Skc-mcm/1A/11. 00 The House met at eleven of the clock, mr. Chairman in the Chair mr. Chairman

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SHRI P. RAJEEVE (KERALA): Sir, all of us are aware that the Indian economy is witnessing a mix of illness -- slowdown of economic growth, widening the Current Account deficit, depreciation of currency, high inflation and fiscal deficit. The price of essential commodities is skyrocketing. Some of our learned colleagues have already elaborated the picture of price of essential commodities in the market. Due to constraint of time, I would not like to elaborate the situation prevailing in different parts of the country. From Delhi to Kerala, the price of essential commodities have raised in a very drastic manner. The common man is struggling too much to lead a day-today life.

Sir, the hon. Finance Minister expressed his concern on the Current Account deficit. It resembles the July 24, 1991, speech of the then Finance Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh. At that time, the then Finance Minister expressed his concerned about the Current Account deficit, fiscal deficit and the status of the forex reserves. At that time, in 1991, the Current Account deficit of the country was 2.5 per cent of the GDP. To overcome that situation, in that Budget Speech, the Government started liberalized policies. They opened our economy for Foreign Direct Investment, Foreign Institutional Investment and removed all caps. Then, what is the reality after implementation of neo-liberal policies after 22 years. At that time i.e., 1991, the CAD was only 2.5 per cent of the GDP. But, now, it is 4.8 per cent of the GDP. Last year, it was 5.1 per cent of the GDP -- the highest in the history of our economy. Now, it is 4.8 per cent of the GDP. Sir, India never enjoyed a trade surplus after 1976-77. At the time of Independence, our share of exports was 2 per cent. It is fell down to below 1 per cent after implementation of all these policies by the Republic of India. Now, the growth rate is also the Hindu Growth Rate i.e., around 5 per cent. I do not believe on the GDP and such things. Our hon. Finance Minister is also aware that the former French President, Mr. Sarkozy, constituted a Commission, under the leadership of Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze. The Report is available in the public domain which says that it is mis-measuring our lives. They clearly stated that the GDP is an indicator which is not reflecting the real picture of the economy. But, we are still focusing on the GDP factor. But, Mani Shankar Aiyarji has correctly stated whether we could use the GDP as an engine for the development. In the recent book "Uncertain Glories", written by Amartya Sen and Dreze, they analyzed the situation of India in 1991 and 2011 with South Asian countries and other developing economies.



SHRI P. RAJEEVE (contd.): In 1991, the Indian life expectancy was the same as in Bangladesh; but in 2011, an Indian lived four years less than a Bangladeshi. Bangladesh is not an emerging economy; it is a very small country. But, in all human indices, our position is very bad compared to the South Asian countries; with regard to under-nutrition, underweighted children, our position is the least.

Sir, while we are functioning in the economy, the Constitution gave a direction under article 39(c). I have explained it while participating in the discussion on the Companies Bill. The function of the economy should not result in the concentration of wealth. But, as per the U.N. Report, the super rich, who constitute 10 per cent of the country's population, control 53 per cent of the assets of the country and the poor 10 per cent control only 0.2 per cent of the assets of the country. That is the picture after the implementation of the neo-liberal policy. The Government opened the doors for foreign investment. The logic behind attracting investment is, it would create employment and it would lead to the growth. That was the propaganda at the time of implementation of the neo-liberal policy. Then, where is the market? You are focussing on the exports, export-oriented policies. The international economic crisis is still continuing. The world trade is declining. That means, the international market is contracting. Then, where are the export-oriented policies taking us? What is the result of those policies after these twenty years? Then, what about the domestic market? What is the purchasing power of most of the people in our society? Seventy-nine per cent of the people are living with Rs.20 per day; that is the income per day as per the Government report. That is the status of the purchasing power of the majority of the society in our country.

