PREVIOUS

kgg-mcm/1.00/2a

SHRI TARINI KANTA ROY (WEST BENGAL): Thank you, Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir. We have a statement by the Minister here and on his statement I would like to seek clarifications.

Sir, on 10th April, 2006, a terrible fire broke out in Meerut at Victoria Park where the Consumer Trade Fair was being organised by Brand India Consumers' Forum and was jointly sponsored by the local Dainik Jagaran.

It was one among the worst fire accidents in our country after 80 school children were killed in Tamil Nadu in July, 2004 and killing 425 people in another fire incident in a town in northern Haryana State in 1995.

In Meerut, at least 2000 people, mostly women, were attending the fair, of which 58 or more people died in the accident. The fair was centrally air conditioned, as per the reports. The shed also had polythene sheets and there was only one exit and one entry point, covered with nylon. There was no crowd control and the fire fighting system.

May I ask the Minister whether the fair was being conducted legally or not? I would like to know the role of the city administration in this regard. According to the Chief Fire Officer, it is already stated here. The District Magistrate granted no objection certificate for it without any consultation. The Chief Fire Officer was not aware of the clearance. Hence, the basic fire safety guidelines were not maintained there.

While one version said that the fire was caused by a short circuit, another version said that it began in a Chinese shop where noodles were being cooked. What is the true version? I would like the Minister to find out.

The U.P. Government has announced a judicial inquiry on the accident, as stated over here. I would like the inquiry work to be over quickly and expeditiously. I, on behalf of my party would like to express deep shock at the incident and demand stern measures taken so that such miserable accident does not occur in future due to such negligence, which was in Meerut incident. Thank you, Sir. (Ends)

0 ִ ӛָ (ײָ) : ֮֮ߵ ֳ֯ן , פ ֮։ ו פ ԙ ԅ ֮ ״֡ ָ , ֋ 00 ָ ֮ ߅ ָ ӛֻ ֻ פֵ ָ ָ ֿ פֵ օ , ߾֮ ֻ֟ ֿ 00 ָ ָ פ , ֟ ֮µ ֮ ֻ פ ֮ Ù ׮ֻ ׻ֵ ֵ ָ Ԯ ܵ ֿ ײָ ֛ , ִָ֓ ֡ ֵ ӡ ׸֙ ָ ߮ ӛֻ ߲֮ ߮ ָ ܵ ֮ ֻ ߛ ߅ (2B ָ ֿ:)

GS-KLS/2B/1.05

0 ִ ӛָ (֟) : ֓ ֆ ܵ ֤ ִ ָ ֮ ָ ׮֮ օ ֮֮ߵ ֤õ ֮-߮ ־ã Ӥ ֮-߮ ִ֮ ֮ օ , 00 ß ־ã ӛֻ Ӥ , ָ - ïֿ ״ֻ ֵ, ״֮֙ ֲ ֟ ֵ ֲ ֟ ֵօ ִ 98 韵 164 ֵֻ ִ , ׮׿֟ ֻ֟ ־ԕ׮ ã֮ ָ ֮ ֛ ӛֻ ֵ ֟ , ֤ և

, ֵָ ևؙ כ֙ ו ֓ ־ԕ׮ ã֮ ָ ֵ ֵו֟ ׻֋ ֮ ׻֋ ֵָ ևؙ כ֙ ֯ע ϴ-֡ ִָ֓-֡ ׻֋ ֵָ ևؙ כ֙ ָ ֯ע ϴ ֡ ־֕, כÙ וÙ ָ Ͽ׮ ׬ָ , ֮ þן ߅

, ֻ ֵ , ׯ ֕ ָָ ָ ֵ פ ֵ ָ ־ֻ ָ ֙ ׾µ , ־ֿ

, ־֮ ־ ָ ֓ , ָ ֲָ ֓ , ֮ ֤ ֣ Ԯ ֓ ֮ ֓ևԅ ֮ ֮֓ ֮ ֮ Ԯ פ ֻ օ ָָ ֛ Ͽ , ֤ Ͽ ֮ ָ خ ־֮ ֮ ֋ ָ ֙ ֋, ׮֯֙ ־֮ ׾ֻ כ خ ֮ ֲ ָָ ֵ֟ ״ֻ֟ , ֵ ֮ ָ ֙ ֵ֓

, ִֻ ֵָ - ֲ ָ ִֻ ֟ , ֟ ֵ ״ֻ ߸-߸ ֟ ֻ ֟ ֱ ֟ , ו֮ ׸ָ ֤ ֻ ֟

, ׮׿֟ ו֮ ֻ֟ , ï֮ ֟ , ï֮ , ֲ ״ֻ֮ ײ֮ ׮ִֵ, ֮ ֻ֮ ָ ָ״ֿ֮ ָ״ֿ֮ ֤ ֮ ֛ ԙ ָ ߓ ֻ ֟

, ָָ ֕ ָָ ִָֿ ו֮֟ ֻ ִֻ ӓ ֵ , ֕ ֵ ֮־֤ (ִ֯) (2 ָ )

