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THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Mandalji, one second please. It is 1.00 p.m. I believe, it is the consensus of the House that we will not have the lunch break.
SHRIMATI JAYA BACHCHAN: Why, Sir? ...(Interruptions)...
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Because we have to finish it. ...(Interruptions)... So, agreed. No lunch break today. Mandalji, please continue.
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SHRI RAVULA CHANDRA SEKAR REDDY (ANDHRA PRADESH): Sir, I thank you very much for permitting me to speak on the Appropriation (No.4) Bill, 2007 and the Appropriation (No.5) Bill, 2007. Sir, I start with saying that in the post-reforms era, certainly, wealth is created in the country. But, unfortunately, it is confined to only a few people and it has got no trickle down effect to the common man. Sir, the main thrust of the NCMP is on aam aadmi. I don't know why the Government is not concentrating on providing facilities like employment, health and education to the aam aadmi, the so-called aam aadmi, according to the NCMP. Sir, the present reform process has yielded good results, but it has burdened the common man. Sir, I dare to say that the Government is pampering the corporates and pauperising the masses. Sir, the Government's priorities are like displaced development and misplaced priority. Sir, I would like to stress this point since the Budget is increasing year after year. I would like to quote one answer which is provided to me by the Government. In 2004-05, the food subsidy was Rs.25,746 crores. In 2005-06, the food subsidy came down to Rs.23,071 crores. Sir, in 2006-07, it is Rs.23,827 crores. (Contd. by 2b-kgg)
SHRI RAVULA CHANDRA SEKAR REDDY (contd.): When the Budget is increased, revenue is increased, why this reduction in subsidy? Sir, this is the answer given to me by the hon. Agriculture Minister on 23rd November, for a Starred Question No.129 in this august House. What is the priority? That is why I say, yours is a displaced development and misplaced priority. I want to stress this point.
Sir, the Government is concentrating on political vendetta. I am shocked to hear that Government chose to derive pleasure out of giving notices to my senior colleague of UNPA, Smt. Jaya Bachchan, to a priest, a florist! What is this, Sir? The Government should concentrate on developmental activity, not on petty things. Sir, this is the attitude of the Government. Then, what will be the fate of a common man in the country? I would like the hon. Minister to enlighten us on why you are importing foodgrains from other countries.
Sir, there is
agitation taking place everywhere in the country. Take any State--Andhra
Where is the mechanism for you to check the proper utilisation of funds? Sir, I will quote one example. Yesterday, there was a news item from Andhra Pradesh wherein a person came on a TV channel saying that he needed police protection since he had threat from a person who was working in hon. Chief Minister's office! He had drawn Rs.15 crores out of the DPEP funds! Sir, an amount of Rs.15 crores is swallowed! There is a big scam in DPEP in Andhra Pradesh. Sir, I do not know what happens to the Government; no inquiry and nothing. The Government of India is sitting pretty well and left the entire investigation to the State Government wherein the prime accused is working in hon. Chief Minister's office! He stands exactly behind the Chief Minister, wherever he goes! He is the prime accused. The person who is charged with the case is on record saying that he needed police protection.
Sir, the money is given by Government of India. Where is the mechanism to check misuse and diversion of funds? Rs.15 crores was meant for school education. That money is collected through the 2% cess. Is it not the duty of the Government of India to inquire in detail and take some action? I understand your compulsion since he belongs to your party. This is the partisan attitude adopted by the Government of India. (Time-bell)
Sir, the other subject is SEZs. You are forcing SEZs on farmers. I would call SEZ as Special Exploitation Zone, rather, Special Encroachment Zone! Sir, I have with me an answer from the hon. Agriculture Minister, again. This is placed yesterday. This is also a Starred Question, wherein it is stated that on an average 18,000 to 20,000 farmers are committing suicide. This is only the reported cases. The unreported cases may be many. When such is the situation of agriculture, why are you taxing them? Where is the subsidy going? You are giving subsidy to the fertilizer industry. Why not you give subsidy directly to the farmer? Sir, is it reaching the farmer? Why do not you have some introspection?
