PREVIOUS HOUR

-NBR-USY/LT/2s/3.00

DEMAND TO EXPEDITE COMPLETION OF TEESTA IRRIGATION

IRRIGATION PROJECT AS A NATIONAL PROJECT

 

DR. BARUN MUKHERJEE (WEST BENGAL): Sir, though thirty-one years have passed, since its inception in 1976, yet the work of Teesta Irrigation Project is far from completion. It is a vital project for the overall development of the northern part of West Bengal. Its Approach Paper stated that the project would enhance North Bengal's food production by 62,000 MT; would generate additional 4,000 crore man-days; and, the installation of tunnel in the river flow would produce 1325 MV hydro-electric power. The project was designed to be completed in three phases. But, unfortunately, only 30 per cent of the first phase work has so far been completed. Since 2000, the work is completely stalled. On the other hand, the giant projects, like, the Bhakra Nangal Project of Punjab, the Nagarjuna Sagar Irrigation Project of Andhra Pradesh and other major projects of Rajasthan have successfully been completed as national projects. I urge upon the Union Government to declare this long-pending and neglected Teesta Irrigation Project as a national project and expedite its completion within a time frame to fulfil the aspirations and urgent needs of the people of North Bengal.

(Ends)

SHRI MATILAL SARKAR (TRIPURA): Sir, I associate myself with what the hon. Member, Dr. Barun Mukherjee, has said.

(Ends)

SHRI TARINI KANTA ROY (WEST BENGAL): Sir, I associate myself with what the hon. Member, Dr. Barun Mukherjee, has said.

DR. M.S. GILL (PUNJAB): Sir, I associate myself with what the hon. Member, Dr. Barun Mukherjee, has said.

DEMAND FOR DEVELOPMENT OF NATIONAL HIGHWAYS IN ORISSA

ֵָ () : ֮־֤ ֳ֯ן ֳ֯ן , ִ ֣ ֕ ִ֕ ֲ ֻ֟ ӟ ӳ߸ Ϭִ֮ӡ ִ ֛ ֛ ֻ֟ ֲָ Ϭִ֮ӡ ִ ֛ ֮ ״ֵ և ֛ ֻ֤ ֡ ֿ և ™ߵ ִ֕ԅ ָߵ ™ߵ ִ֕ ׬, ..כ.ׯ. ֣ ™ߵ ִ֕ ׾ֳ, ָ ֲ ״ֻ ֋ ֕ פ ֮-֮ ֻ ׸ ֲ ֋օ ™ߵ ִ֕ . 215 ֮ ׻ ִ֕ӛ , ... . 23 (ֆӸֻ ӓ ) ֻ֟ ӟ ֲָ .ִ֕ ָ וֻ Ӥ֜ וֻ ֵָ և ֟ ֻ֓ ֻ ׸ ֛ײֻ ָ ߓ ß . 215 ֟ , ӛ ָ ָ ә ӓ .. ֟ : ֯ ִ֬ .. ָ֟ ִ ßָ ָ ׻֋ (nb/2t ָ ָ)

NB/VP/2T/3.05

ֵָ (֟) : , ָָ PPP ָ BOT ߴ , ™ߵ ִ֕ ָ֟, Ͽß, خ ֵ֯ ׮ִ ִ ֻ ֻ NH-42 ׻ ӆֻ خ ִ ׾ֻӲ ָ ֋ ™ߵ ִ֕ ָ ֻ ָ ׻֋ ֵ֯ ־֮֬ ֋ -ָֻ ™ߵ ִ֕ ӯ ֣ ָ֮- ™ߵ ִ֕ خ ִ ߑןֿߑ ֋ ֛ ׸ ӡֵֻ ֕ ֳ ™ߵ ִ֕ ָ֟ ָ ֵԯ ֮ , ֯ ִ֬ ׾ִ֮ ׮־ (ִ֯)

֚ () : ֳ֯ן , ֮ ֯ ׾ֿ ֣ ִ֨

ߴ֟ () : ֳ֯ן , ֮ ֯ ׾ֿ ֣ ִ֨

״ֻ ߤ () : ֳ֯ן , ֮ ֯ ׾ֿ ֣ ִ֨

ֻ (֜) : ֳ֯ן , ֮ ֯ ׾ֿ ֣ ִ֨

DEMAND FOR HAVING IMMEDIATE RELOCATION PLAN FOR EXISTING HABITATION FROM TIGER RESERVES.

