(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
December 25, 2011
THE WEEK IN PARLIAMENT
CPI(M) Parliamentary Office
SPEAKING in Lok
Sabha on the adjournment motion on the
moneys deposited in foreign banks and the need to act
against the guilty
persons, CPI(M) group leader Basudeb Acharia said the neo-liberal
policies adopted in 1991 have facilitated the
proliferation of black money. No
serious step has been taken to quantify the black money,
nor was any serious
action taken against those responsible for stashing the
national wealth in
foreign banks. As per the Global Financial Integrity’s
report, Indians stashed the
largest share of black money in foreign banks. If it was
232 billion dollars three
years back, it stands today at 462 billion dollars. That
means black money
worth approximately Rs 20 lakh crore is lying outside and
not usable for the
country’s development. However, if the
the double taxation avoidance agreements (DTTA) with a
Acharia also drew attention of the minister of state for finance to the non-revision of wages of IDBI employees, asking what steps the government has taken in this regard.
on the supplementary demands for grants (railways), M B
Rajesh said the railways
are the biggest and most prestigious public sector
enterprise in our country, with
63,947 km route and 18,820 trains carrying 20 million
passengers and 2.4
million tonnes of freight everyday. But this prestigious
enterprise is facing
an unprecedented crisis today because of wrong policies,
lack of vision and
lack of coordination among those at the helm of affairs in
the railways. Its financial
situation has affected the infrastructure development,
amenities and quality of services provided by the
railways. Only 11,000 route
kilometres were added in the 60 years after independence.
Rajesh also urged the minister to urgently reinstate the catering employees who were thrown out of employment.
for the continuing neglect and discrimination towards the
state of Kerala, Rajesh
said recently MEMUs allotted to Kerala were taken back to
Chennai. The people
of and all MPs from Kerala protested against it, but
nothing happened. It was
also learnt that the operational control of Kerala Express
Speaking on the Appropriation (No 4) Bill 2011, Moinul Hassan asked what plan the government had to protect our nation from the double-dip recession which is likely to occur throughout the world. In the second batch of supplementary grants, there is approval for additional expenditure for the current year. But the hard fact is that income is less than borrowing. The government is relying on the borrowed money but the tax collection is trailing behind that estimated. Revenue deficit shot up threefold in six months. Employment is not increasing in any sector. Non-agriculture employment fell from 4.65 per cent to 2.53 per cent, despite the operation of the MGNREGA. Since long, there has been little public investment in agriculture. The member demanded rollback of fuel price hikes, control on fertiliser prices and increase in subsidy, stop to forward trading, universalised public distribution system, and mobilisation of resources from the rich.
Taking part in the Rajya Sabha discussion on the present agrarian crisis and the spate suicides in the country, Moinul Hassan said the reality of Indian agriculture today is that a large number of our farmers have committed suicide. Agriculture sustains our life but we have been ignoring it for long. He said the government must change its policy regarding investments; otherwise very bad days are ahead for all of us. Over the last four years, the ministry has been misleading the house by providing varying figures about different areas, but without revealing the source of its information. The government must come forward to save the situation by providing some relief to the agriculturists.
Hassan also demanded a discussion on the report of the National Commission on Farmers and on the draft approach paper for the twelfth five-year plan, adding that one major problem our kisans are facing is of credit. Banks are not giving money to the poor farmers who are forced to go to moneylenders. Apart from adequate and timely availability of credit, the member also raised issues like the presence of hooligans and middlemen in the FCI and JCI, distress sale of their produce by farmers, sale of fertilisers like urea and DAP in black market, reduction in subsidies for peasantry while giving more facilities to the corporates, erratic power supply to Indian villages, inadequate or nil insurance coverage for peasantry, and frequent diesel price hikes that affect the productivity, etc.
In Rajya Sabha,
Prasanta Chatterjee supported the
National Capital Territory of Delhi (Special Provisions)
Second Bill 2011. He said
care of the problems of urban areas, rural
problems must also be taken into consideration. In the
recent scenario of a bad
economy, closure of big industries and agrarian crisis,
rural people are migrating
to urban areas on a large scale. In the capital city of
A Sampath spoke on the bill in Lok Sabha.
