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SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY (TAMIL NADU): Thank you, Mr. Vice-Chairman, Sir, for having given me this opportunity to speak on the Tyre Corporation of India Limited (Disinvestment of Ownership) Bill, 2007, moved by the hon. Minister, Shri Sontosh Mohan Dev. Sir, the Bill is very simple. The Government of India; the hon. Minister wants to disinvest the shares of the Tyre Corporation of India Limited, Kolkata for the purpose of increasing the facilities of manufacture, production and distribution of tyres, tubes and also rubber goods. For this the Government requires money. Earlier, two undertakings were there; the Inchek Tyre Limited and the National Rubber Manufacturers' Limited. Both were taken over by the Government in 1984 as mentioned in the Bill. To improve the production and productivity and also to better utilise the assets of the company, the hon. Minister wanted the moneys to be provided, and, therefore, the Bill has been brought to this august House for approval.
Sir, the hon. Members from the other side
have been submitting that the Government of India' policy, the present
Government; the UPA Government's policy is that the public sector will not be
disinvested. As a general rule, 'yes',
but there is also an agreement and it was also an accepted policy. The hon. Prime Minister and also the hon.
Minister for Public Enterprises mentioned several times in this august House
and outside that the Government will make all possible efforts to revive the
chronic loss-making units. When the
revival is not possible, the Government will go for disinvestment and the money
will be ploughed back into the public undertakings. This has been very clearly told by the hon.
Prime Minister and also by the hon. Minister for Public Enterprises. Sir, you might have observed that in the
whole country, there is one region, that is, in
The hon. Members from the other side have clearly mentioned that the transport industry is booming. Yes, it is booming. A lot of transport vehicles have come; two wheelers, four wheelers, eight wheelers, twelve wheelers etc, and tyres are required for this country. There was one stage when rubber was sold at a very high price. The tyre manufacturers were suffering. And even the rich public sector was also suffering. Now, the market is improving. The transport industry needs a lot of tyres. Therefore, the Government wants to increase production of tyres and for this the hon. Minister wants additional funds to be given.
Sir, in this
regard, I would like to submit to the hon. Minister that whatever disinvestment
of equity you are making, it should not go beyond 49 per cent. This policy has to be adopted by the
Government. I would like to submit to
the hon. Minister that it should not go beyond 49 per cent because it should
not go into the private hands. I agree with
the Left friends on this. But our Left
Front always go by the policy of bringing
SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY (CONTD.): Now, from our side, we want not more than 49 per cent to be disinvested. That I want the hon. Minister to make very clear. As far as the second part, that is, protection to the employees, is concerned, we are none less than the Left Parties in protecting the interests of the labour. The hon. Minister has mentioned very clearly in clause 5 that, for every officer, or, other employee of the company except the Chairman and the Director, job security is there. Protection has been given in clause 5 of the Bill by the hon. Minister. About disinvestment also, it has been mentioned. Now, the question arises: what is your plan of action for increasing the production? Then, what is the turnover going to be? What is the amount you are going to raise by disinvestment? When you plough back that amount, how are you going to improve the production and productivity? Whether you are going to employ more people when you go in for expansion. For increasing production, definitely, you will need more people to be employed. What is your plan of action for this? Whether any study has been conducted, any report has been submitted in this regard before the hon. Minister, I would like to know. Because I have seen in several public sector undertakings that these Undertakings come with their proposal for getting money from the market by disinvesting their shares, and, ultimately, that money is given only for sundry expenses, not for the purpose of increasing production and productivity. Therefore, I want the hon. Minister to clearly mention that this amount will be utilised for the purpose of increasing production and productivity and also for modernisation, because modernisation is the need of the hour. You are going to compete with the other industries like the MRF, etc. So many other private companies are there. You are going to compete with them. Therefore, cost-effectiveness should be there in the tyre industry. Because when you go to the market -- when the cost of production increases -- you will not be able to sell it at a competitive rate. Therefore, I want the hon. Minister to tell us what is his plan of action of expansion, to increase the production and productivity? What will be the capacity of the people whom, he is going to employ additionally, apart from the people already employed there? I would like to submit that the Common Minimum Programme, as far as the public sector undertakings are concerned, should be strictly adhered to by the hon. Minister while getting the nod from this august House for this Bill. With these words, I support this Bill. Thank you for having given me this opportunity.
(THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (SHRI PRASANTA CHATTERJEE)
IN THE CHAIR)
SHRI TAPAN KUMAR SEN (
SHRI SURENDRA LATH: It is very clear about ownership also.
SHRI TAPAN KUMAR SEN: Secondly, I would also like to respond to the submission of my friend Shri Surendra Lath when he says that he is not opposed to privatisation, definitely, not. Whatever privatisation and strategic sale in the name of handing over the public sector to the private hands, whatever such incidents have taken place, took place during the NDA regime only and all those cases of handing over were cases of under-valuation, under-sale and a loot on the public exchequer, as has been confirmed by successive reports of the CAG and following which they had to go from power. My first submission to the UPA Government and also to the hon. Minister is, let us not forget that lesson. (Contd. by 3R/SKC)
SHRI TAPAN KUMAR SEN (CONTD.): Before taking any step in that direction, please take note of that.
Sir, automobile tyre is a product whose market has been consistently in an expansion mode since the last two decades; at no time has its market fallen down. It is a shocking revelation that a potentially viable public sector unit has been slow-poisoned by successive Governments --I don't wish to blame the UPA Government alone-- to reach such a condition of no-return that everyone is campaigning for its privatisation. This is really a tragedy and this Bill is a novel example of a conspicuous, conspiratorial process to finish the public sector. The prevailing economic philosophy, the neo-liberal policy, is definitely creating a kind of situation where a public sector in difficulty is pushed into more difficulty if it is already in a difficulty and is thrown to ruins. That kind of a situation has developed and this Bill is an example of the concluding stage of such a conspiratorial process.
Sir, I would like to urge upon the hon. Minister who has taken commendable initiative in reviving many other public sector companies within the public sector framework, to kindly ponder over this particular aspect. He knows well the history of this issue. Even the Statements of Objects and Reasons says that as per the BRPSE recommendation, this Tyre Corporation is going to be disinvested to a strategic partner. That is what is mentioned in the Statement of Objects and Reasons of 14th May; and, on 17th May, 2007, this Bill was introduced in the Parliament. Please note the date. As per the BRPSE recommendation, this was being disinvested to a private strategic partner.
Sir, I would like to draw the attention of the House as also of the hon. Minister to the reply to Unstarred Question No. 626, dated 16th August--please note the date again-- where the Parliament was informed, the Lok Sabha was informed, that the Tyre Corporation would be revived within the public sector framework. That was the recommendation of the BRPSE. So, in May, 2007, BRPSE recommended it to be disinvested to a strategic private partner and after three months, Parliament was informed that BRPSE recommended the Tyre Corporation to be revived within the public sector framework as per reply to Unstarred Question No. 626, dated 16th August in Lok Sabha. Which one is true? Is the statement made in the Statement of Objects and Reasons dated 14th May true or the information you have given to the Parliament on the 16th August 2007 is true? Both cannot be true at the same time! And if one is true and the other is not, then the Government owes an explanation to the Parliament as to why a misleading information was given to the Parliament by recording a misleading information in the Statement of Objects and Reasons. This needs to be clarified before the Government proceeds on this Bill.
Secondly, Sir, I wish to draw your attention to the fact that at no point of time -- this is a record-- BRPSE, or for that matter, BIFR ever recommended disinvestment of the Tyre Corporation. The records show that. I would like to draw the attention of the hon. Minister to the fact that as per the BIFR proceedings dated 8th December, 2003, the Government --of course, not your Government; it was the NDA Government-- in a written proposal, have proposed the privatisation of Tyre Corporation. At no point of time did BRPSE propose that. On 16th of August, you have stated in your reply that they recommended its revival in a public sector framework. It is the Government who have been pushing for this. Since 1984, no investment was made; no modernisation was done, and after its being nationalised, it was pushed towards sickness gradually despite the fact that tyre market is a booming market. (Contd. by 3s/hk)
TAPAN KUMAR SEN (CONTD.): And there was every
possibility of its revival. Don't make
BRPSE the villain of everything. That is
not the right kind of approach. During the NDA regime, it has been sold out
itself. It was because of the Supreme
Court judgement in the HPCL and BPCL cases that the Tyre Corporation could not
be sold out. It is that case which was
made by the employees of the HPCL and BPCL unions. Because of that, it was shown now to such a position
that there was a point of no return and disinvestments Bill has been brought
here. Secondly, Sir, I would like to
point out that this is the case of breach of commitment. Tyre Corporation had two units -- Tangra and
SHRI TAPAN KUMAR SEN (CONTD): I would like the hon. Minister to clarify that position.
