Lok Sabha

February 6, 2020

Abhishek Banerjee speaks on the Union Budget 2020

Abhishek Banerjee speaks on the Union Budget 2020

Sir, I rise here today to speak on the Union Budget 2020 in this august House, in this temple of democracy. Before I start my speech, I bow down to every citizen of this country. I bow down to their indomitable will, their unsinkable determination. I bow down to the continuous struggle in pursuit of peace and harmony. I pay my respect to the craftsmen of this democracy, architects of the Constitution, the members of the Constituent Assembly who drafted the holy book which is the foundation of this great republic. 

Let us also remember all those who helped to shape the dream, the dream of independent India. I bow my head to all of them, from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to Matangini Hazra, from Benoy-Badal-Dinesh to Khudiram Bose, from Maulana Abul Kalam Azad to Dr BR Ambedkar, from Gandhi ji to Rabindranath Tagore, from Bagha Jatin to Jatin Das, to Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru, from Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar to Raja Ram Mohan Roy. 

Sir, the Finance Minister, a couple of days back, delivered a two-hour-forty-minute-long Budget  speech. The nation watched it eagerly, with aspirations in their hearts and optimism in their minds. The 1.3 billion or 130 crore Indians waited to hear how the BJP Government will care for them and their lives, how the Government will understand their problems and aspirations, how the Government is going to address the grave concern of unemployment, how the Prime Minister will spur development. We saw the Finance Minister speak incessantly. 

She used couplets, poems and quotations in her speech. We saw the Prime Minister and the Members of the treasury benches thump their desks 30 times in these 160 minutes. We saw the Finance Minister lose a breath. With concern we saw her take a pause, then we saw her regain her energy. We saw her back on her feet once again to project hard numbers. Once again to hear the truth we all waited. We waited patiently, eagerly, we waited, Sir, and then her speech ended. 

What did the 130 crores Indians achieve at the end of the Budget speech? What did the middle class, the lower middle class, the minorities, the SCs, STs and OBCs and the others all over the country get at the end of this Budget speech? A big zero. Zero economic development, zero caring and zero aspirations. 

The Government at the Centre talks every now and then about simplifying the tax system. Wherever they have gone, in the last six years, they have been consistently said that they are trying to simplify the tax system and eliminate tax terrorism. But what the Finance Minister said in her 160-minute-long speech, forget the common Indians, even the eminent economists and the global experts of the nation and the world failed to understand, and were left rattled. No wonder the Government clearly went ahead in its endeavour to present this year’s Budget with a clear motto. And what is the motto? If you can’t convince them, then confuse them. So there was a clear motto when she presented the Budget. 

Seemingly the Budget has three pillars that the Finance Minister laid down and explained. What are those three pillars? Number one, aspirational India, number two, economic development and number three, a caring society. And if you are to compare with the actual situation on the ground, you will find that aspirations have been taken over by autocracy. There is no economic development, rather, economic misery. People are losing jobs. Manufacturing units are shutting down every now and then and the GDP growth has slipped below 4.5 per cent. There is no caring either; caring has been taken over by cruelty. The ruling party at the Centre is spreading and pushing venom and hatred in the society just for their own vested interests and petty political benefits. 

The Budget 2020 is, as the Members of the ruling dispensation very rightly said, historic. I agree with them. It is indeed historic. This Budget is historic in so many ways. Historic because it’s 160 minutes long, because of an 11-year-low GDP rate, because of a 17-year-low in investments, because of a 15-year-low in manufacturing, because of a four-year-low in agriculture, because of an eight-year-low in household financial savings. The Budget is historic for many more reasons. I mentioned only a few. And since we are discussing history, I would also like to mention that this is also the first time the country is seeing that an Institution like the Reserve Bank of India has as head someone who is a major in history. And the ones who were fit enough and credible enough to lead that Institution are now tucked into the pages of history. This is the BJP Government for you, Sir. 

Instead of making such historic records, maybe the BJP Government could have listened to the former Chief Economic Advisor Dr Arvind Subramanian, who compared India’s worst growth in 30 years to the Great Depression of 1929. He said, “It is India’s Great Slowdown, where the economy seems headed for the intensive care unit”. 

If you don’t agree with Dr Subramanian, listen to the former RBI governor, Dr Raghuram Rajan. He said, “The successive shocks of demonetisation and GST have seriously impacted India’s growth. It has fallen off when growth in the global economy is peaking”.

