Hon.Chairman, Sir, I rise in front of this august House to present the views of the AamAadmi. I speak for him because I strongly believe that he has not been adequately represented in the Budget presented by the honorable Finance Minister.
Let me begin with the plight of the AamAadmi of West Bengal. Sir, after 34 years of governance-or, may I say, mis-governance-by the Left Front Government, the State was won over by our party in 2011. Because ‘the Left, left the State in a fiscal mess’, we inherited a massive debt of more than 2 lac crore.
The debt servicing alone cost 22000 crore rupees every year. The Left Front Govt. of West Bengal kept on borrowing and the Union Govt. kept on pleasing them without any regard to the fiscal indiscipline in that state. Sir, from 2004 to 2008 when the Left front was the part of the UPA, West Bengal came down from the 6th worst State to the second worst State in terms of outstanding liabilities/ Gross GDP.
This was the level of disregard towards fiscal discipline. Sir, if I may draw an analogy from the Mahabharata-it looks like the Union Govt. was acting
Like Dhritrashtra with blind folds, even as West Bengal was being stripped off her economic sheen
and dignity owing to the fiscal mis-deeds of the then West Bengal State Govt. Otherwise, how can one explain the fact that the State Govt. could borrow 5173 crores within 28 days just a few days before our party took office in West Bengal?
Since the time our Govt. took office the Sate Govt has been continuously requesting for a moratorium on the annual debt servicing cost of Rs. 22000 crores. Sir, I must clarify that the State Govt. is only asking for a moratorium of few years, not a waiver, and yet till today, nothing hasbeen done for the AamAadmi of West Bengal. Sir, I would like to highlight a very interesting factor here that even as the legitimate request of the people of West Bengal has been ignored with disdain, at the same time the Union Govt. pledged 10 billion dollars to the IMF for helping the Euro Crisis in 2012. Sir, through you I ask the Hon. Finance Minister, is this fair? Should the land that sparked the first War of Independence in 1857 and gave us our national anthem be treated with such humiliating levels of disrespect and contempt?
Sir, I would now like to highlight the omissions from this Budget towards the Manufacturing Sector. Sir, we all know that the manufacturing sector has the capacity to generate jobs and the Govt. keeps on talking about the need to create 10 million jobs every year, and yet this Budget seems to provide no priority to this sector. Sir, studies of the progress of other countries around the world show that economies progress from Agriculture to Manufacturing to Services. But in our case we have missed to notice that we as a country have skipped the step of manufacturing and gone to services.
Therefore, we are feeling the pinch of widespread unemployment. It pains me to say that only 16% of the country’s GDP comes from manufacturing sector whereas this number is much higher for countries like China (30%) and South Korea (31%). It is further shocking when I look around to our small immediate neighbours like Pakistan (19%), Sri Lanka (18%) and Bangladesh (18%) whose manufacturing sectors contribute more to their GDP than ours. This shows, Sir, that there is something wrong in our planning process and the Budget does not address this issue.
The amount of young population we have can prove
to be a big asset, but if enough jobs are not created, then this young workforce, which could have otherwise yielded Demographic dividends, may well turn into a Demographic Disaster. Though the Finance Minister has allocated an amount for skill development programs,but lack of opportunities to absorb such skilled workforces will only lead to unemployment-driven frustration amongst the youth.
Defence Budget Cut As the Hon’ble Finance Minister scrambles to cut costs, due to the dismal growth rate of our economy, defence spending has been hit the highest with the reduced allocation of defence Budget which is barely 1.79% of the GDP. This is a record low for India in three decades with the figure dropping from 3.16% of GDP in 1987 to 1.79% for 2013-14.
The defence Budget for 2013-14 (Rs 203,000 Crores) has increased by only 5% over the previous year (Rs 1,93,000 Crores) which has actually resulted in the decrease of expenditure in real terms. Sir, let me explain that a 5% increase in the Budget will not cover even the cost of inflation. I must highlight here that Rupee has depreciated more than 10% and it is continuing to do so, while 75% of our defence purchase are from foreign countries. So, a 5% increase will not allow us to maintain the same spending as of the previous year.