-KLS-SSS-SC/2C/1.10

׿֤ (֮ Ϥ) : ֮־֤ , ָ ־ֻ֟ ָ ß

ֳ֯ן : ֯ ִ ֤ ־ֻ֟ ו֋

׿֤ : ָ , ֲ ֻ פ ֮ ֯ ֵ ֮ ֲ , ӛֻ , ïֻ֟ Ӥ ֻ֟ ..(־֮֬)..

ִ ̴֕ : ָ, ֙ ָ ֮

ֳ֯ן : י ֤ כֻ֮ ֙ That is the rule. You see the rules.

ִ ̴֕ : ֯ ו֋

ֳ֯ן : ֯ ־ ו֋

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: We have given a notice.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: No, no, Mr. Narayanasamy, I am here to clarify.

֮֮ߵ ֤õ : ֯ ֕߾ ׻ֵօ

ֳ֯ן : , ֯ ׻֋

׿֤ : ָ, ָ ֻ֟ ֈ ֮֟ ֕ ָ ֈ ֻ֟ ֮ ֿ ו ָ ݵ ֈә ָݵ ֈ , ֵ֤ ̤ؕ ָ ֻ֟ ֿ ָ ָָ ָ֟ Ӥ ױ ֤ Ӥ ׮ֵ Ӥ ߛ , ָ, ָ ߛ ߔ ֮ , ״׮Ù֮ ֮߮ ו̴ָ ֕ ״ֻ֮ ӛֻ ևԾ, Ù ߙ, ֣י , ׯֻ ֮ , ֵָ כ֙ ׻֋ ֕֟ ߅ ߱ ֵָ ױָ ӛֻ ֮֮ ָ״ֿ֮ ߅ ߓ ӛֻ , ָ ֮ Ӥß օ ָ ֯ߕ ֻ ֵָ Ӥ ֯ߕ ֻ ߮ ָ ӛֻ Ӥ ֌ Ӥ ֲ ֲԤ ֋, ָ ֋ ָ, ..(־֮֬)..

ִ ̴֕ : ָ, ߮ ׾ֵ ָ ֮֕ן ..(־֮֬)..

ֳ֯ן : ֯ ך օ..(־֮֬)..

׿֤ : ֯ ֮ ו֋..(־֮֬)..

ִ ̴֕ : ָ, ..(־֮֬).. ױ֮ ..(־֮֬)..

ֵָ : ָ֟ ..(־֮֬).. ִ ׻ֵ..(־֮֬)..

ֳ֯ן : ֯ ך ..(־֮֬).. ֲ ׮ֻ ..(־֮֬).. ֋, ֯ ך ..(־֮֬).. , ֯ ך ..(־֮֬)..֯ ך օ..(־֮֬).. ..(־֮֬)..֯ ך օ ..(־֮֬).. , ֯ ך

ֵָ : ָ ָָ ָ ..(־֮֬)..

߸ י : ֮֯ ï™ ï™ פ פ ? ..(־֮֬).. ֮֯ ׻֋ ..(־֮֬).. כ״֮֮ ..(־֮֬)..

ֳ֯ן : ֯ ֮ ך..(־֮֬)..

ֵָ : ֲ ֓֯ ..(־֮֬)..ָ ָָ ָ ֵ..(־֮֬).. ֓֯ ן ֻ֟ օ..(־֮֬)..

ֳ֯ן : ֯ ך

ֵָ : օ..(־֮֬)..

ֳ֯ן : ֋, ָ ֤õ ..(־֮֬)..ߕ ך..(־֮֬)..֋ ㌻ , ֯ ֮ և ߕ..(־֮֬)..֋, ִ ֈ ֌ ֵ ..(־֮֬)..֋, ָֻ ..(־֮֬)..ך օ ֟ , ֯ ך..(־֮֬)..

ֵָ : ֯ ׸ ֋..(־֮֬)..

ֳ֯ן : ֟ ֯ ך

׿֤ : ױ֮ ..(־֮֬)..ֻ פ..(־֮֬)..

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Again, I want to remind the hon. Members that please don't make a speech. I am very firm about it. It is not a speech, it is not a discussion, it is not a debate. The Minister has made a statement and you have to seek only clarifications. There is a tendency in this House of breaking all the rules. You should know that this is a Calling Attention. The Minister's statement is there. Please don't go on explaining what has happened. The Minister has explained. Again, there is no need for repetition. Please seek clarifications as per the statement of the Minister.

