PREVIOUS HOUR

HK/2u/4.00

SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM (CONTD.): Having said that, I will seriously examine Dr. Sengupta's suggestion that we must be a little more accommodative in providing resources. But my view is that we are not constrained by lack of resources. In fact, if we look at what we provided for Plan, I find several Ministries are not able to spend the money allocated to them in the beginning of the year. At the end of the year, there are savings. In fact, in this very supplementary Budget I am showing about Rs.9000 crores savings coming from one Head or another which we have already been able to identify and, therefore, we are providing another Rs.9000 crores expenditure. I do not think that money is a constraint. But let me assure everyone that if we are able to finalise any new programme meant for the poor, meant for the unorganised sector, meant for the neglected sections of India, meant for the marginalized people and the money is required, I will not hesitate to take whatever steps are necessary to find the money and to provide the money. I will not hesitate to come to Parliament and say, this is the money I want, please vote for money. In fact Rs.25000 crore is additional; Rs.4800 crore for National Food Security Mission is additional to the Budget and I am not hesitating to come to Parliament. I am not an ideologue in that sense. I am liberal but I am pragmatic and I am willing to come to Parliament to ask for more money if we are able to finalise plans and programmes for which money is required. I won't take more time dealing with other matters. I think I have dealt with most of the major issues. Yes, inflation is a concern. But please remember that fiscal policy or monetary policy works only on core inflation. Core inflation is defined as "Inflation after netting out fuel and food prices." Fuel is not under our control. Crude oil is 72 dollars a barrel. We don't fix the prices of crude oil. We have to bear that burden. Food is a matter of supply and demand. As long as production stagnates and productivity stagnates in foodgrains, in pulses and in oil seeds, there will be pressure on prices. But the fiscal and monetary steps that the Government and the RBI have taken have paid dividends and have yielded results. We have brought down W.P.I. inflation to 4.05 per cent. In 1979-80, inflation was 17.1 per cent; between 1991-95, it was 11.1 per cent and between 1999-2004, the average inflation was 4.9 per cent. This year we have brought down inflation to 4.05 per cent. This is indeed a pressure on prices because of mismatch of supply and demand. We are not growing enough foodgrains; we are not growing enough vegetables; we are not growing enough fruits and we are not growing enough oilseeds. To meet the shortfall, we are importing. But we cannot import potatoes and tomatoes. They have to be grown in this country and brought to the market. There are supply bottlenecks; there are transport bottlenecks. These are matters which must be addressed by the Ministries and Departments concerned and by the State Governments concerned. I cannot address tomatoes and potatoes prices through fiscal and monetary policy. I can only address headline inflation. We are addressing headline inflation. Headline inflation or core inflation has been brought down to 4.05 per cent. I will not hesitate to take further fiscal steps and further monetary steps to keep inflation under control. But the supply side has to be augmented. If we really want long-term price stability, we must grow more wheat, grow more paddy, grow more pulses, grow more oilseeds, grow more fruits and grow more vegetables. This is one of the reasons why the National Food Security Mission has targeted 10 million tonnes extra rice, 8 million tonnes extra wheat and 2 million tonnes of extra pulses for which we are allocating a little over Rs.4000 crores. We are confident that we will gain mastery over agriculture. I will do my best as Finance Minister to go to the help of farmers, farming and the farming community. With these words, I request that the Appropriation Bill be returned.

SHRI D. RAJA: I appreciate the reply given by the Finance Minister. But it is surprising to listen to him when he said that we do not understand liberalism. Of course, we understand. But the point is, he claims that policies are liberal. Liberal to whom? (Contd. by 2w/KSK)

KSK/AKG/4.05/2W

SHRI D. RAJA (CONTD): We want that policies should be liberal and compassionate to the poor and toiling people. That is what we are asking and that is what you claim. But, you touch your heart and tell what is the feeling of common people...(Interruptions).

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Whatever he has to say, he has said. I think there will be no more discussion...(Interruptions). Now, the question is that...(Interruptions).

SHRI S.S. AHLUWALIA: Sir, I just want to ask one question. I want to know from the hon. Finance Minister regarding the age limit for senior citizens. There are two different age limits for other sectors and for Income Tax sector? Can the Minister make it uniform?

SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: Actually, there is no uniform age limit. I have the sheet of paper which shows different age limits for different purposes. The age limit for Income Tax is there -- If I remember -- either in the Act or Rules made under section 65. At the moment, there is no proposal to change that age limit. But, since a younger man is asking me to look at it, I will look at it.

ϟ֯ : ָ, . ֕ ֵә ֵ , concern ֤ ֤ ָ ָ ֮֮ Ɵ ... (־֮֬) ...