---

SHRI VIJAY J. DARDA (MAHARASHTRA): Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, our late Prime Ministers, Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Shri Rajiv Gandhi, advocated the need to have sanctuaries, national parks and tiger reserves to regenerate forest cover. There are 67 national parks and 398 wildlife sanctuaries, out of which 17 have been brought under the Project, "Tiger Reserves". Their effective management envisages exclusion of human interference in the form of habitation, domestic livestock, agriculture and other land-use practices. It is a fact that for safeguarding precious gene pool and flora and fauna, concerted steps are indispensable to eliminate human interference, involving relocation of the existing habitations. There is no doubt that about 40 villages have been relocated from the tiger reserves, but more than 125 villages from the tiger reserves are still awaiting relocation. There may even be more if we take into consideration other national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. In 1989-90, the then Department of Environment, Forests and Wildlife had prepared a scheme, envisaging an expenditure of Rs. 200 crores, during the Seventh Five Year Plan. How and where that money has been spent is hardly visible. Tiger reserves in Central India remain unrelocated. In Melghat Tiger Reserve, 19 villages out of 22, in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve 59 villages out of 65, and in Pench Tiger Reserve, 19 villages out of 20, remain unrelocated. Even on the resettled ten villages, grossly inadequate funds have been spent, thus leaving them in lurch. A complete relocation plan is an immediate necessity, with adequate funds and time-bound implementation thereof. (Ends)

(Followed by PK/2U)

PK-AKG/2U/3.10

DEMAND FOR CONTINUATION of EEE MODE

FOR ALL SAVINGS INSTRUMENTS

 

SHRI MOINUL HASSAN (WEST BENGAL): Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, the saving instruments comprising Provident Fund, small savings, insurance policies etc. have all been exempted from taxation at all the three stages, viz. contribution, accumulation and withdrawal, known as EEE system. But the proposed migration to the EET system, on which an expert committee is reportedly at work, which would, virtually, make exemption at the earlier stages of contribution and accumulation is a mockery. The imposition of tax at the withdrawal stage is nothing but cumulative taxation on the entire corpus, which will be at the peak rate of tax. This will not only discourage savings from a vast section of the people, it will also doom the institutions like LIC, GIC, PF, Small Savings and cause financial hardships to the millions of workers, employees and a vast community of small public savings, including that of senior citizens.

Sir, the previous Government had, over the years, cut down the administered rate of interest payable on all these instruments from 12 per cent in June 2000 to 8 per cent in 2002. The present Government has not replaced the position, though the unanimous demand of the trade unions is to restore the interest rate to 12 per cent. The move to tax all saving instruments at the withdrawal stage is a further attack on the workers, employees and public savings.

Hence, I urge upon the Government to give up this retrograde move and continue with the decades-old EEE mode for all saving instruments. (Ends)

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Now, general discussion on the Budget (General), 2007-08. Shri Yashwant Sinha.

SHRI M. VENKAIAH NAIDU: Sir, such a senior Member is speaking; I was wondering -- Ministers are also there -- whether there was any relevance for speeches made in this Upper House. Because, I have found that very rarely newspapers take note of what is said here, not about this man or that man, or, this issue or that issue. It is a matter that the entire House should really ponder over. We can't force anybody; we can't give a direction to any newspaper. But if something constructive is discussed here which is concerning larger section of people, and, unfortunately, we don't have a channel; there is a channel for the other House.....

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Rajya Sabha channel is seen all over the country.

SHRI M. VENKAIAH NAIDU: Not this channel, Sir...(Interruptions).. I don't want to make any reference to the other House..(Interruptions)..

SHRI SHANTARAM LAXMAN NAIK: We are also supporting...(Interruptions)..

SHRI M. VENKAIAH NAIDU: We are in a democracy. Democracy means communicating to the people, not to put it only on record of the House. ׻֋ ָ ָ ִ߸ ֮ ֛օ ֋, ֵ , ָ ֲ ״ֻ ֮ ߕ ׾ֵ ׾ֵ

ֳ֯ן : ֮֯ օ Efforts have been made by the presiding officers to call the editors, senior reporters to see that whatever legislative debates are going on should be given due publicity, but our efforts are continuing.

׾ֵ֕ . : ָ, ֟ ... (־֮֬) ...

ֳ֯ן : ֯ represent ... (־֮֬) ...

׾ֵ֕ . : ָ, ֟ ֟ ... (־֮֬) ... ֟ , ֯ ֟ ֟ , ֯ ָ ™ , ָ֮ ־ֿ ָ ֙ , ֟

ֳ֯ן : ֟

׾ֵ֕ . : ׻֋ ϵ ֟ ֯ ֲ ߙ ֋, ֓ , ֵ ׯֻ֋, ֮ ֋ ... (־֮֬) ...

