PREVIOUS HOUR

SSS-2Y/3.00

SHRIMATI BRINDA KARAT (CONTD.): The Minister says, 'I will give an assurance on the floor of the Parliament'. The Minister says something. He says, 'I will add it in the rules'. But, why is it...

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF.P. J. KURIEN): He did not say it. He will say it. Don't presume what he is going go say.

SHRIMATI BRINDA KARAT: He has already said it and that is why I have to say that we cannot accept that and therefore, again I will request as far as...

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: He may change his mind after listening to your speech.

SHRIMATI BRINDA KARAT: Sir! Is it fair? What you are doing is fair?

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: No, what you are saying is that the Minister said...

SHRIMATI BRINDA KARAT: He has and I am sharing it with the House. It is not a private conversation.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: He did not say. He has to reply. That is the point I am telling you.

SHRIMATI BRINDA KARAT: Sir, in the reply also he will say it. He is going to say it. He said it to me. He will say it to the House.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: But you said, "he said it outside".

SHRIMATI BRINDA KARAT: Inside or outside, he said it. The point is, Sir,...

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Your time is four minutes. You have taken eight minutes.

SHRIMATI BRINDA KARAT: Thank you for your generosity. Sir, one important point and I am sure there are many trade unionists here. My friend Panyji is also a trade unionist. He knows that generally in the Act there is a specific clause for disciplinary action of employees. It is taken for granted in conditions of service. But, here, you have a very specific clause in which it is stated that if there is an inquiry and an employee is found guilty, such penalty maybe imposed on the basis of evidence adduced on such an inquiry and it shall not be necessary to give such a person an opportunity of making representation on the proposed penalty. This is against the principles of natural justice. I have every right to appeal against the penalty which is imposed on me. But, here by an act, which you want Parliament to adopt, you want to change the whole labour law architecture and add this in the law and say...

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: You...(Interruptions)...

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF.P. J. KURIEN): Don't respond.

SHRIMATI BRINDA KARAT: They have the right. But, every Government servant has the right to appeal against the penalty. Please don't try and tell me. That much I know. You are taking away the principles of natural justice by saying you cannot appeal against such a penalty. How is it possible and you want us to pass such an Act? Therefore, I move that this be deleted and I would like to say that, Sir, as far as the medical system in this country is concerned, there are very few institutions which even today are serving the poor and I would request the Minister to ensure that such an institute like JIPMER and Pondicherry should not suffer the fate that many other institutes have done and, therefore, I hope the Minister will once again reconsider this issue and accept the amendments that I have moved and enable us to support the Bill. Thank you. (Ends)

SHRI Su. THIRUNAVUKKARASAR (MADHYA PRADESH): Sir, this existing institution JIPMER is there in Pondicherry since 1964. For the past 44 years, this institute in Pondicherry is serving not only Pondicherry people...

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: It is not Pondicherry but Puducherry.

SHRI Su. THIRUNAVUKKARASAR: Yes, yes, I welcome the Bill. This institute was very helpful to people to Tamil Nadu also. People from all the neighbouring districts used to go there. Madam Brinda Karat also mentioned here. Poor people from Puducherry and Tamil Nadu like to go to the hospitals because of very good service in JIPMER. Only Rs. 104 crores is given as budgetary support for this institute. It is functioning under the Health Ministry. Now, after the Bill is passed, it is going to be declared as an institute of national importance, like AIIMS here or the Post Graduate Institute in Chandigarh. We expect that a lot of money is sanctioned and allotted to this institute. It is a welcome step. I welcome it. One of the things which Shrimati Brinda Karat, Shri Bal Apte and Mr. V. Narayanasamy mentioned was that in this existing institute there is reservation now. Out of 75 seats, 20 seats are allotted to the local students, the native of Pondicherry people. There should be a guarantee in the Bill for them because Pondicherry is a backward State and people are very poor. As mentioned by others, going to a private college costs more. Nowadays, in private colleges, capitation fee is Rs. 25 or Rs. 30 lakhs. So, the benefit which is enjoyed by the local students should not be taken away by this Bill. There should be a guarantee in the Bill for them. This is my first point. My second point is when the seats are increased in future there should be proportional increase in the reservation also. Supposing today it is 75, tomorrow it will increase to 150. So, accordingly, reservation also should be increased in future. My third point is, the treatment is given free of cost there. So, it should continue in the coming institute of national importance also. Free treatment should be given at least to the people who are living below the poverty line.