ֳ֯ן : ־ֲ פ ...(־֮֬). Mr. Narayanasamy, your own Bill is there for consideration...(Interruptions).

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: Sir, I respect Shri D. Raja because...(Interruptions).

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Please, don't go into this...(Interruptions).

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: Sir, Shri D. Raja is talking about common man. We are all concerned about common man's problems. I would like to highlight one point which has been harping on in this House for long time. The hon. Finance Minister is giving sufficient funds under 14 flagship programmes, which he has mentioned in his speech. Right from Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme...(Interruptions). It has been given to the State Governments. In the State Governments, there is pilferage of funds; there is corruption...(Interruptions). Sir, I am telling about second part...(Interruptions).

ֳ֯ן : , և ִֵָ ߅ ... (־֮֬) ... He has answered second part also.

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ֳ֯ן : ... (־֮֬) ... Mr. Narayanasamy, please, sit down.

SHRI ROBERT KHARSHIING: Sir, in his statement, hon. Minister has said that he has no control over the prices of vegetables, over inflation. But, from November, 2006, till July, 2007, the RBI, by buying $ 28 billion, has caused huge inflation. It is on the website. May I know when...(Interruptions).

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: He has replied to that at length. No more questions. Now, the question is:

"That the Bill to authorise payment and appropriation of certain further sums from and out of the Consolidated Fund of India for the services of the financial year 2007-2008, as passed by Lok Sabha, be taken into consideration."

 

The motion was adopted.


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

Clauses 2 and 3 were added to the Bill.

The Schedule was added to the Bill.

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

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

That the Bill be returned.

The question was put and the motion was adopted.

(Ends) (followed by 2x - gsp)

GSP-SCH/4.10/2X

PRIVATE MEMBERS' LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS

BILLS INTRODUCED

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Now, we shall take up Private Members' Legislative Business. The Farmers (Old Age Pension and Removal of Indebtedness) Bill, 2007. Shrimati Sushma Swaraj. Not present. The Dalit and Tribal Girl Child (Special Educational Facilities and Welfare) Bill, 2007. Shrimati Sushma Swaraj. Not present. The Orphan, Exploited and Underprivileged Street Children (Care, Protection and Welfare) Bill, 2007. Shrimati Sushma Swaraj. Not present. The Citizens Affected by Cyclone, Super Cyclone or Tsunami in Coastal Areas (Compensation, Rehabilitation and Welfare) Bill, 2007. Shri B.J Panda.

THE CITIZENS AFFECTED BY CYCLONE, SUPER CYCLONE

OR TSUNAMI IN COASTAL AREAS (COMPENSATION,

REHABILITATION AND WELFARE) BILL, 2007

SHRI B.J. PANDA (ORISSA): Sir, I beg to move for leave to introduce a Bill to provide for the protection of distressed citizens including farmers, fishermen, traders and common man affected by cyclone, super cyclone or tsunami or other natural calamity in the coastal areas of the country by providing adequate compensation, rehabilitation and welfare measures initiated by the State and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

The question was put and the motion was adopted

SHRI B.J. PANDA: Sir, I introduce the Bill. (Ends)

THE CONSTITUTION (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2007

(INSERTION OF NEW ARTICLE 50A).

 

SHRI SHANTARAM LAXMAN NAIK (GOA): Sir, I beg to move for leave to introduce a Bill further to amend the Constitution of India.

 

The question was put and the motion was adopted

 

SHRI SHANTARAM LAXMAN NAIK: Sir, I introduce the Bill.

(Ends)

THE CONSTITUTION (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2007

(AMENDMENT OF THE SEVENTH SCHEDULE).

 

SHRI SHANTARAM LAXMAN NAIK (GOA): Sir, I beg to move for leave to introduce a Bill further to amend the Constitution of India.

 

The question was put and the motion was adopted

 

SHRI SHANTARAM LAXMAN NAIK: Sir, I introduce the Bill.

(Ends)

THE CONSTITUTION (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2007

(AMENDMENT OF THE TENTH SCHEDULE)

 

SHRI SHANTARAM LAXMAN NAIK (GOA): Sir, I beg to move for leave to introduce a Bill further to amend the Constitution of India.

 

The question was put and the motion was adopted

 

SHRI SHANTARAM LAXMAN NAIK: Sir, I introduce the Bill.