׿֤ : ָ, , ֻ פ دֻ֯ , , Ͼֻ ִִ כÙ וÙ Ù Կ Ӥ ״ֵ .. ..(־֮֬)..

ֳ֯ן : ֯ ָ ֟ ֟և, ֟և , ֯ ָ You please address me.

SHRI ABU ASIM AZMI: Please don't do rajnithi. (Followed by NBR/2D)

ASC-NBR/1.15/2D

׿֤ : ָ, ..(־֮֬)..

ֳ֯ן : ֯ ֟ ו֋, address ו֋...(־֮֬)..

׿֤ : ָ, ָ ָ ֟ , ?..(־֮֬)..

ֳ֯ן : ֯ ָ ӛÙ ו֋, ֈ .. (־֮֬)..

߸ י : ָ, ָ , ֲ ָ פև . (־֮֬)..

׿֤ : ָ, ֻ פ دֻ֯ ִִ כÙ וÙ Ӥ և , ָ ֲֻ֟ ָ Ϥ ָָ ״֙ Ӥ և ߅..(־֮֬)..

ֳ֯ן : ֯ ״׮Ù ה

׿֤ : ָ, ״֮֙ ָ ܵ ӡ ֟ Ù ״׮Ù֮ ֻ֟ ָ , ָ ָ ֵ ߱ ״׮Ù ׮֮ ׿ ֵօ ӡ ֲ ־ֻ ָ ָָ ָֿ߮ ָ֛ ֵֻ? ִִ ֲ ־ֻ ָ֛ Ӥ ֮ ֿ ֋? ֻ֟ 50 58 ָ ֋ ָ ֵ , ָ և ֤ ָ ֋ ָ ָ ֤ ܴ ïֻ֟ ߅ ..(־֮֬)..

ֳ֯ן : ֯ ֮ ָ ֋ ֈ ֻ֮ ֮ ߅

׿֤ : ӡ ֲ ֛ ־ֻ , 㻛ָ ֵֻ ֵ ߔ ָָ וֿ ? ָ ֟ ָ ׌ Ù , Ӥ Ù օ ֕ ָ Ӥ ֟ ָ֯ ָ ֲ օ ָ, ָ ֻ , ו֮ ָ ֵ֟ ֟ 125 ֛ , ֛ ֻ , ֻ ִ ֛ ֻ և ו֮ ֟ ״׮Ù֮ ָ ֮֮ ׿ֿ ָָ ֮֮ ֻ ? ָ ֓ ָ ֋ , ִ ֓ ֤ؕ ָ ָ , ָ֛ Ӥ ֻ ֋ ֻ ֜ Ӥ ֋֋ פ ֵ ִֻ֮ ..(־֮֬)..

ֳ֯ן : ֯ ִ ֟ և ֯ Ù ָ և

׿֤ : , ״ֻ ָ ֲָ

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: You confine yourself to the statement, please.

׿֤ : ָ, Ӥ ָ ֟ օ ָ, ֮֯ ֮ ָ ֱ Ӥ ״׮Ùי ֵָ ß ֲָ ? ß ִ֕־֤ ֙ ֯ כ׿ֵֻ ֵָ ? ָָ ....(־֮֬)..

ֳ֯ן : ֯ ה, ה

׿֤ : כ׿ֵֻ ֵָ כ׿ֵֻ ֵָ , ״׮Ùי ֵָ ֲֻ֟ ? ֮֯ ״׮Ùי ֵָ ׸Û֮ , ֈ ֮֟ ִ ADM ï , ֮֟ ִ ADM ï ? ָ DM SP ֱ ֲ֤ פ ֵօ ָָ Ӥ և ֤ؕ ֻ ֮ ֱ ֕ ? ..(ִֵ ә)...ֲ ֈ ֮֟ ֲ ֻ , ֱ ן Ӥ ֜ ֻ օ ..(־֮֬).

ֳ֯ן : ֯ ֈ ֟֋,֯ ׸ױ֮ ו֋

׿֤ : ֻ ߸ ֕ օ...(ִֵ ә)..

ֳ֯ן : ִ֯ ו֋

׿֤ : ֻ ָ Ϥ ܵ ӡ ִ Ӥ ֮ ִ օ..(־֮֬).. ָ Ϥ Ӥ օ ..(־֮֬)..

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: That is not clarification. , ֯ , It is not clarification...(־֮֬)..

