First, I would like to express my thanks to the Chairman for giving me the opportunity to participate in the discussion on Budget (General)
*Laid in Tamil .
2013-2014. The Finance Minister has brought out this Budget for Indian women, Indian youth and Indian poor. I have the opportunity to speak about it. Hon’ble Finance Minister Sir, this is your eighth Budget. Your first Budget was presented seventeen years ago. I had the opportunity to express my opinions about your first Budget in Lok Sabha. Now, I am very happy, and I am very proud to speak about your present Budget in Rajya Sabha. Truly, I feel elated and delighted.
Indian economy has to go with the world economy. We alone cannot dissociate ourselves from the current world scenario. We have the grand philosophy of, “All land is our land. All human beings are our relatives”. Therefore, we cannot have a different life. When other countries in the world are experiencing great economic depression, is it possible for us to achieve great progress? Nevertheless, I view this present Budget as the one which has protected Indian economy from depression. Now, our country is like a pile of camphor surrounded by burning flames. The members who are in the Opposition also aware of this. But a protective fence has been carefully constructed around such a pile of camphor to protect it from the surrounding flames. I consider the present Budget as a protective fence of such a nature. Hon’ble Minister of Finance, while presenting the Budget, stated that “our goal is higher growth leading to inclusive and sustainable development”.
As far as India is concerned, can we afford to neglect agriculture if we talk about inclusive development? The Minister quoted a couplet from ‘Thirukkural’ while concluding his speech. I would also like to quote one more couplet from the same text, ‘Thirukkural’.
The rest to others bend subservient, eating what they give.”
That means those who earn their livelihood by means of agriculture are leading the best kind of life. Others are dependent on them for their food. Therefore others are subservient to farmers.
The average annual growth rate of agriculture and allied sector was 3.6% during the eleventh five year plan. This is not enough. As far as Indian economy is concerned, our slogan is ‘Aam Admi”. That is, the growth of common man is very important. 24% of the common men of our country constitute farmers. In 1980, I made my first speech in Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and put forward a demand in that speech. The same demand, which I had put forward thirty three years ago, is repeated by me even today. That is, in India, we need an “exclusive Budget” for the Department of Agriculture as is the case with the Railways. Sir, I request you to allocate Rupees five lakh crore for five successive years for agriculture and then to monitor whether India has made progress or not.
Too much attention has been paid to the growth of share market. This will increase the number of lazy men and middlemen in our country. The Finance Minister is aware of this fact. India is a labour intensive country. Your great leader, Perunthalaivar Kamaraj’s policy was “Greatness lies in labour". I will not make a casual remark that our Finance Minister did not pay attention to agriculture. We need more schemes based on production. Agricultural production alone can accelerate the development of our country in future.
In the present scenario, farmers are in a situation that they are likely to abandon agriculture gradually. If our farmers forsake the occupation of agriculture considering it as non-profitable, who will provide food to 110 crore people of India? Sir, I would like to ask you which other country is capable of providing such a huge quantity of food? No other country is capable of doing that. Therefore, I demand an exclusive Budget for agriculture. You have made Samsung Galaxy, iPhone, etc., available in the streets. Can’t you introduce modernization in agriculture?
A machine to pluck coconuts and a modern machine for cotton are needed. All the rivers in our country have to be interlinked. Drip irrigation facility has to be provided. Liquid fertilizers are to be introduced. Are these measures impossible for us? If all these measures are possible, we need an exclusive Budget for agriculture. I would like to put forward the demand to the Government through this House.
Many new schemes are announced which are to be implemented. At the same time, attention has to be paid to monitor the status of the schemes which were announced earlier. I welcome the Finance Minister’s initiative to develop Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor. At the same time, I have some queries with regard to some other projects. What happened to the Coovam Corridor which was initiated by the Prime Minister? What is the present status of Chennai Port-Maduravayal Corridor? What are the reasons behind the obstacles created by the State Government? What is their expectation? I would like to have the reply.