If the above two gentlemen’s views are not suitable to the ruling dispensation, let me give you a third view, and they are very fond of this person who I’m about to quote. Who is this person? He is a former Chief Minister of Gujarat and a current Member of this august House. He said, “If you don’t have a proper IT infrastructure, GST will never be successful”. This was once said by the Honourable Prime Minister of this great nation. 

If this quotation too does not suit them, let us see what Dr Abhijit Banerjee said, someone who made India and Bengal proud by winning the Nobel Prize in Economics. He said,, “The Indian economy is doing very badly … There is an enormous fight going on in India about which data is right and the Government has a particular view … all data that is inconvenient to it is wrong”. 

This is what Abhijit Banerjee said, Sir, and not me, Abhishek Banerjee.

Mr Chairman, Sir, we have witnessed the century’s biggest TRIPLE MURDER – a triple murder inflicted on the economy: Demonestisation was the first murder, GST implementation was the second and Budget 2020 is the third!

A few words about the first triple murder:

After the demonetisation was announced in 2016, on November 8, the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was the only person to put out a tweet, within an hour. It said, ‘WITHDRAW THIS DRACONIAN DECISION’. Like most warnings, the BJP ignored this and brutally murdered the hopes and aspirations of the common people. 

Now, to the second murder of the economy:

What was that? GST 

In 2012, the Finance Minister of Gujarat said, “GST is completely against fiscal federalism”. My party, Trinamool, supported the concept of GST, but we warned you on the floor of Parliament, more than once, not to rush the implementation. We support GST but, at the same time, you have to understand that the country is not ready to implement GST at this point of time. 

Once again, you did not heed our warning. And look where you stand now! More than Rs 70,000 crore GST compensation is due, taking together all States. The Centre owes a huge amount of money, in thousands of crores, to States like Delhi, West Bengal, Punjab, Rajasthan and Telangana.  

Mr Speaker sir, now let me tell you about the third murder of this triple murder sequence:

This year’s Budget.

I think the third murder was more brutal, more barbaric; it was harsh and heinous. Why do I use these adjectives? Let me tell you. Because of privatisation. After an array of flagship schemes like Make in India – and the Honourable Prime Minister was mentioning them in his address to the House – and failed flagship schemes like Fit India, Khelo India and Stand Up India, what has this Government now come up with? Its most ambitious project – ‘Becho India’. Considering its current strike rate, if you take the leaders in the market, it will surpass Amazon, Flipkart and OLX in the days to come. Jo mila bech do. Why did I say this? I will just explain.

Sir, will the proposal to disinvest LIC need an amendment in Parliament? If the answer to the question is yes, let me assure you everyone, every citizen of this country, including the employees of LIC, the agents of LIC, the freelancers working with the LIC, that the Trinamool Congress will oppose it in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. We will also strongly oppose this outside Parliament, as well as, if required, take this issue to the streets.. 

I appeal to every Member of this august House, including the BJP members who are present here, that since you talk about desh bhakti, about patriotism, about the country’s pride, about desh ke liye khara rehna, if you have a spine, show your spine, stand up for your country. Save the LIC from privatisation. I challenge all of you, if you have a spine, agar takat hai, dil hai, josh hai, dum hai toh rok ke dikhao isko. Hum toh rokenge bhai, yeh hamare desh bhakti hai. Hum farzi desh bhakti mein yakin nahi karte, ki Army kuch kaam kare aur uska credit hum lejaye. Aare jahan pe desh bhakti dikhana chahiye wahan pe dikhao. Where your patriotism should speak up, use that platform. Why can’t you stand up for your own right? As if you don’t know what is best in your country’s interest, what is right and what is wrong? One after another the jewels of the country are being sold. You started with Air India, then the Indian Railways, then IDBI and now, LIC. 

LIC’s policies cover 70 per cent of those Indians who are insured. It has approximately 14 lakh agents and 90,000 full-time employees. Sadly, LIC didn’t foresee what would happen and take out a policy to save its own life. You know why, Sir? Because 37 per cent of India, which voted for the BJP, which voted for this current ruling party, they voted with aspirations, they voted with faith, they voted with hopes in their minds, with optimism in their hearts. LIC trusted you, LIC had faith in you, LIC supported you on your lows, LIC helped bail out the Central Government in situations where it had hand in its mouth, and look what you’ve done. Aapne maa ko hi bech diya. Aaap nare lagate hain, ‘Bharat Maa ki jai’. Aare, Bharat maa hai, hamare liye Bharat maa hai. Aur agar maa hai toh unki hifazat kariye. Maa hai toh unki raksha kariye, maa hai toh unko taqlif se door rakhiye, maa hai toh unka samman kareye. Maa ko sare aam bazaar main la ke koi nilam nahin karta. Yeh janna chahiye aap ko

