Saugata Roy speaks during the general discussion on Interim Budget 2019-20

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February 11, 2019

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Madam, I rise to speak on the Budget. It seems that the Finance Ministry had become a ministry for outsourcing. The original finance minister is somewhere else, the railway minister is substituting on his behalf. They have got two ministers of state in finance. None of them is speaking. One minister from civil aviation department who has earlier shifted from finance he has been called upon to defend the budget. This is the situation.
Sir, I speak remembering Tagore’s words, “We want a society where the mind is without fear and the head is held high.” This government they want to function with fear. Use Income Tax, CBI, and Enforcement departments to throttle their opponents. We want to state clearly that we shall not bow down to their efforts to stifle the opposition.
That’s why despite the tall talks in the Budget, I shall present some facts about the Economy. The Modi Government had said that in 5 years they shall provide 10 crores employment. Now this year, unemployment has attained an all time 45-year high at 6.1%. They have not publishing the National Sample Survey Organization data and the chief statistician of the Government and the members of the Statistical Commission – they have resigned from the Commission because the Government is not allowing them to publish the data on unemployment which is in a very bad shape. It’s a matter of shame.

Sir, the banking industry is at its worst ever. Total non performing assets of the bank have crossed Rs 11.5 lakh crores, an all time high. They speak of the insolvency and bankruptcy code that has recovered only 3 lakhs crores. But still the largest NPA remains, as a result of which the Reserve Bank had to impose strong corrective action on some banks to prevent them from lending. Now if the banks cannot lend, how will the economy develop?
Now because the Reserve Bank was tight on them, that’s why the Government fought with the RBI governors. Two successive governors, known as good economists – Dr Raghuram Rajan and Dr Urjit Patel – had to leave before completing their 5 years. This Government is destroying institutions like the Reserve Bank, which has enjoyed autonomy since 1934.

Sir, this Government has not been able to bring back the people who have fled with the banks’ money – NIRAV MODI with 11,500 crores from Punjab National Bank. Escape! He has been photographed with the Prime Minister in Davos, Switzerland. Mehul Choksi: escaped! Vijay Mallya, friend of many in the ruling party. Escaped! Not yet brought back. And Lalit Modi has still not been brought back. The whole banking system has seen a collapse.
Now, sir if you look at this BUDGET. I think you mentioned this in your speech. This Budget is act of constitutional impropriety. Mr. Piyush Goyal laid a Budget for a government which will be in power for two months of the next financial year. He gave a grand a speech, gave a Budget for one year. What authority does he have? Now there were other finance ministers before. Yashwant Sinha in 2004, Pranab Mukherjee in 2009, Chidambaram in 2014 – they all presented vote on account Budgets. Now this finance minister, interim finance minister, has presented an account for votes. This is a vote-oriented Budget. They have done so because the Government is in doldrums. Today the effect of demonetisation, which was a cruel blow on the economy, took away lakhs of jobs in India. The Government has tried to apply Betadine to heal the wound created by demonetisation. Ultimately they were not able to bring the black money into the system. On top of that, they imposed hurriedly the goods and services tax, which is supposed to be one tax for one nation with five different tax slabs. But they have gone on changing the tax slabs, as a result of which GST collection this year is one lakh crore less than budgeted earlier. So what has the Government done? It knows that it’s extremely unpopular; they know that the Prime Minister is facing black flags in Andhra Pradesh, in Assam, in the northeast. Now the Andhra people have a justified demand for a special category state that is not being listened to. Now I asked the Government to announce something about that.

Government knows that demonetisation and hurried implementation of GST has disaffected firstly the agrarian community of farmers, it has disaffected the unorganized workers, it has disaffected the salaried people of middle classes. So they have announced that we shall give PM Kishan-Six thousand rupees per year per farmer family 12 crores people. Now what does that come to? Five hundred rupees per month that comes to seventeen rupees per family per day. That comes to three and a half rupees per individual. With that they are hoping to win back the farmers. The question is this is too little, too late and why now? After waiting for five years and after series of farmers suicide you come back on your last year when one month is left for a declaration of election and say: Dear farmer, we are offering you three and a half rupees per head per day to save your situation.

Now they have destroyed the unorganized sector. People who relied on cash now they say we shall offer a pension to the unorganized workers. How much? They will give three thousand rupees after 60 years if a man deposits Rs 55 from his 18th year. So he has to wait for 42 years then he will get three thousand rupees pension. You are aware of the Provident Fund-linked pension scheme, what is the minimum under this scheme? 1000 rupees per month. So those who are in the organized sector are getting only 1000 rupees per month and they are promising three thousand rupees after 42 years or 3 thousand rupees if you give premium of 55 rupees then you will get same 3 thousand rupees, so you have to wait for 31 years. This is what they are offering to the unorganized sector.

Now Sir, this Budget talks of big numbers- 27 lakhs 84 thousand crores expenditure Budget. How much are the receipts? 20 lakhs odd crores is the receipt. What is the deficit which will be recovered from borrowing-about seven lakh crore. Now the Government has promised that we shall bring down our fiscal deficit to 3 per cent. There budget, there target was 3.3 per cent this year. Now they have gone to 3.4 per cent. Now what is this cost? Several Moody’s surveyes have said they have given exchequer draining initiative in trying to placate these people. So as a result of which the whole economy will suffer, ultimately India’s ranking according to Moody’s will go down.

