February 8, 2018
Dinesh Trivedi speaks on the Union Budget
Madam, main aap ko Abhar byakt karna chahunga aur main apni party ka abhar byakt karna chahunga ki mujhe aapne aur party ne samay diya is bohot gambhir mudde pe baat karne ke liye.
Madam, first of all I must tell you that the honourable Finance Minister ended his speech very aptly by quoting the Rishi and the Saint Swami Vivekananda. So, it will be appropriate for me to start by quoting Swami Vivekananda. He said, “Anything can be sacrificed for truth, but, truth cannot be sacrificed for anything.” Swami Vivekananda ji ko ekbar kisi ne pucha, ki Swami ji bataiye ki sab khone se jyada bura kya hota hain? To Madam, Swami Ji ka uttar tha, ki us ummid ko khona, jis ke bharose par hum sab kuch wapas paa sakte hain. To ek budget bhi ek ummeed ka budget hain. Toh yeh ummid aisi honi chahiye jo fruitful ho, honest ho aur wo ummeed ke zariye hum sab aage, pura Bharatvarsh age badh sakey.
Madam, hum calendar rakhte hain ek Swami Chinmayananda Ji ka, jiske hum sisya hain aur Swami Vivekananda aaj har tarikh mein unka ek alag alag byakhya hota hain. To aaj ke calendar mein humne jo pada Swami Chinmayananda Ji ka, unka likhna tha, “The words will have no effect unless you are able to live it.” Aur Vivekananda Ji aj kehte hain aaj ke calendar ke tarikh mein, “So long as millions live in hunger and ignorance, I hold every person the traitor, who having been educated at their expense paid not less a hate to them.” This was Swami Vivekananda.
Mahodaya, humare yahaan Satyamev Jayate sab jagah acchi tarah likkha hain aur hum hamesha Satyamev Jayate ki baat karte hain. Magar uska pura shlok yeh hain ke Satyamev Jayate larnikram – matlab, sacchai ki hamesha jeet hoti hain. False chutke nahin. Yeh pura humko hamesha ek saath bolna chahiye.
Madam, PM ne ek bohut achhi baat kahi, aur main samajhta hoon ki, hum sab pura sadan us pe sahmat hoga. Unhone kaha virodh ke khatir virodh karna kahaan tak uchit hain. Yeh baat sahi hain. Aur mujhe toh samajh nahi aata hain, ki is paksh ko yahan jo hum is taraf baithe hain usko virodhi paksh kyun kaha jata hain.
Madam, I am sure everybody will agree that our objective here, when we come here, is a common objective and the objective is well-being of not only our country but the entire world. That is why we talk about Vasudaiva Kutumbakam. But, Madam, when we talk about Vasudaiva Kutumbakam, and we talk about that the world is one, then, I think it is very important, to take some ideas from people sitting on the right-hand side, on the left-hand side of you Madam.
The basic ideology of the well-being of the country obviously is the same. So Madam, kabhi kabhi lagta hai ki itni karwahat kyun? Why is there so much of anger? As if we don’t belong to this country at times. Madam, there are good ideas on this side as well, and I am sure you will agree.
Madam, I am reminded today by seeing whatever is happening here, which has become very common though, unfortunately: I am reminded of the Constituent Assembly debates. So many people, for so many hours, and I am sure you would also be thinking about how that Assembly was managed by the then Honourable Speaker, and I appreciate that you have one of the toughest jobs, and I also appreciate that you try your best to make sure that everybody is heard in a peaceful environment.
Madam, can we think about Dr Radhakrishnan, Dr Rajendra Prasad, Vallabhai Patel, Nehru, Kripalani, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Netaji: these were and are our icons, who we take inspiration from. And in that Constituent Assembly debate they only talked about one thing – the spirit of India. So Madam, whatever I am going to talk about will be on the spirit of India.
So, mat bhed ho sakte hain, lekin man bhed nahi. Itni zyada karwahat kyun? Azadi ki ladai mein sabhi shamil the aur hamare bhi jitne netagan hai, sabka contribution yahaan par hai.Yeh sabka saath aur sabka vikas ki baat karte hai, toh jab tak yeh karwahat kam nahi hogi tab tak sabka saath aur sabka vikas nahi hoga. Humare do shaheed, aur main ye bolna chahta hoon, Pradhan Mantri ne jo bhi kaha aur jo bhi unka karyakram hai, I don’t think ki unki nishtha pe kisi ko bhi sandhey ho.
