RAHUL BAJAJ (
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Independent 'honourable' Member.
RAHUL BAJAJ: Sir, I can't say that about myself. But, elected by all the four major parties,
BJP, NCP, Shiv Sena and
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: Now, he has said who sent him in the House.
SHRI RAHUL BAJAJ: The Finance Minister has a point of view, Sir. But three parties voted for me, and the 4th party, the Congress, also helped me come here because they put up a sacrificial candidate against me. And, therefore, as I say, I have come here with the unanimous support of all the four major parties.
Sir, I have to make three points while supporting both the Bills. I don't need to get elected by the Aam Aadmi. So, I don't talk of Aam Aadmi just as vote bank politics. But, I am talking of Aam Aadmi. This country can't move forward. We can't have a growth rate, whether 4 per cent in agriculture or total growth rate of 10 per cent or we own 15 per cent, which my friend, Sharad Joshi, is talking about, unless we have growth. So, we need growth, Sir. What does an Aam Aadmi need ultimately? Employment and rising income -- whether in agriculture or anywhere else -- and a control on inflation, not wholesale only, as my friend Arjun Kumar Sengupta said, but the prices that he has to pay can't be 7 per cent. That also has to come down to 3 per cent or 4 per cent. How do we do this? Or, what are the problems? There are many, but in the limited time that I will have, I would like to say that expenditures have to be controlled. Very rightly it has been said that governance is a major issue. Delivery and implementation are major problems. We all know it; the Finance Minister knows it; the Prime Minister knows it. But, we are not finding a solution. There is inefficiency; there is corruption. Please go in for public private partnership. Where private sector comes in, keep it accountable. Whether NGOs or corporate sector, keep them accountable because this is Government's money. But, take their efficiency into account. Do not any longer consider the private sector as somebody outside. We are domestic national private sector. Take our help wherever appropriate. So, public private partnership is very important.
Secondly, it has been mentioned by some hon. Members, subsidies have to be there. You can't remove them completely. But, why to the rich? Why to the people who are above the poverty line? Why non-merit subsidies? Where is the politics in that? Why to give subsidy on petrol? I say that as a vehicle manufacturer. Petrol is not used by the poor people. Bonds are really hurting the oil companies. I believe bonds are not shown as deficit financing. I am subject to correction by the Finance Minister. If that is so, the deficit financing, that he assured us will remain under Budgetary figure for the current fiscal year, in spite of all other expenditure, is perhaps not the full deficit of this country, Sir.
My last point
is the point, which was referred to by Mr. Arjun
Kumar Sengupta, is regarding exchange rate of
rupees. Ultimately, 20 years down the
RAHUL BAJAJ (CONTD.): And more important, that
has not been talked about, which is hurting Indian industries, small, medium
and large, is imports from
Sir, I would request the Finance Minister, who has done a great job during the
last three years, to continue to help
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Please conclude.
SHRI RAHUL BAJAJ: Thank you, Sir. (Ends)
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SHRI KUMAR DEEPAK DAS (
ÁÖß †´Ö¸ü ØÃÖÆü : ÃÖ¸ü, Æü´Öë ‡ÃÖÛúÖ ØÆü¤üß †®Öã¾ÖÖ¤ü “ÖÖ×Æü‹… Æü´Ö •ÖÖ®Ö®ÖÖ “ÖÖÆüŸÖê Æïü ×Ûú ´ÖÖ®Ö®ÖßµÖ ÃÖ¤üÃµÖ ŒµÖÖ ÛúÆü ¸üÆêü Æïü…
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: No interpretation. Please check. †®Öã¾ÖÖ¤ü Æãü†Ö Æîü… Let me check. ÆüÖê ¸üÆüÖ Æîü, †Ö ÝÖµÖÖ Æîü…
ÁÖß †´Ö¸ü ØÃÖÆü : ¿Öãºþ ÃÖê ²ÖÖê×»Ö‹…
version of Assamese Speech
SHRI KUMAR DEEPAK DAS: * I Doubt if the problems of the north-eastern states are really understood. First of all, I would like to submit, the people of the State I come from,
It does not show the real picture
of the entire nation. The real picture is submerged in
* English version of Assamese Speech
(MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN in the Chair.)
