have taken more time than allotted.

DR. K. MALAISAMY: Sir, you have been nice to everyone except me.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: I have been nice to you also. Your allotted time is 11 minutes. You have already taken 17 minutes. I have been nice to you.

DR. K. MALAISAMY: I will take five more minutes only. I speak very rarely. (Interruptions)...

SHRI V. NARAYANSAMY: Sir, for the hon. Member, it is a system failure. (Interruptions)...

DR. K. MALAISAMY: Sir, there are other areas like MPLADS. In the case of MPLADS, specific proposals, particularly, with reference to after-effects of Tsunami and floods, have been sent by the Government of Tamil Nadu. They are pending with the Government of India.

(Contd. by 1Z/VK)

VK/1Z/12.55

DR. K. MALAISAMY (CONTD): They have to clear it. Similarly, 5 per cent allocation has been made for maintaining the durable assets. That is not enough. Now I come to the Panchayati Raj. Sir, while I was commenting, critically, that the grant given by the Ministry of Rural Development has not been enhanced and it has been reduced in certain areas, I would like to compliment the Ministry of Panchayati Raj for increasing the allocation from Rs. 50 crores to Rs. 3,825 crores, which is 7 to 8 times more. He really deserves pat and praise for increasing this allocation. Sir, when we want to appreciate him, we really appreciate him. This is the way we do it.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Please conclude. You have already taken sufficient time.

DR. K. MALAISAMY: I will take two-three minutes more. Sir, as a former State Election Commissioner, I can talk about the Panchayati Raj System with a little authority. The Ministry's functions are to conduct periodical elections once in every five years, to maintain reservation for SC and ST and women, to set up a Finance Commission, to constitute a District Planning Committee down the level and then develop self-Government and empower the Gram Sabhas, etc. These things are there. I don't want to go into the details. The Minister knows much better than me. I am very much bothered about one thing. One of its functions is to impart training and do capacity building of the elected representatives. I would like to know whether it has been done. Many times, the elected representatives, particularly women representatives, are not equipped fully and no capacity building is done. What exactly is being done by this Ministry to do something on that? Secondly, I would....

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: This was your last point. Please sit down.

DR. K. MALAISAMY: Sir, sum and substance of my observation is that scheme-wise it is good, it is laudable. But, at the same time, whether it has been implemented rightly and correctly and whether it has reached the beneficiaries, is a big question mark. As you know, Sir, one should have an organisation, objective people and ....

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: That is sufficient. You have already spoken about it.

DR. K. MALAISAMY: I would like to say that you have to have a comprehensive approach to see whether your structure is okay, whether the people involved are okay. You kindly check it up.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Mr. Malaisamy, what is this?

DR. K. MALAISAMY: Secondly, he said in the meeting that they have got a political will to do this, this and this. It sounds well. Poojaryji is here. I mentioned it there also whether you have got a will to implement it rightly.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Please conclude.

DR. K. MALAISAMY: Lastly, I would like to know from the hon. Minister as to what is his approach towards making allocations to States, particularly to those States with whom you don't see eye-to-eye. (Ends)

SHRIMATI VANGA GEETHA (ANDHRA PRADESH): Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to participate in the discussion on the working of the Ministries of Panchayati Raj and Rural Development. Both these Ministries are very important for the development of India. The Annual Report of the Ministry of Rural Development starts with a quotation of Swami Vivekananda. It says, "The real India lives in villages. Unless we are able to uplift the Tribals and the Backward Classes, India faces a dark future." It is true.

First of all, I would like to talk about the Ministry of Panchayati Raj. As I said a day-before-yesterday, I have come through the Panchayati Raj System. I am very much in favour of the Panchayati Raj System. I appreciate the hon. Minister of Panchayati Raj. He himself has admitted it and pointed it out in a Press statement. (Contd. by 2A)

RG/1.00/2A

SHRIMATI VANGA GEETHA (contd.): Sir, it is unfortunate that over the years, despite the constitutional guarantees,...

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Mrs. Vanga Geetha, you continue after lunch.

After the conclusion of this debate, we will take up Special Mentions.

The House is adjourned to meet at 2 o' clock.

------

The House then adjourned for lunch

at one of the clock.

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