(Contd. by NBR/2Z)


-SSS/NBR-AKA/2Z/3.05

SHRI SU. THIRUNAVUKKARASAR (CONTD.): The third one is, under Clause 13 (f) (i) of the Bill, the Institute can start one or more medical colleges, one or more hospitals, etc. It is at page 4 of the Bill, under Clause 13. Under the same Clause, it has been mentioned that the Institute can establish and maintain a dental college, a nursing college. I would like to know from the hon. Minister that when you are allowing the Institute to set up one or more medical colleges and one or more well-equipped hospitals, why don't you apply the same thing under Sub-Clause (iii) and (iv) of Clause 13(f). You can use the phrase "one or more dental colleges" under Sub-Clause (iii) and "one or more nursing colleges" under Sub-Clause (iv), in place of "a dental college" "a nursing college" in both the Sub-Clauses. So, Sub-Clause (iii) read as: "one or more dental colleges" and Sub-Clause (iv) "one or more nursing colleges."

AN HON. MEMBER: Where is it?

SHRI SU. THIRUNAVUKKARASAR: It is there at page 4, Clause 13 (f) (iii) and (iv). So, instead of mentioning as 'a dental college', 'a nursing college', you can use the phrase "one or more dental colleges" under Sub-Clause (iii) and "one or more nursing colleges" under Sub-Clause (iv) as has been done in the previous clauses. So, I request the hon. Minister to amend these clauses accordingly.

Sir, the fourth point is this. I am also a Member of the Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare. The Committee visited Puducherry and interacted with the people, employees, students, staff and with everybody. They were agitated. They had doubts in their mind about this Bill. The Committee promised them that it would look into their problems. They want participation. At that time, Shri Amar Singhji was not there and Shri Digvijay Singh led the Committee. He was representing the Committee.

Sir, when the Government is constituting a Committee -- monitoring or high-level -- why cannot it give representation to the students union, employees union, and also staff union? All the three unions can be given representation in the Committee, so that their problems will be sorted out in the Committee. And, when you are including the Vice-Chancellor of MGR University, Chief Secretary of Puducherry, why cannot you include the Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu? It will be useful in so many ways. (Ends)

(CONTD. BY USY "3A")

-NBR-USY/3A/ 3.10

SHRI SU. THIRUNAVUKKARASAR (CONTD.): You cannot see it as a separate....(Interruptions) It will be useful to both the States. So, I support this Bill. But, at the same time, I request the Minister to take care of all the points that I have made. (Ends)

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Hon. Members, the time allotted to this Bill is only one hour. And, one hour is almost over. So, everybody will be brief. (Interruptions) I will not ask you to stick to your party time. You can speak more, but...(Interruptions) No such talks please. (Interruptions) Let us not waste time. (Interruptions) Dr. Maitreyan, please start.

DR. V. MAITREYAN (TAMIL NADU): Mr. Vice-Chairman, Sir, on behalf of my party AIDMK, I strongly oppose this Bill. The JIPMER traces its origin to 1823, when a medical school and hospital, called E col de Medicina Pondicherry was established by the then French Government. When the Union of India took over the territories of Pondicherry, it was clinched by an Agreement, called De Facto Agreement, dated 21st October, 1954. As per that Agreement, any change in the functioning system of the hospital shall be only with the consent of the people of Puducherry. The Agreement was signed by the then Prime Minister of India, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, who signed this in his capacity, not only as the Prime Minister, but also the Minister of External Affairs from our side, and Mr. O. Austorar, Ambassador extraordinary and very potentiary of France in India. The UPA Government has forgotten the need to honour the tenets of such an agreement between two nations. It is a solemn undertaking, given by the Government of India, which also finds a place, as a condition, in that agreement. About JIPMER, people have mentioned so many things. It is a premier institution. It has inpatient strength of 2500, and an outpatient strength of 5,00 per day. Eighty per cent of the load of patients comes from Tamil Nadu and twenty per cent from Puduchery, and five per cent from other States. The Hospital has got an excellent cancer centre, which caters to the needs of the cancer patients. It also performs open-heart surgery, angiographies, etc., etc. All these facilities are availed by the patients, who cannot afford to spend money on the treatment, absolutely free of cost. In short, it is a hospital that helps the poorest section of the people by providing free treatment. For gross personal reasons, the very character of the JIPMER to be converted into an autonomous body, instead of the present one. There has been a systematic attempt to demolish medical institution of excellence. The AIIMS is already over. Now, it is the turn of the JIPMER. The medical fraternity is watching this with anguish, and I am also included in that. It is watching with anguish that this demolition is presided over by the Health Minister who himself happens to be a doctor. If an autonomous body takes over the affairs of the JIPMER, the patients will have to pay, at every stage, for the facilities, which they are now availing free of cost. And, that is something which is very contrary to what the original agreement stood for. As mentioned by Brindaji, there have been continuous agitations in Puducherry and neighbouring areas. Also, the JIPMER staff members, in thousands, have been agitating. Their agitation is not for their personal gains. It is not for their promotion; it is not for increment in their salaries, etc. They are agitating for the cause of the society. They are agitating for the cause of the poor patients, who are benefited by this institute. Again, the people have mentioned about the seat allocation of 20, out of 75. This too is not guaranteed by this Bill. I have been told, because I have not been a part of the Committee, that many of the unanimous recommendations of the Standing Committee have not been taken care of in this Bill. (Contd. by 3b -- VP)