Sir, I want to quote: "I rise to inform the hon. Members about a matter of public importance. As the hon. Members are aware, the Seventh Finance Commission have submitted their recommendations and
these have been accepted by the Government of India with some modifications. Although as a result of the recommendations of the Finance Commission the total transfer of resources to the States would be more than doubled, the share of Assam in the transfer of resources in absolute terms has been far below our expectation with the result that instead of a revenue surplus which we were hoping for will be left with a substantial gap on the Revenue Account.
(Contd. by RSS/2Q)
SHRI KUMAR DEEPAK DAS (CONTD.): During the Sixth Commission, the resource transfer actually received by us will amount to Rs. 489.34 crores whereas the total transfer likely to be received by Assam during the 5 years from 1979-80 to 1983-84, as a result of the Seventh Finance Commission's recommendations, will be only Rs. 518.65 crores. We are deeply disturbed to find that Assam's share of the total transfer of resources to all the States taken together has been reduced from 4.57 per cent during the period covered by the Sixth Finance Commission Award, to a mere 2.49 per cent for the next 5 years, covered by the Seventh Finance Commission. As a result, the doubling of the transfer of resources from the Centre to the States has hardly benefited our State."
This was the statement made by the Finance Minister in the year 1978.
situation is prevailing in the state today. People are facing the same
problems. That is why I say, it is necessary to pay special attention to
* English version of Assamese Speech
Vice Chairman, Sir, I want to say a few words about the problems face by the jute farmers. The price of jute has gone down. The farmers are not getting adequate price for their produce. They are suffering due to the loss.
I submit that the Central
Government take note of the problems of the jute farmers of
(followed by 2r)
* English version of Assamese Speech
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Shri Tapan Kumar Sen. Please take two minutes.
SHRI TAPAN KUMAR SEN (
Now, the first point is that the rate of growth of disparity is higher than the rate of the economic growth itself thereby reflecting a distributive distortion. I don't think that governance failure is the only reason. There is something wrong in the system and policy model. That is also affecting the Government changing its direction. So, it should be addressed.
Secondly, despite the buoyancy in the tax revenue, the accumulation of tax arrears is increasing, meaning thereby that the full potential of the economic growth could not be harnessed in revenue generation. I think, this area should be addressed very aggressively.
The third and the last point is that the flow of money in the form of FDI and FII is welcome, but not in an unregulated manner. Already certain alarm bell was rung by the Reserve Bank that some regulation was required to be there and it came out very specifically on banning the Participatory Note transactions. I think, the hon. Minister will enlighten the House as to what aggressive action is going to be taken in these areas. Thank you. (Ends)
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE (SHRI P.
CHIDAMBARAM): Mr. Deputy
Chairman, Sir, I am grateful to the 19 hon. Members, beginning with Shri Ramdas Agarwal
and closing with Comrade Tapan Kumar Sen, who participated in this brief debate on the
Supplementary Demands for Grants. Sir,
it is only right that the opportunity should have been availed of by the hon.
Members to discuss the general economic situation, as well as, the economic
policies followed by the Government.
There have been some words of praise; there have been many points of
criticism. I take both of them in the
same spirit. While we welcome criticism,
I wish to emphasise that an open economy and an open polity is the best road
for economic prosperity. To envisage
that we must have an open economy, it does not mean that the economic activity
will not be regulated. There will be
regulation; but an open economy is very different from a closed economy or a
controlled economy. Only the day-before-
yesterday, the Prime Minister quoted the speech made by President Hu Jintao of
Sir, I only take the point that
regulation and independent regulators are necessary for certain sectors of the
economy. I believe that increasing
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM
(CONTD): We will begin with a
growth rate of about 9 per cent and by the end of the Plan,
we hope to move to a growth rate of 10 per cent. While criticism of policies and the way it is
implemented is welcome, I am, sometimes, disappointed when the people criticise
growth itself or people criticise parameters that measure growth. If we fail in delivering drinking water, if
we fail in delivering roads to rural
A number of initiatives have been taken by this Government. Recently, we announced the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana. An additional Rs. 25,000 crores, over and above the budget presented in February 2007, have been provided, over a period of time and the Food Security Mission has been launched. We have drawn heavily from all the reports that have been made available on the agriculture sector. Sir, specific initiatives include, in technology, research priorities will shift towards evolving a cropping system to suit agro climatic conditions. The ICAR would be restructured for evolving appropriate cropping systems.