Now, Sir, I
would like to make last but very crucial point.
I would draw your attention to the perception of the Government of India
as reflected in the submission by the Department of Heavy Industries to the
Standing Committee which mentions about a company which is going to be
disinvested. The perception of the
Government of India is that unless the Balance Sheet of the company was cleaned
up, that is, relieved of all loans and liabilities, no private partner will
come forward to enter into joint venture with the company. The Tyre Corporation is now free from all
debts and major liabilities except liabilities towards the Government which
have to be waived or sacrificed by the Government as envisaged by BRPSE. Now, that is an absolutely right
perception. I agree to this perception
that if a new partner has to be inducted, it cannot be with a Balance Sheet
full of loans and liabilities. That has
to be cleansed. But, my submission is,
as to why that perception has to be implemented only in the cases where a
public sector company is going to be taken over by a private player. I think, the same perception, right and
scientific perception, should be implemented when a
public sector company is going to be taken over by another public sector
company. Why do you play, at that time,
on these loans and liabilities? I would
like to draw the attention of the hon. Minister and of the House towards the
Press Release of the Press Information Bureau, dated 26th November,
2007, informing the Cabinet approval of the revival of Bharat Heavy Plates and
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (SHRI PRASANTA CHATTERJEE): Now, please, conclude.
SHRI TAPAN KUMAR SEN: It lacks propriety. So, before I conclude, I again insist that the points raised by me be clarified. I again insist that the provision on employees' protection should continue till their retirement when you are going to disinvest to make the manufacturing more efficient and in a running condition. Please, clarify the BHPV and BHEL case also that they will follow the similar patterns, that is, the loans and liabilities of BHPV will be erased before it is taken over by BHEL. With this insistence, I urge upon the hon. Minister to please re-consider the issue. (Ends)
(followed by 3u - sk)
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Mr. Silvius Condpan.
SILVIUS CONDPAN (
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Okay. Mr. Kumar Deepak Das.
KUMAR DEEPAK DAS (
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Okay. Then, the hon. Minister will reply.
THE MINISTER OF HEAVY INDUSTRIES AND PUBLIC ENTERPRISES (SHRI SONTOSH MOHAN DEV): Sir, at the very outset, I thank the hon. Members who have participated in this debate for passing this Bill. The first and foremost point, raised by one hon. Member, is, what is our policy on disinvestment? Our policy on disinvestment in the Common Minimum Programme is that we will not disinvest, the Nav Ratna companies. And, in case of perennial sick companies, if there is no other alternative, we will take the option of disinvestment. But, before doing so, we will negotiate with the trade unions of that particular company. We will go to the Government and take permission, we will take the permission of the BRPSE and we shall pay all their statutory liabilities. Such cases are very few. Till now, we have written off many of the Government loans; we have given help for working capital; and have issued guarantee for bank loans. So, with regard to this particular point, which you have raised, it is not the policy of the Government to disinvest all of them; only few, where there is no other alternative, will be considered for disinvestment.
regard to this particular Bill, which has come before this House, what Mr. Tapanbabu has said, he is slightly missing the point
because first it was wanted by BRPSE to negotiate with a public sector tyre
company. Unfortunately, in this country,
there is no company which produces tyre under public sector. All companies are private companies. Hence, we have to safeguard the interests of
the workers. There are 235 permanent labour in addition to contracted labour of 657. We have to protect their interest. To the credit of the contractors, it has two
Then, the question has arisen that BIFR has suggested certain things and we have done something else. As I have said, there was no public sector company we had to go and that was done with the concurrence of all concerned so that we can protect the company and this was probably a good thing to be done.