The war clouds may not exactly be hovering over India, but the seeds of war lay overwhelmingly on our borders with Pakistan occupied Kashmir and China occupied Tibet. China and Pakistan, single or incollisivity/collusion, constitute a potent military threat to our National Security. Since the war can suddenly erupt on our turbulent borders, as it happened on a limited scale during the Kargilconflict, such threats dictate the imperatives of high state of war preparedness at all times.
General Douglas Mac Arthur said, I quote
“Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons”
and yet the Budget cut by one stroke of the pen on defence spending by the honorable Finance Minister will have very serious implications as it will further increase the critical shortages of weapons, equipment and ammunition in the Armed Forces. I must apprise the House that for almost 25 years, the Indian Artillery has not been upgraded. We may recollect that the Kargil war was a limited war in the true sense. Yet, the Indian Army had to use all available arty guns bought in 1987and muster them to the WarZone in Kargil for achieving a very limited scale degradation of the enemy. Since our ammunition arsenals were empty, the Govt had to run ‘helter skelter’ to buy ammunition during the course of war from foreign countries at 3 to 4 times higher rate. Such was the extent of fire fighting for only Artillery.
There were extreme shortages in all 3 wings of the Defence Forces due to which we were ill prepared for a full scale war and were facing acute deficiencies in opening up other fronts with Pakistan for reducing enemy pressure in the Kargil sector. As a result, the Govt ordered the Army not to cross the LOC. By not crossing the LOC, the Army could not follow the basic teachings of first isolating the enemy locality from all directions, particularly blocking its routes for reinforcements as this could only be done by crossing the LOC.
Our soldiers had to thus launch the tactics of frontal attacks which is a suicidal method of assaulting the enemy defences. The Officers and Jawans were being used as Cannon fodder due to frontal assaults. They knew very well that only few of them would survive a frontal attack, as the enemy would focus all weapons on themwhen they are climbing the high mountains and yet, their patriotism for the Nation made them charge blindly on the high peaks, following the political mandate of not crossing the LOC and the military weakness of not being equipped for an all out war. Sir, let me read the letter written by a 21 years’ old young officer, Lt Vijayant Thapar, to his father, just before going in for the attack on an enemy position during the Kargil war. You can make out from the letter that our young soldiers knew that returning from a frontal
attack is almost impossible, yet they were fearless and they dedicated their lives to the Nation.
“Dearest Papa, Mama, Birdie and Grany,
By the time you get this letter, I will be observing you all from the sky enjoying the hospitability of Apsaras. I have no regrets; in fact even if I become a human again I will join the Army and fight for my Nation. If you can, please come and see where the Indian Army fought for your tomorrow. As far as the unit is concerned the new chaps should be told about this sacrifice. I hope my photo will be kept in the ‘A’ Coy Mandir with Karni Mata. Contribute some money to orphanage and keep on giving Rs 50/- per month to Ruksana (Ruksana was a 5 year old Girl whose father was killed by the militants in the Kashmir Valley) and meet Yogi Baba. Best of luck to Birdie, never forget the sacrifice of these men. Papa you should feel proud. Mama so should you” It is time for me to join assault party.
Best of luck to you all.
Robin (Nick Name of Lt VijayantThapar)”unquote.
5. I ask this House, for how long will the Govt keep ignoring the importance of full scale defence preparedness and keep sacrificing our soldiers due to a sheer neglect and understanding of defence related issues.The threat appreciation on our nation envisages a simultaneous “two and a half front war”, against Pakistan, China as well as the internal insurgency and terrorism. Army has bought not even half the equipment it planned to acquire during the 11th Five Year Pan (2007-2012).The Former Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor told the CCS after the 26/11 Mumbai attack that the “Army was not ready for war”.