I welcome the excise duty exemption given to readymade garment industry and to sago. More financial allocation to the Department of Science and Technology of India is a welcome initiative. The modern technology that will be obtained later due to this initiative has to benefit agriculture. Rs. 41,561 crore was allocated for the welfare of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. The allocation to minorities has increased by 12% in comparison to the allocation made last year. Rs.1000 crore was allocated for setting up All Women’s Bank. Rs. 65,867 crore was allocated to the Department of Human Resources Development. Rs. 37,330 crore was allocated to the Department of Family Welfare. All these measures deserve appreciation.
Sir, you have mentioned that six medical institutions will be set up on the line of AIIMS in Delhi. I request the Finance Minister that one such institution should be set up in Salem District, which is at the centre of Tamil Nadu.
It has been announced that a new outer harbour will be developed at Thoothukkudi, Tamil Nadu through Public Private Partnership mode. It is a welcome initiative. The air services that are available in Chennai have to be extended to other parts of Tamil Nadu. I request that power generation in Koodankulam Atomic power Plant should be started as early as possible.
I have one grievance with the Finance Minister. Income Tax ceiling limit has not been increased which is against the expectation of all. I think we can expect a new announcement soon with regard to this aspect, which will bring happiness to all.
In addition to the above, there are many more welcome measures in this Budget. But there is not enough time to list out all of them. I once again welcome and support this Budget. Thank you. Vanakkam.
SHRI SHASHI BHUSAN BEHERA (ODISHA): Sir, This is the last Budget of the present Government. It does not cater to the aspirations of common people. It lacks growth strategy and vision. It is not sensitive towards the need of the people. Finance Minister's projection is far from ground reality.
Present Finance Minister has played a long inning in Fiscal Management of this country. He is a player from both the sides,
the treasury and the present opposition. So with his vast experience, we have expected the economic health will move in a right direction.
The fiscal deficit in 2012-13 is 5.02%, but it is, in 2013-14, pegged at 4.8% and it would be, by 2017, aiming for 3%. Besides Revenue Deficit is expected to be 1.5%, which is at present 3.9%, and expected to be, in 2013-14, 3.3%. With this rosy picture you want to shape-up the economy of the nation. Sir, what is your plan for the same? You have focussed attention on reining in the fiscal deficit. Slashing expenditure during the last month 2.012-13 to reach the deficit at 5.2% and quoting the Budgetary expenditure increase the Receipts deliver at 4.8%, fiscal deficit to G.D.P figure for 2013-14. Because of this scenario, you are not able to allocate a larger amount for all Flagship Schemes of Central Government, for e.g., NREGS provision for poor, i.e., 33,000 crore. Thre is a slight increase of 29.357 crore.
Sir, you are insisting on higher growth rate as "MOOL MANTRA", to achieve inclusive development with emphasis on improving human development. Sir, the Finance Minister has to deal with centuries of neglect, discrimination and deprivation. Sir, we hope that this will be an agro-based & Infrastructure based Budget. But it does not look like.
In your last Budget, the loan waiver scheme does not give a boost to Indian agro economy. The farmers are not happy. They are not getting Minimum Support Price for their product. It is the continuous demand from Odisha to enhance the Minimum Support Price of paddy this year. Odisha Government laid much emphasis on Agriculture & Budget allocation for Agriculture is Rs.7,500 crore in a Budget of Rs. 62,000 crore. State Government with financial constraint gives a lot of incentives to farmers and for Infrastructure Development. More storage required in P.P.P. mode. Union Government also fails in supplying fertilizers, as required by the farmers.
Due to Iack of storage, lakhs of tonnes of foodgrains are rotting. Finance Minister has tried his best to fill this gap of huge Current Account Deficit (CAD). How can this be possible without checking big scam & corruption? No such mention or reflection in the Budgetary Provision for bringing both; the Black Money, more than 500 billion dollars, or to chek the ongoing Mega Scams.
So, depending on World Bank, IMF & Private Foreign Sources can't settle our slow down growth. Sir, this is hope against hope.
The former Finance Minister & Prime Minister of this country has his opinion that this Budget is prudent, productive & progressive. But there is a massive fall in Aggregate Subsidies. Food Subsidy, last year’s 8,000 + this year’s 10,000 crores, is a very small amount.