PROF. P.J. KURIEN: That is an insinuation...(Interruptions)..

׾ֵ֕ . : ָ, ֯ ֋, ֕֙ ֮ ֯ דָ֤ ֕֙ כ

׾ ֤ : ָ, ׾֮֫ ״֡ ֟ , ֟

ֳ֯ן :

. .. ׸֮ : ֟ ֋ ... (־֮֬) ... The point made is very good. .(Interruptions).. Good speeches never come; whatever is indiscipline, that is reported very well. Good speeches that are made never come out. They do come, but rarely...(Interruptions)..

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: This is too much, Mr. Kurien, let him start.

(Followed by 2W)

PB/2W/3.15

THE BUDGET (GENERAL), 2007-08

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA (JHARKHAND): Sir, we should not really mind it. Maybe, the media is gone for lunch. We have been working hard or as you say in Bihari 'hardly'. ...(Interruptions)... You know they have been very busy. They might have gone to eat their lunch.

(The VICE-CHAIRMAN, PROF. P.J. KURIEN, in the Chair.)

Sir, I rise to offer the comments of my party on the Budget of 2007-08. Sir, this is the fourth Budget of the UPA Government, last but one, because next year, if they are around, they will present the last Budget of the UPA Government. In 2009, there will be no Budget. As we know, there will be only a Vote on Account. Virtually, for the Finance Minister, Mr. Chidambaram, this was his sixth Budget, and if he looks into the records of the Finance Ministry as I have done, there have been only two Finance Ministers in this country who have presented six Budgets or more. He had a very distinguished predecessor in Morarji Desai who presented, I think, eight Budgets, and Mr. Chidambaram has presented, with this one, his sixth Budget. There is a saying that 'practice makes perfect', and, obviously, if somebody is at the same job for two, three, four, five or six times, then you expect that the sixth will be better than the fifth, the fifth will be better than the fourth and so on. So, in his sixth Budget, the fourth one for the UPA, there were a lot of expectations, expectations which were voiced through the media, print and television. There were expectations which emanated from every section of society on the economy.

Sir, he had presented a dream Budget in 1997-98, and this was the tenth anniversary of that dream Budget and, therefore, some people were predicting that the 2007-08 Budget will also be a dream Budget. As far as I am concerned, I am happy that he has not presented a dream Budget because we know what happened to the 1997-98 dream Budget.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Dream need not always come true.

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: But the point I would like to make, Sir, is that every Budget has an economic context. The Finance Minister takes into account, the economic context, the prevailing economic situation and prepares his Budget in that context. And, as we are all aware, the context was a dream-like context. I don't think there has been a Finance Minister in a very long time, or, perhaps, ever who has had the kind of elbow room that the present Finance Minister has had with regard to almost every indices of the economic performance of this country. As the Finance Minister has said in his Budget speech, there was the Tenth Plan which is going to end on the 31st March, and he informed the country that the eight per cent growth rate of the Tenth Plan is likely to be achieved, will be nearly -- I think 'nearly' is the word that he has used -- achieved. And I am very happy that the Tenth Plan target of eight cent growth is going to be achieved because I recall that when this target was fixed by the Planning Commission at the beginning of the Tenth Plan, then it was said that it represented nothing more than 'Mungeri Lal ke sunhere sapne' (Contd. by 2x/SKC)

2x/3.20/skc

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA (CONTD.): And I am glad that mungeri lal's sunahare sapney have actually come true. It is good for the country if we rise above party politics.

Sir, there are also some underlying concerns. The Finance Minister told us in his Budget Speech that he would refer to the strengths and the weaknesses, the achievements and the failures, as candidly as possible. The underlying concerns are, obviously, low agricultural growth and its declining contribution to the GDP, high inflation, especially of essential commodities, rising interest rates, a growing current account deficit, an infrastructure deficit in the economy, which has been coming for a long time now, and the slow pace of economic reforms. Even if we don't refer to economic reforms in a larger context and limit it only to the reforms promised by this Government, the pace of economic reforms is quite slow. Obviously, in this situation, the Budget was expected to take advantage of the prevailing favourable conditions and address the underlying concerns. The question is whether the Finance Minister been able to do so.

