Rajya Sabha

February 7, 2024

Jawhar Sircar’s speech in the Rajya Sabha during the discussion on the Interim Union Budget, 2024-25 and the Interim Budget of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, 2024-25

Jawhar Sircar’s speech in the Rajya Sabha during the discussion on the Interim Union Budget, 2024-25 and the Interim Budget of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, 2024-25

Sir, with your kind permission, I start my argument against this budget by mentioning the first point that this is the budget that depends heavily on loans and debts. The fiscal deficit is a very innocent term, 5 .8% of the fiscal deficit for the current year, which translates to 15 .5 lakh crores of borrowing, and in this budget, out of 47 lakh crores, 17 lakh crores consist of borrowing. So you are dressing up with a neighbours banarasi saree and claiming that you are prosperous.

Sir, in the last 67 years, the Government of India has borrowed just 56 lakh crores in 67 years, almost 70 years. This Government, in nine and a half years, has borrowed three times more. Today, India’s debt stands at 164 lakh crores, which is unprecedented and endangerable. We are in a terrible state where interest repayments have to be done, that is primarily because of the lopsided taxation structure.

The Indian Express mentioned recently that in the last five years, four years to be more specific, the personal income tax paid by people like you and me have gone up by 76% three times, and whereas corporate income tax, which suffered a cut anyway, four lakh crores of corporate income tax were limited, were lowered. Corporate income tax went up by only 24%. Where do you pay for developmental schemes. Where is the payment left for development schemes? You are paying 12 lakh crores of interest, you are paying 2 .5 lakh crores of pension, 6 lakh crores of defiance and a whole lot of unavoidable non -development expenditure comes to 42 to 43 lakh crores out of 47.

So what do we get by way of real development? What do we get for the poor? We get in thousands, we get NREGA of 86 ,000 crores whereas it should be at least double that amount. We get Awas Yojana, we refuse to call it PM Awas Yojana, we get 81000 crores against double that demand.

When we talk of such developmental schemes our immediate attention is drawn to the manner in which West Bengal has been purposely targeted only for the fact that the people of West Bengal rejected Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah, who came 22 times to campaign. People of West Bengal were made to pay for the sin of having rejected the BJP. How much is this? 1.15 lakh cross is due to us. Just now, the honorable Prime Minister mentioned that if I get a pain in the leg, my hand goes to see it. Every part of India is the same for us, but here is a figure that I’m reading out. 1.5 lakh cross deliberately stopped, Mr. Prime Minister of State for Finance, deliberately stopped out of which PMAy was used in a 9 .33 thousand crores, NHM 933 crores, Gram Sarak 770 crores, Swachh Bharat 350 crores, a total of 1.15 lakh crores of dues to the state have been purposely, deliberately, maliciously, malevolently stopped, so that the people of Bengal cannot have any form of garib livelihood, 100 days labor. They are deprived of water, they are deprived of toilet through Swachh Bharat, they are deprived of health facility through National Health Mission, they are deprived of everything.

Unemployment has reached such a stark level that this government is in complete denial. More than 50 percent of the 140 crores Indians belong to the below 25 years. And what is the state? Because, this government refuses to release figures of the consumer expenditure survey for the last10 years, we have to get figures from other impartial bodies.

At the CMIE’S last December report says, that 45 percent of the youth below 25 are unemployed, it’s they who will teach you a lesson, it’s they who will teach the government a lesson. Where the labor participation ratio is concerned, 37 percent of women in India are in that force which is two thirds of Indian women are deprived of any active and positive labor contribution. Sir, I keep on record that, this is the worst in the world excepting timp of republics and this government is on denial mode.

On every sector of possibilities they have cut down the budget. In Education budget has been cut by seven percent, in Health it should be at least three percent. Every respectable country of the world has above three percent and the government of India’s contribution is not even 40 percent of three percent, that is they have not even given 3.5 lakh crore. There is a deliberate slight on education, on public health, on garib welfare so that plutocracy the rule of the rich can thrive from the support in whatever manner they receive from the government for many various benefits like leasing of airports at …. prices and covering them up with committee report. This state can not go out, this budget requires ……….