I now come to your NREGP and the flagship programmes like Bharat Nirman. About NREGP, I would like to request the hon. Minister to at least find some time to go through the Social Audit Report. Lakhs of money is being diverted or misused or swallowed. I request the hon. Minister to have some time to go into the reports of Social Audit Report under NREGP.
Take your triple 'R'. Triple 'R' is a very good programme. When we heard you during Budget Speech, I was very happy. Sir, I come from rural area. I was Sarpanch of a village. After that I served in the Assembly. I was pretty happy when you thought of triple 'R'---restoration, renovation and repair of age-old tanks. Now, practically nothing is taking place at the lower-level. (Contd. by kls/2c)
SHRI RAVULA CHANDRA SEKAR REDDY (CONTD): Have some mechanism. Sir, the other programme is Mid Day Meal. Sir, it is a very good programme started during the other regime. I would like to request the hon. Minister to have the programme for the Xth Class students also. Since the programme is for Vth, VIth, VIIth and VIIIth standards, if there is a High School, the IXth Class and Xth Class students have to go out during lunchtime. It is very difficult for them to have lunch outside. Sir, I would like to request the Minister to extend it to Xth Class students also.
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Good point.
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: Are you mentioning Midday Meal Scheme? ...(Interruptions)... The Midday Meal Scheme was started by the UPA Government. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI RAVULA CHANDRA SEKAR REDDY: No, Sir. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: I will give you the figures. You complete your speech. ....(Interruptions)...
SHRI RAVULA CHANDRA SEKAR REDDY: Sir, I stand corrected. ...(Interruptions)... The other point is regarding migration from rural areas to urban areas. Sir, it is very difficult because as of now, I am told, 30 per cent...(Interruptions)...
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Do not go to new points. ...(Interruptions)... Already you have made very good points. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: Equally, Sir, I have to answer enough points. ...(Interruptions)...
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Time constraints. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI RAVULA CHANDRA SEKAR REDDY: So many problems are there, Sir. This is the occasion to have some introspection.
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P. J. KURIEN): Yes, I have understood. ....(Interruptions)...
SHRI RAVULA CHANDRA SEKAR REDDY: Sir, I would like to know from the hon. Minister regarding migration. Already 30 per cent of our population is in urban areas. Sir, I am told by 2020 it is going to be 45 to 50 per cent. Sir, where is the men and material with the local bodies in urban areas? You need water, you need shelter, you need sanitation, you need power, etc. You concentrate on that aspect also. You try to provide facilities to the rural areas. (Time-bell) Why the rural masses are migrating to the urban areas, we should have a detailed study on this. It is for the education of their children, in search of employment, for better health facilities that they are migrating. Why don't you provide those facilities so that people remain in the rural areas? Otherwise, it is going to be a big problem in the urban areas. .... (Interruptions)... Sir, only one last point. ...(Interruptions)... Yesterday we went to the organic agriculture mela. You are providing subsidies to the fertiliser companies, for pesticides and all those things. Sir, why don't you encourage organic farming? ...(Interruptions)...
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Okay. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI RAVULA CHANDRA SEKAR REDDY: Sir, more than 2000 farmers are engaged in organic farming in Warangal District of Andhra Pradesh. Sir, where is the encouragement for them? Try to encourage organic farming which is helpful not only to the farmers but also to the peple becuase it is the healthiest food also. And it will definitely help in boosting the agriculture in organic farming. Thank you.
SHRI ARJUN KUMAR SENGUPTA (
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P. J. KURIEN): Because of time constraints, please, be brief. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI ARJUN KUMAR SENGUPTA: I will be as brief as possible. But let me first say that I rise to congratulate the Finance Minister. He has done a wonderful job. Our economy is growing at a very high rate and the substantial part of credit should go to his policies. But it should also be noted that this particular high rate of growth is appreciated by Mr. Agarwal, the representative of the BJP. I have no adverse comment except that similar high rate of growth was achieved also during Yashwant Sinha's time. I think our Finance Minister will have to differentiate his product from the previous achievement of Yashwant Sinha. What is the final way how he can do it is to make it very clear that this rate of growth is going to help the aam aadami, the issue on which the party fought the election and really defeated the previous Government is that the growth is not only for the sake of growth but also for the aam aadami. If you want to do aam aadami-oriented growth, what is the most important thing is that you have to have specific target policies for the poor and the downtrodden.
