Lok Sabha

December 4, 2019

Saugata Roy speaks on the Supplementary Demands for Grants

Saugata Roy speaks on the Supplementary Demands for Grants


Madam Chairman, I rise to speak on the Supplementary Demands for Grants for 2019-20. I have already moved seven cut motions in the supplementary demands on which I seek voting later. The supplementary demands, as Sashi Tharoor mentioned, is a small amount – a total of Rs 21,000,246 crore which is only 0.7 per cent of our budget of nearly Rs 27 lakh crore. The net cash outgo is Rs 18,000,995 crore and recovery is Rs 2,000,249 crore.

Madam Chairman, I will divide my short speech into two parts. Firstly, let me speak about the proposal in the supplementary demands. The maximum amount has been given for J&K and Ladakh . A total of Rs 820 crore. I say that the government has treated Jammu and Kashmir badly. So many leaders have been arrested including Dr Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti who have all been members of this House. I demand their release immediately. I also demand the reintroduction of internet services in Jammu and Kashmir. J&K cannot be kept as a jail permanently. This is not the way to bring peace, tranquility and normalcy to any place.


The IDBI bank has been given Rs 2,500 crore for recapitalisation. It is a government bank with the maximum amount of NPA (non-profitable assets). Now the government is trying to revive it by merging it with LIC. So far there has been no turnaround. I bring this to the notice of the Hon’ble Finance Minister.

The Department of Space has been given an extra amount of Rs 666 crore. I don’t know if the Department of Space needs to be pulled up for the way our ‘Chandrayaan 2’ rover failed to land on the Moon. Only yesterday its debris have been discovered. The Department of Space has been given Rs 666 crore including for ‘Chandrayaan 3’. The way the rover crashed on the Moon has brought a bad name to the country. Those in charge of Chandrayan should be pulled up for their failure to land a rover on the Moon.


Madam, Rs 24 crore has been allocated for other charges for the up-keep of shrines temples etc., protection of up-keep of Ayodhya. So, slowly temple construction at Ayodhya is going to start and has to be brought into this agenda. And now, the temple trust has to be formed. You could see the drama further in this area.
Madam Rs 3,300 crore has been given for police, cost of salaries and ration. Now, it is for us to judge whether the police, of course they have succeeded in keeping the protestors down in Jammu and Kashmir, but all over the country the police is not looked up to as an ideal force.

Rs 1000 crore has been sought for providing additional funds under the scheme of LPG, which is Ujjwala Yojana. It is a good yojana. It is a vote-getting yojana. But where there is a demand for more Ujjwala, so I said allocated more money for Ujjwala, is really good. Madam, on the one hand you are giving Ujjwala, and on the other hand you have raised the price of gas four times in the last four months. So you are pacing the middle classes with gas prices, LPG prices and you are saying that you are giving free Ujjwala, only the first connection.

The other point I want to say, having discussed all these, it is high time to look after the economy. We had the worst growth in 26 quarters, growth dipping to 4.5 per cent, coming to what Prof Raj Krishna called the ‘Hindu Rate of Growth’ and it is estimated that in the next quarter, growth will fall even further.

We discussed the Taxation Laws in this House just the other day and Madam Finance Minister had given Rs 1,45,000 crore worth of sops to the corporate so that they invest more. Unemployment is at an all-time high of 8 per cent. In 45 years such high unemployment rate has not been there. The government has failed to attract investment under any circumstances.

Madam, that’s why I’m wondering where the government will get this Rs 1,45,000 crore from. The budget deficit will rise anyway with the huge tax sops and GST earnings not up to the mark. So, I was wondering where the government will find the money to fund the tax sops to the corporate. I found the answer Madam, after much thought. The answer is that the government has decided to sell 11 PSUs. When you are expecting for a better time, you want to invest in the current business, you sell the family silver. That’s what this government is doing: indulging in rampant disinvestment.

PSUs will be sold; six of them have already been sold, six others are in line. Air India will be sold, BPCL will be sold and there is a further list. It includes BHEL, Andrew Yule, ITDC Ashok, Balmer Lawrie and Company, MTNL, National Textile Corporation, FCI Aravali Gypsum and Minerals India Limited, Hindustan Copper, Mecon and Braithwaite and Company. These are the family silver the government has decided to sell and we have strongly opposed this policy of disinvestment of the government.
Railways are slowly being privatised. Even trains are given over to private companies and corporate. Ordnance factories are sought to be corporatised. So, in this very critical situation of the economy, the government’s response is to disinvest, disinvest and disinvest more. We strongly oppose all efforts to disinvest the government and then disinvest the public sector undertakings.

