THE PRIME MINISTER (DR. MANMOHAN SINGH): Mr. Chairman, Sir, I join you, the hon. Leader of the Opposition, and all other Members who have spoken in paying tribute to our retiring colleagues. Some, of course, have been re-elected. Some more, I believe, are likely to be re-elected, but for those who will not be coming back, I do not believe that this is the end of their political career. I sincerely hope that they will continue to serve our country in diverse ways with the same zeal, with the same commitment that has been on display in this august House.

Mr. Chairman, Sir, Rajya Sabha is a unique institution. It is an epitome of change with continuity. Every now and then, some Members come, some Members go, but the Rajya Sabha retains its essential stabilising character. And, as I reflect on the last 15 years that I have been a Member of this House -- I have sat on the Opposition Benches, now on the Treasury Benches and earlier also -- I recall a sense of pride that over a period of time, the quality of debates in this House has gone up. There are, of course, moments of great tension. We are living in an age of competitive politics, and sometimes, considerations of a competitive politics drive us to pathways which, probably, do not do us as much credit as parliamentarians as we would like. But, these are aberrations and what gives me supreme confidence about the viability of our polity is that even after some very tense moments, Members come back to their normal ways of doing business despite all the controversies. These are characteristics of a parliamentary system. We retain respect for each other's views, values, and I believe that augurs well for our parliamentary democracy. Those Members, who will be leaving, have enriched our polity by their contribution. Who can forget the contribution of Shri Nilotpal Basu, or for that matter, Shri Dipankar Mukherjee? Even when we are on the different sides, the issues that they bring to focus in this House are the issues of social justice, the issues of regional balances, the issues relating to the plight of the poorest sections of our society. These are issues which, I think, will shape, have shaped, the course of political debate in our country. These are issues which are of great importance and our House is richer because we have had such august presentations of these underlying concerns which are essential to take on board if our polity is to grow and flourish in years to come.

Sir, with these words, I once again join you, the hon. Leader of the Opposition, and all other colleagues in wishing our retiring colleagues Godspeed. May God bless you all! (Ends)

SHRIMATI VANGA GEETHA: Sir, because hon. Prime Minister is leaving, I want to request, in my concluding remarks, for the Women's Reservation Bill. I thought that this Bill would be passed in my tenure. But, I am very sorry to say that it has not been passed. (contd by 1b)


SHRIMATI VANGA GEETHA (CONTD.): Sir, through you, I request the hon. Prime Minister to kindly make efforts to pass the Women Reservation Bill in the near future.

THE PRIME MINISTER (DR. MANMOHAN SINGH): Mr. Chairman, Sir, as a tribute to the retiring women Members of our House, I wish to assure all our countrymen, through you and through this House, that our Government remains firmly committed to ensuring that the Bill seekingreservation for women in the State Legislatures and in Parliament should be passed as early as possible.


ן ִֻ֓ ӑֵ֟ ׸օ

֟ ִ ֮ ָ֮֮ ֬־ִ˅

You make a dumb man speak, you make a limping man climb a hill with your divine grace; my salutations to you,


Sir, it was a great privilege for me to be in this Upper House of the Parliament of the world's largest democracy. Sir, back in the 80's, I had the opportunity to serve my home State, Andhra Pradesh, under the leadership and reign of great Telugu Pride Late Nandamuri Tanik Rama Rao, as the Health Minister, and, after 15 years, I got an opportunity to serve my nation as a Member of the Rajya Sabha. On this occasion, I thank my dynamic leader Shri Chandra Babu Naidu for having given me this opportunity.

Sir, these six years of my tenure have been the most valuable times in my life as these years have given me great memories as well as taught me much more. Sir, I would like to share one of these memories. Sir, in response to my Private Members' Bill on Population Control, the then Prime Minister, Shri Atal Behari Vajpayeeji, gave the reply. This was for the first time in the history of Indian Parliament, and, it happened during my tenure.

Sir, I have learnt so much from the debates that went on during the Sessions, in a few of which I had also participated. Sir, I have been here and I have witnessed the indelible courage and stability that we possess during any kind of crisis, an example being the terrorists' attack on our Parliament in December, 2001.

Sir, today, I am glad to announce that I am very content with the service that I have rendered from this post to my nation at large, to my State and to my own District. Sir, I think, this is not retirement. This is just a change because in public life, there is no retirement. As far as we are in public life, we are in the service of our nation, of our State or our District, and, I look forward to another such opportunity to serve.

Sir, I have one request. Hon. Chairman, Sir, for the last three years, we have been desiring to speak in Telugu but there is no Telugu interpreter. I request, Mr. Chairman, Sir, to please appoint one Telugu interpreter as early as possible. This is my last request. Lastly, I will speak in Telugu.