Sir, he has compared this company with the company of Andhra. We are going for super critical production and whatever the Bharat Heavy Plate and Vessels Ltd. are producing, we will need them for our super critical production. (Contd. by ysr-3w)
SHRI SONTOSH MOHAN DEV (CONTD.): So, we have had deliberations with experts and they have recommended that it can be taken over and we have decided to take it over. Yes, there is a rider in-principle and the Cabinet has already passed it. But there is some difference of opinion between Finance and us about some amount to be written off. The amount that has to be written off will be decided by mutual discussion. This is a normal process and there is nothing new about it. We will follow the same process which we followed with the Bridge and Roof and other companies. That finance has helped us in a big way. So, there is no problem about that.
Some questions have been placed before us by some hon. Members like why the Government is trying to sell some of the companies. After the UPA Government came to power, we have not sold any company; it was done during the NDA time. As far as possible, we are trying to revive them. If circumstances so arise, we have to come to Parliament and take its permission. And we shall take due permission. I have explained the reason for disinvestment.
Another basic point was raised by Mr. Narayanasamy. He asked, "Are you going to sell other companies like this?" No, we are not going to sell other companies. Nor we are going for disinvestment. On BRPSE's recommendation, we have revitalised many companies. There are 16 such companies and six or seven of them are in Kolkata. They are earning their own salaries. At one time, we have had to pay for their salaries. After we have written off the backlog and all the losses, they are making profit. So, there is no difficulty in revitalising that company.
On import and export of automobile tyres,
definitely, it is a good market now.
Corporation has one of the units in
SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: Only one unit is in good position. What about others?
SHRI SONTOSH MOHAN DEV: This unit which I am saying is in good position, is earning a good working capital because of your guidance and help. Thank you, Members of Parliament for that. There is no problem about it.
Sir, with these words, I would request the august House to pass the Bill.
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (SHRI PRASANTA CHATTERJEE): The question is:
That the Bill to provide for disinvestment of Government's equity in
the Tyre Corporation of India Limited and for matters connected
therewith or incidental thereto, as passed by Lok Sabha, be
taken into consideration.
The motion was adopted.
(Contd. by RSS/3X)
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: We shall now take up clause by clause consideration of the Bill.
Clauses 2 to 6 were added to the Bill.
Clause 1, the Enacting Formula, the Preamble and the Title
were added to the Bill.
SHRI SONTOSH MOHAN DEV: Sir, I beg to move:
That the Bill be passed.
The question was put and the motion was adopted.
THE PAYMENT AND SETTLEMENT SYSTEMS BILL, 2007
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE (SHRI PAWAN KUMAR BANSAL): Sir, I beg to move:
That the Bill to provide for the regulation and supervision of payment systems in India and to designate the Reserve Bank of India as the authority for that purpose and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto, as passed by Lok Sabha, be taken into consideration.
Vice-Chairman, Sir, the payment system can broadly be understood as a mechanism
that facilitates transfer of value between a payer and a beneficiary by which
the payer discharges the payment obligations to the beneficiary. Sir,
presently, there are diverse payment systems functioning in the country,
ranging from the paper-based system, where the instruments are physically
exchanged and settlements worked out manually, to the most sophisticated
electronic fund transfer systems which are fully secured and settle
transactions on a gross real time basis. They cater to both the low value
retail payments and large value payments relating to the settlement of
inter-bank money market, Government securities and foreign exchange
transactions. Currently, the RBI manages the Real Time Gross Settlement System.
Systematically important large value payments are transacted and settled
through the Real Time Gross Settlement System. The current predominant mode of
fund settlement, Sir, is through a clearing process through 1068 clearing
houses. RBI operates retail payment systems only in 4 metros,
and in other cities and towns, the retail payment systems are owned and managed
by SBI and other public sector banks. Cheques are cleared through these
Clearing Houses. Member banks of a Clearing House enter into a contract with
the Manager of the Clearing House which is usually a bank. Sir, the RBI also
provides settlement services through its regional offices for clearing taking
place at centres where RBI has a regional office. These are currently
SHRI PAWAN KUMAR BANSAL
(CONTD.): Recognising that in
Sir, the Lok Sabha has passed that Bill. There was unanimous approval of the Bill after that amendment, and that Bill is before this House. Now, I commend that this Bill be taken into consideration.
The question was proposed.
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (SHRI PRASANTA CHANTTERJEE): Now, the discussion will start. Mr. S.S. Ahluwalia.
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step, at that time, and
should have brought this type of a Bill. Of course, we are late, but we are in the right
direction. Apart from the Clearing