When it requires more than 1 lakh crore, the Fertilizer Subsidy is put at Rs. 65,971/- crores in 2013-14, just near to Rs. 65,974 in 2011-12. There is a fall in petroleum subsidy from Rs.96,880 crore to Rs.65,000 crore.
The Budget does not provide any stimulus to reverse this growth slowdown rather it will contribute to inflation.
The purpose of a Budget and job of the Finance Minister is to create the Economic space and find the resource to achieve the objective.
Your planning for tax G.D.P. ratio and widening of Current Accounts Deficit (CAD) for this, you require large dose of additional tax mobilisation.
For that you are going to create a new tax slab that taxable income is more than 1 crore to protect you from the financial constraint.
Tax paying in this range is Rs. 42,800 crore. This figure is a very small tax return and added to this "Miscellaneous Capital" that is from disinvestment or sale of spectrum. Now you have decided on disinvestment, the most profiting P.S.U., "NALCO", the Navratna Industry. There is strong opposition even from the employees of NALCO. The State Government and the people of Odisha also opposed it since this proposal was raised. This is not acceptable.
You want to escape from the Financial crisis which you have occurred from the global impact. You failed to go by with your own economic policy. Your dependency put you to depend on World Bank, IMF and other Private foreign capital to finance, the CAD and the fiscal deficit has to be controlled. With the helpless position you are promising an inclusive growth.
Still you are hopeful. But the reality is something else. Your protection for Social Sector is not realistic in nature, it is only publicity nature . Sir, Finance Minister has emphasised on three main aspects of our population Women, Youth & Poor.
Women - only Rs.1000 crore for Women Bank does not satisfy. Opening Women Bank and putting Rs.1000 crore is a very little step for women empowerment. This is not much in support of women safety.
Youth - No clear youth policy after 65 year of Independence, only draft policy. It is only an eye-wash. No specific planning for bringing the youth to the mainstream of nation building. No hope for rural youth.
Poor - Poverty Alleviation Programmes are not achieving the goals.
SC & ST - Sir, in Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan and S.T. Sub- Plan emphasis is not given as per requirement.
In social sector - Health, Education, Poverty alleviation.
Health - In health sector Government spending is only 26% of Health spending of the grant. The rest amount people used to spend from their pocket.
Education - Higher education is now far reaching for the poor. No stress on primary education. Budgetary insufficiency is continuing.
Drinking Water - Pure drinking water is still a dream for the poor. Rivers are polluted because of the industrial polloutant and urban wastage.
Road Sector - Importance is given in the Budget to include the major States, not the backward States in PMGSY.
Sir, we are neglected since long in overall development, my State Odisha.
In a federal structure we need special care. My CM, Shri Naveen Patnaik, has been demanding special category status for Odisha and has written many letters putting continuous pressure on behalf of the 4 crore Odiyas. In the plan Odisha is not satisfying the condition for special category State benefit. Centre rejected our demand. Sir, the Government is not going by the reality. It is going by the old structured norms though the time Finance Minister made announcement that it would evolve a new policy for backward States. But this is also not clear if he has anything in position or planning. He should make it clear now.
Sir, our fight against Central negligence will continue till we get achieve justice.
Sir, this time Finance Minister has remember the saying of Swami Vivekanand.
He told the people , "All the strength and succor you want is within yourself, therefore make your own future"
Sir, Finance Minister came to understand very late this truth.
I am not able to support this Budget as it was not pro-poor.
SHRI A. ELAVARASAN (TAMIL NADU)* :Hon’ble Vice Chairman Sir,
I thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to speak on this discussion on Budget (General) 2013-2014 on behalf of my party
*Laid in Tamil .
AIADMK. Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, the goddess of our
hearts, revolutionary leader (Puratchi thalaivi) Amma, while expressing her opinion about this Budget, has said, “This Budget is full of such aspects as are against the welfare of the states and of the people”. Many aspects of this Budget show that this Budget is full of day-dreams and adornments.
In this Budget 2013-2014, it has been mentioned that Rs. 16,65,297 crore has been allocated for total expenditure, 33% of which has been allocated for plan expenditure. That is, Rs. 5,55,975 crore has been allocated for plan expenditure and Rs. 11,09,975 crore has been allocated for non-plan expenditure. It seems that each department has been given more fund than was allocated in the previous year. But the fact can be known by seeing the Revised Estimates of 2012-2013. The Revised Estimates of 2012-2013 have been reduced and added in Budget 2013-2014 and an attempt has been made to present this as an attractive Budget.