(Hon. Member spoke in Telugu)

Thank you. ֮־֤. (Ends)

SHRI MANOJ BHATTACHARYA (WEST BENGAL): Mr. Chairman, Sir, I will take two minutes. Sir, I would like to express my gratitude to all my hon. colleagues and the Secretariat, particularly, the Reporters who have kindly tolerated me because mostly I got a chance to speak only at the end of the debate, and because of the time constraint, I always had to speak in a very hurried manner. (Contd. by 2c/sk)

SHRI MANOJ BHATTACHARYA (CONTD.): And, Sir, I am grateful to these friends of ours that they have mostly been kind to note down the points that I have raised. Sir, I joined this House at a very crucial moment of Indian politics, and I have experienced something memorable. I have tried to perform my responsibility, the responsibility that was bestowed upon me by the Left Front of West Bengal. I have always tried to put forward the points keeping in mind the paramount importance of protecting the rights of the downtrodden people of this country.

(MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN in the Chair)

I am not to evaluate myself; the posterity will evaluate how much I could. But, Sir, I would say that the situation today--even though there is a sea change in the situation--is a matter of very serious concern. Even now, I am quite dismayed that the way the problems of the downtrodden people of this country ought to be addressed, the enthusiasm, the zeal and the commitment what we should exhibit, perhaps, we have not been able to exhibit that commitment. Sir, I am concerned more since unless we do it, perhaps, the situation in the country will become further bleak. I wish that this august House will continue to contribute for the best cause of the poor people of this country, the majority of this country, and prosperity of the country will be ensured. With these words, Sir, I once again express my gratitude to you. You need not ring the bell today.


SHRI MANOJ BHATTACHARYA: I am sure that we would be maintaining a good relationship even though I am leaving this House tomorrow. Thank you very much, Sir. (Ends)

SHRIMATI VANGA GEETHA (ANDHRA PRADESH): Thank you, Sir, for giving me this opportunity to say a few words. Sir, at the outset, I wish to say that I am greatly indebted and owe a lot to the founder President of the Telugu Desam Party and former Chief Minister, Shri Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao. I am also grateful to the President of the Telugu Desam Party, Shri N. Chandra Babu Naidu, who elevated me to this position, cooperated and encouraged me to discharge my duties. I am also immensely thankful to the hon. Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawatji, and former Chairman late Shri Krishan Kantji. I am also grateful to the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Shri K. Rehman Khanji and former Deputy Chairman, Shrimati Najma Heptullajji and our Leader of the Telugu Desam Party in Rajya Sabha, Shri Ravula Chandra Sekar Reddyji and other colleagues of the Telugu Desam Party and all the Members of the Rajya Sabha and the Secretary-General of Rajya Sabha and the entire staff of Rajya Sabha who have all cooperated and guided me in giving time to raise many issues and also to complete my tenure successfully as a Member of Parliament. Sir, I am also thankful to the people of the East Godavari District, Telugu Desam Party leaders, members and my family members who have extended unstinted cooperation to me till I complete my tenure.

Sir, as a woman Member, I would like to say a few words about the women. It is my duty and responsibility to mention about the women. In our country, the women have been respected since ancient times. The woman plays an important role in the success of every man, as a mother, as a wife, as a daughter and as a sister. Sir, even though women are educated and empowered to a certain extent, they are yet to attain some respectful life -- economically, socially and politically. At present, women are facing so many problems. Crime against women is rising day by day. We are reading daily in the newspapers that girls are being abducted, sold and have been forced into prostitution.

(Contd. by YSR-2d)


SHRIMATI VANGA GEETHA (CONTD.): They are insulted, ill-treated, humiliated and exploited. Sir, innocent girls are becoming the victims of eve-teasing, rape and abduction. This amply shows how women's rights are violated. Women's rights are nothing but human rights.

Sir, the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhiji, said, "We get the real Independence, when a woman walks on the street at midnight to reach her home. Then only, we proudly say that we have attained the complete and real Independence." But even now, we are observing that without any assistance women are not reaching home safely even in the daylight.

Sir, I request the hon. Members, particularly women Members, to raise their voice in the House about the problems they notice in the society to get immediate justice. We are the representatives of the women folk. We have to collectively fight against the problems being faced by women. One woman should cooperate another woman in the fight for justice. We should fight for the empowerment of women to get economical, social and political status.

Sir, again, I would like to express my views on the Women Reservation Bill. I thought that the Bill would be passed during my tenure, but, unfortunately, it did not happen.

Last but not least, during my tenure as a Member of this august House, if I committed anything wrong to anybody, I request you all to forgive me and extend your cooperation.

Sir, I thank particularly our Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Shri Suresh Pachouri, the Leader of Opposition, Shri Jaswant Singh, and other Members who supported me in discharging my duties as a Member.

Sir, I am leaving this House with heavy heart, not because of sadness, not because of pain, but because of full of enlightenment, full of encouragement, and full of your wishes and blessings.