(Contd by 2D/NBR)
SHRI ARJUN KUMAR SEN GUPTA (CONTD.): What we have seen, again and again, in all our experience, that the general policy or growth does not trickle down so fast to the poorest of the poor unless you have very targeted policies. If you want to have targeted policies, you will have to have expenditure and will also have to have methods of delivering it. I read Mr. Finance Minister's speech in Lok Sabha yesterday. He raises this question, again and again, and very rightly so that he is not very sure that all the money that he is provided for the social programmes whether they will be delivered. He talks about the governance. It is a very major issue. But, unfortunately, this issue has to be tackled by him. He is a part of the Government. He has to sit with other members of the Government to see that these policies, these particular programmes are delivered. In fact, there are certain programmes which have been delivered very well. I would say that some States have done extremely well with regard to the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. Some States could not do it. The programme of Dr. Anbumani Ramdoss -- the National Rural Health Mission -- is one of the best programmes that has been done. All that I am saying is that it is important that we should be able to work out a method of monitoring and see that delivery is done. So, this is not just a question of excuse. Governance is the responsibility of the Government and I hope Mr. Chidambaram will take it up in his reply. The question that will come is that if you are willing to provide that, you have to provide finance and that finance would require, probably, some subsidy. I am not saying all the time to give subsidy and some expenditure. Now, we have to consider whether it is feasible or not. I would like to consider this very carefully. Subsidy should not be dampened. Expenditure must be efficient. But, then, you have to choose between subsides. You cannot completely withdraw all the subsidies. It is a question of which subsidies you would, actually, provide. I would come to this point immediately about the possible criteria. But the question is, if you have to provide subsidy, if you have to provide expenditure, you have to provide finance for which you have to raise revenue. Now, it is true. This is a very impressive performance of this Government that our revenue has increased very substantially. But, any calculation, a very few people would deny that, if all our taxable individuals or households paid their taxes, the total revenue would quadruple. It will increase four times. The fact of the matter is that most of our taxable people do not pay taxes. Now, how it should be done? It is, again, the hon. Finance Minister's responsibility how to increase the tax net. But, suppose, taxes cannot be raised, then there is a choice whether you would give up these programmes, programmes which are necessary for Aam Aadmi or you will increase a little bit of deficit financing. I am putting this point very clearly. I am not in favour of deficit financing. But, if the choice is that you have no way you can increase the revenue, then the trade off is not that you reduce this expenditure on Aam Aadmi programme. You have to raise the deficit. And, if deficit is raised by 0.5 per cent or even 1 per cent of the GDP, its total effect on the economy would be marginal. I raised this point earlier in the earlier description that we should not make a fetish of no deficit at all. Now, this question that will come is how do we prioritise between the different subsidies. The first point, besides the question of expenditure on the Aam Aadmi programmes, the question comes about the prices. Sir, I must mention that this Government will stand or fall on its ability to control prices for the poor people. The question is not just inflation of the WPI. In fact, in terms of the WPI, the inflation is controlled. It is hardly 3 per cent. But the common man's product, the Consumer Price Index is 7 per cent. It is more than double! And, you have to do something to control it. That is what affect the common people. How to control that? Mr. Finance Minister has mentioned that there are two sides -- demand and supply. It is very correct. He said that supply side problem is very difficult here, because the production is not increasing at a fast rate. I am afraid, that issue is a long-term issue. The immediate issue is, how, within the given production, you can have more supply for the common people. (CONTD. BY USY "2E")
SHRI ARJUN KUMAR SENGUPTA (CONTD.): The only way to do that is to expand the Public Distribution System. In other words, you have to have a Public Distribution System, which will give the essential consumer goods at the cheapest prices. (Time-bell) For that, subsidy would be necessary, and that subsidy you will have to be able to incur. I am mentioning this because the PDS, unfortunately, has been very much curtailed just to get.... (Interruptions)
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Now, please try to conclude.
SHRI ARJUN KUMAR SENGUPTA: Sir, I want just a few minutes more because I want to make some major point just for the sake of people. (Interruptions)
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Okay, you can take two minutes more.