VP/3.15/3B

DR. V. MAITREYAN (CONTD.): In fact, concerned by the severity of the agitation, which shook that part of the country, my party leader, the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Madam Jayalalitha, even wrote to the then President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, on 19th September, 2006 to draw attention to the gravity of the situation. Considering all the above facts, and in view of the agreement and the solemn assurance given by the first Prime Minister of this country, I strongly condemn this Bill, I oppose this Bill and I request the Minister to take back this Bill. Thank you. (Ends)

SHRI ABANI ROY (WEST BENGAL): Sir, JIPMER hospital is a Central Government Hospital in Puducherry. For a long time, the staff of the JIPMER and the people of Puducherry agitated and shouted not to make it an autonomous body. They wanted it to remain as a health service under the Central Government Health Service so that they could get facilities at minimum cost. I do not know why the Health Minister is thinking of making it autonomous. What interest is there, I do not know. This is a Central Government Hospital and everything was given from the Central Government. In Puducherry, very, very poor people are living there. The people from outside Puducherry, that is, from Tamil Nadu border also go there. But, when I asked the Health Minister, once upon a time, when the agitated people came here, he said that if it is autonomous, he will give more money. He can spend more money there. From the same fund the money will go there. Then, why cannot it be under the Central Government, what is the problem?

Secondly, before the agitation started, I went there. One person, who was posted there by the Ministry of Health, Government of India, created more problems there. At that time also, I was there with the staff and students. When the people of Puducherry, the staff members of the hospital and others do not want it to be an autonomous one, why is the Central Government interested in making it autonomous and not to keep it under the Central Government Health Service? Some amendments have been given by Smt. Brinda Karat. But, so far as the students are concerned, so far as the staff is concerned, so far as the poorer sections of the society is concerned, I do not know whether the hon. Minister is going to allow all these facilities there or not. Even the fee for the outdoor patients and everything will be increased. That is why, we have requested the Minister for this. And, every time, the people, who came from Puducherry, also made this request. Mr. Narayanasamy is here; he knows all these things. I am, practically, in favour of it being under the Central Government Health Services and not to make it autonomous. But, autonomy means, you can give the money, but, I do not know what will be accountability of money. That is my apprehension. So, I think, so far as the people of Puducherry, so far as the staff of JIPMER, so far as the staff of JIPMER are concerned..(Time-bell) Sir, I am concluding. In spite of that, while supporting whatever amendments have been made by Smt. Brinda Karat; if they are included in the Bill, then, we can support it, provided the students and staff are also included in the committee. Thank you.

(Ends)

(Followed by PK/3C)

PK/3C/3.20

SHRI EKANATH K. THAKUR (MAHARASHTRA): Sir, I stand to support the Bill and I only want to endorse a few of the recommendations that have been made by my esteemed colleagues. Sir, what has hurt me the most in this Bill is the provision on page 8 where there is a proviso which says, "Provided that where it is proposed after such inquiry to impose upon him any such penalty, such penalty may be imposed on the basis of evidence adduced during such inquiry and it shall not be necessary to give such person an opportunity of making representation on the proposed penalty". Sir I have been a trade unionist for 41 years now. I have led six-and-a-half lakhs officers of this country. I have been in the International Labour Organisation. Sir, I have studied the labour laws not only of this country but of the entire world. But, I am yet to come across an obnoxious provision where a penalty is proposed, a show-cause notice is not given, defence is not heard and the entire courses of natural justice is completely obliterated. Whoever has drafted this has a mind which is anti-employee, anti-democractic and anti-people. If this is what you are expecting, then, any Director will ride roughshod over the employees and there will be a rule of terror in the entire Institution. I, therefore, oppose this particular provision that penalty can be imposed without giving a show-cause and without giving all the facilities of natural justice to an employee.