6. Today, China is giving an open threat to us by claiming the entire State of Arunachal Pradesh, by claiming large parts of Eastern Ladakh, Uttarakhandand Himachal Pradesh. Their
Navy is dominating in the International waters and posing a direct threat to our oil exploration plans and our sea trade routes. Gwador port in Pakistan is entirely under their control; they have influence on all Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) countries and thus surrounded us by a “String of Pearls” policy. As aresult of defence cuts, the Naval strength will not be able to protect our oil interests and protect our Island territories. The Indian Air Force is also woefully short of Combat squadrons. Their contracted deal of 126 Fighter aircraft from France will get delayed, and also, the deal for 123 helicopters to replace the age old Cheetas and Chetaksmay no more see the light of the day. As per a study carried out, 50% of the Air Force equipment is obsolete.
7. As we go to a low of 1.79% defence Budget allocation in terms of GDP, Pakistan remains at over 4% and China at 3.2% (though China is known to spend 60% more than the revealed Budget). For 2013-14 China has increased its defence Budget and now stands at more than $ 115 billion. Chinese defence Budget is now about 3 times the Indian defence Budget which stands at $ 37 billion.
8. Before and during the outbreak of war, heavy war machinery is required to move up on roads leading to the border. I will request the Hon’ble Members to go once by road to Leh through the NH 1A Srinagar – Zozila- Leh road and particularly the NH – 21 – Manali – Leh Road.
The state of roads is so pathetic that for miles together, road patches are missing or are completely broken. The Border Roads is incapable of either constructing or maintaining the roads. New technologies for road constructionare not adopted due to the age old mind set. These roads are unfit for taking the load of large scale war movement of men, material and logistics. If we have to move our heavy guns, rocket artillery, ammunition, tanks, heavy engineering vehicles, these would be taken as ‘pot shots’ by enemy Air Force as everywhere along the route their heavy columns would get stuck. Though China has deployed its tactical missiles opposite our border, the width of our roads cannot take the traffic of Prithvi/Brahmos/Agni missile systems and they also cannot be lifted by airalongwith their ground launch systems. There are some strategic areas on our borders which have extremely good quality Roads constructed from the Chinese side but own side is either devoid of any road (the locality being linked only by air) or we have very poor quality ground tracks which cannot take on the traffic of war accretions. Hence, even if we have manpower and weapons, we stand to loose because our infrastructure does not permit a seamless build up for war.
For some I may sound like an alarmist, who is seeing war clouds in the horizon. But, Sir, I am only trying to highlight the inadequacies and how under prepared we are, in case of a full scale war.
In conclusion, therefore, Sir, by neglecting the 90 million plus population of West Bengal and ignoring an employment-intensive sector like manufacturing, not only has the honourable Finance Minister presented an “anti-AamAadmi” Budget, but by cutting down allocations on defence, he has put national security in danger.
I sincerely urge the Minister to consider these points and take appropriate action to address them.
SHRI NARESH AGRAWAL (UTTAR PRADESH):
Hon’ble Chairman Sir,
I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak on the Budget. I would like to begin with a quote which summarizes the complete Budget –
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yxk dj t[e vc t[eksa dks lgyk;k x;k gSaA Today we are facing a grave fiscal deficit situation. The main reason for this has been the Government’s lax effort in increasing the tax base of the country. Only 2.77% population of India pays Income Tax, which is one of the lowest in the world. When we compare it with other western countries that have more than 50% population paying income tax, we can easily see the reason for our low revenue. And the Government is responsible for this because of its lazy approach to bring more people under tax net.
The Budget presented by the Government is just a magic of numbers, which motive is to fool the people and cause harm to all sections of the society.
In this Government, the Budget has lost all its significance. All important decisions like raising taxes, petrol and diesel prices, removing subsidy etc are taken by the Government and not by the legislature. Presenting Budget and debating it in the House has just become a formality.
In Budget 2012-13, the Plan Expenditure was Rs. 5,21,025 crore, which the Government revised to Rs. 4,29,187 crore; which is Rs. 91,838 crore lower than the initial target. Why did the Government cut the plan expenditure? Which projects suffered due to this cut? Or whether the Government was not able to make the estimated expenditure? The Finance Minister should answer this.