I would like to point out an important thing by considering the value of time. The Government has approved a scheme for the financial restructuring of power DISCOMS (Distribution Companies). But, not a single rupee has been allocated for the said purpose. I would like to state that Tamil Nadu is greatly affected by this decision. Last year, no fund was allocated to the states from the revenue obtained from Goods and Services Tax. It is mentioned that Rs. 9,000 crore will be allocated to states from the revenue of Goods and Services Tax in 2013-2014. It is doubtful whether this amount will be given to the states though this is a meagre amount. I request you to enhance this allocation. In 2012-2013, the allocated fund was reduced in many sectors. I request that this fund may be enhanced and given to the states as per the assurance given last year.
I would like to point out that sufficient fund has not been allocated for the country’s growth and requirement. In 2012-2013, Rs.2,430 crore was allocated to the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The same amount has been allocated this year also. I would like to point out that this constitutes only 0.35% of the total allocation of the Union Government. Statistics reveal that more than six lakh people die every year due to air pollution.
It is mentioned in the Budget that Rs.10,000 crore has been set apart for the implementation of the National Food Security Act after the bill is passed. Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu wrote a letter to the Prime Minister of India last December. In the letter, she mentioned that the National Food Security Bill is vague and confusing. She also mentioned that distribution of food grains on the basis of economic disparity through Public Distribution System will create certain problems. In Tamil Nadu, food subsidy is given to the tune of Rs. 4,900 crore every year. I request the Union Government to accept 50% of the expenditure on the Public Distribution System of Tamil Nadu.
Under the National Food Security Bill, direct cash transfer scheme instead of supply of food grains, is unacceptable. The poor and the downtrodden will not get food grains through direct cash transfer scheme. The scheme of food cards is also not suitable. The centre should not impose these schemes on the State Governments. 2.96 lakh tonnes of food grains is given to Tamil Nadu. If the Food Security Bill is passed, it will be reduced to 2.24 lakh metric tonnes. The Standing Committee has recommended that the Centre should issue orders to retain the allocation of food grains. This section should be amended and the allocation of food grains at the present stage should be retained.
It has been mentioned that in case of scarcity of food grains from Centre’s corpus, cash will be provided as a substitute for food grains. This is not acceptable to Tamil Nadu. This will create scarcity of food grains in states like Tamil Nadu. It cannot be purchased from market. In case there is a shortage of food grains in the states, it is the duty of the Union Government to import sufficient food grains Therefore, I would like to reiterate the view of our Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu that our state, Tamil Nadu, should be given exemption from the National Food Security Act proposed by the Union Government.
We can see that presentation of Budget every year creates expectations in share markets and in some national and international organisations. But, it does not create any kind of expectations in the common man who has to struggle with his hunger on daily basis. The common man has no hope that the Budget is going to bring about any marked change in his life as the Budget will not bring down prices. The Government is routinely increasing the prices of petroleum products every month. The common man knows the sad fact that Government is not going to change its stand with regard to such price increases.
But the common man of Tamil Nadu is not suffering from such distressful situations. Our revolutionary leader (Puratchi thalaivi) Amma, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu protects the common man of Tamil Nadu by distributing essential commodities like Urad Dal, Tur Dal, Palm oil, Sooji, Maida and Sugar at affordable prices through Public Distribution Shops. Moreover, she has provided free rice to the poor people. With a view to regulating the prices of food items in the market, she has set up a ‘Price Stabilisation Fund’ because of which fine variety of rice is available to the people at the rate of Rs. 25 per kilogram. At this juncture, I am very proud to state in this House that our Hon’ble Chief Minister is a role model to the other states.