Aur main kyun bolta hoon yeh, pehle BSNL, phir Railways, phir Air India, IDBI, aura ab LIC. Aap chronology samajh lijiye

Sir, inke kuch Mantri bolte hai ki chronology samajh lijiye. Main yeh bolna cha raha hoon ki pehle BSNL, phir Railways, phir Air India, IDBI, phir LIC aur bahot jald FCI (Food Corporation of India) aur BPCL bhi … bahut hain naam, ginne lag jau toh kal subah ho jayega, jis raftar se aap ja rahe hain. Aur main kyun keh raha hoon? Why do I say Food Corporation of India? Because the Budget has slashed food subsidy funds by Rs 70,000 crore. Rs 1.5 lakh crore is not enough to provide subsidised ration to more than 80 crore households, comprised of the poor and lower-income groups across the country. The Food Corporation of India, which ensures that poor Indians don’t go hungry under the PDS system, will now have to borrow money to sustain itself. What can be a bigger shame? 

The Government’s unpaid bills to the FCI amount to around Rs 2 lakh crore. So, if this is taken into account, the fiscal deficit is closer to five per cent. This comes at a time when consumer food price inflation is at a six-year high of 14 per cent. This will hurt the poor and lower-income groups the most. So the FCI is the next in line. And this is going on record. Aaj main mere speech main bol raha hoon, kal dekh lena yeh kya karte hain. 

And what after that? You all can guess. Fertiliser subsidy has been slashed by Rs 9,000 crore, which is down to 11 per cent. As of May, 2019, the BJP Government has failed to pay farmers more than 40 per cent of the Rs 12,867 crore estimated claims under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal BimaYojana.

 The Government takes pride in its raising of the insurance cover to Rs 5 lakh. Is it enough, Sir? I want to ask the Honourable Finance Minister. There are a lot of families in the country, there are a lot of people, lots of parents, lots of couples, a lot of individuals who save their life’s income, their life’s earnings, just to ensure that their children get a better education when they grow up. There are people like a father who might be saving for his daughter’s marriage, or a boy or a girl who might be saving for their parent’s future treatment, and then you say you will get only Rs 5 lakh, regardless of whether aap ne 10 lakh jama kiya, 12 lakh jama kiya, 15 lakh jama kiya

Kitne log hai is desh main, jo zindagi bhar mehnat kar ke koi 10 lakh, koi 12 lakh, koi 15 lakh jama kiya. Aur aaj kya hota hai? Sarkar keh deta hai ki kuch ho jaaye, lekin aap ko 5 lakh hi milega. Why this hypocrisy? Why this duplicity? If you can’t provide security, safety and surety to your own citizens, you have no right to collect taxes from them. Aap kis haq se unse tax mang rahe hai jab aap unko security nahin dete hain, aap unko safety nahi dete hain? Aap kis haq se tax maang rahe hai jab aap unko stability nahin de sakte hain? Where will they go? It’s either the devil or the deep blue sea. Aage kuan peeche khai. Sadharan aam aadmi jaye toh jaye kahan? Where will the commoners go? Ghar mein paise rakhte koi toh choron ka dar hota hai aur bank mein paise rakhe toh farzi chaukidaron ka dar hota hai. Sir, aam aadmi jaye kahan? 

The murder continues…

 The systematic murder of federalism. We have had enough big talk. Now from Co-operative to operative. Bhai sahab, Saradha ke jo main log hain woh aap ke party mein hai, pehle unko nikala jaaye phir baat karna. You had enough of ‘cooperative federalism’, so now you just drop the ‘c’ and make it ‘operative federalism’. 

When Mamata Banerjee was the Railway Minister she started new projects, not only in Bengal but in every part of India. She laid new railway lines, started new freight corridors and built new locomotive factories. Sir do you know what Bengal has got in this Budget? Rs 1,000 for every scheme. Rs 1,000, not Rs 1 lakh. Do Rs 500 ke note diye gaye hai Bangal ko. Bangal mein aap pehle jao, 18 Sansad chuno, aur ab yeh. We do not want two Rs 500 notes when it comes to Railways and every other scheme. It’s a shame. 

Let me just give you one example from my State. Cyclone Bulbul destroyed 14.8 lakh hectares of agricultural land and over 5 lakh houses. The total losses are estimated at over Rs 23,811 crore, and the cyclone eventually affected 35 lakh people. We have got no financial assistance from the Centre yet. The Government of India has not given us any amount. 