SHRI ARJUN KUMAR SENGUPTA: Okay, Sir. The PDS has actually been curtailed. It should be a policy that the PDS must expand, for which we have to procure more food, either through increasing the MSPs, which this Government has done, or through allowing the FCI to the market and buy from the farmers at the market price.
Now, I come to imports. 'Imports' is not a bad thing, if it is meant for buffer-stocks. It does not affect the market price. It is for the PDS system. And, that import should be done. The only problem is that this import should be through a mechanism. It should not be off and on; you enter the market when the prices are high and get out of the market when the prices are low. The Finance Minister is aware of this kind of problem. We have machineries by which we can take the future price on the......(Interruptions) The only thing is that the decision will have to be taken. A permanent machinery has to be set up to have that kind of imports.
Now, I come to
my final point. This point has not been
mentioned yet. The main reason of
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Senguptaji, you are been very good points, but I am unable to...(Interruptions)
SHRI ARJUN KUMAR SENGUPTA: I will conclude soon, Sir. I was mentioning this point because I hope the Finance Minister will combat this excess money expenditure. (Interruptions)
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Please conclude. (Interruptions)
SHRI ARJUN KUMAR SENGUPTA: Just one second, Sir. If you would try to control that by rate of interest, which the Reserve Bank tries to do, the result of that would have a very defnite effect on our industrial production, which is happening now. If you look at the industrial production, now, over this period when there is an increase in the interest rates, the industrial production rate has come down. If you do not do that, the rupee value will appreciate, dollar will fall and your exports will decline. And, that export decline, unfortunately, will hit mostly the small exporters because they are people who export mostly from the indigenous product. They do not have the benefit of lower import. (Interruptions) The lower imports also -- because if the rupee goes up, the prices will be cheaper -- will hurt the poor producers. The Chinese products are flooding the market. I am not saying that you should stop that. But you should realise that when they are flooded in the market, most of the alternative producers...(Interruptions) So, this effect of the FII has to be controlled. (Interruptions)
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Now, please conclude. (Interruptions)
SHRI ARJUN KUMAR SENGUPTA: Just
a minute, Sir. That FII control -- I
want the Finance Minister to respond to it, if he wants -- has an international
policy. There, you put a tax, the tobin tax, on the FII inflow. The 'tobin tax' is
not the exact term, it is tobin-like
tax. The tobin tax is, when all the countries put the
tax. But the tobin-like
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2•Öß ¯Ö¸ü †ÖÝÖê
SHRI D. RAJA (TAMIL NADU): Mr. Vice-Chairman, Sir, I rise to support the two Bills
proposed by the hon. Finance Minister but with a rider. The scope of the discussion, I understand, is
to have a brief review of the performance of the Government and suggest
mid-course corrections, amendments by the Government as far as the
economic policies are concerned. It is
true that certain economic factors may please the hon. Finance Minister and the
Government, particularly, the growth of GDP at the rate of 9.1 per cent or 9.2
per cent, or, the increase in exports.
All these factors may please him or please the Congress Party, but,
definitely, the Human Development Indicators are not encouraging, and they
cannot please the hon. Finance Minister, or, the Congress Party. In our own House, we have Shri
Arjun Sengupta and we have Shri Swaminathan; their reports
are enough to tell the Government, "All is not well", and the
Government will have to make some serious introspection to go for some
mid-course corrections. It is true that
the BJP has realised certain things now; that was why they were talking about
poverty. I am happy about that.
(Interruptions).. At least, you are talking about
poverty. But when you were in the
Government, when farmers were committing suicides in thousands, you were
ÁÖß Ûú»Ö¸üÖ•Ö ×´ÖÁÖ : Farmers ²ÖÆãüŸÖ ¯ÖÆü»Öê ÃÖê †ÖŸ´ÖÆüŸµÖÖ Ûú¸ü ¸üÆêü Æïü…
SHRI D. RAJA: When you were in power, they were committing suicides, but
you were claiming
ÁÖß Ûú»Ö¸üÖ•Ö ×´ÖÁÖ : ÛúÆëüÝÖê ŸÖÖê ‡×ŸÖÆüÖÃÖ ÃÖê ˆ¢Ö¸ü ×´Ö»ÖêÝÖÖ †Öî¸ü †“”ûÖ ˆ¢Ö¸ü ×´Ö»ÖêÝÖÖ… ..(¾µÖ¾Ö¬ÖÖ®Ö)..