Finally, I would like to say that I am not born as a Member of Parliament; I am not born as a Zila Parishad Chairman; I am not born as a political leader; I am not born as a wife or a mother; but I can proudly say that I am born as an Indian woman. Until my last breath, I would fight for the cause of women, poor and needy people and for the heritage and culture of my India.

Thank you, Sir. Jai Hind. (Ends)

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: I wish you all the best for your fight.

SHRIMATI VANGA GEETHA: Sir, I am also grateful to Mr. Narayanasamy. He always interrupts, but makes issues very enlightening.

߸֦ () : ֳ֯ן , ֲ 6 ֻ ֕ ֳ ֵ, ֲ , ֣ Ӆ ևֻ ׮֙ ֵ , ֤ ߕֻ֮ ˆ㋕ ֟ , ֜-֜ ߕֻ֮ ˆ㋕ ָ ֻ ֵ, ֻ֮ ˆ㋕ - ֵ, ױ ֮ ֻ֟ ֋ ׻֋ ֮ , ָ , ךև ֟ ױ ׿ֿ , ֮ ֤ , ֯ ߅ ׮ֵָ , ָٙ ִ֮ , ߸ ָ֕ - ֟ , - 0 , ֲ Vani Bihar ֋ , ִֵ ָ ïֻ Ù ֮ ֋ ïߓ ߅ ֟-֟ ָ ״ֻ, ֛ ׸ , և ִ ֤ , ֯ ֟ ։, פ ֛ , 0 ׾֮֫ ֤ ٙױ ״ֻ ֋օ (2 ָ ֿ:)


߸֦ (֟) : ֲ ָ ֟ , , ׸ , ֟ ׾ ֤ פ ꅠ ׾ ִ ֤

. : δ޵ִ ָ

߸֦ : , δ޵ִ ָ - ״ֻ ޵ִ ָ ֲ ֮ ֛ ׾ ֮, ֮ ? ׻֋ ֮ օ ߸-߸ ֮ - , ֲ ֓Ԇ ׻ֵօ ֲ ׮ֵ ֟ , օ ߛ ߕ ֵ֙ -

" ֟ , ו ,

ִ , ו

ָ , "

օ ׻֋ ׻י ֮ օ ֲ ָ ״׮Ù ֮, ß֟ ׻ֵօ ִ ׮ֻ, ִ ָ ß֟ օ ׯ֮ פ ׯ֮ ֱ "" ׻օ ֮֓֯ ֛ , פ ֛ ִ֕ ֻ ֮ ֵ֮, Ӯ is it possible? ӳ־ ? ֲ ӳ־ , ֲ ֮֕ן օ .. օ Ӿ Ù օ ֲ ֮֕ן ӳ־ , ֮, כ ׻ -

(כ )

߮ ֟ ֮֕ן ӳ־ , Ͽ օ , ֮֕ן օ ֵ֟ ֮ .. , this B.Ed. Certificate will serve you as a lifeboat when there will be a shipwreck in your political career. When there will be a shipwreck in your political career, this B.Ed. certificate will serve you as a lifeboat. ֯ ײֻ ֟ ֮օ ׿ֿ ߅ ߱ , ױ ֮Ӥ ֵօ ֕ ֳ ։օ ։ ֋ ָ , ׮ֵָ և... ָ , ׸ , ֮ Դָ֤֮ , , ֟ ֻ? ߕ ֲ և , ָ ֯֡ , ִֵ ־ ߕ ֲ פ, ... ֮֟ ֙ ָ֮ ֮ פօ פ ׸ָ ֵ , ֻ , ݻֿ ֻ , ֲ ָ֮ ֮ פօ ֲ ֮֟ ֮֟ ֙ ߅ ֤ ־߮ ֲ ֋ ߱ ״׮Ù ֮, ֕ ֳ פօ ֮ և ָ , , ׿ֿ , ֮ ֌ֱ , ֟ , ָ ָ ִ ևֻ ևֻ ִ ։ , ׻֋ ״ֻօ

, ָ ָ , ֲ ֵ-ֵ ֵ , ֲ ֮ ָ ꅠ ֮ ֮֕ן ָ ߮ ִ - ָ֮ , ֮ ׸ - ߮ ִֵ, three Young Turks - ֣ ״ֻօ ֣ ֲ ֵӕ ֋ š֮ ֙ ׻֋, ֮ ֣ ֮, ֹ ו , Young Turks, ֣ ״ֻ, օ ֣ ־֮ ߛ , ֟ ꅠ (2 F/ASC ָ ֿ:)