But at the same time, Sir, we cannot forget our two martyrs. We are very proud of them. We may have differences with the late Rajiv Gandhi, but how can we forget that Rajiv Gandhi (and Indira Gandhi as well) gave life for this country. So somewhere down the line, we have to keep in mind that we are talking about martyrs. We may differ, we differ with the Emergency entirely, but at the same time, this is what I want to say, and I am not giving any sermons.
Sir, there are four aspects of this Budget: agriculture, health, education and infrastructure. Sir, as far as farmers are concerned, I would just like to have a couplet, aaj ka kisan keh raha hai: “maine khaya hai chiragon iss kadar dhokha, main jal raha hoon salon se magar roshni nahin milti”. Sir, when we talk about sabka saath, sabka vikas, and the reason I talked about this side of the house is because we also have some good ideas.
If you talk about GST and notebandi it has a lot of reflection on the downfall of the GDP. Sir, Mamata Banerjee and other leaders who were in the forefront, said that GST is not good for the economy. Everyone is against black money, and who can be more honest than Mamata Banerjee herself? Burt she said notebandi is not going to be good for the informal sector, for the poor, for the peasant. What was the reason? You did not even want to listen. You had Dr Raghuram Rajan, he was the one who predicted the meltdown of 2008 but somehow you did not agree with him and he had to go.
So, all I’m trying to suggest, Sir, is that if you want to have ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’, then you have to look at Bengal, because – and the couplets about Swami Vivekananda also say that – if you lose the trust of the people then everything is lost. Somewhere down the line a lot of things have been written about this budget so I am not going to get into figures. I must tell you, in Bengal, we live with the slogan and we deliver with this slogan of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’. If you want to see, then I would request please come to Bengal. You can call the Chief Minister or Dr Amit Mitra , the Finance Minister, and take ideas from them on how we have been able to do. I understand this is not a Bengal budget but I am just trying to tell you what Bengal has done. You can replicate that in India as the saying goes; “What Bengal thinks today, the country thinks tomorrow.’ (or the world thinks tomorrow)
Sir, you compare Bengal on any parameters… Bengal today is number one in ease of doing business. Sir, when we talk about 100 days’ work, again, we talk about Bengal. Sir, agriculture has been the focus of this budget. Again I will have to tell you, the average yearly family income of farmers has more than doubled in Bengal. Here we are talking about doubling in the next five years, but Sir, I am very proud to say, and I’m sure the House will be proud, that Bengal has already doubled the income of the farmers. It was only Rs 93,000 in 2010-2011 but it has gone up to Rs 2,39,000 at present. In five years the farmers’ income has more than doubled in Bengal. More than 69 lakh of farmer families have been provided with ‘Kisan’ credit cards. The state government during 201-718 had provided relief of Rs 1,200 crore from the state coffers.
Sir, again health is a very important issue in this budget and I fully appreciate it, but it is just on paper. It can never be delivered, so again you have to take the example of Bengal. Sir, the medicines there are free, there are free treatments and diagnostic centres, medicines are provided to each and every poor person. Bengal has already given (insurance cover of) Rs 5 lakh per person and they have provided Rs 1,200 crore for 60 lakh people. So, I wonder when this government talks about only giving Rs 2000 crore budget which is also not directly connected to the scheme, how are you going to do it? That is why unfortunately, everybody, not only members of Parliament from different parties but the entire community of experts talk about ‘jumla’ which is not a very good idea for this great country.
Sir again I will talk about the health scheme, Swasthya Sathi which is a wonderful thing which Bengal has done and I would have been very happy if the Prime Minister would have recognised that achievement of Bengal where the world, the United Nations has already recognised the great scheme of honourable Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, which goes by the term of ‘Kanyashree’. If you want to see ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’, I think ‘Kanyashree’ should be taken as the model for the entire country. The incentive is there so we are preventing child marriage as well, giving Rs 25,000 to each and every girl child so that they do not have early marriages. And they have also been provided free cycles, so transportation also becomes free.
Madam, another thing they talk about in this budget is digitalisation. Again, we have to go to Bengal. Every tax collection today is so transparent…. e-governance… again, digitalisation one has to learn from Bengal. We are grateful to Mamata Banerjee and Dr Amit Mitra because they have plugged all the loopholes. Empowerment of women… again, we talked about it. This Budget has all the things but implementation has been done very successfully in Bengal.
Sir, I will come directly on inflation. This Budget is highly inflation-oriented. Only yesterday the Monetary Policy Committee left the interest rates unchanged. The RBI has warned against fiscal slippage and delay in fiscal consolidation and concern over higher borrowing which would lead to increase in bond yields.