Sir, I would like to draw the attention of the hon. Minister to one article in The Economic Times and the other article in The Economist, London. That is not a publication of the Left. As per the Sunday's Economic Times, they gave an analysis of the employment scenario in our country. Steel industry is downsized by 10 per cent; telecom and shipping saw a 17 per cent dip; paper sector saw 23 per cent; the corporate sector expects a loss of more than one crore jobs. This is the employment scenario in our country. Has the new FDI created any employment in our country? The Economist weekly published a very good article on how India is missing its opportunities. In that article, they gave a very good example of 570 million Euro Volkswagen plant in India. It is a totally robot-run factory. No job creation. This is the report in The Economist. No employment is created by this so-called FDI. The result is job loss; job loss is one of the significant feature of the economy in our country.

The agrarian sector has crashed and it is already explained by some of our learned colleagues. I would not like to go into the details of it. The real wages are also decreasing. That means, the purchasing capacity of the domestic market is declining drastically. That is the situation in our country. What is the remedy? I would like to invite the attention of the Minister to the first Budget Speech of our country by the then Minister, Shri Shanmugam Chettiyar. I quote:

"When a depression is on Government, it should launch bold

schemes of public expenditure."

That is in 1947-48, at the time of the first Budget. Then, what is the strategy of the present Finance Minister, Mr. Chidambaram? Is the Ministry ready to increase the public investment? But, instead of that, the Government has again opened up our economy to foreign investment, foreign direct investment, foreign institutional investment, or any type of investment, at any cost and at any condition. Sir, this would lead to more and more crises. These policies, these tactics, to overcome the situation would lead to another crisis in our country.

(Contd. By TDB/2S)


SHRI P. RAJEEVE (CONTD.): Sir, while demanding for more public investment, the reply from the Government is that there is no money for that. Sir, as per the last Budget, the revenue forgone is Rs.5,29,432 crores in 2011-12, which is six per cent of the GDP. Sir, this is higher than our fiscal deficit. As per the calculation done by well-known journalist Sainath, since 2005-06, taxes and duties for the corporate world and the rich have been written off at the rate of Rs.70 lakhs a minute on average. Sir, in a minute, the Government has written off Rs.70 lakhs in favour of the corporates in the country. That is the real picture. This Government stands for private interest. This Government does not stand for public interest. This Government is not ready to increase public investment to increase the dynamism of the economy.

Sir, we have other sources of capital for investment. As per the Public Enterprises Survey, our PSUs had a surplus reserve of Rs.5,60,203 crores in 2011, which is now Rs.6,13,949 crores in 2012. This is the cash reserve in public sector companies. It is lying there as dead money. Why is the Government not trying to utilize that money for investment in different productive sectors and for creating more and more jobs in our country?

Sir, one more point which I want to make is this. We are crying for the FDI. The Economist analysis says, “Every dollar of FDI made by outsiders in manufacturing sector in five years to March, 2012, local firms invests 65 cents for manufacturing outside the country.” That is the reality. They are creating, as per the Commerce Ministry’s analysis, 10,000 jobs outside the country in a short span of time. Why we could not utilize this capital for creating employment in our country?

Sir, then, there is Foreign Institutional Investment, FII. We are open for that. Actually, the FII is flowing from one country to another country wherever they get more and more benefits. They do not stick on the periphery economy. They always have the tendency to go back to the core economy, i.e., the United States of America. That is happening and that is reflected in the depreciation of our currency.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (SHRI BHUBANESWAR KALITA): You have to conclude. Your time is over.

SHRI P. RAJEEVE: Sir, I would just make the points now. Sir, as per the Finance Ministry’s explanation, this depreciation is due to the declaration of the policy of the Federal Bank of the United States of America. If it is true, then, it reveals over-dependence of Indian economy on America. Actually, the rupee has been falling against the dollar for quite long time before Bernanke’s announcement.

Sir, one question which I want to put to the hon. Minister is this. This current account deficit created pressure on the value of the currency. But my question is, in spite of America’s facing a serious current account deficit, how can it maintain the strength of its currency? That is being done at the expense of the economy of the developing countries like India. For strengthening our currency, for meeting our economic issues, we open all our doors for the Foreign Direct Investment.