My second point is, the autonomy of these Institutions is very important and it should not be subordinated to any other political considerations.

My third point is this. Two very wholesome recommendations have been made by Shrimati Brinda Karat that this Institution must protect the present structure and also continue to provide patient care, delivery services; services free of cost are very important.

Sir, I also want to raise one issue of my own because the hon. Minister for Health and Family Welfare is here. He has been bringing about a lot of improvements and I am not the one to destroy everything that he does. In some areas, he has brought about positive reforms and he has to be appreciated for that. But I must say that there is one area in which there is a continued neglect in the entire health sector, and that is, of our young doctors, whether it is in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, any State including the capital city of Delhi. These young men during their apprenticeship and thereafter ..(Interruptions).. work very hard. Today, pay structures in all the sectors have gone up so high that the medical services, particularly, the person who has passed the MBBS, is the 26th in number, in terms of his compensation after graduation. There are MBAs who are drawing ten times more salary than a medical student who saves the life of a human being. Sir, of course, we are making rural service compulsory for them and all that; that may be feasible or necessary, but what I am trying to say is that, at least, their conditions should be gone into very thoroughly. They are living in very dingy conditions. In a room of 10" 10", about 5, 10 doctors are living, and (Time-bell) proper toilets are not being provided for them, proper payment is not being provided for them, and, as a result, they can't look after themselves. Somebody who has done B.Com. (Pass) and does some computer course, today, is getting something about Rs.15,000 per month, in this very country, as salary. (Contd. by 3D/PB)

PB/3d/3.25

SHRI EKANATH K. THAKUR (CONTD.): Sir, the entire younger generation of medical fraternity is today indeed distressed, and our young Health Minister should do something for them to revise their salaries, revise their service conditions and revise their living conditions at the earliest. Thank you, Sir. (Ends)

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Now, Mr. Minister.

SHRI SYED AZEEZ PASHA: Sir, kindly give me just two minutes.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: No; no; the time is over. You see, one hour was the allotted time for this Bill, and one-hour-and-ten-minutes have already been spent on this. Now, the Minister has to speak.

SHRI D. RAJA: Sir, can you allow me just two minutes?

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: No; I cannot do like that.

SHRI D. RAJA: Sir, kindly allow two minutes.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: You should have given your name earlier.

SHRI D. RAJA: Sir, I will confine myself to two minutes only.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: The point is, there is a Short Duration Discussion. Okay; you can speak, but take only two minutes.

SHRI D. RAJA (TAMIL NADU): Yes; Sir.

Sir, I come from Tamil Nadu and I know the JIPMER and its problems very well. In fact, when Comrade B. Subbaiah, one of the veteran leaders of my party was the Health Minister in Pondicherry, as it was at that time, in cooperation with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the whole idea of setting up the JIPMER was conceived and the Institute was set up. It is a college and hospital, and it is catering to the needs of not only the people of entire Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, but even the other States of South India. We agree the Institute needs a kind of upgradation. ...(Interruptions)...

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: That was in 1964. Why do you go to 1971? ...(Interruptions)... Yes; he was the Health Minister, not ... ...(Interruptions)...

SHRIMATI BRINDA KARAT: Sir, what is this? ...(Interruptions)...

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): There is shortage of time. ...(Interruptions)... Mr. Raja, please address the Chair.

SHRI D. RAJA: Sir, I only said that both the former Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and one of the veteran communist leaders held consultations and cooperated with each other to bring that Institute. What is your objection?

Anyway, Sir, the point here is that that Institute needs upgradation and we have no problem that this institution gets functional autonomy. But the point here is, how to make it more efficient. Here, I think, we had several informal consultations how to strengthen the Bill. Our hon. colleague from CPI(M) has also moved certain amendments which need due consideration by the Ministry, by the Government, so that the Bill can be accepted unanimously. Sir, I am simply making that point.

(Ends)

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Yes; Mr. Pasha.

SHRI SYEZ AZEEZ PASHA: Sir, Mr. Raja has already said what I wanted to say.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Okay.

SHRI S.S. AHLUWALIA: Sir, please give me three minutes only.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Ahluwaliaji, first you listen to me and then you yourself decide. I want to cooperate.

SHRI S.S. AHLUWALIA: Sir, I will speak for only three minutes.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Okay; but remember it. Speak within three minutes.