Also, the market loan target increased from Rs. 4,67,384 crore to Rs. 4,84,00o crore; by 3.5% in Budget 2013-14; while the interest burden increased by Rs 54,000 crore by 17%. The total foreign loan on India has exceeded Rs. 20 Lakh Crore, which is more than 25% of the GDP. Till when will we be dependent on foreign countries and institutions to meet our needs? What long-term plan does the Government have to make our country external debt free and self dependent?
The Government informed in the last Budget that it plans to raise short-term loans of around Rs. 9000 crore in financial year 2012-13 but raise a whopping Rs. 45,746 crore, which is 400 % higher than the target. Also, the Government failed to meet its revenue target by Rs 63,857 crore. It remained at Rs 8,71,828 crore, much lower than the target of Rs. 9,35,685 crore. The Government needs to explain this.
The economy is going for a free fall. This is evident from the status of the Public Sector Banks in the country. The Gross Non Performing Assets of the Public Sector Banks has risen to Rs. 1,43,765 crore, out of which share of the State Bank of India is 32%. During my recent field trip to Mumbai for Finance Standing Committee, I found out that around 60% of the bad loan belong to people with more than Rs. 10 crore, 35% belong to people below Rs. 10 lakh, who are mostly farmers and students and rest are only 5%. The CIC ordered the Banks to release the name of these defaulters but the RBI refused to do so quoting the Public Financial Institutions (Obligation as to Fidelity and Secrecy) Act 1983. Why is the provision of this not applied to the farmer and student loans? They are given loans at 13-14% interest and when they are unable to repay, the banks disclose their names and cuts RC in their names at district, so that they have to pay 10% extra interest. Why this double standard? The Government is providing support to Public Sector Banks for three consecutive years. Rs. 20,157 crore in 2010-11, Rs. 12,000 crore in 2011-12 and Rs. 12,517 crore in 2012-13. This money is used by Public Sector Banks to write off bad loans of big defaulters. SBI has written off 1896 crore 2008-09, Rs. 1990 crore and Rs. 4,000 crore in 2010-11. Punjab National Bank has written off Rs. 2,911 crore, Bank of India Rs 2,008 crore, Union Bank of India Rs 2,005 crore, Allahabad Bank Rs. 1,810 crore, Indian Overseas Bank Rs. 1,593 crore, IDBI Bank Rs 1,559 crore, Bank of Baroda Rs 1,421 crore and Oriental Bank of Commerce Rs. 1,333 crore. Why is the Government showering public money on these big defaulters? The priority of the Government should be settling all the loans to the farmers and students, who have around 35% of the bad loan; and to provide them loans at low interest rates of 4% so that there will be no defaulters. And action to recover loan from the rest 60%, who have more than Rs. 10 crore worth, should be initiated immediately.
Not only this, the private Insurance Companies have siphoned off around Rs. 1,75,000 crore of public money in the past 10 years in the name of ULIP Policies but the IRDA and Government preferred to look the other way. People were promised double money in three years but half of the premium was cut as agent commission and administrative charges. IRDA gave permission for this. Due to this the total investment would double in 7-8 years. When investors realized this, they stopped paying further premiums and the paid premiums were not returned by the insurance companies. They included this in their profits. The total loss to investors was around 1.75 lakh crore rupees. In 2010, IRDA changed the guidelines but did not take any step to ensure that investors’ money is returned. The Government also did not act. The Government should take immediate action and ask the companies to return the investor money. The reason and motive behind this inaction by IRDA and Government should also be investigated.
