Rajya Sabha

February 9, 2018

Derek O’Brien speaks on the Union Budget

Derek O’Brien speaks on the Union Budget


Sir, twelve is an important number kyunki agle saal, aur age, 12 ghanta Budget speech hota tha. Mera Hindi kharab hain, Bangla theek hain lekin main try karunga aaj. 12 ghanta Budget speech, 12 ghanta Railway Budget. Ab toh Railway Budget out. Toh main Budget ke upar kam bolunga, Railway Budget jo bada ghanta discussion hota hain, main uske upaar bolunga. JP Chidambaram ji, experienced member, unhone 12 prashna poocha Finance Minister se. Uss sutra pakad ke 12 prashna puchunga Rail Mantri se because the Rail Minister has to answer these questions. Hard questions, no politics, no rhetoric.

Question number one: Ab jo publish kiya operating ratio, dikha raha hain operating ration 95 per cent. Yeh operating ratio galat hain. Kyunki Suresh Prabhu jab Budget present kiya yeh target tha Rs 1 lakh 90 thousand, jab Jaitley ji next time present kiya toh bola Rs 1 lakh 72 thousand crore, lekin ghat ke actual figure hua Rs 1 lakh 59 thousand crore. Toh yeh galat figure aage tha, abhi pakka ho giya. My first question is, I challenge this figure of 94 per cent operating ratio. The figure is in excess of 100 per cent, I am willing to be proved wrong on the floor of this House.

Doosra prashna: capital expenditure. Capital expenditure do tarah ka hota hain – ek capital expenditure, ek revenue expenditure. Main simple udaharan doonga. Howrah se Dankuni, a line has to be repaired. If the GM does not repair the line, there might be an accident. So from revenue expenditure, this money is used. Now iske aage Rs 5,000 crore ek fund tha – Depreciation Reserve Fund. Wahan se yeh kharcha hota hain. Mera prashna hain, kyun yeh Rs 5,000 crore se Rs 500 crore kar diya? Why has the Depreciation Reserve Fund been reduced from Rs 5,000 crore to Rs 500 crore? The chance of accidents now is there. You have to get it approved by Delhi. It’s a serious issue. Let me know. Maybe the Sanraksha Account of Rs 20,000 crore – maybe they are using it for this purpose. I don’t know, I am asking this question, answer this question.

Teesra question: 2000 se 2014 tak CAGR – Compounded Annual Growth Rate – tha 6 per cent. Maine calculate kiya, yeh CAGR, last saare teen saal mein ghat ke ho giya 2 per cent. Kyun hua 2 per cent? hum logon ko bataiye. Hum log sunenge.

Mera chautha prashna: Always people say, all Rail Budgets will be political, they would make political statements. BJP came up with this – you merge the two budgets, there will be no politics. Lekin yeh toh politics hoga hi. Politics kar rahein hai toh kam se kam bata dijiye ki politics kar rahein hain. Yeh dekh lijiye, Uttarakhand ka budget allotment was 170% more; Rajasthan 30% over last year; Gujarat 20%, Madhya Pradesh 20%. Ab dekhiye Opposition ruled states: Delhi, Kerala and West Bengal. Not even zero: -40%, -25%, -14%. Kyun? Yeh hum politcs nahi kar rahe hain, hum solid numbers de rahe hain aur hum baith ke answers bhi sunenge.

Mera panchwa question: itna development ho raha hai, railway, railway railway. Do teen yahaan figures hai. New lines aapne promise kiya ek saal mein 800 km, aur apne kiya 400 kilometer, gates conversion aapne promise kiya 900 km aur aapne kiya 550 km aur doubling aapne promise kiya 1800 km aur aapne kiya 900 km. Yeh 50% ka shortfall kyun ho raha hai?

Mera chhata prashna: the sixth question is whether railway is on the Union list, State list or the Concurrent list. Yeh toh class seven ka civics ka student bhi bol denge it is on the Union list. My sixth question is why then is the railway asking state governments to bear the cost of infrastructure? What happens to the North-East states, what happens to the poor states? Yeh feku-federalism nahi chalega. Because, simple logic, the state government must not pay for the Centre. Next you will ask us to pay for the defense budget also.

Saat number: Bullet train. All of us want technology. Hum sabko bullet train chahiye. Mumbai to Ahmedabad nahi chahiye, so it doesn’t make us very happy, but at least someone is happy, good. We are not opposed to the bullet train. We are opposed to the alternatives. To build one km of bullet train track it takes Rs 180 crore, conservatively. Dedicated freight corridor – aloo aur sabzi le jaane ke liye – Rs 23 crore lagta hai. Aap ye bataye ki aapne bullet train banane ka decision freight train banane se pehle kyun liya? You might tell me because Japan gave a loan. We can have another debate on how bad that loan was.

