Rajya Sabha

May 14, 2015

Derek O’Brien speaks on the Black Money Bill | Full Transcript

Full Transcript

Sir, during the discussion on the Finance Bill last week, and when we were discussing the Appropriation Bill, the Minister of State for Finance gave us some interesting views of his, where he had said that because of his past experience, he benchmarks everything — everything is to do with benchmarking — and how he had read 21 Budgets and based on benchmarking those 21 Budgets, how he had come to this conclusion. This was said by the Minister of State for Finance. We would come to the Union Minister of Finance in a minute.

So, I want to use this opportunity to do some benchmarking on this Bill as far as the BJP goes. Sir, let us start by benchmarking. I have got four parameters. The first parameter is this: “The names of the foreign account holders must be made public and I demand a time-bound assurance from the Government”. Who said this — It was the current Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Shri Venkaiah Naidu. When did he say this — when he was not in Government. So, this is the first benchmarking – fail.

Now, let us move on to the second benchmarking. “If our Party forms the Government at the Centre, it will bring back all the black money stashed in foreign banks within 150 days. The money brought back will be spent on the welfare schemes.” Who said this – the current HM, that is, the Home Minister. Don’t get mixed up between the HM and the FM because that is the Home Minister. There is also an FM currently who is also the HM. Let me explain. The Finance Minister is also the Information and Broadcasting Minister. He is in-charge of the fiscal management, but he is more interested in ‘headline management’. That is the Finance Minister. Sir, these are all their rules, that is, benchmarking by the Minister of State.

Then, there was one gentleman whose name I would not take, but we all know him. He had said he would start getting one lakh crores of Indian money back within 100 days of the formation of the Modi Government. He is the same man who disappears in disguise in the middle of the night. Let’s not mention his name. So, here again, the benchmarking – failed. Sir, the fourth example of benchmarking is actually the best one, and that is, “I will bring back every rupee that is stored away in foreign banks, any which way, and ensure that it is used for the rehabilitation of the poor in the country.” Who said this – that time, chief election campaigner and now the Prime Minister of India! This is the fourth example of benchmarking – fail. So, in my simple opinion, this actually is the BJP, which I feel, should be called ‘bahut jumla promises’. This is ‘bahut jumla promises’ or BJP, because none of these promises have been kept, and now they have brought this Bill.

Sir, if you look seriously at this Bill, let me point out that 12 such VDI schemes have happened in the past. No one knows how much money came back through these VDI schemes. The Standing Committee has appointed three agencies to ascertain the amount of black money which has come back to India. We still do not have any figure. Now, generation of black money is the issue. Real estate is where the black money is. So, unless we stop this generation from the real estate business, all this will be like election promises. Sir, this is the situation as it is today. Sir, I have the contents of a letter here dated the 10th September, 2014 which says, “India’s ratification of this International Convention Against Corruption was accompanied by a major reservation that it will not apply where there is a bilateral protocol with any country. Moreover, the information supplied…” – this is important – “…is only to be used for tax purposes, neither investigation, arrest nor prosecution”. This is not my note; this is from0 the PMO. So, it cannot be used for investigation, arrest or prosecution. This is a note to the Secretary, Revenue, from the PMO. So, Sir, how will this Bill apply in these situations? Sir, I want to end this little discussion on this mere jumla by giving two suggestions, and I hope the Government will consider both these suggestions.

One, this ‘black money’ is a wrong word. It is racist because, as it is, we have creams in India to try and look white. So, this black money is a wrong concept. In the year 1200 in Europe, when they were actually minting silver coins, that time in those coins, a lot more copper got in. So, those coins became black. That is why those black coins became black money. So, I think we should use the term ‘dirty money’. My last suggestion is very, very serious which, I hope, will go to the Minister for Finance, who has been sitting here for most of the discussion and I can see that Ravi Shankarji is making notes for him. My last suggestion is very serious and please consider this. We, the Trinamool Congress and Mamata Banerjee, are suggesting that you bring back whatever money you can and you find whatever money you can from here — your Bill is not going to do it but in whatever way you can — and then you set up what we call a DEF, that is, Democratic Electoral Fund. Whatever you get, put all the money in the Democratic Electoral Fund and please use this money to start serious electoral reforms. So, that will become the corpus and in that case all political parties will not have to go running around with suitcases only before elections. Please set up this Democratic Electoral Fund. Your track record of delivering election promises is very, very poor. You keep managing the headlines. You are very, very good at that. But, otherwise, I am afraid, nothing else is happening with this Government.

Thank you.