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March 13, 2013

AITC Chief Whip at Lok Sabha Kalyan Banerjee against Union Budget 2013-14

AITC Chief Whip at Lok Sabha Kalyan Banerjee against Union Budget 2013-14

Mr. Chairman, Sir, in respect of the Budget, at the outset, I would say that this Budget is without any direction and it really has no new substance.

 Sir, our State`s demand for the last 20 months in respect of moratorium has not been taken care of by the Finance Minister. When the new Government in took charge in West Bengal in 2011, it was saddled with a total accumulated debt of more than Rs. 2,03,300 lakh crore. In fact, the people of West Bengal carried a per capita debt of Rs. 21,000. During the tenure of UPA-I, the debt of the State has increased up to 497 per cent between 2004 and 2006. The Fiscal Responsibility and the Budget Management Act came into force in West Bengal in 2010. Prior to 2010, the Central Government has granted a sanction to take this debt with their eyes open. On diverse occasions the Finance Minister, including his predecessor, assured that they would look into the matter.

But nothing has been done. In respect of the Budget also we have not seen anything. We do not understand now, why this step motherly attitude has been taken both by the Railway Minister and the Finance Minister in respect of the State of West Bengal.

The Central Government is now deducting Rs.25,000 crore from the State of West Bengal as part of interest whereas the revenue that is coming is only Rs.21,000 crore. Sir, you will be glad to hear that only in one year, the State of West Bengal, without increasing any tax, increased its revenue by Rs.10,000 crore. The State GDP has increased up to 5.5 per cent above than the national level. With all these limitations, we are working; all the time we have brought this to the notice of the hon. Finance Minister, but this has not been taken into consideration. I would like to know why such a discriminatory attitude towards West Bengal now.

 Sir, the hon. Finance Minister proposed to carve out PMGSY-II and allocate a portion of these funds to a new programme that will benefit only a few States, like Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Punjab. I have nothing to say about these States, but I want to say that in the Central Government things are being done from the sources which they derive from direct taxes and indirect taxes from all the States. Their source of revenue is the States. If the source of revenue is from all the States, why only five States have been picked up for increasing the roads? In India, in almost all the States, new roads are required. Why only five States have been picked up?

 Sir, they are really interfering with the inter-State relationship bringing disharmony in the inter-State relationship; giving benefit to some States and depriving the other States. Why? Direct taxes and indirect taxes are coming from all the States.

 Sir, I would have been happy that instead of giving the benefit of Rs.2,000 to the lowest level of the income taxpayer, those who come in this slab, they would have increased the slab. Just from Rs.2,00,000 to Rs.2,50,000, at least 1.5 crore people could have been benefited. If they really think for the Aam Aadmi, Aam Aadmi is there, from two crore to 2.5 crore. Only for this purpose, they will get a credit of Rs.2,000 and unnecessarily, at least, 1.5 crore files have to be opened, officers have to be given time. Why is this? They could have increased the slab itself and 1.5 crore people would have got the benefit.  By introducing Section 91 in the Finance Act, the hon. Finance Minister again brought the Inspector Raj in the case of Service Tax. Again, police powers have been given to the authorities under Section 91 of the Finance Act. Who is working in the field of Service Tax? It is the middleclass, restaurants, hotels, etc. They come under middleclass. Why is it there in that case? For the purpose of efficient implementation of Service Tax, if the Finance Minister needs police power for the purpose of becoming effective Finance Minister, this Finance Minister needs a power of the Home Minister.

 Sir, a jugglery, a fraud on the Constitution has been made by this Budget. I have no objection to increase rate of tax to more than Rs.1 crore. But why is this ten per cent surcharge? If income tax would have come and if this amount has been included in the main structure, then amount could have been distributed among the States. But when it is included in the surcharge, this surcharge amount would not be distributed among the States. So far as the personal capacity is concerned, this amount comes to Rs.2,47,000 and so far as companies are concerned, it comes to around Rs.4,19,000. Total comes to Rs. 6,66,000. Therefore, under the Income Tax, you will collect Rs. 6,66,000. Benefit of this Rs. 6,66,000 will not go to the States. It will only be enjoyed by the Centre. You have said it that you are doing it only for one year. Why? It is because you know that after one year, you will not come back. Only for that purpose, you want to enjoy the benefit of this without distributing the States` money to the States. It is a fraud on the Constitution; it is a fraud on the federalism.

