(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
December 06, 2009
THE WEEK IN PARLIAMENT
THE first winter session of the
15th Lok Sabha began
on November 19, and the houses adjourned for the day after paying
tribute to their
deceased members. The second day saw both the houses adjourn on
issues. On the day, thousands of cane growers thronged at Jantar Mantar
In this session, Lok Sabha is
likely to pass the
Rubber (Amendment) Bill 2009; the Workmen’s Compensation (Amendment)
the Seeds Bill 2004; the Labour Laws (Exemption from Furnishing Returns
Maintaining Registers by Central Establishments) Amendment and
Provisions Bill 2005; the Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and
Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill 2005; the Representation of People
Bill, 2006; the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Bill 2006; the Mines
Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill 2008; the
Management Bill 2008; the Plantations Labour (Amendment) Bill 2008; the
Bill 2008; and the Representation of People (Second Amendment) Bill
are 62 new bills to be introduced in Lok Sabha.
Among them, the Competition (Amendment) Bill 2009; the Jharkhand
Contingency Fund (Amendment) Bill 2009; the
On the government’s changed
position on climate change,
the CPI(M)’s Brinda Karat moved a calling attention motion in Rajya
said, while in the
The member pointed out that on
this issue of greenhouse
gases, the Kyoto Protocol and subsequent agreements recognised the
responsibility of the developed capitalist world. The predatory nature
capitalism eggs it on to grab the largest share of the common space;
developed capitalist world has captured 75 per cent of that space while
share in the world population is only 20 per cent. Thus, there is very
space left. This was why
The third very important point
was that the Kyoto
Protocol had the concept of differentiated responsibilities, saying
past polluters had to pay in terms of money and technology transfer.
Moinul Hassan, CPI(M), said the
circulated to different departments says, “
In Lok Sabha, the CPI(M)’s Basudeb Acharia moved a calling attention motion on the shortage of fertilisers and seeds in the country. He said the statement by the minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers said the situation is quite comfortable in regard to urea, DAP, MOP and complex fertilisers and the availability of certified seeds. But the ground reality is contrary to his claim. Quoting the statewise figures of urea availability, he said there is wide variation between its requirement and availability in Chhattisgarh, Haryana, J&K, Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The fact is that fertilisers are not reaching many farmers; they are being sold at double the price.
Acharia said there was increase in the production of urea, DAP and other fertilisers during the last 62 years from 3 million to 53 million metric tonnes; and still we have to import urea. Last year the total urea production in our country was 109.70 lakh tonnes and of phosphate, 34.64 lakh tonnes whereas we imported 56.66 lakh tonnes of urea, 66.1 lakh tonnes of DAP and 43.66 lakh tonnes of MOP during the same period, spending thousands of crores of rupees. In West Bengal, the public sector Durgapur fertilisers unit was closed in 2002 and the state is forced to import the entire required amount. Same is the case with Gorakhpur and Barauni public sector units which the NDA regime closed in 1998 and 2002. The Haldia unit (West Bengal), Talchar unit (Orissa) and Ramagundam unit (Andhra Pradesh) were also closed. As a result, we had to import 56.63 lakh tonnes of urea, 66.31 lakh tonnes of DAP and 43.66 lakh tonnes of MOP.
Charging the minister of evading the question of when these units would be reopened, Acharia said the first UPA government decided to reopen them in 2007 but no action has been taken. Due to huge shortage and delayed monsoon, farmers could not cultivate more than 10 lakh hectares of land. In reply to a question, the minister admitted that there would be less production of kharif crops. The total food production will come down to 200 million tonnes from 232 million tonnes last year. There is a shortage of foundation seeds everywhere. Seeds are not being made available though 25 per cent of production depends on certified quality seeds and foundation seeds. In order to increase rabi production, farmers must get subsidised seeds and fertilisers, the member said.
On November 26, Lok Sabha held a short duration discussion on the rise in prices of essential commodities. From the CPI(M) side, Basudeb Acharia said whenever the questions of price rise, food security, non-availability of food items were raised in the past, the only reply from the government was that we had abundant stock of foodgrains. Yet the government has failed to control the prices of essential commodities because of its policy of allowing futures trading and dismantling the public distribution system. People are dying of starvation. A large number of people were forced out of the PDS though they cannot afford to purchase grains from the open market. Even in PDS, based on faulty criteria, there are two different kinds of prices. The Estimate Committees has recommended for universalisation of the PDS. To provide 35 kg of grains per month to each family, the subsidy required will be Rs 1,20,000 crore, while the government is already giving Rs 50,000 crore. Though the government has the money, it has no political will to give the rest and thus save the people from hunger and malnutrition. The NDA regime diluted the Essential Commodities Act by issuing two notifications in 2002; these need be withdrawn forthwith. The act itself must be made more stringent to check hoarding and black-marketing. It would be a crime if the government remains indifferent on the issue, the member said.
In Rajya Sabha, Prasanta Chatterjee, CPI(M), raised during zero hour the issue of misuse of railways fund. He said the rail minister is treating the Indian Railways as her personal fief. She recently constituted a Culture and Heritage Committee while the government is talking of austerity measures. The creation of posts like full-time committee chairman and members with high salaries is against the Sixth Pay Commission recommendation which forbids the creation of new senior administrative posts. Violating the usual practice, the railways are renaming stations without consulting the states. On disaster management, Chatterjee said the 2008 audit observed there was no preparedness to face the disasters, relief equipments were not strategically located, the railways could not provide organised relief in many cases, and we had less than 25 per cent of the frontline staff required to respond to disasters. Instead of properly addressing such crucial issues, the railways are playing with the safety of people’s lives, he accused.