׿֤ : ӡ ־ֻ֟ ֟֋ ևӤ ֮ ֮֮ ״ֻ ״ֻ , ֮֟ ִ (ִ֯)

(2E ָ ָ)

USY-NB/2e/1.20

׮ ֵ (׿ִ ֻ) : ֳ֯ן , ֓ ׾ֵ ׾֌׸ ֮ ֙ ֙ , :֤և ֙ ֙ خ֤ և , ן ֌ ? ֮ ӳ߸ ֟ ֻ ִܾܾ , ֮֕ן ֵ ׾ֵ ָ ֮֕ן ֋ ָ , ָ ֮֕ן , ִ ֵ ܾß ֤ Ӥ - ֟ և , ֲ֮߮ և ֋ ָ ֓ ָ֛ ߓ ָ ֵ, ָ ָ֮ , ִ ֟ , ָ ӓ ֣-֣ exhibition ׻֋ ֛ և , ָ ָ ָ֮ , , ߵ ָָ ֕ ָָ ָ ֟ ֮ ֵ֟ ֮ ֤ ״ֻ

ֳ֯ן , ָ ״׮Ù ׸ , ֻܵ ׸ ׾ß ߅ ִ ׻ Shri Sriprakash pJaiswal, Minister of State in this Ministry, visited Meerut on 11.04.2006 and met the families of the deceased and the injured. The Central Government has recommended the name of Shri Javed -- ֓, ו֮ ֲ ֵ֓, ִ ׻ ֵ What action had been taken by Shri Jaiswal on that day for the persons who had died and for those who had injured? Only visited! Did he take any other action? He was a man from Uttar Pradesh. So, there is some responsibility of the Central Government also. Apart from that, there is a Standing Fire Advisory Council, headed by the Director-General, Civil Defence, Government of India. What is the role of that? Why had they not given any directions in this regard? Such exhibitions take place many times at many places at the time of Dusshera, at the time of Nauchandi, ָ ָ ֟ , ִֵ ֮ ָ פ ֙ ֙ , refer ׻֋ ֬ , פ ߯־ֻ ָ ָ ֙ ֙ , ָ handicrafts ֻ ֋ ִ֮ ֻ ֵ, ״ֻօ ֻ ֻ , ֮ ָ ֳ סֵ ֕ ֙֙֋, ֕ օ ־ֻ פ ֙ ֑ ״ֻ , ״׮Ù , þã ӡ , ֲ ״ֻ , ׮׬ ָ ״ֻ , ߻ , ״ֻ , ֕ օ ? ߕ ָ exhibition , ֛ , -֛ exhibition ߕ ֮և ֟ , , Ù , ֿ ֻ ֛ , inflammable , ֻ֮ ֻ ׻֋ ָ ֮ ֮ ֣-֣ Ͽ׮ , ָ ִ ָ , ָָ, ָָ ֕ ָָ, responsibility , ׮ֳ֋, ֲ ֵ֟ ִ օ ֻ , ֤ ָ ״֙߅ ָ : ָ ֮ ֟ , ֵ֟ ָ ֣ , ֣ ֣ ֕ ָָ ߵ ָָ ӛ כ ׻֋ ־֕ ֮־֤ (ִ֯)

Followed by 2F/USY

USY-AKG/2f/1.25

MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS (SHRI S. REGUPATHY): Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, most of the Members have expressed that they are expecting more particulars from the statement. Before that, I would like to make one submission that 'fire' is a State subject. It has been included as a municipal function in the XII Schedule of the Indian Constitution, under article 243(w). The 'fire service' in many States fall within the jurisdiction of local bodies, which are very often starved of resources. In most of the States, no legislation has been enacted till date in the form of a Fire Service Act for the proper administration of fire service. Then, so far as this incident is considered, we have never stated that it is an accident. We have clearly mentioned that about 6.00 p.m., on account of a short circuit, a fire started. So, we have only mentioned 'a fire started'. The Government of India had called for full details about the situation from the Government of Uttar Pradesh. The Government of Uttar Pradesh, in its reply, have not clearly specified -- as most of the Members have asked whether any NOC was taken from the Fire Department -- whether any NOC was obtained from the Fire Department. So, whether a NOC from the Fire Department was taken or not, has to be told only by the State Government. We have asked for their comments. The State Government has ordered an administrative enquiry into the incident by the Commissioner, Meerut Division. It has also ordered an enquiry by Additional District Collector, City, into the alleged complaints of removal of debris, using a JCB, on the night of the incident. In addition, the Police Department, after registering an offence under relevant sections, is also investigating into this incident. So, the administrative enquiry is enquiring into the reasons of the incident; careless on the part of administration and the concerned individuals for not taking efficient precautions. The enquiry is also going into the question of taking immediate action after the incident, steps to be taken so that such incidents do not occur in future. For this purpose, two commissions -- one, at the DC level; second, at the Additional Commission level -- have been ordered. In this incident, around 225 persons were involved, out of which 58 persons have died, 164 have injured and three are missing. Compensations have been paid to their families by the State Government. Some hon. Members have asked for a judicial enquiry. The Government of Uttar Pradesh has taken up the issue with the hon. High Court, Allahabad. So, we can expect a judicial enquiry. So far as disposal of dead bodies is concerned, an enquiry by the Additional District Magistrate, Meerut, has been ordered. So, I think, this is the sufficient reply. (Ends)

SHORT DURATION DISCUSSION ON STEEP RISE IN PRICES OF ESSENTIAL COMMODITIES IN THE COUNTRY --- (CONTD.)