(Ends)

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: The Working Women (Protection, Basic Facilities and Welfare) Bill, 2007. Shri Santosh Bagrodia. Not Present. The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2007 (Insertion of new article 16A and substitution of new article for article 41). Shri Santosh Bagrodia. Not present. The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2007 (Insertion of new article 21B). Shri Jai Parkash Aggarwal. Not present. The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2007 (Insertion of new article 16A). Shri Jain Parkash Aggarwal. Not present. The Youth Welfare Bill, 2007. Shri Jai Parkash Aggarwal. Not present.

The Compulsory Military Training Bill, 2007. Shrimati Supriya Sule to withdraw the Bill.

BILL WITHDRAWN

THE COMPULSORY MILITARY TRAINING BILL, 2007.

SHRIMATI SUPRIYA SULE (MAHARASHTRA): Sir, I beg to move for leave to withdraw a Bill to provide compulsory military training to all able-bodied citizens of the country and to include military training in the curriculum for children from matriculation level and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

The question was put and the motion was adopted.

SHRIMATI SUPRIYA SULE: Sir, I withdraw the Bill.

(Ends)

BILLS INTRODUCED -- (CONTD.)

THE EMPLOYMENT BILL, 2007

SHRIMATI SUPRIYA SULE (MAHARASHTRA): Sir, I beg to move for leave to introduce a Bill to provide employment or means and resources for self-employment to at least one adult member of every family and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

The question was put and the motion was adopted.

SHRIMATI SUPRIYA SULE: Sir, I introduce the Bill.

(Ends)


THE CONSTITUTION (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2007

(OMISSION OF ARTICLES 127, 128, 224 AND 224A

AND AMENDMENT OF ARTICLE 217)

 

SHRI RAJEEV CHANDRASEKHAR (KARNATAKA): Sir, I beg to move for leave to introduce a Bill further to amend the Constitution of India.

The question was put and the motion was adopted.

SHRI RAJEEV CHANDRASEKHAR: Sir, I introduce the Bill.

(Ends)

THE CONSTITUTION (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2007

(AMENDMENT OF ARTICLES 153, 156 AND 158 AND SUBSTITUTION OF NEW ARTICLE FOR ARTICLE 157)

 

SHRI RAJEEV CHANDRASEKHAR (KARNATAKA): Sir, I beg to move for leave to introduce a Bill further to amend the Constitution of India.

 

The question was put and the motion was adopted.

SHRI RAJEEV CHANDRASEKHAR: Sir, I introduce the Bill.

(Ends)

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: The Destitute, Abandoned and Neglected Widows and Old Women (Welfare and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2007. Prof. Alka Balram Kshatriya. Not present. The School Education (Removal of Disparities between Government and Private Schools through Uniform System and Syllabus) Bill, 2007. Prof. Alka Balram Kshatriya. Not present. The Small Family Bill, 2007. Prof. Alka Balram Kshatriya. Not present. The Supreme Court (Establishment of a Permanent Bench at Nagpur) Bill, 2007. Shri Vijay J. Darda.

SHRI VIJAY J. DARDA: Sir, I would like to mention here that.... (Interruptions)...

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Please introduce the Bill. (Interruptions) ֺ , ֯ ֤ ו֋ ....(־֮֬) When it is taken up for consideration, you can...(Interruptions)...

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ֳ֯ן: ֯ ֟ , ֯ ײֻ ә ו֋ ә֮ Ù ֟

THE SUPREME COURT (ESTABLISHMENT OF A

PERMANENT BENCH AT NAGPUR) BILL, 2007

 

SHRI VIJAY J. DARDA (MAHARASHTRA): Sir, I beg to move for leave to introduce a Bill to provide for establishment of a permanent Bench of the Supreme Court at Nagpur.

The question was put and the motion was adopted.

SHRI VIJAY J. DARDA: Sir, I introduce the Bill. (Followed by sk-2y)

SK-PSV/4.15/2y

THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND INFOTAINMENT FACILITIES IN VILLAGES BILL, 2007

 

SHRI VIJAY J. DARDA (MAHARASHTRA): Sir, I beg to move for leave to introduce a Bill to provide for the facilities of information technology and infotainment in all the villages of the country and for matters connected therewith.

The question was put and the motion was adopted.

SHRI VIJAY J. DARDA: Sir, I introduce the Bill. (Ends)

THE DIVORCED WOMEN (PROTECTION AND WELFARE) BILL, 2007

SHRI VIJAY J. DARDA (MAHARASHTRA): Sir, I beg to move for leave to introduce a Bill to provide for the protection and welfare of divorced women in the country by establishing an authority for such divorced women and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

The question was put and the motion was adopted.