Sir, global crude oil prices are expected to rise to 12% this year, according to the Economic Survey, which will further put pressure on headline inflation. Sir, again when we talk about the Economic Survey, there is nothing common between this budget and the Economic Survey. The budget comes out of again, I hate to use the word but I have to, only jumlas, nothing else. It doesn’t provide the required roadmap.
Sir, when we talk about health, what is the basic health? The basic health is primary health. If your primary health is not proper, then your secondary, tertiary becomes absolutely strained with more burden. So you have got to take care of water. Water is the most important. You have to takckle the impact of pollution. Your water requires to be much more potable. It is surprising that today, even when we go to a good place we ask for a bottled water. Tarakki Hindustan ki tabhi ho sakti hai, jaha aap koi bhi nal ka paani pi sakti hain aur woh nal ka leak nahi hona chahiye. Nal ka koi bhi kisan kaheen bhi paani pi sakta hain.
We are talking about climate change and I am sorry the budget has not taken the climate change into effect. The budget completely ignored the impact of climate change on agricultural productivity and income, which has been give due extension in Economic Survey. It had revealed that the extreme temperature shock in the un-irrigated areas reduced yields by 7% in the kharif season and 7.6% on rabi season. It warned that climate change was expected to decrease farm income by 25% a year, so when we talk about increase in the farm income please take this into consideration.
Sir, nobody has talked about railways or pollution in this country. Why should we only talk about Delhi and NCR? The entire country needs lot of incentive and understand if we do not have pure air, if we do not have pure water to drink, our next generation, who otherwise is so intelligent will suffer. Everyday we are killing our next generation. Nothing has been mentioned on this in this Budget, Sir. It is a very serious affair.
Jahaan tak Railways ka sawal hai, Railways ko toh bhool hi gaye, jaise Railways hai hi nahin. I remember, earlier we used to spend three days talking about the Railway Budget; now Railways has gone totally out of the scrutiny of this Parliament. The Railway has gone out of the scrutiny of the Estimate Committee.
Sir, without a robust Railway System you cannot control inflation of food either. It is very unfortunate that we are talking about Railways as a commercial setup. Recently, Bengal had got a letter that there are eight routes in Bengal which are running at a loss and we would like to withdraw those routes; I think this a sad affair. Railways always integrates but this kind of policy will only disintegrate. What are you going to do with Leh, Ladakh, the places where you have naxal activities or the tribal areas? Are we going to tell them that it has to be profitable? Sir, I have also mentioned that IRFC, which is an arm that gives money to the Railways, is going to be a listed company now.
Sir, the entire world is changing and it is getting redesigned. And who is redesigning the world? They are the Indians who are sitting in Silicon Valley. These are the Indians who are required in India and give others encouragement. Sir, yesterday a historical thing happened, after Neil Armstrong and Challenger, Elon Musk has gone through a satellite – which is one of the most powerful rocket under Space X – to Mars and they are going to colonise Mars.
Sir, I was very sorry to hear my honourable friend Farooq ji saying that Muslims are also loyal. It is taken for granted that Muslims are citizens of this country. So, obviously, I don’t think so that you need to repeat this.
Sir, lastly I would like to say that a very good book that talks about history of tomorrow, says that the new religion is unlikely to emerge from the caves of Afghanistan, Himalayas or Madrassas from Middle East. Rather they will emerge from the research laboratories. Just as socialism took over the world by promising salvation through steam and electricity, so in the coming decades the new technology religion may conquer the world through algorithms, through genes ,through big data.
Despite all the talk of radical Islam and Christian fundamentalism the most interesting place in the world from the religious perspective is not the Islamic State or the Bible Bell but it is the Silicon Valley and it is the Silicon Valley that is going to show us tomorrow’s religion. And who all are there in the Silicon Valley? Our Indians are there and they are redesigning this world sitting in Silicon Valley. I would like to request this government please listen to their ideas because India is the greatest country and it will always remain great.
We have to get rid of our arrogance. Like Kabir says:
Jab main tha tab Hari nahin tha
Jab Hari tha tab main nahin tha,
When I was arrogant God was not with me. Toh mujhe main ki zaroorat hain. Hari tabhi aayega jab main nahi rahunga,
Patthar puje Hari mile
Main pujoon pahaad,
Ghar ki chakki koi na puje,
Jaa ke pise khaye sansar.
Yeh hai humara Hindustan. Aur main Iqbal ji ko yaad karunga: Kuch baat hai ki hasti mitti nahin hamari. Sadiyon raha hai dushman daur-e-zaman hamara. Saare jahan se accha Hindustan humara.