Federalism for them means targeting federal opponents and suppressing their voices. The ED, the CBI, the I-T are very dynamic when it comes to going after political opponents from different States. But where is Nirav Modi? Nirav bhai? Where is Lalit Modi? Where is Vijay Mallaya? Sir, jitne bhi bank defaulters hai, hazaar, karoro rupiya desh se loot ke chale gaye. Aaj doosre deshon mein jake yeh ashraye le rahe hain. Aur gareeb jab line mein khare hoke Rs 1 lakh ka loan mangte hai, ‘yeh kaagzaat lao, woh kaagzaat lao’, hazar-sau bahane, ‘ghar girvi rakho, makaan girvi rakho, zameen girvi rakho’. Yeh hai inke insaaf. Yeh hai Sarkar ki insaaf? Mai puchna chahta hoon ki jo lpg desh se hazar-karoro loot ke le gaye hain kahan hai woh log? Unhe wapas leke aaiye!

And while on the subject of federalism, I can give you many examples, but let me give you a few where we can show that Bengal  is doing much better as opposed to how the country is performing under the prime minister.


In 2018-19, Bengal’s growth rate was 12.58 per cent. India’s rate was almost half, at 6.8 per cent.

Centre’s funds for agriculture, health, education and scheduled castes  and scheduled tribes welfare have together seen a reduction of 8.9 per cent

In Bengal, investment in agriculture is up nine times, investment in social sector by 4.5 times.

Bengal is number 1 in MGNREGA – it has highest number of man-days and the highest fund allocation         

In the Budget, MGNREGA funds have been cut by 13 per cent to Rs 61,500 crore for 2020-21. It is evident the importance the Government gives to the rural economy. It is distressing that instead of focussing on increasing rural wages and improving the functioning of MGNREGA, the BJP-led government is wasting resources on divisive policies like NPR and NRC. 

Let’s move onto girl child education. The BJP Government has spent Rs 644 crore on Beti Bachao Beti Padhao. Out of this 644 crore, about 55 per cent  has been spent on advertisements. Now I will give an example of what Bengal has done. I will tell you, Sir, about our Kanyashree Scheme. In the last six to seven years, Mamata Banerjee’s government, the Ma-Mati-Manush Government in West Bengal has spent Rs 7,000 crore, on ONE state. It has received UN recognition and has eventually benefitted over 60 lakh girls.

A 5 per cent cess has been announced on imported medical devices in this Budget. It will lead to an increase in medical expenses and treatment where the the common people are involved and they will eventually end up suffering for this. So the common people continue to suffer. 

The Budget has let down the children of India.This year, funds for children has hit the lowest level in five years, falling to 3.16 per cent of the total budget. 

In Bengal, the entire cost of hospital treatment is borne by the State – paperless, cashless, free treatment and upto 70 per cent discount on medicines. More than 7.5 crore people are covered under the Swasthya Sathi Scheme.

Sir, please allow me to share a few more achievements of the State. Bengal is number one in Ease of Doing Business, credit lending to the MSME sector is Rs 56,458 crore, which is the highest in India. Bengal is number one when it comes to skill development, average annual income of farmers has increased by more than three times from Rs 90,000 per year in 2011 to Rs 2,91,000 per year in 2019. Sixty-nine lakh farmers were given Kisan Credit Cards in 2018.

Under the Sabooj Sathi Scheme, more than one crore bicycles were distributed to school-going children. Since then, in the last eight years, more than 1.98 crore post-matric and pre-matric scholarships were awarded to SC, ST and OBC students. Almost 100 per cent households have access to uninterrupted power. There has been a 30 per cent increase in power generation.

 Now let’s come to Make in India. The Prime Minister said, “Sell anywhere, but make in India.” But what is the reality here? He himself doesn’t live by this slogan. ‘Made in Germany’ sunglasses pehen ke solar eclipse dekhte hain, China se workers bulwa kar Sardar Patel ka statue banate hain, har Diwali lights Shanghai aur Beijing se aatay hain. Bag ke zip se aur pen ke nib se, sab ‘Made in China’, bhagwan ke murtiya tak. And then you say ‘Made in India’. 

All this is not helping create jobs in India and our youth continue to suffer. In a year when joblessness is at a 45-year-high, this Budget is offering fresh graduates internships. The youth of this country do not want to live at the Government’s mercy. The youth want jobs, not internships! (and unemployment rate has reduced in Bengal by 40 per cent). Hamare yuva ko rozgar chahiye aur rozgar ke baare me is Budget mein koi charcha nahin hui.