SHRI VIJAY J. DARDA: Sir, I introduce the Bill. (Ends)

THE BLIND AND OTHER PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED PERSONS (REHABILITATION, EMPLOYMENT AND WELFARE) BILL, 2007

 

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The question was put and the motion was adopted.

00 ׻ֵ : , ׾֬ :ãׯ֟

(ִ֯)

THE FREEDOM OF CHILDHOOD BILL, 2007

00 ׻ֵ (ָӛ): , ß־ ׮ֵ״֟ ׿ ׻֋ ѓ ֵ ֻ Ͼ, ו ָ ׾֤ ׬ֵ ֮ , ִ֬ ֻ ֮ ֻ־ã ֮Ӥ , ѓ ׬ ָ Ӧ ֵ ֻ ֵԳָ , ֻ ׻֋ ֵ פ ֮ ָ ןֲӬ , ֮Ӥ , ׿ ׻֋ ׾ֵֻ֪ ֮ þ֟ӡ֟ ֲӬ Ӳ׬֟ ֮ ׾ֵ ֲӬ ׻֋ ׾֬ :ãׯ֟ ן ֋

The question was put and the motion was adopted.

00 ׻ֵ : , ׾֬ :ãׯ֟ (ִ֯)

THE MAINTENANCE OF UNINTERRUPTED POWER SUPPLY TO INDUSTRIES OF BACKWARD STATES BILL, 2007

 

00 ׻ֵ (ָӛ): , ß־ ߵ ָָ ָ ™ ׯ֔ ֕ ִ ׾ ׮׿֟ ׻֋ ֕ ִ և ׻֋ ׾֪ ׾ד ٟ֯ ֮֋ ֮ ֣ ֟ӲӬ ׾ֵ ֲӬ ׻֋ ׾֬ :ãׯ֟ ן ֋

The question was put and the motion was adopted.

00 ׻ֵ : , ׾֬ :ãׯ֟ (ִ֯)

THE COMPULSORY VOTING AND PROHIBITION OF PRE-POLL SURVEY AND EXIT POLL OF ELECTIONS BILL, 2007

 

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY (PUDUCHERRY): Sir, I move:

"That the Bill to provide for compulsory voting by the voters in an election called for by the Election Commission and to prohibit pre-poll survey and exit poll by various agencies and on their printing, publication and telecasting through the print and electronic media so as to remove the confusion of the electorate and for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto, be taken into consideration".

 

I seek the indulgence of this House in getting this Bill passed. Sir, the Compulsory Voting and Prohibition of Pre-Poll Survey and Exit Poll of Elections Bill, 2004 is in two parts. The first part is about compulsory voting of the voters in this country and the second part is about prohibiting pre-poll survey and exit poll. Sir, the clauses 3,4,5 and 6 of the Bill are very important. In clause 3, I have mentioned, "Notwithstanding anything contained in the Representation of People Act, 1951 or any other law for the time being in force, it shall be compulsory for every voter whose name figures in the electoral roll to vote in an election when called for by the Election Commission in an election to the Lok Sabha or State Legislature, as the case may be". Then, Sir, that proviso is exempted under clause 4. (Contd. by ysr-2z)

-SK/YSR/4.20/2Z

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY (CONTD.): "Notwithstanding the provisions contained in section 3, a voter may be exempted from compulsorily exercising his right to vote if;-

              he is physically incapable of voting due to illness or physical infirmity or unable to move and produces a medical certificate from a registered practitioner of medicine certifying such capacity of the voter; or

              the Election Commission or any other authority empowered by the Election Commission, on receipt of a request either before or after the poll from the voter, is satisfied that there are genuine and bona fide grounds for such exemption."

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

This is for exemption. On prohibition on pre-poll survey and exit poll, I seek the indulgence of this House. They have to be prevented by the Election Commission by passing this Bill.

"The conducting of pre-poll survey, exit-poll, assessment of voters views and telecasting through the electronic media or publishing or printing through the print media of such survey, exit poll or voters' views during any election to Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly of a State in any part of the country from the date of notification issued for such elections till the election process is over..."

The contravention provision, the punishment, has been provided in Clause 6 of the Bill.

Sir, in this august House as also in the other House and in various State Legislatures, the issue of compulsory voting was discussed. Sir, there are 33 countries in the world where compulsory voting is a must. Australia, Belgium, and there are several other countries where the percentage of voting is 98 or 99 per cent. But in our country, our experience is different.

Let me quote the recently held election in Uttar Pradesh. The election was conducted in seven phases. In that election, out of 114 million voters, only 50 million voted. About 44 per cent voters used their franchise. The remaining voters did not turn up to the polling booth.