SHRI P. RAJEEVE: Sir, I want to make one important point about the pricing of natural gas. What is the public interest behind that? The Government has decided to increase the price of natural gas. That means, the subsidy burden of the Government would be increased. Some analysts stated that it would be more than Rs.2.5 lakh crores. I do not know what the actual figure is. The increase in prices of fertilizers leads to subsidy burden and it leads to increase in fiscal deficit as power industry and steel industry would be compelled to move for imported coal. That would again lead to widening of current account deficit. Why did the Government take a decision to increase the price of natural gas when there is a complex economic crisis in our country? That shows that this Government is working for the private interest, not for the public interest, not for the national interest.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (SHRI BHUBANESWAR KALITA): Please conclude. There are other speakers also.

SHRI P. RAJEEVE: Sir, lastly, I would like to invite the attention of the hon. Finance Minister to the latest online survey of The Economist weekly. They predict that a credit downgrade is looming and, perhaps, a full economic crisis in India.

(Contd. by 2t-usy)

SHRI P. RAJEEVE (CONTD.): So, Sir, I urge upon the Government to review its liberalized economic policy. The politics should decide the economics. But, now, you have a very bad politics and bad economics. Thank you very much.


SHRI DEREK O'BRIEN (WEST BENGAL): Sir, they say, eleven months is a long time in politics. But we, from the Trinamool Congress, were actually walking the talk and making our actions louder than our words because, eleven months ago, we walked out of this Government and left the Congress to learn a minority-led UPA. And, it is interesting that we are discussing this subject today, that is, the state of the economy, because when we left the Government eleven months ago, we also had some very serious issues on the state of the economy. The core issue was especially the price rise, we will come to that later. But there were also issues of fertilizer price hike, the LPG cap, the petrol and diesel prices. But it pains me that even after eleven months, even after we moved out, and, now, even more and more people believe in what we said eleven months ago, the Congress party is still living in denial.

Sir, the economists have an index, which they call the Big Mac Index. The Big Mac Index is an index that gives you the purchasing power parity. When you look at the price of a hotdog or a hamburger in different countries of the world, you get to know what the local currency is, in response to the dollar. Okay, forget about the Big Mac Index. In India, our belief is, there is even a more important index, which is called the API, that is, the Aaloo-Pyaj Index. And, this Aaloo-Pyaj Index is something which this Government has never understood. They did not understand it one year ago. They don't even understand it today. The Aaloo-Pyaj Index is basically price rise in agri commodities.

Sir, here are two clear views. One, we believe that there has been a total negligence on capacity expansion. Second, there is a total lack of increased production. For onions, specifically, we understand and we appreciate that rainfall could be one of the reasons. But the second one, and the more important one, is the lack of logistics and not anticipating the problem before it actually comes. In case we mention something like this, an excuse may always be given that you know the Opposition parties did not allow the Walmart. We are looking for a good governance. We are not looking to outsource our problems to the Walmart. When it comes to anticipation, let me give you a small example of my own State, the West Bengal. In June 2012, knowing that something like this could happen, a Task Force was set up by the Chief Minister of West Bengal, headed by the Secretary (Agriculture). And, it had members from agriculture, horticulture, vendors and retailers together. That's why, today, in Bengal, there are still ten markets in Bengal with mobile vans where onion is available at rupees 35-40 per kg. There are still fruit markets in Bengal, during Ramjan, through the same mobile vans where fruits are available at decent prices. I am not saying that that is the only solution. But the point I am trying to make is that there was some anticipation before the problem arose.

Sir, our Prime Minister keeps talking about the global economy. Actually I am beginning to believe him now. Because, nowadays, even in the price of onions, we are paying global prices; we are paying one dollar fifty cents for one kilogram of onions.

The erudite speaker Shri Mani Shankar Ayar is, obviously, still in denial because he selectively quoted certain growth rates. He said that in US it is 1.4; in UK, it is 1.2. So, we are doing very well with 4.7. But here are two points. One, on what we base we are talking about that these economies are growing at 1.2 and 1.4.