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN:) Please, please.. (Interruptions)..
ÁÖß ÃÖã¸êü®¦ü »ÖÖšü : †Ö¯Ö®Öê ŒµÖÖ ×ÛúµÖÖ, •Ö¸üÖ †¯Ö®Öê ×ÝÖ¸êü²ÖÖ®Ö ´Öë ôÖÖÓÛúÛú¸ü ¤êüÜÖ »Öß×•Ö‹… ..(¾µÖ¾Ö¬ÖÖ®Ö).. What have you done in the last two, three years? (Interruptions)..
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN : See, we have shortage of time. (Interruptions)..
ÁÖß Ûú»Ö¸üÖ•Ö ×´ÖÁÖ : ²ÖÖŸÖ Ûú¸ü ÃÖÛúŸÖê Æïü… ..(¾µÖ¾Ö¬ÖÖ®Ö)..
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Mr. Raja, don't say anything controversial. Speak only on the Budget. Mr. Raja, please speak on the Budget only. We have shortage of time.. (Interruptions)..
ÁÖß ÃÖã¸êü®¦ü »ÖÖšü : ‹Ûú ²ÖÖ¸ü †¯Ö®Öê ×ÝÖ¸êü²ÖÖ®Ö ´Öë ôÖÖÓÛúÛú¸ü ¤êüÜÖ »Öß×•Ö‹…
SHRI D. RAJA: Sir, I am speaking on the Budget. Since there was a reference from their side to the Left, I am responding to that. (Interruptions).
ÁÖß ÃÖã¸êü®¦ü »ÖÖšü : NDA ÃÖ¸üÛúÖ¸ü Ûúß ²ÖÖŸÖ Ûú¸ü®Öê ÃÖê ¯ÖÆü»Öê, †¯Ö®Öê ×ÝÖ¸êü²ÖÖ®Ö ´Öë ôÖÖÓÛúÛú¸ü ¤êüÜÖ »Öß×•Ö‹… ..(¾µÖ¾Ö¬ÖÖ®Ö)..
SHRI D. RAJA: There was a reference from your side to the Left, I am responding to that...(Interruptions).. If you do not want to listen to me, it is your problem. (Interruptions)..
ÁÖß Ûú»Ö¸üÖ•Ö ×´ÖÁÖ : µÖÆü ŒµÖÖ ŸÖ¸üßÛúÖ Æîü? ..(¾µÖ¾Ö¬ÖÖ®Ö).. ‡ÃÖ ŸÖ¸üÆü ÃÖê ²Öß•Öê¯Öß Ûêú ²ÖÖ¸êü ´Öë ..(¾µÖ¾Ö¬ÖÖ®Ö).. šêüÛêú¤üÖ¸ü Æïü… ..(¾µÖ¾Ö¬ÖÖ®Ö)..
SHRI D. RAJA: Sir, I said, I am happy that ...(Interruptions).. Let me speak. Sir, I am genuinely concerned with poverty; that is why, I am speaking. Sir, I start from where Shri Arjun Sengupta left. The international monetary situation is very volatile. There is a decline in the value of dollar and there is a big inflow of Foreign Institutional Investments. You will find that there is a big wayward behaviour in stock exchange. I think the stock exchange, or, the sensex points rising should not influence the thinking of the hon. Finance Minister or the Government. In fact, the social realities, the economic realities of the country and the living conditions of the people must influence the policies of the Government. And, here, I must say that agriculture really stands neglected. Even though we are an agrarian country, the contribution of agriculture to economy is just 18 per cent, for which we all must think seriously, and farmers must be liberated from indebtedness. That is the root cause for suicides. Farmers must get remunerative prices. Our agriculture must become a remunerative one. Here, I must ask the Government to think of how the Government can help the paddy cultivating farmers, because they are all asking for the Minimum Support Price. If farmers get the Minimum Support Price or the Remunerative Price, then, there can be an increase in our agricultural production. That can put an end to our dependence on import of foodgrains from foreign countries also. (Contd. by 2H/PB)
SHRI D. RAJA (CONTD.): This has to be taken very seriously. Sir, the Common Minimum Programme really speaks about water management, and there is a particular reference to the linking of rivers. If not all rivers, at least, to begin with, they can think, how efforts can be made to link the Southern rivers. There is a talk and there can be a consensus also. The Government can initiate some consultation process; at Chief Ministers' level, a consensus can be created.