Sir, today, in our country, we find the opinion makers, the people who are living in the urban areas, the so-called intellectuals, the people who talk politics sitting in their verandas, and the leaders issuing Press statements. They do not go to polling booth to vote. They feel shy of standing in the queue of the polling booth, waiting for some time, to exercise their franchise. But it is the poor people, the people living in the villages, whose percentage of voting is 90-98 per cent. In this country, the leaders who live in the urban areas, who are enjoying all the facilities provided by the Government, who claim that they are the persons who decide the fate of the country, they are hardly about 10-15 per cent. They try to decide the destiny of the nation. They use the print and electronic media to criticise the Government, to criticize the candidates, and to criticize the political parties. But they do not go to polling booth to use their franchise. Sir, I find that this is injustice; it is against democracy. In a democratic society, the voter has got a right to elect a government of his or her choice. When these persons, who have given the voting right, do not exercise their right to vote, the destiny of the nation cannot be decided. Sir, I will give a small example of France. Some months back, there was an election there. Voting was made compulsory by the Government there. (Contd. by VKK/3A)

-YSR/VKK/3a/4.25

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY (CONTD.): There, any person who has been elected, if he gets more than 51 per cent votes, he is declared as the President of the country. There were four candidates in the fray in the first election. In that, the difference between the first and the second candidates was about 12 per cent. Because no candidate got 51 per cent votes, what they did was the elimination process and third and fourth candidates were removed. Then, there was another election within the period of fifteen days. Total polling was 98.5 per cent. People went and voted in the polling booth. In that, the first candidate got 57 per cent and second candidate got about 42 per cent. There was no invalid vote. Therefore, in a true democracy, the majority view of the people has to prevail. As I quoted earlier the Uttar Pradesh elections, total voters who voted in the election were only 44 per cent. Out of which, the political party which got only 21 per cent votes, is now ruling the State. That being the situation, whether we are really experimenting with the democratic polity in this country. Yes, in our country, there is a system of national political parties, State political parties, recognised political parties, etc. The system is there in our country. But, even then, a device or a method has to be worked out by the Government that voting should be made compulsory.

Sir, in Belgium, if a voter fails to vote in two or three elections, he is defranchised. They are not even allowed to get their citizenship. In Australia, the social security that has been given to the people, but is removed by the Government in the case of people who do not go and vote. Sir, in our country, we say that the rural people are uneducated, but, they are conscious of their rights. Because of the campaign of the political parties, they are going and voting. Yes, one can say, "I have a right not to vote." No. One cannot say, "I have got a right not to vote." It is a right that has been given to you under the Constitution, under democratic principle. You will have to elect your representative and for electing a representative, you should exercise your franchise in such a way that you are electing the right person. Why are we giving the voting right to you? I will go a step further and say that after the election is held and the person who is elected becomes an MLA or a Minister or a Member of Parliament, the person who did not go to the polling booth to vote, he criticises him so much more than the person who went to the polling booth to vote. Sir, this is the situation that we find in our country. Sir, we are not under dictatorship. We cannot coerce people. But, the people have to be conscious of their right and they should exercise their right. I would like to say that. I saw several arguments in favour that the person should not be forced to go and vote or he should not be compelled to go and vote. It is not the question of compelling a person to go to vote; it is only a question that the person should exercise his franchise, exercise his right, exercise his democratic right. Therefore, Sir, I urge upon the hon. Minister because the hon. Minister for Law...(Interruptions)...

SHRI RUDRA NARAYAN PANY: He is not listening. (Interruptions)

THE MINISTER OF LAW & JUSTICE (SHRI H. R. BHARDWAJ): I am taking note of it. (Interruptions)

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: Mr. Pany, I don't need your support. Sir, in countries like Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Fiji, Greece, Mexico, Singapore and Switzerland, voting has been made compulsory. There are some countries where compulsory voting is not enforced and the action that has been taken by them is very, very important because it is not only about defranchising the person. Sir, in Bolivia, the system is, if a person does not go and exercise his franchise, his three months' salary is withdrawn from the bank. (Contd. by RSS/3b)