(Contd. by 2T)
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM
(contd.): In irrigation, as the
scope for new, large surface projects is limited, the focus would be to
complete the ongoing projects by increasing allocation under AIBP. More emphasis will be placed on participatory
irrigation management. In ground water
exploitation, priorities would be areas of abundant availability such as
Sir, as for the expenditure on Agriculture Research and Education, in 2003-04, the total amount was Rs.1,435 crores. We have stepped it up year after year and, for the current year, it is Rs.2,458 crores. This is still a small amount. I will try to provide more. But the fact is that we have raised it from Rs.1,435 crores to Rs.2,458 crores. We have added a huge potential to irrigated land. The total land, that has been added, is quite large. At the end of the Eighth Plan, the total land for assured irrigation is 86 million hectares; under the Ninth Plan, it is 94 million hectares; under the Tenth Plan, it is 103 million hectares. I have just given you the figures for the Eleventh Plan, and I am confident that if we reach the physical targets of the Eleventh Plan, not merely the financial outlays of the Eleventh Plan, if we achieve the physical target of the Eleventh Plan by spending this money, the landscape of agriculture will be dramatically changed over the next five years.
(Continued by 2U)
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM (CONTD.): Sir, besides
irrigation, the Bharat Nirman has a number of
components, and each component of the Bharat Nirman
is addressing a concern of rural
Sir, there was a lot of discussion about procurement prices. Needless to say, our Government has increased procurement prices. I have given these figures in the past. For a period of five years, the procurement price of wheat was increased by ten rupees a year, on an average, to about 50 rupees. Today, the procurement price of wheat is 1,000 rupees for the next Rabi season. These are the numbers. In 1999-2000, the MSP for wheat was 580 rupees a quintal; by 2003-04, it had come to 630 rupees a quintal, 50 rupees in five years. For Rabi 2008, it is 1000 rupees a quintal. Likewise, in 1999-2000, for paddy A-grade, it was 520 rupees a quintal; by 2003-04, it had come to 580 rupees a quintal, a rise of 60 rupees. We are now offering for the current year 775 rupees, which is a rise of 195 rupees in four years.
SHRI RAVULA CHANDRA SEKAR REDDY: Why is there disparity with wheat when the growth is the same? ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: Just one second. I will answer. I have noted your point. The MSP is fixed on the recommendation of the Committee on Agricultural Costs and Prices, CACP. In the case of wheat, after calculating the costs, -- and this is considered an expert body -- they had recommended 1000 rupees and we have accepted 1000 rupees. In the case of paddy, we have added a hundred rupees to the recommendation of the CACP as bonus. Therefore, we have not given less than what the Committee recommended. We have actually given more than what the Committee recommended. The demand is, you should give more, even more. That is the demand. Therefore, we go by an expert committee. We have accepted their recommendation. In the case of wheat, we have given exactly as per the recommendation. In the case of paddy, we have given a hundred rupees more than the recommendation. Any demand for even more would, of course, have to be considered by the appropriate Ministry. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI D. RAJA: The Expert Committee's figures can be questioned because the Field Investigators have not visited the villages; they have not gone to farmers. ...(Interruptions)...
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: This is the same thing. You can ask it after this.
SHRI SU. THIRUNAVUKKARASAR: Sir, since the hon. Minister is replying to this point...(Interruptions)...
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Don't ask in the middle. ...(Interruptions)... It is not a good practice to intervene when the Minister is replying.
SHRI SU. THIRUNAVUKKARASAR: Sir, since he is answering this point...(Interruptions)... I have just one sentence. Sir, in 1995, the wheat price and paddy price was the same. ...(Interruptions)... Over the years, the difference started with Rs.50, Rs.100. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: I understand that. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI SU. THIRUNAVUKKARASAR: Now, the difference is Rs.300. Why don't you increase it to Rs.1000? ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: Mr. Thirunavukkarasar, in 1995 also, the MSP was fixed based on the recommendation of the CACP. In 2007 also, the MSPs are fixed based on the recommendations of the CACP.
SHRI SU. THIRUNAVUKKARASAR: Then there is something wrong with the recommendation of the Committee.