 

ֻ (֜) : ֤ߵ ֳ֯ן , ֮֯ ׾ֵ ָ ׻֋ ӟ֟: ָ פ , ׻֋ ֯ ֮־֤ ֮֮ߵ ӡ ֲ , ֲ ִ֮ ֜ և פ ꅠ ։, ֮֮ߵ ӡ ֳ ֤õ ִֵ ֛ 滵־֮ ׾ ã֟ ֮֮ߵ ֤õ ִ֮ օ ָ ֵ 20 ֮ և, ׾ֿ ߾֮ ־ֿ ß , ִ֮ ֮µ ߾֮ ׻֋ ־ֿ ִ֟ ß , - ֙, ־ֻ, ֻ, פ ֮ , ֟ և ߅ ֲ ֪֮ ָ ֵ֟ ֟ , ־ֵ ֮ ָ ״ , ָ ׾ ָ- ֻ߅ ֲ ֪֮ ־ֿ ß ֵ֟ ָ ֮ ֛ , ֮ ֛

֟

- ֕ ֵօ

(2/֋֋ ָ ֿ:)

2G/HMS-VP/1.30

ֻ (֟) : ִ֮֮ߵ ֤õ ׻֋ ןֵ ֮և և , "־-֮" ֟ ו֋, "־ ־֮ ֮:" ֟ ֵ , ֕ ֮ ֵ ?

, ֜ ߴ פ և ָ ־֮ ׮ִ 28 47 ןֿ֟ ר Ͽ ֮ ׾֮֬ , ֛ ֮ ֳ ß ֮ ֵ ֮ פ ֋ , ï™ ָ ֣ ־֮ ֛ ָ ֣ ֻ ֋ ֮֮ߵ ֤õ ו , ֮ ו օ ֲָ ֟ , Ӥ ֛ , "ֻ ߾֮ ֵ, ָ ֮, ӓֻ ֮߅" , ֕ ֮-߾֮ ß ֮֮ߵ ֳ֯ן , ֯ ִ֬ ӡ 70 ןֿ֟ և ϳ׾֟ , ִ֬ ָ߲ ׯ ֮֮ߵ דָ֤ ִ֮ ֮ ָ ֮֮ߵ ֳ֯ן , ֮ דָ֤ Ӳָ ָ , ָ ֮ ߟֻ֟ ֮ ֮ , ׮֟ ָ ֯ ָָ ֯ ןֵ ָ , פև ֛ ָ ֻ ֋? ־ָ ֟֓ߟ ֻ , ֮֮ߵ ӡ ֮ פ֮ ֯ ִ֬ ־ָ ֟ ֻ, ָֻ ӟ ֮ ֮ ִ י ֮ ֕ ãן ׮ٴ֟ , ֤ ™׾ ףֻ ָ ָ ֵ ֟ "ֵ ֵ ׻ׯ ֤ ֻ-ֻ, ֻ ָ ߾ֻ߅"

ִ֮֮ߵ ֤õ ™ߵ ׮ֵ וֿ ™ָ֓ օ ֮ ־ֿ "֕ ֲߕ ™ָ֓, ֮ ֢, פ ןָ" ֳ֯ן , ֮֮ߵ ֤õ ו֮ ׾֢ ӡ ֿ־ӟ ֮ ״ֻ , ß׾ ֮ ד֟ ןֵ ֮֮ ־ פ ֮֮ߵ ֮ ϟ ָ™ ֮ ֱ ־ ֟֋ ִֵ ֲ ׬ ֲ ָָ Ӿ-߮֟ ֟ և ֟ ָ ־֮ þ ֵ ֿ ׌ֵ ֤ , ֻ֟߮ ֮֮ߵ Ϭ֮ ӡ ׻ -- ֟ ֮ ֵ , ָ ֵֿ ֯ וִָ ִֵ ָָ ֮ ׻ օ ֵֿ , ִֵ Ϭ֮ ӡ , ָ֬ ֮µ ϕ֟ӡ ׸ , ָ ֤ ֮ ד֟ ד֟ ӟָ ֮֟ (2 /ߋ־ ָ ֿ:)