߸֦ (֟) : ֟ ֟֟ כ֮ ߛ ִ ֱ օ ״ֻ ָ ָ ָ ֛ ֟ ֕֯ , ֕֯ ׻ և ֲ ״ֻ֟ , ָ ָ և ֕ã֮ ֟ , ֲ ״ֻ֟ , ֟ ֕֯ ָ ֛ ֕֯ ָ ן ׻֋ ֱ ֤֮ ״ֻ-״ֻ ֮ ָ ֟ օ ן , ״ֻ ֮ ֜ ֟ օ ߠ ֟ ֟և , ֣ ָ և ָ  ïԴ , ֌ ָ ִ ֟ , ֣ և , օ ֣ ו֮ ׻֮ ߴ ֻ ֟ ױ ֟ ו֮֟ ִ , ו֮ ֮ ֤ ָ ֟ , ֻ , ֕ ֳ ݵ ֯ օ ݵ ׻֋ ֻ ֋ , ֯֜ ׸ָ ֋ ֤ ֮ ֛ ֣ ״ֻ֮ ״ֻ ֟-ߟ ״ֻօ ָ ִ և ָ ֕ ֲ ֮ , ֲ ָ և ָ פ , Half hidden from the eye, there is a star, when only one is shining in the sky. ֟ ׸ָ և , TV ָ ָ ֳ և ïߓ ߅ ֤ ֕ ֳ ֲ ïߓ ֟ ֻ , Sound logic and convincing, ֛ ֟ ֮ Ù ֲ ֕ ֳ ֵ ָ ֲ , ֱ ״ֻ߅ ֮ , ָ ״֡ ִ ֙ ָ BJP ״֡ ָ ß , - ֯ ߕ ֮֟ , ֯ ֻ ֆ, ֯ ״ֻ ֆ ֟ , We are born in the Congress, but brought up with Biju Patnaik. Therefore, we are in the Biju Patnaik' party. At the same time, we are with Navin Patnaik. և, ָ ָ , , ָ , ִ ָ ֕ ֮ ß ֟ ו פ Ӭ ֛ ֮֯ ָ ָ , פ ֣֓ , ֻ ׻֋ ֮ ָ ß ֵ֟օ ֣֓ , Ӭ ֨ӟ ֋ , ָ-ָ , ׻֋ ֲ ֮֕ן ֵ ֟ ֮֓֯ Ӭ ָ ֜ ׻י ֓և ã֮ , ֮ - ֯׸ , ״ֻ , ׻֋ ָ և ֳָ ֲ ֻ֟ ֟ , ֱ օ ֮ ֵ, ֟ פ ָ և ...(־֮֬)..

ֵ֮ ֻ ָ : ֟ Ӭ ...(־֮֬)..

߸֦ : -, ֟ Ӭ ֟ ֟ ..(־֮֬)..

ֳ֯ן : ,

߸֦ : פ Ӭ ֣ և, ָ ִ և, פ Ӭ ׾ָ She was the pioneer of the Tribals and the Harijan community. ֲ פ֋, פ Ӭ 껛 , ׻֋ ִֻ֮ , ֬ ֤ , ײ֔ ֋, ־ פ ֮ և օ և ֟ , ֕ ֮ ֮ פ ...(־֮֬) ו և ׸֮ և ֵ , ו פ כ *

*(֮֮ߵ ֤õ ֵ ָ )

ֲ , ' Ӭ , ֮ ׬ָ ꅠ (ֿ: 2Gָ)


߸֦ (֟) : ִ֕ ֋, ו ֋ ֮ ׮ֵ Ӿ֤ , ֤ ָ ׾֮֬ ֮ ֲ ׾֮֬ ן ֵָ ֮ ׮־ ׯ֔ פ, ׸֮ ִ֕ , ָ ֮, ։ ו֮֟ ֮ ֟ , ֲ ן ֮־֤ (ִ֯)

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Hon. Members, rest of the Members will be speaking after the Finance Bill. Now, I request the Finance Minister... ...(Interruptions)...

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: Sir, it was an issue on which I wanted to speak. The hon. Chairman has given me permission.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: No, no, no. The Chairman has not granted..... ...(Interruptions)...

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: Sir, this is to be taken up before the Finance Minister moves the Finance Bill.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: No, no; the Chairman has not said.......(Interruptions)...

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: The Chairman Sahib has given me the permission, Sir.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Regarding what?

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: Regarding the breach of privilege. A notice has been given.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: The breach of privilege has not been taken up.

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: No, no, no. Sir, I have just spoken to him. And the Chairman has told me that I can raise this issue. ...(Interruptions)...

֤ߵ ֵ ӡֵֻ ֕ ӡ ( ֓) : ֳ֯ן , ֮֯ already ָ instructions Finance Bill ... (־֮֬) פ ֿ־ӟ ֮ ִֻ ֮ , permission ֤, ד֟ ִֵ ָ ֋Ӆ ...(Interruptions)...

ֿ־ӟ ֮ : , ֟ ... (־֮֬) Sir, I have given a notice.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE (SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM): That will be considered. ...(Interruptions)...

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: I spoke about it. ...(Interruptions)... How can it be taken up after that? ...(Interruptions)...

֓ : ִֵ ׮֬׸ ... (־֮֬)

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: The privilege notice has not been.....(Interruptions)...

