Rajya Sabha

June 25, 2019

Manish Gupta speaks on Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address

Manish Gupta speaks on Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address


Sir, I rise to speak and support the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address to the Parliament. Sir, the fathers of our Constitution, thought certain sections (must be included) in that holy document which guarantees the rights of Citizen. Sir, what went through their minds when they were forging the Constitution, was initially a sense of gratitude to the freedom fighters who laid down their lives to make our country independent. They also thought that communal harmony should be maintained in this country and lastly to make the hopes and aspirations of the people.

 Sir, as the situation pertains today, although India is a pluralist society today, there was a magic in our democracy which was underlined by civil liberty, personal liberty and a rich kaleidoscope of different cultures. But, today Sir, religious freedom is in danger and there is a downward trend in spite of a long history of this communal harmony within different races, different religions, different colours, different beliefs. So, this is whether bounded by the fact that certain actions taken by the previous government in Delhi have further aggravated this balance between the communities.

 Sir, look at the NRC. Surprisingly, after 70 years of our independence, today we observe that there is consternational disbelief, a loss of faith in our Constitution. The people who have lived for 40 to 50 years today are being rendered stateless. 41 Lakh people have been left out of the process of inclusion in NRC, of which 22 lakh are Bengali Hindus. So, this is a matter of great concern. Even people who have served in the army for more than 40 years, widely reported in the press, have been declared as non-citizens. So, the time has come for us to condemn unequivocally this unconstitutional process of identifying citizens after 70 years.

Sir, tomorrow if I’m asked, or you are asked, whether you can prove that you are a citizen of India, it may be difficult for us to find the actual documentation to satisfy the norms that are laid on to basically to divide communities. Sir, this is a serious situation and need to be condemned. In fact, last year was the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Today what message are we giving to the rest of the country and what message are we giving to the international community?

Sir, ‘co-operative federalism’. You have noticed in the actions of the Central Government that every other law or process, which they seek to bring into operation in this country, they do not consult with the states. This unilateral attitude or trying to impose their own thoughts and processes are based on a division between communities.

Sir, the Sarkaria Commission, a much lauded step taken by the Congress Government in those days, had to bow into this Centre-State relationship. It had a detailed account of how the States and the Centre should conduct themselves in the interest of the people. This is not being followed now. The 15th Finance Commission which decides on devolution of taxes and receipts to the states was not based on a proper premise. The 2001 population data and the 2011 population data have been taken as a basis for this. This is very arbitrary and we have demanded discussions with the Central Government, with the Finance Commission. The terms of reference need to be changed. The planning process or planning is sometimes described as a set of actions taken by the government be it be the State or the Centre, to achieve pre-set goals in the shortest possible time.

Now, Sir, today, unfortunately there is no Planning Commission. Our Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has repeatedly stated that the Planning Commission had financial powers, they could help to save plans, but now we have NITI Aayog instead. Sir, the NITI Aayog has no financial powers. The Niti Aayog is not really empowered except to dictate policy. The Niti Aayog has gone overboard in itself declaring what the National Statistical Commission should do. The chairman and the members of the National Statistical Commission resigned in protest because the Niti Aayog took upon itself to backdate the premises for the calculation of the GDP. The method of GDP calculation was changed in 2015 where they had shown a 5.7-5.8 percent growth rate; in effect it is actually 3.7 percent. 

Sir data management, data manipulation is sometimes required because when you give an argument it has to be backed up by data. Many times when you write articles we find at the bottom of the article: “source”; this is important. Data manipulation has become an art form with this Government. They are in actuality not processing data in a manner which should be received by the people. 

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has suggested that the National Development Council, which is a constitutional body, should be merged with the Inter-State Council. This is a request I make to the Prime Minister of India.

Farmer’s issue is a big issue. By merely declaring 24 items, MSP etc, basic issue of input cost of farmers has not been addressed. Farmers have to pay 18-20 percent of GST for several equipment such as tractors, pesticides, fertilisers etc. That needs to be looked into. By just giving Rs 6000 dole per year to a family doesn’t count. What about the role of the middleman? This is not being addressed by the Central Government. The middleman eats away the profits of the farmer. The farmer makes profits if he has marketable surplus. This is eaten away by the middleman. That is why those aspects need to be looked into. Gimmickry by announcing schemes, doles etc is not the answer to the people’s voice/votes.

Thank you, Sir.