PK/PSV/2H/1.35

ֻ (֟) : ֮֮ߵ ֳ֯ן , ִ֯ Ӯ ֓ ѓ ״֮֙ ׬ օ ֻ֮ ֯ ֟ ִ, ֮֯ ָ פ, ׻֋ ֮־֤ פ օ

֯ ִ֬ ֮֮ߵ ӡ ׮־ , ֻ ֻ ָ ï™ פ ߸ ִ ֮ ׿־֟ և ӛ ִ֟ ָ ֟ ֮֮ߵ דָ֤ , ָ, ָ ִ֟ ֯ ׿־֟ և ӛ ׻֋ ֋, ֣ ô ֯ օ ֮ š , ֯ ֟ ֿ ֮ , ׮֤ ֤ :

"ןš, ϟ, ֯־ָ׮ֲ֟"

֯ ֮־֤, օ (ִ֯)

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE (SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM): Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, I am grateful to the hon. Members for initiating a discussion on rise in prices of essential commodities. Firstly, we must look at the overall economic scenario and place the issue in context. After placing it in context, we must and I shall address price rise in individual commodities, which concern the common man. As far as items like rice, or, wheat, or, sugar, or, urad, or, tur is concerned, whether it is a rich person or a poor person, everybody has to consume that. So, when I say that we will address the issues of the citizens of this country, it is an issue which concerns everyone; so, we are all concerned. Let me first set out the context. Sir, in a developing country, which is registering high growth rates, some inflation is inevitable. In fact, the years in which we had very low inflation were also years of very low growth. When credit expands, when investment expands, when money supply expands, it has an impact on prices. Now, what was the situation as far as the Wholesale Price Index is concerned. I will come to the CPI in a moment. The Wholesale Price Index, we have figures for several years. The average for 2001-02 was 7.1 per cent; the average for 2003-04 was 5.48 per cent; the average in 2005-06, that is, the last year, was 4.43 per cent. Overall, there is a secular decline in the core inflation rate. But some inflation, around 4.5 per cent or 5 per cent, is inevitable in a developing country. We have to manage interest rate, exchange rate, and the inflation rate. The triangulation of these three makes it very difficult to strike a balance unless you take steps from time to time. I think we are managing it reasonably well. The WPI as per the last report, is 3.95 per cent, just below 4 per cent, and when it is looked at in the Consumer Price Index, the last figure for March 2006 was 4.95 per cent. So, the overall inflation situation is under control, and, given that our growth rates are close to eight per cent, I am afraid, some inflation is inevitable. (Contd. by 2J/PB)

 

PB/2J/1.40

SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM (CONTD.): Now, within this overall inflation rate, prices of commodities behave differently as hon. Members rightly said, depending upon production, demand, supply and other market forces.

Now, concern has been expressed about the rise in prices of some commodities. I do not deny that. Some commodities have shown an increase in the trend in prices; some have shown a decline. For example, commodities like groundnut oil, mustard oil, vanaspati, loose tea, salt have all shown a decline over the last two years. When prices decline sharply, producers complain; consumers are happy. Take, for example, mustard oil. Two years ago, on this day, it was fifty-five rupees a kilo; today, it is forty-nine rupees a kilo. Mustard producers are complaining. Some prices are declining. Likewise, as I said, some prices have increased. For example, take rice. I am looking at Delhi prices. Two years ago, its price was Rs. 12.50 per kilogram; this year, yesterday, it was Rs. 14 per kilo in Delhi. The price of Atta was Rs. 9 per kilo earlier and now, it is Rs. 11 in Delhi. But it is the prices of pulses which have shown a sharp spurt, and I will come to that in a moment; especially, urad and tur have shown a sharp spurt. Sugar is another commodity but it is affected by different factors; sugar has also shown a rise. But within each commodity, prices vary from city to city; prices vary from State to State. Take, for example, gram. In Patna, it is Rs. 24 a kilo, whereas in Lucknow, it is Rs. 29.50 a kilo, and, in Delhi, it is Rs. 31 a kilio. So, even within a commodity, where there is some marginal price increase, it varies from city to city, State to State. This is really because of the trader behaviour, demand and supply, purchasing power of the local community, local people and the willingness of the State Governments to take strong action against blackmarketeers and hoarders. I believe many of you were here when the Agriculture Minister replied on the overall agriculture situation. We have had to import wheat because arrivals of wheat in the mandis have been lower this year; and the procurement has been lower. We started with a low stock position. We had to give a bonus and we had to augment the total availability of wheat in this country, that will be imported wheat. I believe he has given, in my view, a very strong justification why we did the twin steps, one of increasing the price as a bonus to our domestic producers, and, at the same time, augmenting the total availability of wheat by importing a certain quantity of wheat.