Having said this, I must say, there are other problems. Government now talks about 'inclusive growth'. There is really an economic exclusion ...(Time-bell)... of several sections, particularly, the weak and vulnerable sections, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. These sections stand very much neglected. If you go by actual figures of Budget, the actual money spent on their development is very meagre and it is not adequate. In fact, in the planning process, they are marginalised. There is an outcry, very strong outcry, among these people. There must be sub-plan, component plan for the SC/ST in the entire scheme of things by the Government.
Sir, there is a growing divide between the rural side and
the urban side. This urban-rural divide is becoming more and more glaring and
there is a big gap in the income levels of the people. Sir, we all swear in the name of
Constitution. The Constitution talks about justice -- social, economic and
political. What about the economic
justice? Even the spirit of the
Directive Principles of our Constitution is that wealth shall not be
concentrated in the hands of a few. But, in
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Now, please conclude.
SHRI D. RAJA: We cannot be proud of claiming that we have trillionaires or billionaires. We have poor people. Sir, the vast majority of our people are poor and vast majority of our people still struggle for drinking water, housing and passage roads to their villages. How is this Government going to address it? It is not that we are opposing the Bills. In any case, we will have to support these Bills. But the Government must have some serious introspection. The Government will have to go for mid-course corrections. The Left is supporting this Government. But it is not that we enjoy power without any responsibility. Without being in power, we feel more responsible, more answerable to the people. We are concerned with their problems. That is why we are telling the Government that it will have to make serious introspection; review your performance.
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Now, conclude please. Please. Conclude now.
SHRI D. RAJA: Otherwise, there is no point in claiming that the UPA Government is an 'aam aadmi' Government. This is what I would like to emphasise at this point of time. (Ends)
SHRI RAMDAS AGARWAL: Sir, just one second only.
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: No; there is no time.
SHRI RAMDAS AGARWAL: Sir, I will not take more than a minute. He has referred to my speech. I just want to bring to the kind notice of Mr. Raja that during the NDA time, we distributed millions of tonnes of foodgrains to the drought-affected areas, to the flood-affected areas and to the poor. So, he should not blame us that today only we are talking of the poor.
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P. J. KURIEN): All right. Shri Sanjay Raut. ...(Interruptions)... No; no; please. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI D. RAJA: When you came out with 'India Shining' campaign, the farmers were committing suicides under your regime. That is a fact. That is part of the history. ...(Interruptions)... That is what I am saying. ...(Interruptions)...
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Okay; Shri Sanjay Raut. ...(Interruptions)... No; please. Mr. Raja, that's okay. ...(Interruptions)... You have made your point. ...(Interruptions)... You have made your point; he has also made his point. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI RAMDAS AGARWAL: 'India Shining Programme' is not your subject. Your subject is, ...(Interruptions)... foodgrains to the poor. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI D. RAJA: Sir, I am saying that the Government must strengthen the Public Distribution System and ... ...(Interruptions)...
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: That's okay; you made your point and he made his point. ...(Interruptions)... That's all. ...(Interruptions)... Mr. Sanjay Raut. ...(Interruptions)... It is not an interaction session.
(Followed by 2j/SKC)
SHRI SANJAY RAUT (
Sir, many hon. Members have already spoken on this subject. Shri Ramdas Agarwal has made very valid points in his speech. I would like to draw the kind attention of the hon. Finance Minister to two or three issues.
Sir, as the earlier speakers had mentioned, the rate of growth of GDP is about 10 per cent. But in the agriculture sector we are not getting the desired results. The poor people and farmers of this country do not know what economic growth and what growth in GDP is; they only want roti, kapda aur makan. Unfortunately, they are not getting these things.