SHRI S.S. AHLUWALIA (JHARKHAND): Sir, since afternoon, we are discussing this Bill and the Government was trying to convince other political parties to get it passed, to get it through. It went to the Standing Committee and the Standing Committee made certain recommendations. Sir, the point is, they are not going to construct a new hospital with this Bill, but they are upgrading a Government hospital which is working for the poor section of that area and which is doing a very good exercise. They are responding to the needs of the area and the people were asking for certain other facilities. But that doesn't mean that it should be converted into an autonomous body and captured for a particular purpose. The point is, the essence and the spirit of that particular hospital should not go. But, as I understand, so many recommendations were there of the Standing Committee. But all were not accepted. Although the speakers who spoke earlier on this Bill, who participated in this discussion, supported this Bill, but, fortunately, I saw the amendments moved by Shrimati Brinda Karat. (Contd. by 3e/SKC)

3e/3.30/skc

SHRI S. S. AHLUWALIA (CONTD.): And I thought that we will be failing in our duty if we do not accept these amendments because, as Shrimati Brinda Karat had remarked while she was speaking that there was an all-party agitation going on in Puducherry against this Bill. We were also a part and parcel of that agitation and we had also participated in that agitation. I talked to the concerned people there. They had said that till their demands were accepted, they were not going to accept it. So, I think, whatever amendments she had suggested, we all support them. So, now, if you want to put the amendments to vote...

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P. J. KURIEN): Now, Mr. Minister, please.

SHRI S. S. AHLUWALIA: Or, my humble submission is that, if you want to...

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: No. Let the Minister reply.

SHRI S. S. AHLUWALIA: If you want to bring the Bill to be passed unanimously, it is better...

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Mr. Minister, please.

SHRI S. S. AHLUWALIA: Sir, I have not yet finished. I have suggested that if you accept these amendments, it is all right, or, otherwise, I would request the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs to keep this final decision on hold, have consultations, come back with the Bill today itself after an hour or two and let us pass it unanimously; and accommodate all the amendments because that has been the spirit behind what all agitated people have been demanding for. That will be reflected in the Bill. I am saying this because, ultimately, this Bill is meant for Puducherry.

THE MINISTER OF PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (SHRI PRIYARANJAN DASMUNSI): Mr. Vice-Chairman, Sir, I respect the distinguished Chief Whip of the principal Opposition. I would like to submit on behalf of the Government that because the Bill has been piloted by the concerned Minister, he will speak on this. As you know, in the Cabinet system, if any amendment in addition to the decision of the Cabinet is to be accepted, it has to be taken up to the Cabinet for approval. The Minister got the mandate of the Cabinet in the spirit of the recommendation of the Standing Committee. The Prime Minister had chaired that meeting and gave him the mandate to bring in the amendments. I do not think, in any other Bill such long amendments have been proposed to a Bill for an institution, and it has been done here. That is number one. Secondly, we are prepared to accommodate many things in the rule, because you can frame the rules any time you like but the moment you put everything in a jacket of this law, then you will have to go back to the Cabinet. Thirdly, I would not like to question anybody' wisdom. Then, if I get one example of any health institution managed by the Government at the Centre or in the States where there is a law that the fee structure shall remain in the law book, I shall correct my ignorance. I do not think it is there anywhere in India or anywhere in the world...

SHRI S. S. AHLUWALIA: If it is a Government institution, it should be there.

SHRI PRIYARANJAN DASMUNSI: I will produce a number of cases. I know of hospitals where there is no regulatory Act pertaining to the fee structure and free patients. It is always a prayer to make the paid bed free and to provide concessions. It is nowhere in the Act. You may insist and say that you will not support it. Then, I will have to go back to the Cabinet. And we can come back with it only if the Cabinet gives the mandate...(Interruptions)... And, I shall come back with the Act for other States. I will come back with an Act also for Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and other States. I will not come empty-handed.

SHRI S.S. AHLUWALIA: Sir, just for your information, I would like to tell that even in the DDA ...(interruptions)..

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): You will be given chance to speak when the amendments are discussed...(Interruptions).. You have moved the amendments.

SHRI S.S. AHLUWALIA: Sir, I would like to say that even in the DDA...(Interruptions).. Recently, what had happened with Escorts? What had happened with Appollo? On DDA land, 25 per cent beds are reserved for them for free treatment.