Sir, before I go into an analysis of the question that I have put before the House, I would like to raise a somewhat different issue. All of us are applauding the high growth rate that the economy has registered in the last four years. And, the fact that this growth rate is likely to continue for many years to come means that the growth rate is not a flash in the pan; the growth rate is not temporary; the growth rate is sustainable and it is going to last. But, very few people are asking the question, what has made this growth rate possible? I will, of course, offer an explanation, and I would expect the Finance Minister, when he replies to the Budget debate, to throw further light on it, or join issue with me if he wants to. But, it is important for us to recall at this stage what has made the Indian economy achieve this sustainable growth rate of eight per cent and above. Now, some economists have tried to answer this question, and it is not a secret anymore that the most important contributing factor has been the control of inflation, as a result of which it was possible to moderate interest rates, as a result of which it was possible to have greater liquidity in the market. Liberalisation unleashed consumer demand, especially the demand for real estate, both housing and commercial, with its multiplier effect on the economy as a whole. Everyone agrees that because of the low inflation, because of moderate interest rates and because of the unleashing of consumer demand in the country, which had been suppressed for decades, we have had tremendous economic activity, especially in the services sector and in the manufacturing sector. And, all the economists, Sir, would now point out that India's growth is a consumer demand-led growth as against China's growth, which is an investment-led growth. They are also expressing an opinion that sooner than later, if China wants to continue its high growth rate -- it is another question whether they want to or not -- and if India wants to continue with its high growth rate, then our consumer demand-led growth will have to be accompanied by investment-led growth and China's investment-led growth will have to be supplemented by a consumer demand-led growth. (Contd. by 2y/hk)

HK/2y/3.25

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA (CONTD.): I am saying this because if we miss this basic point, then the road that we shall chart out for ourselves in future will perhaps not be the right road. Sir, when the Budget was presented, there was a general disappointment. No section of society and no sector of the economy appear to be happy with the Budget. Then I came across a startling comment from the representatives of the Government including the Finance Minister saying that, at least, we have not caused any damage to anyone. This, to my mind, is a very peculiar view to take that we have done a massive thing like a Budget for a whole year and the only satisfaction is that it has not caused any damage to anyone. But more than that, Sir, I would like to say that, to my mind, the central issue in the economy today is inflation. Why is it the central issue? Inflation had gone up in 2004 also in later parts. In August 2004, WPI had touched a high of 8.7 per cent. But why didn't inflation bother people so much in 2004 as it has bothered in 2006 and is bothering at this point of time. The difference between the rise and inflation then and the rise and inflation now is a very basic difference. The inflation today is largely accounted for by rise in the prices of essential commodities which hurts the common man. So, they are not some manufactured goods, they are not fuel and lubricants, but they are primary products, essential commodities which are at the centre of this inflationary spiral and that is why I am saying that inflation is the central issue in the economy today. Now, I was surprised and I am saying this with a degree of sadness as to what is the mindset that the Finance Minister has brought to bear on this question. He has said, and I would like my colleagues in this House, especially on this side to take note of this, in his Budget Speech, "When the UPA Government assumed office in 2004, the inflation graph was on the rise", and thereby trying to create an impression as if the NDA was responsible or is responsible for this price rise. I was wondering why he said this? I came across on 1st March an interview that he gave to a newspaper, Business Standard. What was the question that the journalist asked him? The question was on the UPA's performance on inflation management. I am quoting. The Finance Minister's reply was, "In 1998-99 for 11 weeks inflation was well above 6 per cent; in 1999-2000 it was well above 6 per cent for 48 of the 52 weeks." ..(Interruptions)..

SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: It was in 2000-2001, not in 1999-2000. I said this in this House also. Don't go by newspapers. ..(Interruptions)..

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: I was not perhaps in the House. ..(Interruptions)..

SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: Don't go by newspapers only. ..(Interruptions).. Don't go by the view that everything that is printed in newspapers is correct. ..(Interruptions).. It was in 2000-2001.