RSS/3B/4.30/

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY (CONTD.): Banks are withdrawing the salary of the person if he is not giving his franchise. Therefore, the question of compulsory voting is a debatable point. In our country, we find that a true elected representative is a person who gets majority votes of the total voters enrolled there. Now, the Election Commission is spending enormous money in giving identity cards to use it for the purpose of election. In spite of that, when the people don't cast their vote, it creates a very bad impression. Sometimes, we are also feeling that when the majority of population is not going for voting when the Government has declared the day of voting as a holiday, it sends a very wrong signal. Instead of going for voting, the people stay at home and enjoy the holiday. That is not fair. A voting right given to a person in a democracy cannot be misused, cannot be used against the interest of the country. Therefore, Sir, there should be a serious thinking on this issue. The Election Commission, from time to time, issues guidelines on this issue. But, the Election Commission cannot do anything. Nowadays, the Election Commission has also become hi-fi. They only issue guidelines, but the same cannot be enforced. We have seen in the recent times that sometimes, the Election Commission goes beyond its brief. They very often go beyond the briefing given to them and the powers vested with them. Therefore, I want the hon. Minister to have a serious thinking on the issue because I know, this is a matter which has to be decided by the hon. Minister by taking the political parties into confidence. Apart from that, the Government has to form a view how the idea of compulsory voting can be enforced. I know that there are a lot of difficulties in enforcing it. I visualise that and I understand that. While enforcing it, you can enforce it well in the rural areas, but in the urban areas, it will be difficult for you because the salaried class people, the industrialists, the so-called opinion-makers whom I refer to, they will not allow the Government to enforce this particular provision of compulsory voting. Therefore, Sir, I want the hon. Minister to consider this aspect seriously as to how it can be enforced. This system is prevalent not only in our country, but also in other countries. In the United States, in the last presidential election, President Bush was elected by 0.87 per cent votes. By having 0.87 per cent votes, he became the President of the country. Therefore, Sir, in a democracy, the compulsory voting is a must because I feel from my side that the people who enjoy the democratic rights, the people who are getting the social security, the people who are enjoying the benefits given by the elected Government, they should go and vote and elect their own representatives. And unless and until it is done, true democracy will not flourish in this country. Otherwise, people who get 20 per cent votes or 21 per cent votes, they get elected as Members of Parliament, members of the Legislative Assembly because the polling is very low. Therefore, this issue has to be considered very seriously by the Government. The UPA Government is implementing various good measures, whether it is in the field of agriculture, industry, education, health, and in the field of election reforms also, it is one of the major steps which the Government of India has to take....(Interruptions)... You may not agree with me. But, I have to express my views. Sir, I would like to quote one of the senior Members of this House who was a former Chief Election Commissioner, Dr. M.S. Gill, he gave a very good interview in Chandigarh in 1994. I went through the interview about compulsory voting, exit polls and pre-polls. He supported the Government on this issue that it should be made by the Government, the exit polls, the pre-polls and so on. He was very candid in saying that it should be done by the Government.

(contd. by 3c)

MKS-MP/4.35/3C

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY (CONTD.): Therefore, Sir, I want the hon. Minister, as far as the compulsory voting is concerned, to consult the provisions which I have mentioned.

Coming to the second aspect of pre-poll/exit poll surveys, it is a very controversial provision. There, it is said, "Under article 19(1), immediately the media will say that they have got certain powers. The freedom of press that has been given to them should not be infringed." On the other side, Sir, in various States, the elections are being held in several phases. Even for the Parliament, it is held in several phases. The opinion of the people can be formed by publishing them in the print media, and also in the electronic media. Now, the electronic media has become so powerful that about ninety or ninety-five per cent of the people even in the rural areas see TV, and also read the newspapers and form their opinion. In the year 1997, the Election Commission held a meeting with all the political parties, and the leaders of various political parties, irrespective of their national party or regional party, came to a conclusion and gave it to the Election Commission that the pre-poll survey/exit poll should not be done; they should be banned, and only after the elections are over, they should be published. The Election Commission, in 1998, issued the guidelines. When the guidelines were issued by the Election Commission, it quoted the Press Council of India, and also the notings of its Chairman, Mr. B.P. Sawant. Mr. B.P. Sawant, who was the Chairman of the Press Council of India, emphasised on the self-imposed discipline for the media. He clearly stated: "Pre-poll survey/exist poll is going to pre-determine the mind of the voter. There will be an influence on the voters in their decision-making if it is published 24 or 48 hours before the election is held." Then, it was challenged by the media before the court. And, thereafter, they said that the Election Commission has no power to regulate the exit poll and pre-poll surveys. Then arose the question of the Representation of the People Act. In Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, it has been very clearly mentioned that within 48 hours before the elections, any kind of campaign in the electronic media, and also in the newspapers, has to be stopped, including the public meetings. It has been made very clear to that effect. When it was quoted, the Government of India gave its opinion before the Supreme Court that elections are going even now. The Government of India said that there is no regulatory mechanism; there is no prohibition; at present, there is no law enforcing prohibition of pre-poll survey/exit poll by the media. That was the version given by the Government of India. I would like to know from the hon. Law Minister, when all the political parties agreed, and when even the Election Commission also agreed with them, why these pre-poll surveys and exit poll are not banned. When it is unanimously agreed by the political parties and also by the Election Commission, why doesn't he bring a Bill for that purpose? Sir, so many pre-poll surveys we have seen; so many exit poll surveys we have seen. Some of them were misleading. Some of the pre-poll surveys/exit polls were misleading. We found during the last Parliament elections, when Ahluwalia's party was saying: "India is shining", and they were also saying that they would come back to power. ...(Interruptions)... The survey was also showing that NDA would come back to power. The ultimate result was otherwise. (Contd. by TMV/3D)