In Rajya Sabha, T
K Rangarajan spoke on the
Chartered Accountants (Amendment) Bill 2010, Cost and
(Amendment) Bill 2010 and Company Secretaries (Amendment)
Bill 2010. He said that
an amendment to the bill pertaining to Institute of
Chartered Accountants of
India allowed foreign companies to sneak into
On the Commercial Division of High Courts Bill 2010, Rangarajan said the bill would pave the way for legal liberalisation, provide high-tech fast track commercial divisions in High Courts and thus allow the rich to steal a march over the poor in the matter of early disposal of cases. The bill was against the directive principles of state policy. Registering protest against the passage of the bill in Lok Sabha without discussion, he said it dilutes article 14 of the constitution. The member demanded recruitment to the large number of vacancies in High Courts and establishment of more Supreme Court benches in the country for fast disposal of cases.
Speaking on the Life Insurance Corporation (Amendment) Bill 2011 in Rajya Sabha, Tapan Sen said companies like the LIC and other public sector financial institutions made the Indian economy resilient and helped combat the crisis that has gripped the whole world. So the government must not tinker with the companies which are functioning well. The danger is that their equity structure can be changed through executive power. The second issue is that of sovereign guarantee. The country’s social sector is being funded by the LIC even when the country is in a deep crisis. Such public sector insurance companies must not be disinvested.
In Lok Sabha, Bansa Gopal Chowdhury spoke on this bill, when he also questioning how the government could dupe the policyholders who have purchased LIC policies under the existing act that assures them 95 per cent of the surplus generated. This would affect 26 crore policyholders. Another issue is that lakhs of LIC agents are likely to lose their jobs while there a dearth of jobs in such the country, when our economy is slowing down and there is a serious problem in the manufacturing sector.
On the Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Amendment Bill 2010, P R Natarajan said agriculturists of Kerala and Tamilnadu objected to the Cochin-Bangalore pipeline when it was being laid. The instructions given by GAIL did not allow them to use for agricultural purposes the land up to 10-15 feet from the pipeline. Now the latest bill would give more powers to police officers under the CrPC. Moreover, amendments to clauses 16(a), (b), (c) and (d) devolve the burden of proof on the persons from whose possession crude oil, petroleum products or tools etc are found. However, the bill has no way to decide who actually causes the crime. Thus the provisions of the bill may be grossly misused.
In Lok Sabha, P K Biju said the Cable Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill 2010 seemed to be marginally pro-consumer but many questions were left unattended. The bill gives freedom to the broadcasters in pricing their pay channels, leaving them the option to increase the prices abruptly. He also said cable operators and hackers could easily twist the Analog system, creating major piracy problems. There is also the need for an independent grievance redressal system. The absence of a regulatory body to settle disputes between sections of the industry would also make the bill futile. Biju therefore demanded a thorough review of the bill to protect the consumers and the larger interests of the country.
In Rajya Sabha, Tapan Sen drew attention to the retrograde move to drastically slash down the interest rate on Employees Provident Fund from 9.5 per cent prevailing in 2010-11 to 8.25 per cent. This is targeting the lifetime savings of workers. The workers’ provident fund is a social security fund and deserves a much higher rate of interest. He urged the whole house to force the government to desist from the move and give the house a clear assurance.
raised the issue of attacks on social activists
in different parts of the country, with special reference
to Pakur district of
Jharkhand. He said social
activists are not safe in our
country. In the last session, the issue of an incident in
In the same house, Jharna Das Baidya drew attention to the killing of two women in police firing in 24 Parganas of West Bengal on December 1. She said this terrible incident followed a conflict between the Electricity Board and the villagers who were demanding electricity and were discontented because of the delay. Though the state government ordered a judicial inquiry and gave some compensation two days later, the member said a full-fledged, unbiased inquiry into the incident was very much needed.