SHRI PRIYARANJAN DASMUNSI: Mr. Vice-Chairman, Sir, I am prepared to accept his suggestions. If everybody agrees to give us, at least, one hour's time, we can talk to the Prime Minister. I have to talk about Cabinet matters to the Prime Minister. I cannot simply commit in the House...(Interruptions).. Therefore, if it is acceptable to all, we shall come back to the House. If not, we would go back to the Cabinet. I cannot ask the Minister to go beyond the Cabinet's approval and to accept whatever is proposed. That is not practical.

SHRI S.S. AHLUWALIA: There is no problem, Sir. You may take your time, go back and have consultations, and bring it back with a unanimous decision. What does the Minister have to do now?

(Followed by 3f/hk)

HK/3f/3.35

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Let me say. ..(Interruptions).. Please ..(Interruptions).. Mr. Minister, if you accept the proposal, which has been supported by the Parliamentary Affairs Minister and if the House agrees, then we can postpone it for one hour. But you have to say whether you agree to it or not because you pilot the Bill.

DR. ANBUMANI RAMDOSS: I go by what our Parliamentary Affairs Minister says. If the House agrees, after one hour, maybe we could have a discussion, and then we can bring it back to the House.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Does the House agree with the proposal of the hon. Minister?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Yes, Sir.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: That is agreed to. Now, we will take up ..(Interruptions)..

SHRI S.S. AHLUWALIA: Let him come tomorrow.

SHRI PRIYARANJAN DASMUNSI: Let it be after one hour.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Ahluwaliaji, you yourself said for one hour. Now it cannot be changed. One hour is decided. Now, we take the Short Duration discussion. (Ends)

SHORT DURATION DISCUSSION ON SITUATION ARISING OUT OF MISUSE OF FUNDS PROVIDED BY CENTRAL GOVERNMENT UNDER NATIONAL RURAL EMPLOYMENT GUARANTEE PROGRAMME.

 

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY (PUDUCHERRY): Sir, I would like to raise here a very important subject. Earlier, on several occasions, in the form of questions and Short Duration discussion, the issue of misuse of Employment Guarantee Scheme Funds by various States has been raised in this august House.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (SHRI KALRAJ MISHRA) in the CHAIR.

Sir, day in and day out, there are reports from NGOs and from some independent bodies that the funds meant for National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme are being misused in this country. Mr. Vice-Chairman, Sir, it is a very important subject. The UPA Government in the Common Minimum Programme has clearly indicated that there should be job opportunity to the poor people living in the villages because urban people are getting employment with the infrastructure industry, service industry and with other industries. But people in the rural areas, the farm labours, when there is off season, are not able to get employment and they have to sit idle at home and their families suffer and starve. Therefore, the UPA Government under the leadership of hon. Prime Minister and also the UPA Chairperson, the hon. Congress President, initiated the move, which was supported by all our alliance, that there should be job guarantee for the rural people provided by the Government themselves. Therefore, the scheme was implemented by the Government about two years back. Funds were provided. The salient feature of the Scheme is that in the rural areas, Adivasi people, the Scheduled Castes people, backward classes people, farm labour and the people who are not employed will get employment for 100 days in a year. (Contd. by 3g/KSK)

KSK/3.40/3G

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY (CONTD): And, the minimum wages should be paid at the rate of Rs.80 -- in some of the States, it varies. -- and that employment should be provided to one member of the family, either male or female member; one family - one job. Under that Scheme, the funds were provided by the Central Government to the States. Ninety per cent is the Central Government's share and ten per cent is the State Government's share. The job card is to be issued by the State Government to the poor people. On the basis of job card, the Gram Panchayat will give employment opportunity to them. The funds are given by the State Governments at the Gram Panchayat level, Tehsil level and also at the District level. The District Collector is the monitoring authority. That is the Scheme which is being implemented and it has got a wide welcome from the people of this country. Crores of unemployed people got employment and for one member in each family, provision was also made under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme that 33 per cent of the beneficiaries should be women. Out of the total persons given employment, 33 per cent ladies should be employed in rural areas. This is a very noble scheme, accepted by the people of this country. Implementation has been made in various States. Sir, whatever money was required by the State Government on the basis of enrolment made, the Central Government sent the money. But, unfortunately, at the State level, at the implementation stage, there is lot of corruption, mismanagement, misuse of funds. The jobs are not being given as per the guidelines issued by the Government of India. We have raised this issue several times. But, Sir, in this country, in the Northern part of the country, there are tribal people and the tribal people live in Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. In all these States, tribal people, who have been living in the forests, have been the beneficiaries of this Scheme, and Scheduled Caste people have been the beneficiaries. One family will get minimum of Rs.6000 to Rs.8000 per month which is going to sustain the whole family if the employment is given to them according to the scheme given by the Government of India. Sir, the Scheme was launched by the hon. Prime Minister and hon. Chairperson of the UPA from Andhra Pradesh. It received very good response. But, Sir, to my dismay, the implementation at the ground level is very pathetic. I do not want to go into politics. But I will have to mention some States. Some of the hon. Members will not be happy with me if I mention the name of the States, but I have to tell it. In the State of Orissa, in the State of Chattisgarh, in Madhya Pradesh, in Rajasthan, and in parts of Gujarat, while implementing the Scheme, the funds, which were given for Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, have been siphoned off. They are not reaching the people who deserve the jobs. The enrolment of the people is farce and secondly, false muster roll is being prepared. In some districts of Madhya Pradesh, I personally saw, in Balaghat and Shivni districts, I went there and talked to the aadivasi people, and I found that photo, which is compulsory in the job card, was not there in the job cards. In one family, if there are four people living, all the four people have got job cards. What is happening in the States is that the State Governments are inflating the number of people. By doing that, they get more money from the Central Government, and, ultimately, on the ground, only 60 per cent or 70 per cent of the money is being spent and 30 per cent of the money is diverted. (continued by 3h - sk)