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: Okay. I am glad that you corrected it. In terms of the Finance Minister, in 2000-2001 it was well over 6 per cent for 48 of the 52 weeks. (Contd. by 2z/KSK)

 

KSK/SCH/3.30/2Z

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA (CONTD): In 2000-01, it was well over 6 per cent for 48 or 52 weeks. In fact, it was above 7 per cent for 22 weeks, and above 8 per cent for 12 weeks in that year. In May-June, 2004, when UPA Government came into power, inflation crossed 6 per cent, went up to 8 per cent and we moderated it to 3.8 per cent. So, the Government has moderated inflation in the past and we can do it again." All the stars are round and, therefore, the earth is round; we have done it in the past and, therefore, we can do it again. I am not going into that. I am talking about the mindset. What is the mindset? He has not said as to how we are going to do it; nothing of that kind. When the NDA was in power, inflation was so much. In this year, in this week, it was so much. Now, therefore, it forced me to go into the various Economic Surveys that this Government have presented after they came into office in 2004. And, what does it say? I am quoting the Economic Survey of 2003-04. ־֮ , ֯ ֟ ו֋ ִֵ ֯ ׾֢ ӡ ꅠ "The point-to-point inflation rate, after declining sharply in the first quarter of 2004 to 4.6 per cent at the end of March, 2004, inched up to 5.5 per cent on June 5, 2004." But, it also says very clearly that the point-to-point inflation declined to 4.2 per cent in mid-May, 2004.

(MR. CHAIRMAN in the Chair)

We demitted office. They assumed office on 22nd of May and I am talking of mid-May. In mid-May, inflation declined to 4.02 per cent, and what did the Economic Survey say when it crossed 5 per cent after they came into office? The Economy Survey says, "Mainly because of the seasonal increase in the prices of fruits and vegetables during this part of the year". And, Sir, while WPI, the Wholesale Price Index, might have gone, the CPI for industrial workers, Consumer Price Index, was only 2.8 per cent for May, 2004, and what was the WPI for food articles? It was 3.6 per cent. It went up subsequently after they came into power and the Economic Survey presented before the Budget of 8th July, 2004, clearly stated, "There is nothing to worry; the outlook is benign", and they allowed inflation to go up. As I said, it went up to 8.7 per cent in August, 2004. In our time, when Shri Jaswant Singh assumed charge of the Finance Ministry, we had the worst drought in this country in the year 2002. Agricultural production declined by minus seven-eight per cent. Foodgrains production actually declined by over 30 million tonnes in that year. But, what does their Economic Survey say? "The comfortable supply situation and remarkable price stability in respect of foodgrains in different parts of the country despite 2002 poor monsoon have demonstrated the relevance of our food security system. Because we had foodgrains in our godowns, we were able to take care of that shortage in production and we did not allow prices to rise even when there was a massive shortfall in the production of foodgrains." The same Economic Survey talks about a structural decline, and I am quoting. "The structural decline -- I am emphasising the word 'structural' -- in inflation has also narrowed the differential with inflation in developed economies. We came almost at par with the rate of inflation which prevails in developed economy." Now, this is the context. These are not my words. These are the words of Economic Survey that the present Finance Minister submitted to Parliament in July, 2004.

(continued by 3a - gsp)

GSP/3A/3:35

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA (CONTD.): I have taken quotations from there to prove the point that the Finance Minister, Sir, is entirely in the wrong in saying that he inherited an inflationary situation from the NDA. I would not have been compelled to begin my speech with this point if the Finance Minister had not put the blame on us. But be that as it may, the point I am making is: okay, the inflation was above seven per cent, ten per cent, twelve per cent, or, whatever it was, is that the reason why inflation should be going up in your time, is this the reply, Sir, that a Finance Minister is expected to give, is this the reply that I ever gave in the four years when I was the Finance Minister. I would like to tell Mr. Chidambaram, through you, Sir, that if I wanted to, I would have said what I am going to say now that when the greatest Finance Minister of the country, Dr. Manmohan Singh was the Finance Minister for five years between 1991-1996, it is his economic survey presented this year which says that the annual average rate of inflation was 10.6 per cent during those five years. Sir, it is 10.6 per cent, a double-digit figure, in every year of those five years. If you do not believe me, then, Sir, any one is free to take a look at this Economic Survey. So, if inflation went up in my time, will I take shelter behind the fact that it was 10.6 per cent in Manmohan Singh's time, or, it was so and so when Mr. Chidambaram was the Finance Minister. I am making this point, Sir, because they showed a certain arrogance; it shows a state of mind, which the Finance Minister should not have. A Finance Minister of India should be humble, and, if he is faced with a problem, he should not try to throw blame on other parties, he should look into his own doings and find out as to why this is happening.

Sir, not only this, just look at paragraph 69 of the Budget Speech. He is talking about -- and, again, this is a mindset problem -- power. What does it say? It says that the electricity generation has accorded a growth rate, and, the Tenth Plan target for the power sector was, whatever it was, 40,000 MW or so, and, 23,163 MW was achieved. This is a matter of fact and nobody can quarrel with it that we did not reach the target, though the Economic Survey will show that it was a better achievement than the previous Plans. But what does he say, Sir? He makes a political point. What is that political point? He says, "16,339 MW were added in the three years, beginning 2004-05". They came into office; they waved a magic wand, and, immediately, the power plants were set up and started producing, and, 16,339 MW goes to their credit.