Now, as far as steps taken are concerned, in wheat we have announced an import of 35 lakh tonnes. In sugar, we have -- in sugar, the reason is, the world availability is lower because a lot of canes being diverted for ethanol; world prices have risen; India's prices are rising in sympathy with the world prices -- released 42 lakhs of free sale sugar for the quarter April-June, which is 8 lakh tonnes higher from the releases during the corresponding period last year. Subsequently, additional releases of two lakh tonnes were also announced. To contain volatility in the prices of wheat, sugar and pulses, the Forward Market Commission has taken some steps reducing the circuit filter limits and increasing the margins.

My immediate concern is pulses, and I wish to spend a few minutes dealing with pulses. Now, as far as production of pulses is concerned, these are the figures. It has stagnated between 130 and 140 lakh tonnes for several years now. Just in recent years, in 2003-04, the total production was 149 lakh tonnes, in 2004-05, it was 131 lakh tonnes.

(Contd. by 2k/HK)

HK/2k/1.45

SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM (CONTD.): In 2005-06, the production was 139 lakh tonnes. It goes up the few lakh tonnes and comes down the few lakh tonnes. More or less, it is stagnant. We start with a low stock position and then we have a marginal increase in production. It impacts prices. The reason is, the pulses are grown mainly on marginal and sub-marginal land under rain-fed conditions. Less than 15 per cent of the area under pulses is irrigated exposing the output of pulses to the vagaries of weather. No major breakthrough in pulse production technology and improvement of high-yielding germ plasma has been possible because of inherent genetic problems and narrow adaptability in the whole variety of pulses. This is a long-term issue. I know it is being addressed. But frankly we have not made any breakthrough. Now, some pulses are predominantly consumed only in the sub-continent. Many of them are not grown abroad or in any other country. Arhar, Gram, Masoor, Moong, Urad etc., are predominantly sub-continent pulses. Imports have also stagnated at about 13 lakh tonnes in 2004-05 and 13-1/2 lakh tonnes last year. That is because many of these pulses are not available and the total surpluses available in the international market are also limited. There is a mismatch. This is a reality that we have to face. There is a mismatch between demand and supply of pulses; demand and availability of pulses; and this impacts prices. A number of policy measures are under contemplation by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The Forward Markets Commission has taken some steps to increase margin requirements and to switch over to delivery-based markets. But these are to be addressed by the Agriculture Minister. Immediately, what is that we can do? We can try to augment availability. We can augment availability by procuring more in the case of wheat and paddy that is available in the country and by importing, if necessary. In the case of pulses, the only way we can augment availability is to allow imports. The imports are being allowed. In the case of sugar, we can restrain prices by increasing the free quota. All this is being done. All this will have their impact once the monsoon sets in and there is prospect of a good harvest. You will find that there is a price-restraining effect of monsoons. This is a difficult month in all years. Whoever is the Government, these are difficult months. The pre-monsoon month is a difficult month. The stock positions are low and the availability is also tight. There will be some impact on prices. But we are sensitive to the matter. As I said, this affects everyone -- rich, poor, urban, rural. All of us have to consume this. We are sensitive to the matter and we will address that. For example, the RBI's outlook on inflation is about 5 and 5-1/2 per cent. Last year, I said, my outlook on inflation is between 4 and 4-1/2 per cent. Thankfully, we had a lower inflation last year than what was projected. This year also, I believe that we will be able to contain inflation between 4 and 5 per cent. But within that band of inflation, we will do all that is possible in order to augment the availability of these commodities both in the domestic market and through imports. We will not hesitate import if availability has to be increased. I assure the hon. Members that we keep a close watch on prices. We are as concerned as everyone is. We are aware that in some areas, especially pulses, there is a sharp rise. But we will take the necessary steps to contain these prices. Thank you. (Ends)

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: Sir, hon. the Finance Minister was not present in this House when this subject was discussed yesterday. We had made a number of points. I am afraid, he has not been properly briefed as a result of which he has not touched upon a large number of issues which were raised by the Members of this House. It is a very, very unsatisfactory reply and we are not, at all, satisfied with the manner in which he has replied. We are not, at all, satisfied with the explanation he has given and, therefore, Sir, in protest against this we are walking out.

(At this stage some hon. Members left the Chamber.)

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Now, the discussion is over.

(Followed by 2L/GSP)

GSP/2L/1.50

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Now, we take up the Union Duties of Excise (Electricity) Distribution Repeal Bill, 2006. Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal

THE UNION DUTIES OF EXCISE (ELECTRICITY) DISTRIBUTION REPEAL BILL, 2006

THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE (SHRI PAWAN KUMAR BANSAL): Sir, I beg to move:

"That the Bill to repeal the Union Duties of Excise (Electricity) Distribution Act, 1980, as passed by Lok Sabha, be taken into consideration."

 

The question was put and the motion was adopted.

 

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Now, we shall take up clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill.

Clause 2 and 3 were added to the Bill.

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

SHRI PAWAN KUMAR BANSAL: Sir, I beg to move:

That the Bill be returned.