SK/3H/3.45

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY (CONTD.): Not only that, Sir, for giving publicity, tell the people about the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. The Government of India allowed to spend, I think, 5 per cent for publicity. Yes, it is, 4 per cent for establishment of the whole money. But, Sir, what I found is this. The Scheme is a Central Government Scheme. Ninety per cent money is given by the Central Government and ten per cent money is given by the State Government. The Chief Minister's photo is there. His photo can be there. We have no problem on that. But, the Prime Minister's photo is not there on the hoarding. It is being implemented as if it were a State Government's scheme, totally ignoring the Central Government's money. It is happening in Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh also. I myself saw the hoardings there. The money is of Central Government and publicity is made by the State Government as if it were their own Scheme, as if it were Chief Minister's Employment Guarantee Scheme, not the Prime Minister's Employment Guarantee Scheme. Not only that, Sir, the money that goes there at the sarpanch level and the people under Collectorate, that money has been eaten away by them. It does not go to the poor people, the advisasi people and the Scheduled Castes people. The people who deserve it, don't get it. Sir, several surveys have been done by the several NGOs. The then hon. President of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam, also made a comment on it in April 2007. He mentioned, "The corruption and irregularities in the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme...." He asked the Comptroller and Auditor General of India to step into it and make the programme more transparent. He said, "As per the reports, I find, NREGP in different States face rapid corruption, widespread irregularities, delay in payment, fewer working days and lack of awareness among the people". This is the observation of the former President of India. It is my personal experience also. Sir, I gave a letter to the hon. Minister for Rural Development. I got one NGO's report in which it has been mentioned that out of the money given by the Government of India for Orissa, only 32 per cent of the money has been spent and the remaining money has been siphoned off. It is happening in Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh also. I gave a letter to the hon. Minister in writing along with the report.

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SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: Sir, I want to know from the hon. Minister what action he has taken on the basis of the letter which I gave. This is the poor people's money. It should be used for their livelihood, for their sustenance. This is the money given by the Central Government. The hon. Minister Laluji has given the money. The Government of India has given the money. He is a part of the UPA. Therefore, he has given the money. But, that money is being looted by the States. Who is responsible for this? The Chief Minister is responsible for this. It is the primary responsibility of the elected representative to see that it is spent properly for those people. On the one side publicity, and, on the other side, they are not giving them Rs. 70 or Rs. 80. How much are they giving to them? The people who are working very hard labour for seven hours, they are giving them just Rs. 25 or Rs. 30. The hon. Minister might have got the report. You are a very capable Minister, and, therefore, I am telling you that they are giving them Rs. 25 or Rs. 30 for their seven hours of hard work. (Contd. by ysr-3j)

-SK/YSR/3.50/3J

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY (CONTD.): For the seven-hour work, minimum wages go beyond Rs.70. But they give them only Rs.25-30. Remaining money is siphoned off.

Minister Sahib, another thing, which is happening in the name of giving job, is that the works of desilting canal and making roads are being done with the use of bulldozers and JCP machines. They are using machines. Use of machine is prohibited under the Act. Machine should not be used for the purpose of doing the job there. It is for manual labour. This Scheme has been brought to protect the manual labour and to give them employment and to give them wages. But they are using JCP machine and they are using bulldozer for the purpose of making roads and disilting the canal. That is the total violation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme. That has already been brought to the notice of the hon. Minister.

