February 7, 2023
Kalyan Banerjee’s speech on February 7, 2023 in Lok Sabha during the Motion Of Thanks On The President’s Address
Madam Chairperson, we are having all respect for the hon. President of India. It is a long-standing practice of the Parliament to not oppose the President’s Address itself. But we are having certain reservations so far as the contents of the President’s Address are concerned. Madam, the Address seems to be nothing but the political manifesto of the Bhartiya Janata Party itself. Since 2014, so many nice words have been said in the President’s Address but not a single thing has been turned into reality. India, after the Independence, tried to be more vibrant and united. During the last eight years, by adopting the principles of religious theory, this Central Government has sought to divide the people of India in the name of religion. About 1,500 incidents have been reported on the grounds of religiously motivated killings, assaults, etc. Madam, the liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship, which have been embedded in the Preamble to the Constitution, is under great threat. During the hon. Prime Minister’s regime, the voice of Opposition is being suppressed. India has never seen the misutilisation and abuse of Police power by the Central Government itself either within the democratic institutions or outside the democratic institutions. Madam, the political leaders and workers of all the Opposition Parties have been kept under great threat by misutilising CBI and ED. The Hindenburg Report clearly speaks about money laundering by the Adani Group of Industries. The Report specifically speaks that the Adani Group has previously been the focus of four major Government fraud investigations which have alleged money laundering, theft of taxpayer funds and corruption, totalling an estimated 17 Billion US Dollars. Adani family members allegedly cooperated to create offshore shell entities in tax-haven jurisdictions like Mauritius, the UAE, and Caribbean Islands, etc. It also uncovered the evidence of brazen accounting fraud, stock manipulation and money laundering at Adani Group of Industries, taking place over the course of decades. In the Report, it is also stated that the securities regulator SEBI seems more inclined to protect the perpetrators than punishing them. Madam, my question is this. When this Report itself speaks about money laundering where the different tiers of Government are involved, and when fingers are being pointed at SEBI, why is the Enforcement Directorate not initiating proceedings against the Adani Group of Industries and the LIC? Will you initiate the proceedings only against the Opposition Parties? In this case, the ED should initiate the proceedings and also, the Chairmen of all these organisations should be arrested immediately. Otherwise, justice will not prevail. As of September 30, 2022, LIC’s investment in Adani Group was 8 per cent of its equity assets under management. The absolute market value of its investment as on 27th January, 2023 was Rs. 56,142 crore which is 140 per cent higher than the profit after tax. The State Bank of India has already given a loan of Rs. 27,000 crore, the Punjab National Bank has given a loan of Rs. 7,000 crore, and the Bank of Baroda has given a loan of Rs. 5,500 crore. The Life Insurance Corporation also has an exposure of Rs. 36,475 crore to Adani Group. This is the money of crores and crores of middle class and poor depositors. These monies have gone to the Adani group of industries. When, in this House, the Opposition Parties are demanding that there should be an investigation or constitution of a committee or an inquiry commission by the Supreme Court consisting of the Supreme Court judges and headed by the hon. Chief Justice of India, why are you afraid to do it? The question is, if no one of yours is involved, why are you afraid to do it? The question is, why are you afraid? You have to do it now. Madam, all the citizens of this country have lost faith to get justice from our Indian judiciary itself. Now, one of the Central Ministers, the Law Minister, is questioning the judiciary every day in the name of collegium. He is challenging the power of the collegium. Does it give a very good message to the country’s people? He is saying that the judges are not being elected. He is saying that the judges are being appointed; judges have no accountability at all. If that is so, my question is, are the Election Commissioners of the Election Commission of India selected? Or, are they elected? Are they accountable to anyone? Are the hon. Governors selected or elected? Are they accountable to the people of this country or to any democratic House? Is the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India appointed or selected? Is he accountable? Is the Chairman of the SEBI accountable? Who is accountable? These questions are being posed by the hon. Law Minister. What does he want? Does he want to saffronise the judiciary of the country itself? Does he want that? Does he want that every judge should be his own person? Does he want that they should belong to them? Everyday there is an attack. Do not worry. The Supreme Court has given an answer. Within two days, it has to be done. इतना मत लड़ो, िजधर आपक� �मता नहीं है। लड़ो खदु के अं दर, घर मेंलड़ो। जडीिशयरी ु के साथ मत लड़ो, वो आपको देख लें गे। उनसेमत लड़ो, आपक� िहम्मत नहीं है। I am telling you nobody has touched the Indian judiciary. The Indian judiciary is so independent, excepting the regime when Indira Gandhi was there. Now, you, the hon. Law Minister, are the person who is touching or attacking the independence of Indian judiciary in the name of collegium. You are that person. Swami Vivekananda held women in great esteem and said that India could not rise unless her women get proper education and the place of highest dignity. He wanted educated women to come forward for the freedom of women and held that women must solve women’s problems independently. The question arises, whether the women in our country are truly being empowered when more than 186 million females in India cannot even write a simple sentence in any language? The gap between women’s education and women’s employment is increasing. According to the data compiled by the World Bank, the number of working women in India dropped from 24 per cent to 18 per cent between 2010 and 2020, and dropped further over to nine per cent in 2022. Similarly, the India Discrimination Report, 2022 released by Oxfam India states that women in India, despite possessing the same educational qualifications and work experience