I would like to say that if he has that magic wand, please wave it and control the inflation. Why are not you doing it for the aam-aadmi. I would like to ask him a pointed question here. How many projects in the power sector have actually started where the first pour of a concrete has taken place in the last three years. How many of them have actually gone into production and have contributed to 16,339 MW of electricity for which they are claiming credit. It is well known, every Member of this House knows, everyone outside knows that the Government is a continuous business. When we came into office, we inherited whatever they had started. We might have completed them. We moved on. But, to say that 16,339 MW were produced in my time, so, I will take credit. I don't think that we should indulge in this cheap game of credit taking.

(Contd. by sk-3b)

SK/3B/3.40

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA (CONTD.): Similarly, Sir, on savings rate, he had made a point in the Budget Speech, I think, of last year, and I had talked about it when I intervened in the Budget Speech, so I am not going into that now. But, what I notice is, at that point of time last year he had taken credit for the gross domestic savings rate of 29.1 per cent, and when Mr. Jaswant Singh left the Finance Ministry in May 2004, for that year, March end 2004, it was 28.9 per cent. And, I have said all the great reasons that Mr. Chidambaram had mentioned in his 2006 Budget Speech have contributed 20 basis points, 0.2 per cent, from 28.9 to 29.1 per cent. But, these figures have been revised. And, what are the revised figures, Sir? In this year's Economic Survey, the revised figure of 2003-04 is 29.7 per cent as against 28.1 per cent and for 2004-05, it is 31.1 per cent as against 29.1 per cent. So, there is a revision, and 29.1 per cent becoming 30.1 per cent of the GDP is two percentage points of the GDP which, at present calculations, will be something like 120 or 130 thousand crores of rupees. 20 ָ ֵ 30 ָ ֵ ߓ ߅ Now, the point I am asking is, whoever is collecting these figures, how did they miss such a massive amount. I am a pointing this out again, Sir, as far as this Government is concerned, I find that figures are being revised much too often. Trade figures are revised; manufacturing sector figures are revised. You come up with one set of figures at one time, revise it to another set. We recently had, two days ago, figures revised from 11 per cent in the growth in the manufacturing sector to 12.5 per cent. The point I am making is, there is a case for somebody looking into this matter as to why figures are not being collected properly. I remember, I was aware of the fact that there were defects in the shortcomings in the Government collecting figures, especially, very important economic figures, and, therefore, we have set up the Rangarajan Committee to go into this. The Committee went into this; submitted its report. Mr. Rangarajan himself is now the Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council of the Prime Minister. My specific question is: Have the recommendations been implemented? Why is it that we are making such massive mistakes in the collection of figures? But, apart from that, I would like to make another point, as far as saving rate is concerned, that we are all celebrating the fact that India has reached the big league, that our savings rate is now 30 per cent plus, we have also a gross investment rate of 32-33 per cent. That is all very good. But, if you look closely at the figures, there is one thing which worries and that is the stagnation that one notices over three years, as far as household savings are concerned. Why is this going up? Because the private sector savings have gone up. Public sector dis-savings have now got converted into public sector savings. But, as far as household savings are concerned, they have started to stagnate. And, therefore, Sir, the Finance Minister, perhaps, will do well to tell us why household savings which is the bulk of savings is stagnating around 22 per cent of the GDP or so.

Sir, as far as inflation is concerned, there is precious little that this Government has done. As far as inflation is concerned, the Finance Minister has gone on record to say, "Nothing can be done immediately; that we have to wait, maybe, until the end of the year". He has appealed to Lord Varun to be kind to us; give us rains so that production of foodgrains goes up, of oilseeds goes up, of pulses goes up so that the situation will ease.