(Contd. by 2u – PB)


SHRI DEREK O’BRIEN (CONTD.): And the second short point here, Sir, is, look at Indonesia, it is six per cent. Look at Phillipines, look at Sri Lanka and look at Vietnam. When the Congress Party decides to keep quoting selective figures, then, Sir, it really is a problem. The Finance Minister is here. I have some pointed questions which I hope he will address in his reply. Sir, the LPG cap is one of the issues on which the Trinamool Congress gave up one Cabinet Minister and six Ministers of State. Sir, how much have you saved in terms of real rupees from the time this LPG cap was fixed at 9 a year? Sir, what have you done with regard to the fertilizer prices? As far as fertilizer prices are concerned, the world knows, the biggest scam is ‘gold plating’. Now, instead of being self-sufficient, we, still, have to pay for imported fertilizers. So, my specific question is: What steps have you taken in the last one year for gold-plating of fertilizers? The previous speaker spoke about gas prices and I want to take that one step further. Gas prices are going up substantially. But what is the magic date, Sir? Please enlighten us about 1st April, 2014. Why not October, why not November? Some people would believe that by 1st April, 2014, you will not only play a cruel joke on the nation, but you may also not be in the Government. But that is another story, Sir. That is on the fertilizer prices. Sir, I would take a few minutes to share four figures, to tell you how my own State is doing. For GDP, the national average last year was 4.96 per cent –just four figures,– while Bengal’s was 7.6 per cent. Now, I come to industrial growth. The national average was 3.12 per cent; in Bengal, it was 6.24 per cent. In agriculture, the national average was 1.79 per cent while in Bengal, it was 2.56 per cent. And the most significant one -- that is why economies like that of Phillipines are growing so much – is services. For services, the national average was 6.5 per cent while Bengal’s average was 9.48 per cent. Sir, I want to go back to the story of the onions, because there is a lot of pride with the phrase, “the aam aadmi”. I know who the aam aadmi is. But there is a sense and there is a belief that the Congress also knows who the aam aadmi is. But that aam aadmi is in the groccery shop of Khan Market. Otherwise, we would not have had these figures of Re.1/- to Rs.100/-. You can get a meal in some States, depending on your state of mind -- Rs.12/- in Mumbai or Rs.18/- somewhere else. Sir, the Egyptians worshipped this ‘something’ because it had concentric circles. The Greek’s athletes ate this because they thought they would perform better. Roman gladiators rubbed its juice on their muscles. Sir, I am talking about the onion. But for the Indian housewife, it does nothing of this, Sir; it only brings tear to her eyes. I want to finish, Sir, now by going back to my story of the API, which is the aaloo- pyaj index. Sir, In 1998, and before that in 1980, this aaloo- pyaj index benefitted the Congress Party. It gave them Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. I am not an astrologer, Sir. But the people of this country who have been cursed by this shameless minority Government, insisting on staying on even when they are not wanted. By 2014 or before that, Sir, the same aaloo- pyaj index will send Congress where they duly belong to. Thank you, Sir. (Ends)

प्रो. राम गोपाल यादव (उत्तर प्रदेश) : धन्यवाद उपसभाध्यक्ष जी। आज जिस विषय पर चर्चा हो रही है, उससे इस देश का आम आदमी बुरी तरह से प्रभावित है, एडसर्वली प्रभावित है। श्रीमन्, मुझसे पहले कई विद्वान साथियों ने आंकड़े देकर जो वस्तुस्थिति है, उसको रखने का प्रयास किया है।

(2W/akg पर जारी)