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: That is a different question. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: It is a different matter, if you question the conclusions of the CACP. I mean, you were in the Government; your party was in the Government, at no time, do I recall the NDA questioning the recommendation of the CACP. Shri Chaturanan Misra was the Minister for Agriculture between 1996-98, I cannot recall his questioning the recommendation of the CACP. If something is fundamentally wrong today with the CACP, you can raise this issue, I am sure, the Minister will answer. But all I am saying is, as replying to a general debate, I am pointing out that we have gone by the recommendation of the CACP. (Contd. by 2w-kgg)
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM (contd.): But certainly that does not prevent any hon. Member or any expert from questioning the recommendations of the CACP and raising a debate on that issue. I am sure, the Minister will answer that debate.
SHRI D. RAJA: There is a demand by the farmers. They want a thousand rupees per quintal of rice.
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: That is a demand that you should make to the Minister concerned. I have answered why this price has been fixed in this manner. Sir, let me run through the points very quickly.
Sir, there was some question about the PDS. Sir, we are not reducing the subsidy for PDS. I know that some answer was read. Please remember, I can give you the details, the Budgeted provision was higher than the previous year. You are reading the RE figures. The RE figures came down because of a decentralised procurement system and because of lower interest rate in that year the carrying cost of food of FCI came down. You should not look at only the RE figures. Because of other variables like interest rate or carrying cost coming down, the subsidy bill will come down. The question is, was the quantity of foodgrains that was subsidised remains the same, or has it come down. In fact, we have not increased the price, at all, of foodgrains since this Government came. Therefore, the subsidy, in fact, is the same subsidy; in fact, the subsidy has increased; MSP has increased; we have not increased the issue price at all. Therefore, the subsidy actually has increased.
If FCI, because of its more efficient decentralised procurement and because of lower interest rate, is able to reduce the subsidy bill, that does not mean that subsidy on per kilogram of foodgrain distributed to the poorest comes down. I am sure the hon. Member understands the point I am trying to make. Look at the BE and look at the RE.
Sir, I wish to point out that an
evaluation has been made on the Public Distribution System. Dr. Arjun Sengupta said, we must have a targeted intervention. The PDS is a
targeted intervention. In fact, the Left parties say that it should not be
targeted and that it should be universal. The PDS, in fact, is a targeted PDS
today. Look at the conclusions of the report. The report concludes that on all
I know, there are some policy failures. But the greater part of our failures is not in policy, but is in implementation. If we can only distribute the foodgrain......
SHRI ARJUN KUMAR SENGUPTA: Who is responsible?
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: I will answer who is responsible. The State Governments are solely responsible for distributing the foodgrains on the PDS. The Government of India can only give the foodgrains today. It is entirely the State Governments that are responsible for distribution. They lift the stock, they give it to the fair price shop, they issue the ration card, they weed out ghost ration cards; it is entirely their responsibility.
My party is also in State Governments. I am not running away from the problem. If the Congress party is in State Government and things are going wrong, then the Congress party is responsible. Equally, every party in the State Government is responsible. All I am trying to say is, we can certainly discuss policy failures, but whatever the policy is, unless the implementation is strong, how do we carry out policies in this country?
Sir, very quickly, let me run through a few points. Dr. Arjun Sengupta said, I am a little surprised, that these levels of growth rates have been achieved in the NDA period also. That is not correct at all.
(Contd. by kls/2x)
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM (CONTD): The first five years of NDA period, under one Finance Minister returned an average growth rate of 5.3 per cent. Let us get that number burnt into our memory - 5.3 per cent. In the last year -- another Finance Minister--, it went to 8.5 per cent. The average, therefore, for six years was 5.8 per cent. The average for the six years was 5.8 per cent; the average in our Government is 8.6 per cent. Therefore, I think, we should not make this mistake. Our memory should not be allowed to play tricks; the history should not manipulate our memory. Not that I -- I am sure that any Government, the next Government and next Government should aim higher. We have aimed higher, we have achieved the higher growth rate, and I am sure every Government would want to aim higher than the previous Government. Sir, very quickly, I come to Service Tax. ...(Interruptions)... Again memory is playing tricks. Service Tax was introduced not by the UPA Government; it was introduced by Dr. Manmohan Singh in 1994-95.
SHRI RAMDAS AGARWAL: I did not raise any objection why this had been introduced. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: I am going
to answer it. ...(Interruptions)... Now services
sector occupies 54 per cent of
Sir, there was some question about education loan, I do not know why. I am not saying that every deserving student has got a loan. I know there are Branch Managers who are unhelpful. But the point is when we took over only 3,19,337 students had got education loans and the total amount outstanding was Rs.4550 crores. (Contd by 2Y/NBR) -KLS/NBR-VNK/2Y/2.50.