All of us talk
about ten per cent growth rate. It becomes a statistical thought. Sir, 0.2 per
cent of our people are growing at a growth rate of 9.92 per cent per annum. But
there is a very large proportion of our people whose
growth rate is much below 0.2 per cent. More than 20 crores
of our people live on below Rs. 15 per day. What is
there to speak of our country's development now? Farmers in our country are
living in poor conditions; their lives are worsening. According to one report
in our country, one farmer commits suicide every thirty minutes. In my State,
Sir, the poor
farmers are unable to repay their agricultural loans in any manner; they are
unable to keep up their pride. Day-by-day, the number of farmers committing
suicide is increasing. This trend has to be immediately arrested, failing which
the results would be very serious. Loans are being advanced only to those
eligible persons who have the capacity to repay them and not to others. This is
the general rule. Everyone is well aware that agriculture is not a profitable
job. People are born in debt and live in debt but those who also die in debts
are only the farmers. This is the situation of our farmers. As far as I know,
in Tamil Nadu, the Chief Minister, Shri Karunanidhi, has written off all the outstanding
cooperative loans of farmers including interests on them. If Shri Karunanidhi can take this
step in the interest of the farming community, why can't a State like
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Please conclude.
SHRI SANJAY RAUT: Otherwise, we won't be able to talk of Jai Jawan Jai Kisan. Taking the cue from Shri
Karunanidhi, all cooperative loans and loans from
nationalised banks taken by farmers throughout
Therefore, once again, I urge upon the Government to revise the package to cater to the needs of the farmers and also to waive off bank loans taken by them for agricultural purposes.
With these words, I conclude. (Ends)
SHRI SHARAD ANANTRAO JOSHI (MAHARASHTRA): Mr. Vice-Chairman Sir, I was taken aback this morning when I read a report that the Finance Minister has told the people that this year the rate of growth of GDP would be confined to nine per cent and that they should remain content with that.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE (SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM): The last part is your addition!
SHRI SHARAD ANANTRAO JOSHI: All right, you did not ask the people to remain content with it but you have said that it would be limited to nine per cent!
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: We have said that it is likely to remain at nine per cent.
SHRI SHARAD ANANTRAO JOSHI: Till yesterday, we were talking of a growth rate of ten per cent and the rate of growth of agriculture was 1.8 per cent. In the meanwhile, the Planning Commission has come out with figures that the rate of growth of agricultural products has increased to 4 per cent. It is very difficult to understand how the rate of general GDP comes down when the rate of growth of agriculture goes up.
(Contd. by 2k/hk)
SHRI SHARAD ANANTRAO JOSHI (CONTD.): I have not understood the link between the two.
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: Of course, you understood, but you don't want to say.
SHRI SHARAD ANANTRAO JOSHI: On the basis of the 4 per cent rate of growth of
agriculture, I am of the opinion that if only certain policies are followed,
then the rate of growth of general GDP can be as high as 15 per cent, and I
would like to suggest to the Finance Minister some of the things, if done, I
think, some of the Supplementary Demands could have been cut down. First, Sir, there is a demand now that the
sugar factories should be given interest-free loan in order to ensure that their
losses are wiped out or they are able to pay the prices. Sir, I have made a study on that and I can
say that on the basis of what products the factories can make out for one tonne
of sugarcane and what income they can get out of that, every type of factory
can pay, for example, the Statutory Minimum Price. For a factory which has 10 per cent sugar
recovery, SMP is only Rs.728, while they actually get the income of Rs.1,519. At the other
extreme, the factory which has the recovery of 13 per cent, it gets Rs.2032 as
income and they are required nearly to pay Rs.1007. What I am trying to say is: This claim that
the sugar factories are making losses is entirely dishonest. What the factories in the North are doing is:
They are not paying the farmers and developing a backlog, while the factories
in the South are really trying to say that even the Statutory Minimum Prices
cannot be paid. I would like to ask, as
a farmer, Sir, that this is a dishonest claim and if, at all, you want to give
some money for the sugar sector, you should ensure that money goes directly to
the cane growers rather than through the pipeline of factories where the money
doesn't appear to reach the farmers at all.