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: Sir, how can a privilege notice be given? .....(Interruptions)...

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Wait, wait, wait. ...(Interruptions)... Mr. Narayanasamy, please listen to me. ...(Interruptions)...

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: Sir, tens of privilege notices have been raised in this House against me.

SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: Only when the permission is granted.

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: ...with the permission of the Chair.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: The Chairman has not granted the permission. When he grants, it will be permitted. ...(Interruptions)...

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: Sir, the Chairman has told me; I can raise it.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: No, no; he has not told us. ...(Interruptions)...

ֿ־ӟ ֮ : unfortunate , ֯ ׮־ ... (־֮֬)

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: I was also present in the Chamber. When you brought the privilege notice, the Chairman said, "I will study it and I will let you know." The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs was also there. ...(Interruptions)... Mr. Naryanasamy, don't interrupt. I can deal with it.

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: The Chairman has never said that he is not giving me permission. ...(Interruptions)...

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: He has not given. ...(Interruptions)... He said, "I will look into it."

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: Please give me a minute, Sir.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: He has not given any direction.

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: Sir, I have just now.......(Interruptions)...

SHRI SURESH PACHOURI: No, no; it is not proper that you discuss something in the Chamber and disclose it over here. ...(Interruptions)...

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: But he has told me that I can raise it.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: I have no information. ...(Interruptions)... I will find it out from the Secretariat. In the meantime, let him move the Finance Bill. ...(Interruptions)...

SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: He says, "I will discuss with the Chairman." ...(Interruptions)... The Chairman must not have said that. You can say that.

֓ : ֳ֯ן , ָ ָ 괲ָ ֓ , ֤ ָָ , ײֻ ... (־֮֬)

SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: The Chairman must say it. ...(Interruptions)... The Chairman must say it.

ֿ־ӟ ֮ : ָָ , ֯ ָ 괲ָ ֓ , ֮֯ ו ... (־֮֬)

֓ : ֯ ָ ִ misuse ֟ ׸ ... (־֮֬)

ֿ־ӟ ֮ : ָ ָ ֓ , ו ֮֯ , ... (־֮֬)

֓ : ָ ָ ֓ , , ֤ ָָ ֵ ָָ ֯ ֟ ׻֋ ... (־֮֬)

ֿ־ӟ ֮ : ֵ ָָ ֯ , ... (־֮֬)

SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: What is this, Sir? The Chairman can say. You cannot say.

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: Permission was not given by the Chairman. ...(Interruptions)... The hon. Chairman has not given him permission.

ֳ֯ן : ֯ ך ... (־֮֬)

ֿ־ӟ ֮ : ָ ֮ , permission ... (־֮֬)

ֳ֯ן : ֯ ך ... (־֮֬) ։, ֯ ך ... (־֮֬) ֋ ֿ־ӟ , ֯ ׮ֵָ ָ , ֮֯ י פ, The notice is under consideration. You know the procedures. Unless the Chairman admits it, no matter can be raised on the floor of the House.

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: That is the rule.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Mr. Narayanasamy, when I am speaking, why are you interrupting?

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: I am only reminding him.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: You don't remind him. It is not your duty to remind him. It is my duty to remind him. Please don't assist me. I can handle it. ָ consideration , ָ ֲ ̟֕ , ֯ ֮ ̟֕ ֋߅

ֿ־ӟ ֮ : ֟ ו֋ I have given a notice. Now, you said, "It will be taken up after the Chairman gives permission, or admits it. Then, it will be taken up. Sir, I am aware of many examples in this House. Personally, against me, notices of privileges had been given when I was Finance Minister, and they had been allowed to be raised in this House. They had been allowed to be raised in this House. ...(Interruptions)... They had been allowed to be raised without being admitted. ...(Interruptions)...

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: No, no; I have not said that you will not be allowed. I have never said that you will not be allowed. But let the notice be considered first. You will be allowed.

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: When, Sir? ...(Interruptions)...

׻֟ ֟ : ֳ֯ן , ו ִֵ ֓ , ִֵ ... (־֮֬)

ֳ֯ן : ֯ ך, ִ I don't need your assistance. ֯ ך ... (־֮֬)

׻֟ ֟ : ׮־ ... (־֮֬)

ֳ֯ן : ֯ ך ... (־֮֬) ֯ ָ ֟ ו֋, ָָ , ֯ ך, ߕ ֯ ך The Finance Minister.

(Followed by 2H/TMV)


THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY FINANCE (SHRI PAWAN KUMAR BANSAL): Sir, talking about what transpired in the Chamber is also a breach of privilege. (Interruptions)...

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Mr. Finance Minister.


SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: Sir, I beg to lay on the Table a copy (in English and Hindi) of the document "Outcome Budgets 2006-2007 of the Flagship Programmes".




That the Bill to give effect to the financial proposals of the Central

Government for the financial year 2006-2007, as passed by Lok Sabha, be taken into consideration.