-MKS-TMV-SC/3D/4.40

SHRI V. NARAYANSAMY (CONTD.): The UPA came to power and they were misled by the pre-poll survey and exit poll. (Interruptions)...

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THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: No. Mr. Narayansamy, you please continue.

SHRI V. NARAYANSAMY: I know how much money you had spent in the last General Elections. If you want, I will explain in full detail the money that your party had spent on publicity alone, whether it was electronic media or the print media. Our friend, who was a very senior Member of this House, late Pramod Mahajan, knew it. When the "India shining" campaign started, the media started saying that the NDA would get 250 seats and all those things, and ultimately it came down to less than 120 seats. Therefore, the exit poll and the pre-poll survey, according to me, influence the voters. Whatever campaign has to be carried out by the political parties giving their party policies... (Interruptions)...

SHRI RAVULA CHANDRA SEKAR REDDY: It is self-contradictory. He says that the campaign started with "India shining". (Interruptions)...

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: Let me complete. (Interruptions).. Let me complete. (Interruptions)...

SHRI RAVULA CHANDRA SEKAR REDDY: He said, "India shining", but they lost. It is the other way round. (Interruptions)...

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: It is not self-contradictory. I am coming to that. They misled the people in different fora by spending huge money. That is what I want to say. (Interruptions)...

SHRI RAVULA CHANDRA SEKAR REDDY: People were not misled.

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: No. The people were not misled. Even in the UP elections, what had they done? In the UP elections, they said that this party would get 150 seats and that party would get 120 seats. These were the survey reports published by the media. Now, the point is very simple. The voters should not be influenced. The media give out the projection. It has to be seen whether that has been done in a scientific way or not. There are several media. There are several surveys which have been done by several organisations. It has to be seen whether they have done it in a scientific way or not. Even an error of one or two per cent would shift more than 50 or 60 seats in State elections and even in the elections to the Parliament. Therefore, why is this kind of misleading pre-poll survey and exit poll by the media allowed? It prejudices the mind of the voters. I would like to stress this point here.

I would like to submit that the hon. Minister is a very senior Minister. The hon. Minister has dealt with several cases like this and he also knows the solution. While withdrawing the Bill, I have to request him to come forward with some solution. My point is that all the political parties, national and State, and the Election Commission agree that pre-survey polls and exit polls should be banned. That is on the one side. On the other side, the Election Commission had already issued instructions and guidelines. But they had been struck down by the court saying that it had no powers. The Government of India says that there is no provision in the Act to prevent or prohibit pre-poll survey and exit poll. Let me mention one incident. One of the electronic media went to the court. When the Election Commission filed a criminal case against them, they went to the Court and said that the Election Commission had no powers.

There should be free and fair elections. Everybody wants that. It is the duty of the Election Commission to see to it that the election is free and fair. The Government of India wants that there should be free and fair elections and the voters' mind should not be prejudiced. When the electronic media publish that a particular political party is gaining in the pre-poll survey or exit poll, it will get a minimum of five per cent shift in its favour. The human psychology is like that. Therefore, I want the hon. Minister to consider it. If you want free and fair elections, when you are prohibiting public meetings, when you are prohibiting propaganda, when you are prohibiting the people from going and asking for votes 48 hours before the election, why do you allow these things to happen?