 If you do a word search of the 13,200-word long 162-minute Budget speech, how many times will the word ‘unemployment’ come up? Seven times? 17 times? Five times? Two times? It is zero times! This is the Central Government for you, Sir. They are not addressing the falling GDP, they are not discussing the grave concerns of unemployment and price rise and then you talk about a 5 trillion dollar economy? Jab tak 5 trillion dollar economy ho jayenge tab tak doh hazar chalees ho jayenge. 

 The auto sector that contributes more than 7 per cent towards the GDP is witnessing a negative growth of 13.07 per cent. Auto companies like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Honda, Tata and Mahindra & Mahindra have partly stopped production and even reported plant shutdown weeks. The total industry output has reduced by 20 to 25 per cent. More than 2.30 lakh workers in the auto sector are now jobless!

 Sir, for all the big talk on national security, with the Government so desperate in taking credit for the work the Army, Air Force or the Navy are doing, the defence budget has been raised by just 5 per cent, reducing the military’s buying power. This doesn’t even cover inflation. This will stall procurement of important military equipment, air defence systems and artillery. Is it because elections are over now, is it because upyog ho gaya ab Defence chor do. Again I think that Defence will get priority in 2024, jab Lok Sabha aayenge aap phir karenge. 

As per media reports, the bullet train project has been stalled. Toh bullet trains ka ek lakh dus hazar crore aap Army ko kyon nahi de sakte bulletproof jackets ke liye? Why don’t you give the Rs 1 lakh crore to the Army to buy bulletproof jackets? The country doesn’t need bullet trains, our Army needs bulletproof jackets. Why don’t you spend that money on building freight corridors that can carry food for the poor and the marginalised, for giving homes to the homeless, for giving food to the hungry – it can feed crores of people. We don’t want farzi heroes; give credit to our real heroes, the armed forces.

 Sir, I want to spend two minutes talking about austerity. The time has come for austerity measures. I speak on behalf of a party whose chairperson does not preach austerity. She practices it. 

Instead of selling the country’s jewels like Air India, BSNL, LIC, IDBI, BPCL and Indian Railways, why doesn’t the Government consider doing anything about the Raj Bhavans? Aap Raj Bhavan ke liye kuch kyu nahi karte hai? Mai apse puch raha hu ki aap Railways bech rahe ho, aap Air India bech rahe ho? What are your thoughts on Raj Bhavan,.Sir? Raj Bhavan across India are only being used as BJP’s extended offices and post-retirement mansions of BJP leaders, nothing else. The maximum number of Members in this House will agree with me. Let’s have a vote among the Members present. Will you be able to do it? Do you have the guts? I will have a division right now. Will you have the guts? Do I go for the division? Preach what you practice. Sabka pariksha mat lijiye. Kisi din hum pariksha lenge, fail kar jayenge. Sab ek nahi hote hai. All the money spent on the maintenance of these properties for the ceremonial lifestyles of a handful few. 

Sir, various newspapers have reported that the Government of India is buying an aircraft for a whooping $200 million for the travel of VVIPs and VIPs. I wonder, is this the reason Air India is being privatised? Just for better maintenance of these fleets? The Central Government has spent Rs 6,000 crore on advertisements. Ap ini paise leke MGNREGA mein kyun nahin dete ho? Ap ini paise leke, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana ki shaiyata kyun nahin karte ho? Aap ini paise leke GST ke dues clear kyu nahin karte ho? Main puchna chahta hu, why is Rs 70,000 crore still owed to the states of India. 

It is very unfortunate that we are heading to a position where the country was, I mentioned it in my last speech that the country was in the operation theatre. Now it will be heading to a ventilator, from where we will not be able to resurrect and revive.  

These are serious issues but all that this Government is doing is cracking jokes and making mockery of the economy. A minister says the slowdown in the automobile sector is due to the mindset of millennials who prefer Ola and Uber. Sir, imagine! While another says that India has a sound economy because three Bollywood movies did Rs 120 crore business in one day.This is their mindset, Sir. How can you imagine running the country by them? After listening anxiously to each and every word of what the Finance Minister said, I am left stuck with a thought. Was it the speech of the Government of India or was it the speech of the Government of India Private Limited? 

Now, the Government’s slogan is ‘Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas’. Main vitya mantri ko agrah karta hu ki aap apne dal ke sabhi Sansad ko leke apne leaders ke pas jaiye aur unko boliye ki is Budget ke baad apka slogan ab ‘Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas’ nahin raha. Desh keh raha hain, ‘Desh ka bhul, kamal ka phool’. And this is where I will end, Sir. Thank you, sir. Thank you very much. 

Jai Hind

Joy Bangla