 Sir, in agriculture sector, no provision has been made for transferring technology from the research laboratory to farmer`s field. Allocation for Eastern States is too little to bring real change in the ground. In West Bengal, we are distributing 10 lakh kisan credit cards. The average loan amount comes from the banks; they give the loans. So far as the national average is concerned, it is Rs. 78,000. So far as West Bengal is concerned, on an average, banks give the loan of Rs. 48,000. Why there is this discrimination? Why again and again discrimination is there in respect of the State of West Bengal?  There is much talk about empowerment of women, safety of women. Under Nirbhaya Scheme, you have brought only Rs. 1000 crore. It is nothing; it is a peanut. Every woman, who deserves to get the benefit, will get only Rs. 8. The average comes to Rs. 8 per woman. It is an increase of just 2 per cent in allocation to women over the last year`s Budget. There is nothing. There is big jugglery, big words, big speeches, big things, and big television interviews that for women so many things they are doing. In effect, if you see, there is only 2 per cent increase in the allocation to women in the Budget. There is nothing more than that. If one implements the domestic violence scheme, the Act which has come, for proper implementation of the domestic violence scheme, it needs at least Rs. 1154 crore for the entire India. It is a long-pending demand. That has been totally ignored. Rs. 1154 crore is needed for implementation of the domestic violence scheme.

 Sir, allocation, in case of education, health and woman and child development, in respect of the UPA II has decreased from UPA I. I would just give the data. In case of UPA I, in education, it was 25.7 per cent. Now, in UPA II, it is 21.7 per cent. In case of health it was 19 per cent; now in UPA II it is 16.2 per cent. In case of woman and child development it was 29.8 per cent; now it is 25.4 per cent. There is inadequacy of the budgetary hike for education sector. I saw the Education Minister on that day itself going to Press and telling that a very little amount has been allocated to the Education Ministry; he will make a request to the Finance Minister to increase it. What is that? Nothing has been done.

 Sir, we do not have any objection regarding, in principle, introduction of VAT. We do not have any objection. But, CST, which is due, that is required to be paid first. Before introduction of VAT, whatever CST is due, it should be paid to all the States. All Finance Ministers from States have said that. This time, the allocation of the Budget is Rs. 9000 crore. Only for the State of West Bengal, the due amount is Rs. 1800 crore. How they will give it? Come on and say that, `Yes`, before introduction of VAT, all CST due to the States should be cleared. Tell us that first. Before that you are saying that you have kept a budget of Rs. 9000 crore. Only for the purpose of jugglery of words, this thing has been done.

 Sir, there is a disappointment for the salaried class. Since the much awaited relief by way of enhanced exemption limit for allowances such as conveyance, medical reimbursement, children education allowance, has not been provided in this Budget at all. The employees have not been given anything. Their long pending demands have not been taken care of. Sharad Yadav ji has spent long time while speaking about drinking water. I do not want to take much time of the House. There is no drinking water in the villages. Nothing is there. Every year there is a budgetary allotment for drinking water but there is no implementation of these allotments in rural areas. Village after village, there is no water. In every village mobile has been reached but drinking water has not yet been reached. That is a very sad part of our country.  Every week there is an increase in the prices of petrol and diesel. Where would this price hike go? Nobody knows it. There is no policy regarding this. All of a sudden, in the morning, one has found out that during midnight petrol and diesel prices increased.

 Sir, a very new practice has been brought during this year in this august House. The practice is this. The Ministers who are in-charge, under the same Government, they are criticising the previous Ministers like the Railway Minister. Under the same Government and under the same Prime Minister, he is criticising. The present Finance Minister has criticised his predecessor, who is now in the Rashtrapati Bhawan and said: `In the Budget for 2012-13, the estimate of plan expenditure was too ambitious and the estimate of non-plan expenditure was too conservative.` Whom are you criticising? The Prime Minister was sitting there silently and accepting this. It is very unfortunate for our country that the Prime Minister has two voices. Last year has one voice and this year has another voice. The practice which has been started, I do not know, how long will it continue. If any change is there in the Budget, next Finance Minister will again criticise the present Finance Minister. I am sure about it.

 Sir, I say that this Budget has no direction. This Budget is helplessly failed to fulfil the dreams of the people of this country. There should a revised Budget