This Government has made the farmers of the country bleed with its policies. From high prices of urea and fertilizers to deregulation of diesel to scam in the loan waiver scheme, all Government actions are anti-farmer. The Government announced the Nutrient Based Subsidy scheme for fertilizers in 2010 even when the Fertilizer Miniser, Mr. Alagiri ,, opposed the scheme. The Finance Ministry pushed the scheme and the scheme was implemented after the Prime Minister wrote in favour of the scheme. In this scheme, the Government fixed the subsidy on per kg of nutrients but the fertilizer companies were allowed to fix the market price. What is this policy? The companies are earning from both ends. The subsidy bill of Government on fertilizer has increased and the fertilizer price in the market has gone up manifolds. Price of DAP has gone up from Rs. 460 per bag in Dec 2010 to Rs. 1200 per bag in Oct 2011. Similar is the case for all fertilizers. How can any democratic Government allow this? Public money is being gifted to private companies and they are also allowed to loot the farmers. This should stop. Companies like IIFCO and IPL are the main beneficiaries. There have been complaints against the MD of IIFCO U S Awasthi and his two sons for corruption and money laundering but no action has been taken. A CBI inquiry should be initiated in this and the guilty should be brought to justice. Even the Government ministers and officials should be investigated in this Rs. 50000 crore per year scam. No one should be allowed to loot the poor farmers of this country. Also, we are importing more than 50% of our UREA and 90% of fertilizer from abroad. No action has been taken by the Government to increase domestic production. Is it being deliberately done so that public money can be looted in the name of imports? The complete matter should be investigated.
Recently, a sting operation by Cobra Post brought forth matter of money laundering by certain Public Sector Banks namely, ICICI Bank, AXIS Bank and HDFC Bank. These banks were found assisting people deposit their black money without being checked. This is not a new matter. It has only come in the public domain recently. A person named Abdul Munaf Khan was arrested by CBI in 2011 for depositing Rs. 100 crore in various banks including HFC, ICICI and Kotak Mahindra Bank. But he was released in just three days without investigation. The Intelligence Bureau sent a report in this matter to the RBI, Finance Minister and Prime Minister but no concrete action was taken. The matter was also reported in an internal report of Ministry of Finance. Why did the RBI and Finance Minister not act in the matter? I demand a high level inquiry in the matter to find the complete truth and bring the offender organizations and individuals to justice.
Also, a number of Chit Fund Companies are operating in States like Bengal. These companies are illegally taking money from the people without any permission from RBI or SEBI. Around 75 such companies are operating, the prominent ones being Rose Valley Corporation, Alchemist Group, Sharda Group, Prayag Group, Tower Group etc. Numerous complaints have been made by many Members of Parliament in the matter but no action has been initiated by the SEBI, RBI or Government. The matter should be thoroughly investigated and investors’ money should be returned with complete interest promised. The hon’ble Supreme Court in a similar matter has asked the company to return the investors’ money with complete interest. The Government should act immediately to stop these illegal activities and return the investors’ money.
The Government has being for the past three years has been setting targets for disinvestment to meet the expenditure of its social program, mainly MNREGA but has not been able to meet the targets. Last year’s target was Rs. 30,000 crore which has been brought down to Rs. 24,000 crore. But still the Government has set an impossible target of Rs. 55,810 crore from disinvestment. How will the Government meet this? In which companies does the Government want to sell its stake? Why is the Government selling stakes when the market is down? Why the complete money is being used to fund MNREGA, where no asset is being created? Is the Government selling Public Sector Enterprises to fund its own agenda? The Government needs to give explanation on this matter.
The poor and middle class of the country is suffering under the huge burden of high prices and decreased Government assistance. The Government is saying that inflation is down at 6.84% but this is the whole sale inflation. The consumer inflation is at 10.91%, food inflation at 13.73% and vegetable inflation at 21.29%. The Government is unable to provide relief to the people even after repeated promises on the floor of the House for the past 3 years. Food is rotting in FCI Godown even after the Supreme Court asked the Government to distribute it to the poor. What will the people of the country? This Government will make the people of the country die of hunger. They are only talking of food security. There is no action. The price of diesel has been deregulated to make food production more costly and make farming more uneconomical. These are the policies of this Government. The people will teach them a lesson in the elections. They will have to pay for this.
This Government is only of the rich. They are protecting the 782 people, whose name has been given by the Swizetland Authorities. More than Rs. 27.50 lakh crore of the country is parked in various tax havens around the world. All the countries are working to bring its money back but not this Government. They have postponed the General Anti Avoidance Rule to protect people investing their Black Money through Mauritius. This is worse than East India Company. They are looting the country and not even repenting. This money can be used to build a new India from Cities to Villages. But they don’t want this to happen. I want the Finance Minister to explain what the Government has done to bring Black Money back to the country.
Sir, I am ending my speech with a few lines for the present Government