So this is Nomura, a famous Japanese organisation which has said, the Government presented an expansionary Budget and prioritised populism over fiscal prudence. So they given up fiscal prudence because they are desperate. The farmers have slipped away from their grasp as the results in five State elections have shown, the middle class have slipped from their grasp, the unorganised sector has slipped from their grasp. As a result of these they are now resorting to populist measures.

I am not quarrelling about the fact they have set the limit for income tax exemption up to Rs 5 lakh, or for standard deductions from Rs 40 thousand to Rs 50 thousand. If you get up to Rs 6.5 lakh annual salary, you shall not be subject to any tax. So this is placating the middle class. But this concession to the middle class is costing the Government Rs 18 thousand crore. However it is up to them.

But what is happening to the economy as a whole? These people are giving talk big about surgical strike, etc. They say we have given Rs 3 lakh crore to the defence for the first time. Do you know that this 3 lakh crore equals to 44 billion dollars? What is the defence budget of China? 224 billion dollars, which is five times that of India’s; so what are we doing about that?

Out of the Rs 3 lakh crore, 20 per cent will be spent on Rafale because Modi has already made a deal for 36 Rafale jets for Rs 60 thousand crore. With the 80 per cent they will not be able to satisfy the rest of the defence needs. Rafale has exposed the chink in their armour of the so-called crusaders against corruption.It has been proved that the Prime Minister’s Office negotiated above the heads of the Defence Ministry and that caused a serious loss to the exchequer. The people who let down the defence forces will not be spared by the people of the country.

Now this Government talks of doing things for the poor. Mr Sinha on his rare visit to his constituency, Hazaribagh has picked up some names. Now he has found out one girl who needs her operation. May I tell you, in West Bengal, heart surgery for all children is done for free? Do you know that in West Bengal, the health schemes Swasthya Sathi covers several lakh people? Have you ever heard of Kanyashree? You give Rs 100 crores for Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, the State Government in West Bengal gives Rs 800 crore for 50 lakh girls, who will also get Rs 25 thousand when they will complete 18 years of age. And you are saying you are doing something for the girl child?

They talk of MGNREGA. Mr Modi is talking about the tombstone of the Congress but MGNREGA is the only viable project in the villages. Now even MGNREGA’s allocation has been reduced this year. Last year it was Rs 61 thousand crore, now reduced to Rs 60 thousand crore. You are not even giving proper support to the rural labour. Even the Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana. That has also been reduced by 2.1%. They are saying that they are doing so much for these poor people. Now I want to say, what is this Budget? The revenue expenditure has jumped by 11.2%. Whereas capital expenditure, which will mean creating permanent assets, has to resume by only 6.1%? You call it fiscal prudence. You call it a responsible budget? It is not fiscally prudent nor responsible budgeting. May I say also that the budget for many important sectors is like an election manifesto Budget of the BJP. But the allocation for textile sectors has been reduced by Rs 1,000 crore. The textile industry and the jute industry will suffer. The national scheme for giving incentives to the girl child for secondary education has been slashed from Rs 255 crore to Rs 100 hundred crore. And you call it helping the girl child?

Now coming to pollution control allocation: the Budget for the national programme for clean air has been slashed, and now the main thing is expenditure on infrastructure, which is falling. The expenditure on road transport and highways has been drastically slashed. Maybe the Transport Minister is not getting along well with the Government. The shipping budget has not received a single rupee’s expansion. Your minister of state was speaking about how the UDAAN Scheme has touched so many airports. Your civil aviation Budget has been slashed by 654 crores. You call this expansion of infrastructure?

So, 654 crores you have reduced civil aviation Budget. Will the minister stand up and protest? He has protested too much. Now ultimately this budget is not showing any direction to the country. They have giving ten point vision. Ten point vision for up to two thousand thirty by a government which will be empowered only for two months. And after that who knows what’s going to happen, they don’t think to hopeful. That’s why this is the desperate Government effort to clutch on to any straw that they can.

Sir, I shall slowly wind up. Thank you for telling me. So what I have been telling all along that these Government has failed the people. This Budget has failed the people more. It is the Budget for sloganeering. Kisan has been used thirty times. What sloganeering! Suddenly you have thought of the distress of the farmers, and you have used Kisan thirty times. And the Prime Minister’s baby – all projects you have no other icon? We have Netaji, Jawaharlal, Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel – you have run out of icons. So everything Prime Minister icon. You have no other icon except Narendra Modi? They have to borrow icons because the BJP did not participate in the freedom struggle.

Sir, I want to end saying that the Prime Minister and the BJP president – the duo, the feared Modi-Shah duo. They are visiting West Bengal again and again. Not for improving the development paradigm of the state. They are opening a high court circuit bench without informing the chief justice of the Kolkata high court. But I see that with their going, TMC people are being murdered in the state.This Government is not capable of delivering a good economic system, having destroyed the banking system, having allowed the fugitives to fly away abroad, having increased the fiscal deficit, having brought the NPAs to an all-time maximum. This budget cannot be supported. So with all the forces at my command, I oppose this Budget.


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