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM (CONTD.): Today, it is 9,54,729 students and the total amount given as educational loan is Rs. 14,810 crores. This is as of June, 2007. My unverified numbers say that the number of educational loans in the country has crossed 10 lakhs. It was 3,19,000. Today, it is 10 lakhs. And, I assure you, once again, it is my intention, that every deserving student, who has got the minimum mark, who has gained admission to one of the listed courses in an accredited institution should be given an educational loan and no Branch Manager should be allowed to deny a loan and every complaint has been investigated. I can honestly and proudly claim that every complaint has been investigated to its logical conclusion until I am personally satisfied, not my officer, that the loan has been either granted -- they give eight out of every ten -- or two out of every ten cases they satisfy me that for the following reasons that student does not deserve a loan. It takes a considerable part of my time. But, I do not mind. I have committed to expanding this programme and I will ensure that this programme grow from year-after-year.
Finally, there was some question about the diploma in nursing. I do not know whether the hon. Member is here. Information does not seem to be correct. Information I have got is, if the candidate has obtained a diploma from an institute recognized by the Central Nursing Council or the State Nursing Council, irrespective of whether it is in the private sector college or the public sector college, such candidate is eligible for Government jobs.
I think, I have answered most of the points.
Sir, an hon. Member expressed his appreciation for my 'sincerity and commitment' and raised a concern that I was, perhaps, unwittingly not revealing information about the company. It is entirely incorrect. The company was investigated and a Show-Cause notice was issued. The Show-Cause notice -- kindly mark the dates -- was adjudicated on 11th July, 2003, and a demand for Rs. 240 crores of Excise Duty and Rs. 9.26 crores of Customs Duty was confirmed. This was in the NDA Government. The party filed an appeal. In the meantime, our party came into office. Our Government, my Ministry, my Department defended the appeal and the appeal was rejected by the Tribunal by an order dated 17th June, 2005. We did not lose the case; we won the case. A further appeal was filed in the High Court. My Government, my Department defended the appeal in the High Court. The High Court dismissed the appeal on 3rd May, 2006 confirming the demand. Therefore, on two appellate courts, we have won the case against the party. Now, the party has gone to the Supreme Court. The next date of hearing is a date which will be fixed. So, we are defending the case and we will defend the case in the Supreme Court and I am confident that our lawyers will be able to sustain this demand.
SHRI AMAR SINGH: I am fully satisfied with the hon. Minister.
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: Sir, I will add further. Four of the officers of the company are being prosecuted and a complaint has been filed before the Magistrate on the 21st September, 2007. So, no favour is being shown to any one. There are industrialists in this House. There are people connected with industry. I have no friends. I have no enemies in industry. No industrialist in this country can claim that he is close to me or is a friend of mine or he has got favour from me. I repeat that I have no friends and no enemies in industry. Thank you.
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Now, we shall take up for consideration the Appropriation (No. 4) Bill, 2007. 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 2007-08, as passed by Lok Sabha, be taken into consideration.
The motions were adopted
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Now, we shall take up Clause-by-Clause consideration of the Bill.
Clauses 2, 3 and the Schedule were added to the Bill.
Clause 1, the Enacting Formula and the Title were added to the Bill.
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: Sir, I move:
That the Bill be returned.
The question was put and the motion was adopted.
(FOLLOWED BY USY "2Z")
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: I shall, now, put up the Appropriation (No.5) Bill, 2007 to vote. The question is:
Bill to provide for the authorization of appropriation of moneys out of the
Consolidated Fund of India to meet the amounts spent on certain services during
the financial year ended on the 31st day of March,
The motion was adopted.
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Now, we shall take clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill.
Clauses 2, 3 and the Schedule were added to the Bill.
Clause 1, the Enacting Formula and the Title were added to the Bill.
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM: Sir, I move:
That the Bill be returned.
The question was put and the motion was adopted.
THE APPROPRIATION (RAILWAYS) NO.4 BILL, 2007
THE GOVERNMENT RESOLUTION RE. APPROVING THE RECCOMENDATIONS CONTAINED IN PARAS 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60 AND 61 OF THE SIXTH REPORT OF THE RAILWAYS CONVENTION COMMITTEE (2004).
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Now, we will take up the Appropriation (Railways) No.4 Bill, 2007 and the Government Resolution.
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