प्रो. राम गोपाल यादव (क्रमागत) : मैं उनमें ज्यादा नहीं जाना चाहूँगा। मैं बहुत संक्षेप में अपनी बात कहूँगा, चूँकि टाइम भी नहीं है। 2010 और 2013 में जीडीपी की ग्रोथ रेट 7.2 परसेंट से घट कर 5 परसेंट से कम हो गई; होलसेल प्राइस इंडेक्स 1.6 परसेंट से बढ़ कर 7.6 परसेंट हो गया; करेंट एकाउंट डेफिसिट 2.8 परसेंट से बढ़ कर 4.8 परसेंट हो गया; डॉलर का जो प्रति डॉलर रेट था, वह 2010 में 44.5 रुपए था, अब 61.27 रुपए हो गया; हमारा फॉरेन एक्सचेंज रिजर्व लगभग 3 बिलियन डॉलर से ज्यादा कम हो गया; पेट्रोल 40 रुपए प्रति लीटर की जगह 70 रुपए से ज्यादा का हो गया। यह स्थिति है 2010 और 2013 की। महँगाई बढ़ी। हर तरीके से, हर क्षेत्र में जो दिक्कतें आम लोगों के सामने आने वाली हैं, वे सारी परिस्थितियाँ पैदा हुईं। गवर्नमेंट ने न तो अपनी करेंसी को स्टेबलाइज करने की कोशिश की और न फॉरेन एक्सचेंज रिजर्व को सस्टेन करने की कोई कोशिश की। इतने बड़े अर्थशास्त्री के प्रधान मंत्री होते हुए भी, विद्वान वित्त मंत्री के होते हुए भी स्थिति इतनी भयावह हो गई है कि रुपए की गिरावट और फिस्कल डेफिसिट का जो अलार्मिंग रेट है, उनकी वजह से आगे चल कर लगभग 10 लाख करोड़ रुपए का घाटा हो सकता है और यह आशंका है कि सरकार अपने कर्मचारियों को वेतन देने की स्थिति में भी नहीं हो सकती है। जो बौरोइंग्स हैं, जो हमें वापस देनी हैं, वे इतनी ज्यादा हैं, जिनके चलते हमें कुछ--कुछ ऐसे इंतजाम करने पड़ेंगे, जो देश की अर्थव्यवस्था को और ज्यादा खराब कर सकते हैं। कुछ ऐसी परिस्थितियाँ हैं कि गवर्नमेंट को कुछ काम करने पड़ते हैं, जैसे नए राज्यों का बनाया जाना। यह भी फिस्कल डेफिसिट को बढ़ाएगा, इससे तमाम खर्चे बढ़ते हैं। इतनी खराब स्थिति के होने के बाद भी मैं यह नहीं समझ पा रहा हूँ कि एयर इंडिया को 500 मिलियन डॉलर का लोन लेने की इजाजत क्यों दी गई। इसकी क्या आवश्यकता थी? यद्यपि आपका यह ‘खाद्य सुरक्षा बिल’ बहुत इम्पॉर्टेंट है, लेकिन इससे इनकार नहीं किया जा सकता कि इसकी वजह से और ज्यादा फिस्कल डेफिसिट बढ़ेगा। यहाँ मैं आपको एक बात अवश्य बता देना चाहता हूँ कि ये जो आप कुछ बहुत ही पॉप्युलिस्ट किस्म के स्टेप्स ले रहे हैं, इनका कुछ वर्षों बाद देश की इकोनॉमी पर और ज्यादा बुरा असर पड़ने वाला है। आज भी अगर हम एग्रीकल्चर को ठीक तरीके से देखेंगे, तभी हमारी अर्थव्यवस्था ठीक रह सकती है, तभी आप उसको सस्टेन कर सकते हैं। सन् 1950 में जहाँ टोटल जीडीपी में एग्रीकल्चर सेक्टर का शेयर लगभग 50 परसेंट था, वह घट कर लगभग 16 परसेंट रह गया है, लेकिन आज भी एग्रीकल्चर सेक्टर लगभग 60 फीसदी लोगों को रोजगार दे रहा है। जीडीपीए 16 परसेंट है, लेकिन यह 60 परसेंट लोगों को रोजगार देने का काम कर रहा है। अगर आप एग्रीकल्चर को ठीक तरीके से नहीं देखेंगे, उसको बढ़ावा देने की कोशिश नहीं करेंगे, एग्रीकल्चर प्रोडक्ट को, जो किसान की उपज है, उसको लाभकारी मूल्य देने की कोशिश नहीं करेंगे, तो आप देश की इकोनॉमी को सस्टेन नहीं कर सकते हैं।

(2एक्स/एससीएच पर जारी)


प्रो. राम गोपाल यादव (क्रमागत): यह तो हो सकता है कि देश में 5%-10% लोगों के पास इतना पैसा हो कि उनके पास उसे रखने की जगह ही न हो। लोगों के पास बहुत बड़े पैमाने पर ब्लैक मनी है, पता नहीं आपने इसको स्टडी करवाया है या नहीं। ब्लैक मनी की एक समानान्तर अर्थव्यवस्था चल रही है और कुछ प्रतिशत लोग ही उसे चला रहे हैं। लेकिन बहुतायत में जो लोग हैं और जो सेक्टर बड़े पैमाने पर रोजी-रोटी देने का काम करता है, उनके लिए क्या किया जा रहा है?