There is another peculiar situation. When the election is held in four or five phases--in UP, it was held in seven phases--they publish the pre-poll survey and exit poll after the first phase. (Contd. By VK/3E)

-TMV/VK/3E/4.45

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY (CONTD): It affects the second phase and the third phase. This prejudices the mind of the voter also Therefore, if you want the democratic norms to be followed in this country and the voter participates in the election process with free and fair mind, the exit poll and the pre-poll survey should be prohibited and banned. In some countries, it has been banned. There is a blanket ban on pre-poll survey and exit poll in certain countries. Sir, the media also cannot escape under the garb of free press and free media. The right of the voter has to be protected. There should be reasonable restrictions by the Government on the Fourth Estate. How would you know whether the media was influenced by a political party? The media can be influenced by a political party by various means in order to give its version in favour of that political party. This is a very serious matter. Both these points, that is, compulsory voting and ban on pre-poll survey and exit poll are in the interest of the nation. We have discussed this issue several times in this House and in the other House. There should be some serious thinking on that. I would request the Minister to discuss it with all the political parties to arrive at some kind of a consensus on compulsory voting and also prohibiting exit poll and pre-poll survey. Almost all the parties are in favour of it. The Election Commission knows about it. The former Election Commissioner, Dr. M.S. Gill, who is sitting here, will enlighten us more on this issue. I would request the hon. Minister to consider all these aspects. It is a very important Bill for the purpose of free and fair elections and for upholding the democratic values in this country. The person who exercises his franchise, should do it in a free and fair manner. The hon. Minister should consider this Bill in a positive manner. I know the hon. Minister is a progressive person. I hope he will agree to the points which will be made by the hon. Members. He can take it up with the Cabinet.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Don't you want the House to pass this Bill? It is for the House to consider this Bill.

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: Until and unless the Minister considers this Bill, the House cannot consider it. First the Minister has to consider it.

SHRI R. SHUNMUGASUNDARAM: Sir, he has not asked for the support of the House.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Mr. Narayanasamy, you are the Mover of the Bill and the House has to pass this Bill, not the Minister.

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: I can understand it. The Minister comes first and the House comes later.

SHRI S.S. AHLUWALIA: No.

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: I have to convince the Minister first.

SHRI S.S. AHLUWALIA: No.

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: That is my view. You cannot impose your views on me.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Mr. Narayanasamy, please conclude because you will get time for reply also.

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: Sir, I am concluding. Clause 6 (a) says, "Whoever contravenes the provisions of section 3 shall be liable to a fine which shall not be less than five thousand rupees but which may extend to ten thousand rupees or imprisonment for one week or with both." This is in regard to compulsory voting. Clause 6 (b) says, "Contravenes the provisions of section 5 shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to three years and also with fine which shall not be less than one lakh rupees but which may extend to five lakh rupees and the registration or licence given to such organisation or agency under any law for the time being in force, shall be revoked". So, I have added the penal provision also because there are penal provisions in force, so far as compulsory voting is concerned, in other countries. I want the hon. Minister to seriously consider the matter of prohibition or ban on pre-poll surveys or exit polls, as also compulsory voting. Sir, it is a very genuine problem that has been raised by political parties, based on our practical experience.

I request the House to approve the Bill and pass it unanimously.

(Ends)

The question was proposed.

(Followed by 3f/gs)

GS-KS/4.50/3F

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-GS/ASC-TDB/4.55/3G

.. ׻ֵ (֟) : ֌ 10 59 5 ָ 83 ֻ ָ 1957 ָ ֳ ־ ܵ 19 36 52 ƕָ 189 ߅ ֻ֮ ֻ ܵ 12 5 13 ָ 915 , ԟ 45.44 ָ 1962 ֕ ־ , ֳ ־ , , ֦, , ӕֲ, ָ Ϥ, פ, ֻ֓ Ϥ, ֯ ס֯ פ ִ֠ ã ֛ꅠ ֌ ֵ ܵ 12 77 , 1957 פև և ؙ ߅ ֌ 11 99 4 ָ 284 ֻ ָ 1967 24 89 4 ָ 3 15 27 ֻ ֯ ֛ ֵֿ ֟ , ׻֋ ֟ ָ ֟ , ֌ ֮ ֻ ׾µ ָ ֤ ߕ ֜ ֮֮ ߕ ֟ 1971 27 48 89 ָ 132 15 15 36 ָ 802 ֛ ꅠ , 1977 ֮ ׸껵ָ֮ ֮ , ִ 32 11 74 ָ 327 19 42 63 ָ 915 ֛ 1980 35 62 5 ָ 329 20 27 52 ָ 893 ֛ ָ ֵ 56.93 ֛ ãן 1980 , ֲ 1977 ֤ ֯ 1977 60.49 ָ ֛ , ׌ִִ 1977 ֤ 1980 ֛ 1984 37 95 40 ָ 608 ֛ ֌ 1984 ׌ִִ 63.56 ָ ֛ , ׮ ֤ ־ , ִ ӕֲ ִ ֟ 24 12 46 ָ 887 ֛ 1989 49 89 6 ָ 129 61.95 ָ ֛ ױ ָָ ֮ ߅ և 61.95 ָ ֛ (3H/LP ָ ֿ:)

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