Sir, I just wish to say a few words, after moving the Bill. I announced a few concessions yesterday in the Lok Sabha. The Lok Sabha has approved the Bill. As far as the Finance Bill is concerned, it relates to the taxation proposals. The policy of the UPA Government is that taxes must be moderate and stable. We have demonstrated in the two years of this Government that, with moderate and stable tax rates, we can augment the gross tax revenues by 20 per cent a year. In 2006-07 also, the Budget Estimates indicate that the gross tax revenues will increase by 20 per cent. Three successive years of 20 per cent increase in gross tax revenues vindicate our policy that tax rates must be moderate and stable. Therefore, I have not made any changes in the personal income-tax rates and the corporate tax rates. Some rates which had to be adjusted have been adjusted.

Sir, on the indirect taxes side, we are continuing on the path on which this country has been walking for the past many years by reducing customs duties. The ultimate goal is to bring them down to the ASEAN rates. This year, we have taken a measured step by bringing down the peak customs rate to 12.5 per cent. On excise, again, we are walking on the same path. We are converging excise duty rates to the current CENVAT rate of 16 per cent. We have also taken one step on the service tax to bring it to a rate where ultimately, in about four years' time, we can converge the service tax and the Central excise duty to a GST rate. The States also hopefully will agree to the road map on the following lines. The GST is the major reforms that we have signalled, as far as taxation is concerned. On the excise side, we have selected a few industries like automobiles, man-made fibre, food processing and leather for some concessions, where we believe we have the capacity to become one among the world leaders in those industries.

Sir, I request the House to consider the Bill and return the Bill as passed by the Lok Sabha. Thank you.

The question was proposed.

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA (JHARKHAND): Sir, when we were having the farewell speeches in this House a little while ago, hon. Member, Mr. Dipankar Mukherjee, referred to a certain quality of the Finance Minister.

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: He referred to the qualities of Finance Ministers.

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: I said, "a certain quality of the Finance Minister". This is very much in evidence in this Budget. The Finance Minister has given the impression that he has reduced the taxes; he has not raised the taxes; and at the end of it, he is going to get or raise an additional revenue of Rs.6,000 crores from the changes that he has made. So, he has reduced the tax, made everybody happy and he is still, the magician that he is, going to get an additional Rs.6,000 crores from the taxpayers of this country. That is where what Mr.Dipankar Mukherjee said becomes important. You know what he said. I don't want to repeat it.

But before I come to the taxation part, there is one issue. After all, why are we all talking about taxes, why are we talking about expenditure? Because we want ultimately the Government to balance its Budget. (Contd. by 2J/VK)


SHRI YASHWANT SINHA (CONTD): I was not here when the Finance Minister was replying to the debate on the General Budget. Unfortunately, I was held up because the train got delayed. But, I believe, when I read the media reports, that he made a point that when we were in office, we were so incompetent that we allowed the fiscal deficit, which he had brought under control, to cross all the reasonable limits and become onerous again. Sir, I have some figures here. I wish the Finance Minister had stated the full facts. He said that fiscal deficit was 4.1 per cent when he was the Finance Minister in 1996-97 and that it went up to 6.2 per cent in 2001-02 and that was because of the fiscal mismanagement of the NDA Government. That was the point that he made. Now, I have the figures here from his Economic Survey. Perhaps, in anticipation of the fact that we were going to come to power in 1998, fiscal deficit, when Mr. Chidambaram was the Finance Minister for the second year in the United Front Government, went up from 4.1 per cent in 1996-97 to 4.8 per cent. He is not responsible because we were coming to power the next year. So it went up because of our fault. Then, it rose to 6.2 per cent. It came down to 4.5 per cent in 2003-04, which was the last year of the NDA Government. Perhaps, in anticipation of the fact that we were going to lose elections and that they were coming to power, the fiscal deficit declined to 4.5 per cent. It was supposed to be 4.3 per cent. This year, he claims that it would be 4.1 per cent. But another important fact, which I think, because it is here in the Economic Survey, the Finance Minister could have mentioned if he was fair or he wanted to be fair. I am quoting from the Economic Survey. It says in paragraph 1.74, "Furthermore, in the aftermath of the implementation of the Fifth Pay Commission's recommendations, the general Government's fiscal deficit had increased in each of the five years to reach a peak of 9.9 per cent in 2001-02." This is the national fiscal deficit, including the States. We reached almost 10 per cent. Why? Because of the impact of the Fifth Pay Commission. Again, Sir, maybe, we are responsible because I have heard the Finance Minister saying that we did not oppose his move not to implement the Fifth Pay Commission's recommendations in the manner in which he was, perhaps, in those days, forced to implement them. But, in any case, as I said, we were an incompetent Government; we did not have the divine right to rule like they have, and, therefore, we made a mess of the things! Now that they are back, things have started improving; from 4.5 per cent in 2003-04, the fiscal deficit is down to 4.1 per cent this year. And the Finance Minister assures us that he will be following the path of the FRBM Act. So, the complete story of the fiscal deficit of the last few years says that there was an impact of the Fifth Pay Commission. You did very well to the employees. You are again going to do very well to the Government employees right down to the local bodies by appointing the Sixth Pay Commission and there will be some unfortunate Finance Minister; there will be some unfortunate Government, which will bear the consequences of the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission. Having said that, I would also like to make one point because I don't think the Finance Minister has replied to that point. I had said that the expenditure up to the month of January was already more than what has been budgeted, the revenue expenditure in absolute term. I had made the point that the Fertilizers Minister has claimed Rs. 6,900 crores from the Finance Minister, which he has not provided for. Subsequently, I came across a news item and I am giving an opportunity to the Finance Minister to contradict it on the floor of the House, if he so wishes. (Contd. by 2K)