(Contd. by 3c-ysr)

-SK/YSR-SCH/3.45/3C

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA (CONTD.): The point is, if production goes up, naturally, situation will ease. The challenge is: If there is a shortage, if production does not go up, then what is it that you are going to do to control inflation? I am sorry, there is no report; there is no clear indication of what the Government's plan of action is. They had some meeting yesterday. Television channels were showing that the Minister for Agriculture had again said that we would be importing wheat. They imported 5.5 million tonnes of wheat last year. Bulk of it arrived in India by the end of January. But it has had no impact on wheat prices. And what is it that we are going to do? This issue had been discussed in the House a number of times that we were giving to our farmers Rs.750, including bonus, and we were importing wheat at Rs.1000 per quintal from abroad. Naturally, all of us here in this House were making this point. We have repeatedly made this point: Why don't we give more to the Indian farmer? The whole issue is: Why is it that in our time the stock of foodgrains in our godowns reached the embarrassing level of 65 million tonnes? Why? Only because we were offering attractive procurement prices. Who can force a farmer to sell his produce cheap to the Government or to the FCI or to the State agencies and not at a higher price to the private trader? You can do what you like to control the market operation. But the fact remains that as long as the Indian farmer is getting more in the mandi from the private trader, he would like to sell to the private trader rather than to the Government procurement agencies. So, this year when there is already a shortfall, as recorded in the Economic Survey, of over 5 million tonnes in the procurement of wheat, what is it that the Government is thinking? And it is in that context that I am referring to yesterday's meeting. The Agriculture Minister is saying we will import wheat again, another 5-10 million tonnes. But why are not you prepared to pay more to your farmers, your own farmers? ׬ ֯ ߱ ? ֯ ָ ï™ ו֋ ״׮ִִ ֯ և The first is that you don't want the prices to crash below this. The State Agencies are there in the market, in the mandis. They will buy if prices come below this. So, there is support to the farmer. ָ ? ָ we have a huge Public Distribution System, good, bad, or indifferent. But we have a huge Public Distribution System in which we have such useful schemes as Annapurna and Antyodaya. And we need foodgrains for that Public Distribution System. Now, we get it through the procurement at MSP. But if MSP is not sufficient, then should not the Government of the day think of something different? Should we remain prisoners of the MSP for that year? My suggestion to the Government is that please think about it. If you are not able to procure more, then, for God's sake, go to the market at the right time with higher prices to the Indian farmer. Give him a 50-rupee bonus or a 100-rupee bonus. But please buy at a cheaper price than you will be importing at from abroad. I would like a specific assurance from the Finance Minister when he replies to the debate that they will not make the mistake of buying at higher prices from abroad. But they will make available better prices to the Indian farmer and get it from the Indian farmer.

Sir, I am coming to the agricultural situation prevailing in the country, because the Finance Minister very proudly announced, when he was reading out his speech in the Lok Sabha, that he had devoted 15 or 20 minutes of his time to agriculture. So, if he has devoted 15-20 minutes of his time to agriculture, then agriculture must have started growing in this country. ָ ָ ִֵ ֻ ׾֢ ӡ 15 ״֮֙ ָ ָ օ ָ ֮ ִ֋ ֛֛֬ ׾֢ ӡ , ״ֻ ֵօ (2 ָ ֟)

MP-VKK/3D/3.50

ֿ־ӟ ֮ (֟) : , , ײֻ֕ , ־ָ ֜ ߅ Sir, what is the central issue in agriculture today? There are many issues, but, the central issue is the suicides that our farmers are committing. It is endemic to certain areas ׻֋ Ϭ֮ ӡ ֲ ׾֤ ֋, ׻֋ ïֻ ߅ On the question of suicide by the Indian farmers in these areas, one, at least, expected that if nothing else, the Finance Minister, in his Budget speech, will tell us what exactly they have done, even if it is just a description of what they have done like the Vidharbha package, that is what they have done, this is what they propose to do, etc. What have they said? ֮֬ ֮ , ֮֬ ָ ׾ָ֓ ָ? Farmers indebtedness ־ֻ ָ ׾ָ֓ ֤ ֲ ֮ ן־ , ָ ָָ ׾ָ֓ ׾ָ֓ ֤ ָָ ד֟ ֋߅ Already, Swaminathanji has given a report. indebtedness ָ ֮ ߅ ׾֢ ӡ ִ ׮־ ֱ ...(־֮֬)...

־֮ ָ ֻ : ֯ ֱ 48 ֜ ?

ֿ־ӟ ֮ : , ֋, ...(־֮֬)...