Secondly, Sir, a major case of loss was about the wheat imports. Sir, there are some very serious mistakes and
I am going to make an argument which possibly you can appreciate. Sir, on the 20th
of February, you put a ban on taking open position on the futures market. On
the 16th March, the Minister for Agriculture said -- because the
Indian futures were closed, he referred to the Chicago Board of Trade -- that
the current price was Rs.744 and, therefore, the price of Rs.850 as a
procurement price was declared for wheat in
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Please conclude.
SHRI SHARAD ANANTRAO JOSHI: Just two minutes, Sir. Senguptaji, the FIIs should be taxed. What I am trying to say is that the entire FIIs are coming only for industries and it is impossible to divert it to agriculture, and this can be done if we allow the forward trading and the futures market in agriculture and allow the financial investment and direct investment also in agriculture through the futures market.
(Contd. by 2L/KSK)
SHRI SHARAD ANANTRAO JOSHI (CONTD): If that happens, I am quite sure that 15 per cent rate of growth is easily obtainable.
Last point is about retail trade. There are a number of people who stand for the small traders and defend the small trader as against the malls and the super markets. I can say that the farmer stand for the super market because the small trader has taken care of only his shop and he has not done anything to build up a chain between the harvest and the kitchen. What the malls do is to build up that chain, and therefore, farmers would like to have more malls that would build up the chain between the harvest and the kitchen. Therefore, do not think that there is opposition to the retail trade. It comes from a consumer category of urban people. The farmer is behind it and we expect the Government to provide police protection where the goons try to attack these malls. (Ends)
DR. BARUN MUKHERJEE (
(continued by 2m - gsp)
DR. BARUN MUKHERJEE (CONTD.): Sir, the Government's statistics can speak well about it. They can bear testimony to the continuous rising profitability of big corporate houses, and, on the other hand, growing poverty and unemployment in the country. There cannot be any remedy on this aspect until and unless the present economic policy of the Government is changed.
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Please conclude.
DR. BARUN MUKHERJEE: So, we hope that the Government will think over it. They are now giving publicity to the inclusive growth but until and unless the basic aspects of the economic policy are changed, the inclusive growth in the society cannot be achieved. Thank you. (Ends)
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Thank you. Good point. Now, Shri Shunmugasundaram.
SHRI R. SHUNMUGASUNDARAM (TAMIL NADU): Mr. Vice-Chairman, Sir, on behalf of the DMK Party, I support these two Appropriation Bills. Sir, the general feeling which has been expressed in this august House is that enough attention or priority is not given to the agriculture sector and agri-based industries. Sir, it is the duty of the UPA Government to alleviate this particular doubt. Sir, the promise made by the hon. Prime Minister that there would be four per cent growth in the agriculture sector has to be fulfilled, and, I request the hon. Finance Minister to respond to what has been done to give necessary support to the agriculture sector.
Sir, the Minimum Support Price of agriculture has to be increased in all the areas and it should be taken care of by the hon. Minister in the near future. The boom in the Sensex and the IT industries or IT-related services is encouraging but, in reality, what is happening is that these industries, particularly, the service industries, which are enjoying tax benefits from the Government, are investing in real estate in the country.
In this process, the real-estate price has gone up and this
is the most unproductive growth in this country. I request the hon. Minister to put a check on
this. I have also seen some of the
non-agriculture, non-farming sectors like the educational institutions accumulating
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE (SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM): You must appeal to all the Chief Ministers of the States.
SHRI R. SHUNMUGASUNDARAM: That is for the Finance Minister to write to all the Chief Ministers. (Interruptions)
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): You can also appeal to the Chief Ministers. No problem.
SHRI R. SHUNMUGASUNDARAM: Sir, hon. Member, Shri C. Perumal expressed his concern about the Cooperative Drinking Water Scheme, Hogenakkal. Sir, as far as my information goes -- I believe the hon. Finance Minister will also clarify and inform this House -- the State Government has written to the Central Government and the project has been taken up at the Japan bank level.
Sir, hon. Member Shri Sharad Joshi said about future contracts. Sir, as far as future contracts and future markets in agriculture are concerned -- as far as my information goes and as far as what I have read -- it is very good in many of the countries, and, particularly, with regard to the agriculture produce, the farmers are assured of their prices and the payments are made in advance, which must be given encouragement by the UPA Government. With these words, Sir, I support the Bills. (Ends)
(Contd. by 2n-sk)