Lastly, I want to say that today there is some good news for those who love democracy. Former Finance Minister Chidambaram Ji has been released on bail by the Supreme Court. It is very relevant in the sense that he will be able to take on the current Finance Minister in the Rajya Sabha and point out the flaws.

The other day, this government has revealed at the Economic Times Summit, the Home Minister promised that all the corrective measures have been taken and now it would be free-run. Meaning that we have arrested all those we wanted to arrest those who were going against us; now we shall not arrest anymore. That was the message the Home Minister was giving in the presence of the Finance Minister the other day.

But, here is the key. This government is ruling by fear and fiat. But, in this situation when there is no social peace, when there is social tension, when investors are afraid to invest, bank managers are afraid to give loans, when officials are afraid to take decisions in this atmosphere where fear is the key, the fear factor is worse, investment will not come. If you really believe in opening up the country, if you really believe in investment coming in, if you really believe in more employment coming with investment, you must free the country of this atmosphere of fear.
That is why Madam, I have given cut motions. I am the only one who has given cut motions to the supplementary demands. Ultimately, supplementary demands are not voted down, the government will spend the money and they have to obtain the sanction on the Parliament for the same. They have done it in the way but every aspect of the financial sector is in doldrums. The Finance Minister admitted in this House that the total NPAs of bank amount to Rs 10 lakh crore.
Now the banks were put together, made into a big entity in the hope that they will be competing with global class banks. But, that is not to be. Today only one particular sector of the economy that is working well, the real estate, is not selling the flats and the main problem is that there is no consumer demand; consumption is less. I mentioned to the Finance Minister the other day that unless you put more money in the hands of the consumers, they will not buy. So, FMCG will not sell, the industries will not work, the unemployment will not lessen and we are caught in a vicious cycle where the different sectors of the economy are showing signs of fatigue.
Added to this, Madam, is the scams that are happening now. The Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank scam, which we discussed in the House, where people are not being able to draw their life’s earnings. The minister said that 78% of the people have withdrawn their investment, all below Rs 50,000. But ultimately the government does not ensure that the banks are able to return their money to the depositor. How will investors’ confidence, consumers’ confidence come back?

Think of the Dewan Housing and Finance Corporation, DHFC and think of ILFS. These scams did not happen in UPA‘s time. These scams have happened in the present government’s time. What are you doing to really punish those who send the ILFS to the present condition? What are you doing about the Dewan Housing and Finance Corporation? These are all in doldrums.

I have my full sympathy for the Finance Minister. I am sure that she is hard-working. I also find that she is combative. In Parliament she replies to any criticism very spiritedly. But all I want to say Ma’am, all is not well in the State of Denmark. As Hamlet would have said, “To be or not to be, is the question.” Question mainly is whether the government can take the economy out of the doldrums that are presently in.

We do not begrudge you taking mere Rs 21,000 crore; you take it. You take it for putting down people of Jammu & Kashmir, keeping Farooq Abdullah in jail. You take it for reviving IDBI Bank which has gone to the sea. You take it for giving more money to the police. You take it for giving the Department of Space which fails to land its rover on the Moon. You take it because you have to run a government. We do not begrudge you for the right to spend more.

What we grudge you is that you are going, hurtling towards a higher fiscal deficit. You are hurtling towards a lower growth rate. You are hurtling towards more unemployment. I do hope that the government does come to the House with a package of measures that will take the Indian economy out of the doldrums that it is in.

In this Supplementary Budget, no extra money has been given to agriculture, it’s where 31 farmers are committing suiside everyday. And the agrarian sector is in the worst crisis that has been there. I do hope the Finance Minister sometimes says that the green shoots are showing. Why? Because, automobile sales are increased during the Diwali period. No. You go to the Maruti factory, thousands of cars are lying there. It’s a sea of cars, you go to the General Motors factory in Tamil Nadu, thousands of cars are lying there, unsold.

We have to take the economy out of the morass that it is in. With this, I end my speech on the Supplementary Demands for Grants.