־֮ ָ ֻ : ֯ 47 ֜ ו֋

ֿ־ӟ ֮ : , ֜ , - ֲ ֜ ֻ , ֯ ïߓ , ײ֮ ïߓ ֮֟ ֮֬ ֮ , ִ և , he could have added one more line here that the Government will act on the report as soon as it is received and in the meanwhile, farmers of India are free to commit suicide. , ׸ ֋, ִõ ִ֮֬ , ֲ ָꅠ ָ 15 ״֮֙ פ, ִ ֟ ׻ֵ, כ ׻ֵ כ, ִ כ ֮ ֮ ֜ ֮ פ 53 lakh farmers ֣ ִ up to December and fifty-three lakh is a very impressive figure. ֟ ߅ ֛ פӲָ 53 ֋ , ֻ ֻ ׻֋ 50 ꅠ ָ , , ֟ , օ

ױ ֮ ֟ ևӛ ֣ ֟ ? ֮ כ ֛ ߴ ߅ ֮ ָ ֕֙ ָ ֮ כ ֛ ו ֕֙ ïߓ ָ ו , Ӥ ? Ӥ ֯ , ׻֋ خ Ùߙ , ֮֯ Ӥ פօ ֟ ֣, - ? Ӥ , Ӥ ֯ ֮ ֯ ֮ כ ֛ ו ? , "֮״ ־" ֵ, ָ ֵ ֮ כ ֛ ָ - The KCC scheme, Kisan Credit Card scheme, made rapid progress with cumulatively more than 645 lakh cards issued up to October 2006.

ָ, 2006 6 45 ֮ ֮ כ ֛ issue פ ֋ ꅠ ָ ֟ , ֲ ָָ , ִֵ ־ ָ ֮ כ ֛ issue ꅠ ִ ֱ , ֟ ׸֟Ԯ ִ

The same Survey says, "KCC scheme is meant to provide adequate and timely support from the banking system to the farmers for all their cultivation needs including purchase of all inputs in a flexible and cost-effective manner." (Contd. by RSS/3e)

RSS/ASC/3e/3.55

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA (CONTD): And all farmers were supposed to be covered under the KCC scheme by the end of March 2007. ֕ ֟ 14 ֓ ֵ ׾֢ ӡ ֲ ָ , ֟ ָ ֿ ֻ ֮ ֮ כ ֛ פ , ֓ ӛ ָ ָ ׻וֲֻ ָ ָ , 31 ֓ ָ ? ָ ֟ כֻ֮ כ ֟ , ִ , ִ ֮ Ԯ ֮ כ ֛ ִ֬ ֮ ֲֻ ֵ ֵ ֮ ָ ֲֻ ֵ ֵ ָ, ָ ִõֆ ֟ , ״ ־ ϕ , It has identified many problems in the agricultural sector. The first is, low investment. Now, gross capital formation in agriculture had declined from 1.92 of the GDP. It continued to decline when Dr. Manmohan Singh became the Finance Minister of this country. It was 1.92 in 1990-91, 1.96 of the GDP. ߛ߯ ֳ ָ ׯ֙ ֮ ߌָ֓ օ ֻ דָ֤ ׾֢ ӡ , ָ-ָ ֻ ֵ ֮ ָ, ֵ, It touched a low in 1998-99 when I was the Finance Minister to 1.26 per cent of the GDP, from 1.92 to 1.26 per cent. ֤ ׸ִ ׯ֙ ֮ , 2.2 2 ָ, ָ֮ , 1998-99, 1999-2000 օ It is again stagnating at 1.9 per cent of the GDP. ֻ ֋ , ֻ , It is just 1.9 per cent of the GDP, and what is worrisome there is the fact that private investment in agriculture. ߯߯ ֟ , ִ ߯߯߯߯ ߋ , ֮ ָ֟ ָ ׾֢ ӡ ׮־ , ֮ ֤ ֟֋ ׯ֙ ֮ ֯ , ֮֜ ׻֋ , ֤ , Water is the lifeline of humanity etc. ֲ 2004 ֕֙ ïߓ ֙ Ù֮ ו֮֟ ֙ ߕ , ִ ïֻ ֓և Ӳ׬֟ , Ù֮ 2004 ֕֙ ֳ ӓ ֙ ߕ , ֓և Ӳ׬֟ , ׻֋ ֮ ֮ ֻ ׸ , ִ , Work has been completed in these 3 years in 232 water bodies. ӓ 232 ֻߙ 844 ֻ֮ ֻ , He is encouraging the State Governments to go to the World Bank and negotiate loans from them. Very good." ו֋, , - Ù , ֵ֤ ֻ ֣ ִ ׻ֵ , -߮ ß , և և , Water is the lifeline of humanity.

֮֯ ֮ ֛ fanfare ֣ ӓ ֙ ߕ Ù֮ ִ 232 , ו֋ ָ ܵ ߓ ֯ ִ

ִ ֱ֟ ֻ ֋ (3F/LP ָ ֿ:)

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