In Madhya Pradesh, I saw, more than 40 per cent of the money spent for publicity at district level and village level. I gave an example of Kanker district in Chattisgarh to the hon. Minister. I am grateful to you, Sir, for that. Rs. one hundred crore, that was given for the district by the Government of India under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, was diverted. A news report appeared there. Your officials went there and found it. Then the State Government said that they would now reinvest the money; they will give the money back. This is the state of affairs in Chattisgarh. The National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme was brought with a laudable objective; if it is diluted by the State Governments to gain political mileage out of it, at the cost of poor people, how can we forgive them? I want the hon. Minister to find the solution for it. I am pleading with the hon. Minister that there should be a monitoring mechanism. The hon. Minister will say, 'Yes, our officials are monitoring it.' Sir, I have respect for your officials. I know what is happening there. Your officials go there. They take them to the places where work is being done. Your officials note it and then come back and give the report. Everything is perfect. I do not want that kind of mechanism. I want a mechanism that is a fool-proof mechanism. You appoint a monitoring committee. I have been pleading for it for a long time. You appoint a monitoring committee of political leaders. You appoint people's representatives in it and let them monitor whether the money given by the Government of India for the implementation of the Scheme has been properly spent or not. MLAs, MPs, and other public representatives can be there in the Committee.

Sir, not only that, you will have to give the responsibility to Panchayats. The money is not going to Panchayats. Collector is sitting there. He is monitoring everything. He is doing everything according to his whims and fancies. That is how the entire Scheme, which has been brought with the laudable objective, has been diluted. I have made a request for CBI inquiry for Orissa. I have written a letter to the Minister in this regard. Thirty-four per cent spent of the money is spent. Remaining 66 per cent is siphoned off. How can people of the country tolerate this?

Sir, under the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in Orissa, the tribal districts are Bolangir, Naupada, Kalahandi, Koraput, Nabarangapur, and Rayagada. In these districts, out of the money that has been sent there, only 34 per cent has been spent. Sixty six per cent of the money has been siphoned off. The tribal people have been cheated there. They do not have anything to eat. I came to know about it when I went there and I saw it.

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AKA/RSS/3K/3.55

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SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: Sir, the word Orissa is not untouchable according to me. The Centre for Environment and Food Security Organization has conducted a survey and mentioned the districts. They have also mentioned that the people did not get jobs. They also told about the money that the poor people have been paid. They were paid Rs. 22/- per day for 8 hours' job. It has been mentioned in the report. They surveyed 18 villages and they submitted a report. It was ultimately found that in the Katni district of Madhya Pradesh, the Minister must be having the report, the same position was existing... (Interruptions)... That report has come. The Minister has taken action in this regard. Therefore, what is the way out? I want to know from the hon. Minister one thing. When it is happening under the very nose of the Rural Development Ministry, when the funds are being misused, when the money is not going to the poor people, the deserving people, the people who are to be provided employment are not getting employment, then what is the hon. Minister going to do? We need a solution. The money is being used for the purpose of political publicity by those State Governments. They want to strengthen their political party, and they give employment only to their party cadres. That is also happening. When that being the case, there should be a solution to this problem because the monitoring mechanism is not up to the mark. What is the problem with him, Sir? ... (Interruptions)...

SHRI SURENDRA LATH: How was he allowed to do that? It is a National Programme... (Interruptions)...

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SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: Sir, I agree that it is a National Programme. The Central Government has got the power to monitor the National Programme... (Interruptions)... That is what I am telling. I am telling the same thing to the Minister what you are telling me... (Interruptions)..

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SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: Sir, I have mentioned the Katni district in Madhya Pradesh. Even after the work is being done by those poor people, for 15 days, 20 days, 6 months, wages are not paid to them, and they have to wait to get their wages. The Government of India has given the money. What is the problem for the State and the districts in distributing the money to the deserving people? Therefore, I want the hon. Minister to have a foolproof mechanism to monitor it. It should not be used for the purpose of furthering the interest of any political party. It should be for the poor people, the laudable object with which the UPA Government has brought this scheme. Secondly, when there is corruption and misuse of funds, take action against them. Tell the State Governments to take action against them. Rs. 100 croes have been siphoned off in the Katni district so far, no action has been taken so far, in Chhattisgarh no action has been taken. (contd. by 3l)

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