The question was put and the motion was adopted.

(Ends)

SHORT DURATION DISCUSSION ON FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT IN RETAIL SECTOR

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Now, we take up Short Duration Discussion on Foreign Direct Investment in retail sector. Shri Murli Manohar Joshi. Not here. Shri Praveen Rashtrapal.

SHRI PRAVEEN RASHTRAPAL (GUJARAT): Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, I must thank you for giving me an opportunity to speak on this very important subject. Sir, before I deal with the subject in particular, I would like to inform this august House that as per the recent independent survey conducted, the finance affairs in this country are well managed, and, among the Cabinet Ministers, the Finance Minister has been given very good marks. Sir, the inflation in this country is well below the dangerous mark and foreign exchange position is also quite satisfactory.

What I am concerned about is the double standards of certain political parties. I am talking about the NDA, in particular. When they were in power, they have supported the FDI in retail sector. I would like to quote from the election agenda of the NDA. I quote:

"Organized retail trade on the international pattern will be promoted as a new engine of growth for trade and employment through appropriate legal and fiscal measures. Twenty six per cent FDI in retailing will be allowed. Sourcing of Indian products by foreign retail chains will be encouraged. India's vast market has potential for generating high growth and thereby reducing poverty and economic inequalities. Internal trade barriers hamper growth. They will be identified and removed."

I may also prove and produce a news item, where a statement by the then Finance Minister of the NDA, Shri Jaswant Singh has gone on record to say that FDI in retail is required; it will be there, and, the heading of the Press says, 'Jaswant firm on FDI'. Now, what was admitted by the NDA regime was appreciated very recently, that is, in the beginning of 2004, then, why the same partners are now criticising when this Government is likely to introduce the FDI in retail after proper study, after proper thinking, for which a Group of Ministers has also been appointed. You will kindly appreciate that all over the country -- you must look at the population figures -- below-25 population in this country is on the higher side. (Contd. by 2M/sk)

SK/2m/1.55

SHRI PRAVEEN RASHTRAPAL (CONTD.): We have also got the figures about the middle class. Approximately 300 million people belong to the middle class. Urbanisation in the country has increased. And, for that, the trading community, the industrialists and every other people who are interested in business, particularly, in retail business, have constructed very big-sized complexes. At the same time, metropolitan cities have malls where you can get all sundry retail items under the same roof. That is catering to the needs of urban population in metropolitan cities of Banglore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, etc. At the same time, you may go all over the world. There may be malls; there may be very big complexes. But, the small shops, the corner shops are not losing their business. There is a vast population in this country which is catering to the needs of the people belonging to the poor strata, the people residing in the towns, the people residing in the villages. Hence, there is no threat. One thing we must criticise. We must have our self-criticism. Once you have entered global economy, once you have signed various agreements under the WTO, you can't run away from the responsibilities which you are going to have. I am extremely sorry to admit, with due respect to the industrialists in this country, that we were not able to maintain international standards of quality, international standards of management, international standards of processing and international standards of managing the affairs of the trade. We were also compromising with regard to pollution and all other environmental problems. By entering the WTO, by entering the global economy, our retailers will also be asked to follow the rules which are there in other cities. When we go to foreign countries, we praise everything there -- cleanliness, mechanisation and computerisation. And, when we come back to our country, we again criticise that we have got population. It is true that we have population. China also have got huge population. In fact, our country must compete with a country like China which is known for mass production. At the same time, our country must also compete with western countries which are known for quality, which are known for brands, which are known for management. You will kindly appreciate that now if you enter a very big complex and purchase anything, whether you ask for a bill or not, the bills are always prepared. This will help the country; this will help the Revenue Department from the evasion which used to take place in the past when the goods were sold without bills. Super markets, along with corner shops, will remain exempt. These are the advantages. There will be competition. We have got Indian retail magnates also. We have got Reliance; we have got Tata; we have got L&T. They are not foreigners. So, our retailers are going to have competition within Indian big giants who are entering the various fields of retail trade. When they are having competition with Indian giants, our retailers should also be organised. I will give you one example. We have got vast production of fruit. Our country is producing many varieties of fruits. But, we don't have processing industry in this country. As a result, we are losing. I can give examples of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, various parts of Uttar Pradesh, even a place like Gujarat, where we are manufacturing Isabgol. But, we are not able to export Isabgol to foreign countries. We are exporting Isabgol for processing only, because we don't have that machinery. The small farmers in our country cannot afford to acquire the processing machinery; for that, there should be a chain of retailers who organise. As a result, when FDI comes to retail market, it is not going to have disadvantage to the country. It will definitely help. But, at the same time, I do agree that we must give a level-playing field to the retailers. (Contd. by ysr-2n)

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