Next, aath number: Aapka policy bataiye. Humara Trinamool ka clear policy hai. Rail: social responsibility, commercial viability. Aapka policy bataiye, kyunki Bengal mein, aur yeh sirf Bengal mein nahi, har state ko Railway ne chithi likha hai and said that eight railway routes in Bengal will stop because they are not profitable routes. My direct question is what is the policy of this government on commercial viability? Will they take into account social responsibility?

Sir, my ninth question: Everyone is talking about jobs. Sir, we are talking about jobs, everyone wants jobs. 1,25,000 safety jobs are vacant in the Indian Railways. Why are the Railway Minister, the Finance Minister, the Pradhan Mantri who are trying to generate jobs filling these vacancies?

My tenth question: ‘Swachh Bharat’. Good idea, in Bengal we call it something else but it’s doing very well, best in the whole country. If you like ‘Swachh Bharat’ so much, Mamata Di had given a vision, the 2020 document, she wanted bio-toilets. My direct question to the Railway Minister, the Finance Minister, the Prime Minister. Please in your reply, tell us how many bio-toilets in the Indian Railways have you started in the last three years? Will you finish everything by 2022?

Sir, my 11th question to the Railway Minister, the Finance Minister, the Prime Minister. When you give zero allocation to a project, does that mean the project is over? We need to know that because there are many projects across the States which have zero allocation.

Sir, my last point. The 12th point: Sir, we have done some study for Bengal, but Bengal is only one state. I would request all the MPs, honourable MPs senior to me also to study not the figure which has been given to you, kitna mila, percentage of total jo project cost hai use kahan/kya mila because that’s where all their jugglery is happening. In Bengal you might say, ‘Oh! You got 4500/5000 crore this year, ha khushi ho!’ It is only 11 percent of the total allocation. I would request all the states, don’t be cheated by this ‘feku’ federalism. You have to look at the percentage.

Sir, the way this is happening on this transport sector, please do not do to the Indian Railways which you have already done to Air India. Otherwise, five-six years down the line again we will be discussing Air India which is a great treasure of this country. Do not sell Air India, do not sell it! We must improve it.

Sir, last point before I end. Demonetisation we told you about, GST we warned you about. You were sitting there, (not you Sir) BJP was sitting there, they opposed GST , they came here, they are for GST. That’s okay. We are always in the middle, we are consistent. Trinamool has always been for GST since our Manifesto in 2004.

I will make three points on GST and then I conclude. We told you in July not to implement GST but zabardasti you wanted to do GST (and you did GST). Now what is the situation? Three crucial numbers on GST after my 12 questions.

First number – now the three questions to the Finance Minister – you kept a provision of Rs 55,000 crore of money to be compensated to the states.You can allow 10% this way or that way. Now here is the bad number. You have allotted Rs 55,000 crore; in six months, the compensation figure has become Rs 40,000 crore plus. My prediction is, in the next six months it will become Rs 80,000 crore (40+40). But you have kept a provision of Rs 55,000 crore only. My question is, where will the additional Rs 25,000 crore come from?

Two more points on GST, Sir. E-way bill. E-way bill ka concept kya hain? When a truck goes into a State, it should have the E-way bill and drive through the whole state. No check-points. In Bengal, there are no check-points. We have 100% e-governance. 100% E-way bill. Jata hain to jata hai. Full. Self declared. In Bengal, it is self-declared. Now all the truck operators are getting very upset because the E-way bill concept is not working. The only way to do this is follow the full E-way system.

I end by giving you figures on GST. The lower the number (loss due to GST) the better. So, loss due to GST is lowest in Bengal. Only Rs 580 crore. Loss of Gujarat is Rs 1100 crore, Bihar’s loss is Rs 1000 crore, Karnataka’s loss is Rs 2000 crore. So, the system is not ready for GST, Sir. I have asked the Finance Minister, the Prime Minister with the help of the Railway Minister to answer my questions. I have given you some points.

My last thought. Sir, we were told by this BJP government, that they were elected four years ago and for 55 years, the Congress party didn’t do anything, that’s why they got elected. We used to say the same thing in Bengal. For 34 years the CPM didn’t do anything, that’s why we got elected. Okay, they will elect you once. For 2016, when we got re-elected, we got it for our work. If you want people to believe you, first time it is easy, show real development and get re-elected on your work. On your work, Sir.

Thank you.