as men, are discriminated against due to societal and employers’ prejudices. The employment to population percentage in India, according to the World Bank data, is 72.2 per cent for males and one-third is for females. We are having powerful women in our country but still women’s representation in the parliamentary democracy is required to be increased. We feel proud that because of our great leader Mamata Banerjee, 35 per cent of our Members in Parliament is from the women category. We feel greatly proud of that. Madam, why has the Women’s Reservation Bill not been brought? What are the difficulties in giving reservation to women in the Parliament? The new Parliament building is being constructed. It is a good thing. But why is the Women’s Reservation Bill not being brought? Even if you cannot do so, then why can you not bring in a legislation making women reservation mandatory for all political parties to reserve 34 per cent seats for women candidates in elections? What is the problem in that regard? Therefore, women empowerment should not be kept only to the slogans. It should turn into reality in all aspects of the democracy. In the 2014 calendar year, the average unemployment rate was 5.44 per cent which in February 2023 is stood at 8.11. Thehon. Prime Minister promised two crore jobs to the unemployed youth every year. The question is, how many jobs have been created for the unemployed youth every year during the last eight years? We want that figure from the hon. Prime Minister himself. Madam, federal structure is the basic foundation of the Indian democracy. There are no efforts done to make it stronger. The hon. Member, Shrimati Kanimozhi, who has spoken just before me, has already mentioned about the role of Governor in her State. We have also seen it earlier in our State. At present, the Governor in the State of West Bengal is no doubt very good. So, every day there is an attack on the federal structure of our country. What is the job of the Central Government? Almost every week, the hon. Prime Minister is calling on the Home Secretaries, the Chief Secretaries, the district magistrates from the States. For what reason? In a federal structure, a State is not in any way smaller to the Centre. The States are not under the Central Government. For what reason are you calling them? You want to control everything. Hon. Prime Minister wants control on everyone. He needs control on Chief Secretaries, he needs control on Home Secretaries, he needs control on judges, he needs control on Election Commissioner, he needs control on Governors. Everything has to be controlled only by one man. Now, the question is, whether the hon. Prime Minster has taken the pathway of a dictatorship in the country? That we want to see. Madam, maximum projects of the Central Government are run in the name of the hon. Prime Minister whether it is Awas Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, National Water Mission, Nirmal Bharat, etc. Everywhere the share of the Central Government is 60 per cent whereas that of the State Government is 40 per cent. Why is it only in the name of the Prime Minister? Why is it not in the name of both, the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister. Only one picture is shown. It is one nation, one picture, one name. ….(Interruptions) Very nice! Is this the way you will go? Only Prime Minister is the full Minister, and all are half Ministers – ‘half-pant’ Ministers in the Central Government. Only Prime Minister is having a ‘full pant’. I would urge the House to refer to paragraph 39 of the hon. President’s Address. A heavy claim has been made. The claim is that they are constructing medical colleges in every district of every State. In which district? In which State? Will you kindly tell us? Please tell us in which State or in which district have you constructed a medical college by providing the financial assistance from the Centre? Tell us. I am putting this question through this Floor. Will the hon. Prime Minister give us the figure in which district, in which State the Central Government has constructed medical colleges by way of Central assistance? Kindly give us the figure. You will have to give the evidence. But I would like to tell the House that the hon. Chief Minister of West Bengal has done this in every district of the State. Yes, in every district! Madam, crime is often considered a major impediment in the economic growth and development. The crime rate of a country, which is another statistics, is an equally potent indicator. In India, there is violence against women, which I have seen increasing over the last ten years, there are hate crimes against minorities and there are certain socio-religious scenarios also. They always compare the figures of 2023 with that of 2014. Let us see the figures of 2014. In 2014, crime incidence figure was 28,51,563, crime rate 229.2 and charge-sheeting rate 79.6 while in 2021, crime incidence figure was 36,63,360, crime rate 268 and charge-sheeting rate 72.3. So, the crime rate has increased, but the charge-sheeting rate has decreased. In 2019, there were 28,915 cases of murder and 88,259 cases of assault on women. They ought to see the crime rate against the Scheduled Castes also. He was speaking about the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. In 2019, 45,961 cases took place of crime/atrocities against Scheduled Castes only. In 2021, the figure has gone up to 50,900. The number of crimes against women reported in 2021 are 15,781 in comparison to 12,118 in 2020, an increase of 30 per cent. The number of rapes reported in 2021 are 31,677 in comparison to 28,046 in 2020, an increase of 12.6 per cent. Madam, I will not take much time and conclude because another Member from my party will also speak. Madam, I have already said several times – even my leader Shri Sudip Bandyopadhyay has also said – that nearly Rs. 2,00,000 crore are due to the State of West Bengal under different schemes from the Central Government. For one reason or the other, this is being stopped because these BJP people, the Members of Parliament from West Bengal, are … (Not recorded) they are … (Not recorded) They do not want that the West Bengal should improve. The West Bengal will rise. They do not want that. They are stopping it here. These people are doing it. Madam, in the whole report, there is nothing. Infrastructure is zero; 100-day work is zero; development is zero; and women empowerment is zero. Only publicity has become hero. All other things are zero, but it has become hero. Also, going along with the Adani is becoming ‘hero’. Thank you.