अगर लोग अदरवाइज़ न लें, तो मैं एक बात कहना चाहूंगा। आपकी जो ‘मनरेगा’ है और अब जो ‘फूड सेक्योरिटी बिल’ आ रहा है, इसके आने के बाद किसान यह सोचने लगा है कि हम अपनी हड्डी-पसली क्यों गलाएं, हम भी दो रुपया और एक रुपया किलो अनाज खरीद लेंगे और उसी से काम चला लेंगे, धूप में, बरसते पानी में, ठंड में और पाले में खेती का काम हम क्यों करें? यह स्थिति पैदा होने जा रही है। किसान खेती का काम करना बन्द करने जा रहा है। राजस्थान में धान रोपने के लिए मजदूर नहीं मिल रहे हैं। उत्तर प्रदेश में भी यही स्थिति है, दक्षिण भारत में भी यही स्थिति होगी। मुझे अफसोस के साथ यह कहना पड़ रहा है कि आप पूरे देश को निकम्मा बना रहे हैं। जब बिना काम किए हुए खाने को मिल रहा है, तो आदमी काम क्यों करे, यह स्थिति बनती जा रही है। इसका असर आपको दो-तीन साल बाद दिखने लगेगा, जब एग्रीकल्चर का प्रोडक्शन ड्रास्टिकली कम होगा। शायद तब आपको एहसास होगा कि आपने केवल पॉलिटिकल लाभ के लिए जो कदम उठाए थे, उनका देश को कितना बड़ा खामियाजा भुगतना पड़ रहा है।

मैं यह बात इसलिए कह रहा हूं कि खेती की तरफ और किसानों की तरफ आपको विशेष रूप से ध्यान देना होगा। बेरोजगारी पहले ही बढ़ रही है और यह और भी ज्यादा बढ़ेगी, जिस दिन खेती में कुछ काम नहीं होगा। अभी तक तो लोग खेती में जुटे हुए हैं, लेकिन जब खेती में कुछ काम नहीं होगा, जब काम करने के लिए कोई मिलेगा ही नहीं, तब लोग खेती करना ही बन्द कर देंगे और तब असली दिक्कत पैदा होगी।

ऐसी बहुत सारी चीज़ें हैं। आपने पहले भी एक ऐसा ही कदम उठाया था, यहां मैं इस विषय से थोड़ा हट कर बात कर रहा हूं। पहले आपने एक ‘वॉलंटरी डिस्क्लोज़र स्कीम’ शुरू की थी, जिससे बहुत पैसा मिला था। इस देश में इतनी ब्लैक मनी हो गई है कि कुछ लोग पैसे के बल पर बहुत बड़े आदमी बन गए हैं, चूंकि पैसे की वजह से लोगों का स्टेटस आंका जाने लगा है। जो पैसे वाला है, वही बड़ा आदमी है, फिर चाहे वह कितना भी घटिया किस्म का आदमी क्यों न हो और पैसे वाला नहीं है, तो चाहे वह कितना ही अच्छा क्यों न हो, उसकी कोई हैसियत नहीं है। अब अगर कहीं आप फिर से ‘वॉलंटरी डिस्क्लोज़र स्कीम’ चालू कर देंगे तो हो सकता है कि एक लाख, दो लाख, तीन लाख या चार लाख करोड़ रुपया आपके खजाने में बढ़ जाए। स्थिति बहुत खराब हो रही है, दयनीय हो रही है, आप उसको रोकने की कोशिश कीजिए। लोगों को कैसे रोजगार मिले, कैसे रोजगार का सृजन हो, कैसे रोजगार के अवसर पैदा हों, वित्त मंत्री होने के नाते यह देखना आपकी जिम्मेवारी है, केन्द्र सरकार की जिम्मेवारी है। ...(समय की घंटी)

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