SHRI YASHWANT SINHA (contd.): There was a meeting that the Petroleum Minister had with the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and the Committee Chairman, Shri Rangarajan. And, the newspaper report states, "The Petroleum Minister said after that meeting that the oil companies had a subsidy bill of Rs.10,245 crores on LPG; Rs.14,384 crores on kerosene; Rs.12,284 crores on diesel; Rs.2,680 crores on petrol, while the Budget provided for only Rs.2,900 crores as subsidy for PDS, kerosene and domestic LPG. The point I am making is that if fertiliser subsidy is not paid, if in the case of oil companies in the public sector, -- they are captive companies of the Government -- their balance sheet is ruined because this onerous burden is put on them, and the Government does not provide for it in the Budget, then, the fiscal deficit can be kept at any level. But there must be some honesty of approach in these figures. You cannot have Rs.30,000-40,000 crores of burden on the oil companies and say, "My fiscal deficit has moved down by 1 per cent, that I am going to bring it down to 3.7 per cent." It is because of the Government's policy, either of not passing the burden to the consumer or not taking it on the Government's own Budget that the public sector petroleum companies are facing this problem. So, Sir, this is all about fiscal deficit.

Now I come to the taxation proposals. I know that he got the Finance Bill passed in the other House yesterday, and the discussion in this House, unfortunately, is only of an academic nature. But I think I still must make the points that I consider to be important. Sir, I will take up the first issue of the removal of Section 10 (23 G) pertaining to Indirect Taxes. The Finance Minister has said that he has removed Section 10 (23 G) because the dividends are not being taxed; there are no capital gains to be taxed, that the interest payment is not such a burden today because the interest rates have softened. That this statement should come from the Finance Minister at a time when interest rates are hardening in the economy is something surprising. The whole question of exemption is something he could have been upfront about, and he could have said that Section 10 (23 G) had outlived its utility, that it did not serve any purpose, and, therefore, I am removing this exemption. He has not said that. He has given a reason which appears specious to me.

The other provision to which I would like to draw his attention is the changes in Section 43 (b) of the Income-Tax Act which he has brought about. I had briefly touched upon this point when I was talking on the General Budget hoping that the Finance Minister would take notice of what I was saying. I had made a point earlier that the retrospective effect of this provision, from 1989-90 in some cases, and from 1997-98 in some other cases, would mean that all those taxes which had been restructured under the Corporate Tax Restructuring Scheme, -- we started this scheme because the interest rates were going down -- and the interests on loans which were not paid but which were adjusted in the restructuring programme would now be subject to tax. This is going to be a very, very large burden on the corporates which had taken advantage of this. So, I will be grateful if the Finance Minister clarifies this point.

Sir, the other thing is the changes in the provisions relating to religious trusts and institutions, where he has said, "Any amount which will be donated to a trust, which is not fully a religious trust, will be subject to tax." (Continued by 2L)


SHRI YASHWANT SINHA (CONTD.): Now, any donation to a trust...

SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: Any anonymous donation, not any donation

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: Okay. Any anonymous donation to a trust will be subject to tax. So, if somebody gives a trust ten rupees, will that also be subject to tax? If somebody gives up to Rs. 20,000, will that also be subject to tax, because there is a cut-off of twenty thousand rupees, generally, in the Income-tax Act? This is a point on which he could offer some clarification.

Then, he has taxed urban cooperative banks. And I believe that he said in the other House that they are less than 3,000 in number and, therefore, there should be no problem of taxing them. Let him go ahead and tax urban cooperative banks. But, again, the argument that he has given, that this will help the Government regulate them better, is an argument which I am absolutely unable to understand. There are regulators which are regulating urban cooperative banks; there is duality of regulation. That is something which he is aware, as we all are aware. The problems of cooperative banks, whether they are rural or urban, arise out of that, that duality of control of the State Registrar of Cooperative Societies and of the Reserve Bank of India. I, therefore, do not know how the Income-Tax Department is going to help bring order in urban cooperative banks, that by merely paying tax, urban cooperative banks will not fail any more. If he has a tax purpose in mind, let him be upfront about it and say that `I want to tax them because I need the money', and nobody will, at least, I, perhaps, will not, quarrel with him.