As far as price of petrol is concerned, this Government has increased it for 19 times since 2010. The price of one litre of petrol has been increased by 90% during the last three and a half years. Recently, the price of petrol was increased by Rs.1.50 per litre and the price of diesel was increased by Re.0.45 per litre. Within two weeks, the price of petrol was further increased by Rs.1.40 per litre, by pointing out the depreciation in the value of Indian Rupee and the international price rise. Therefore, I request the Government to withdraw the increase in the prices of petrol and diesel with a view to benefitting the poor, the downtrodden and the middle class. I also request the Government to roll back its decision of authorising the oil companies to fix the prices of petrol and diesel. This is the request of our revolutionary leader (Puratchi thalaivi) Amma, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, to the Union Government. I would like to draw the attention of the House towards her request.
In the present Budget, the Government has proposed to allocate Rs.17,700 crore in 2013-2014, to Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). This represents an increase of 11.7 per cent. Similarly the Budget has allocated Rs.300 crore for the treatment of mothers and child malnutrition in the country. What is the present situation? Majority of the children in our country are malnourished.
Approximately 60% of children in rural areas are malnourished. I would like to cite a depressing incident that the fund allocated for Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) in the state of Maharashtra has been utilized for buying buses. This news was published in all media. Therefore, I would like to point out that it is the duty of the Union Government to ensure that the fund allocated for the welfare of children is spent for the said purpose.
Similarly this Budget has proposed to allocate Rs.27,049 crore to the Ministry of Agriculture, an increase of 22 per cent over the allocation of the previous year. It is very important that the growth obtained by this allocation has to reach all farmers. Hon’ble minister has stated in the Budget that the average annual growth rate of agriculture during the 11th plan was 3.6%.
But the prices of agricultural inputs are increasing. This is due to the wrong fertilizer subsidy policy of the Government.
The price of 50 kilo gram of fertilizer ATP is Rs.486 in 2010. It has been increased to Rs.1200 in 2012. Similarly the price of 50 kilogram of MOP has been increased from Rs.231 to Rs.840. Procurement price is fixed according to the wrong fertilizer subsidy policy. As a result, the prices of essential commodities in market are increasing. Prices of essential commodities has to be regulated by the economic policy of the Union Government. Therefore, I would like to reiterate the Union Government through this House that the Centre has to modify its economic policy and its fertilizer subsidy policy in such a way to control the prices of essential commodities.
Similarly, I would like to express that sufficient importance has to be given to infrastructure development with regard to storage of food grains. Production of food grains involves the arduous labour of our farmers. Therefore, proper steps need to be taken to store the food grains properly and infrastructure has to be developed accordingly. Recently, I examined a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India. It creates the suspicion that planned development may include corruption also. The CAG report says that under the agricultural loan waiver scheme announced in May, 2008 , 22% of the beneficiaries are not qualified farmers. I would like to have the explanation from the Hon’ble Minister in this House, with regard to this report.
Hon’ble Vice Chairman sir,
The human sufferings and the atrocities that are happening in Sri Lanka at present, have been brought to the attention of all, at the international level. All the countries reiterate to take action against the Government of Sri Lanka. Now, I request that our country also has to take suitable action considering its own responsibility. Last year, the Union Government has allocated Rs.500 crore for the rehabilitation of Sri Lankan Tamils affected by war. It is doubtful whether this amount has reached the targeted mass. In this year’s Budget, nothing was mentioned either about the rehabilitation measures of the Sri Lankan Tamils or about the allocation for such purpose. This is disappointing. The Tamils residing in Sri Lankan camps have to be resettled in their original settlements. Those who have committed war crimes, who have committed ethnic genocide in Sri Lanka have to be declared as war criminals. I request that this Government have to persuade the United Nations with regard to the above demands. What happened in Sri Lanka is ethnic genocide. They have killed many women and children. They have sexually harassed many women. War crimes have been committed.
India has to support the resolution put forward by America against Sri Lanka in the United Nations Human Right Council (UNHRC). India has to make some amendments in the resolution proposed by America. An enquiry has to be conducted at the international level and Sri Lanka has to be punished for committing war crimes. This enquiry has to be completed within six months. India has to impose economic embargo against Sri Lanka.
Due to the atrocities of Sri Lankan Navy, innocent Tamil fishermen are attacked many times. Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Dr. Puratchithalaivi Amma has reiterated the Union Government to protect
the welfare of innocent Tamil fishermen. Proper steps need to be taken to protect them. With these words, I conclude my speech. Thank you.