Then, let me come to the Minimum Alternate Tax. He has raised MAT to 10 per cent, increased the period from five to seven years and brought capital gains within it. Now, capital gains is not being taxed. But, as far as MAT companies are concerned, their capital gains will be taxed, as I understand it, under the provision relating to MAT. He has also given us, as he claims, a Tax Expenditure Statement in the Budget. Now, one would have expected that when he was giving the Tax Expenditure Statement, he would revisit this whole area of exemptions in direct taxes, in indirect taxes. My own feeling, Sir, is that there is a purpose behind each exemption. There is no exemption, to my mind, in our taxation laws, which is without a purpose. There is a purpose behind each one of them. Now, one may or may not agree. One might say that the purpose has become irrelevant; it is not needed any more; therefore, I am abolishing it. The point I am making is, instead of fiddling with this, it would have been, perhaps, better if this whole question of exemptions on direct taxes, indirect taxes, had been studied in some detail and a holistic view taken as to which exemptions should stay, which exemptions should go and, then, the MAT should have been brought. Now, what is going to happen as a result of the increased burden of the MAT is that balance-sheets of many companies are going to be affected and that is bound to have an effect on their functioning, especially in the infrastructure sector.

Now, he has abolished the One-By-Six Scheme. You are aware of the history. It was the One-By-Four Scheme which he himself had introduced. Then, I raised it by two more points and it became One-By-Six Scheme. He says that we are going to have new provisions with regard to PAN and PAN will now be given by the Department even without an application. Fine! The point I am making is that the One-By-Six Scheme did lead to the filing of a large number of returns by people who were, perhaps, not liable to tax. But it had a very salutary impact because it helped bring those who were avoiding payment of tax, who were evading tax within the tax net. (Contd. by 2m/tdb)


SHRI YASHWANT SINHA (CONTD.): Now, replacement of 1/6 by issue of PAN by the Income-tax authorities is not adequate because we are dealing with two different types of people. One is the marginal tax payer who should be brought within the tax net and the other is the high income worth individual who is, Sir, indulging in cash transactions of a kind which should, certainly be taken note of and should be taxed. Now, these returns, I know, were not being scrutinised. But, now with the help of Information Technology, it should be possible for us to scrutinise, at least, some of these returns and find out where exactly we are. So, I have not been able to understand why he has abolished a scheme of which he himself was the Father, because I believe that it was serving a useful purpose.

Now, he has made some changes, Sir, on the Fringe Benefit Tax. For instance, travel, for certain purposes, will not be charged under the Fringe Benefit Tax, but boarding and lodging will be. The Fringe Benefit Tax, Sir, is a tax which we had opposed, and I will still like to say that it is a tax which is best abolished; it is not serving any purpose. You cannot bring the expenditure of the company on things like sales promotion, etc., on the employees. You cannot put the burden on the employees.

Sir, he had talked about EET, exempted, exempted, and, then as far as pension is concerned, other retirement benefits are concerned, their taxation, at some point, he has kept quiet, he has not said anything about EET in this Budget. But, he has told us that the Budget is not the last word, may be something will come later. He feels free that he will be able to bring these changes. I would like him to take the House into confidence and tell us what is the Government's thinking about EET, and we should be able to debate it in this House.


Sir, that is, as far as direct taxes were concerned. On Customs, I have only two points to make. One is that we are all committed, successive Governments have committed that we will bring our peak Customs Duty in line with the ASEAN rates. We have not yet reached the ASEAN rates. So, a progressive reduction in peak rates was happening over the last many years. This year, it could have been brought down from 15 per cent to 10 per cent, if he had followed the past practice. But, he decided to reduce it only by 2.5 percentage points. And, therefore, the peak rate of Customs Duty has been reduced to 12.5 per cent in this Budget. But, I was surprised that a CVD of four per cent has been imposed on all imports, and this CVD, Sir, will actually translate into more than a five per cent burden. So, I have not been able to understand this logic that, on the one hand, you are reducing the peak rate, on the other hand, introducing something which will raise it by over five per cent. Reduce it by 2.5 per cent; raise it by five per cent. If, for whatever reason, he thought it fit that there should be a CVD of four per cent to make up for State taxes or whatever, then, perhaps, a deeper reduction in Customs Duty could have been worth.

I was also surprised, Sir, by another point that he made in his Budget Speech and it is there in the Finance Bill. He set out to correct the inverted duty structure, wherever it existed, and he talked about refractories, the refractory industry. I happen to know a little bit about the refractory industry, Sir, because two of the units are located in my district. Now, he said that refractory-finished material, refractory bricks and refractory raw materials were both being taxed at the same rate.

(Contd. by 2n)