Trinamool Congress’ Lok Sabha MPs complete three years in the 16th Lok Sabha

June 5 was the third anniversary of the All India Trinamool Congress’ Members of Parliament (MP) taking oath for the 16th Lok Sabha. It has been three eventful years (since June 5, 2014) for the party in Parliament. Speeches by the party’s MPs have had a major impact on national politics. The strategies adopted, and debates participated in, in Parliament, by the MPs have left a lasting impression on parliamentary politics in this largest democracy in the world.

Now Trinamool Congress is the fourth largest party in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

Here are a few of the important speeches that Trinamool Congress MPs have given over the last three years:



August 14, 2014: Sugata Bose on the need for a mechanism to tackle the rising incidents of communal violence in the country

May 5, 2015: Kalyan Banerjee on the GST Bill

May 12, 2015: Sudip Bandyopadhyay on The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015 (Land Bill)

February 24, 2016: Sugata Bose on the prevalent situation in universities in the country

March 8, 2016: Satabdi Roy on International Women’s Day

February 7, 2017: Saugata Roy speaks on The Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Bill, 2017

March 9, 2017: Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar on The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016

April 11, 2017: Ratna De Nag on The HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017



November 25, 2014: Debabrata Bandyopadhyay on The Labour Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2014

August 13, 2014: Derek O’Brien on the working of the Ministry of Women and Child Development

May 6, 2015: Sukhendu Sekhar Roy on The Constitution (One Hundred and Nineteenth Amendment) Bill, 2013 (Land Boundary Agreement)

November 24, 2016: Derek O’Brien on demonetisation

April 5, 2017: Derek O’Brien on the GST Bill


Debabrata Bandyopadhyay asks a Supplementary Question on mine protected vehicles


There is a shortage of mine-protected vehicles. Why doesn’t the government import the vehicles for the time being and make up the shortage so that our jawans do not lose their lives because of unprotected vehicles?

Debabrata Bandyopadhyay speaks on The Appropriation Bill (Railways)


Thank you Mr Chairman for giving me this opportunity to speak on the Railway Appropriation Bill. I would also like to thank my party for this opportunity.

The Indian Railway has two important responsibilities – economic viability on one hand and social responsibility on the other. The Railways must keep both these responsibilities in mind in all their initiatives. For the first time in India, the General and Railway budgets have been combined. However, this merger has allowed the Government to hide certain facts certain facts.

I would like to highlight that since Independence, capital spending on the railways has largely been borne by the Central Government. In the last 2 years this pattern has changed and State Governments have been asked to bear costs through SPVs. The Government has pushed 70 projects with 9 State Governments that require financial and other resource contributions by those State Governments. While this may work with a few State Governments, this model is not viable for those states that are debt stressed and cash-strapped.

The gross traffic receipts (GTR) for 2017-18 has been projected at Rs. 188,998 crore. In 2016-17, the GTR was projected at Rs. 184,819 crore. But the revised estimates of the Budget admitted to a shortfall of Rs. 12,664 crore. It is obvious that even this year’s projection will fall short. The Government is not being honest with the state of railway finances. For the first time since 1978, there was a drop in freight earnings compared to the previous year.

The Railways is popular on social media like Facebook and Twitter. However, the number of unreserved passengers is 12 million out of 13 million. How are you engaging with this 12 million?

This year, with the merger of the Railway Budget with the General Budget, the larger social obligations of the railways have been completely side-tracked. The generosity and sense of mission has gone. Indian Railways has been a big supporter of Indian sport. In 2016, one-third of the Indian contingent to the Rio Olympics was from Indian Railways. How have they been repaid? By changing rules and making it difficult for sportspersons to train.

The earlier 330-day special casual leave (SCL) will now be given to only a certain category of sportspersons, including Olympics and Commonwealth Games medal winners. The 120-day SCL granted to players without a medal, but with the potential to win one, has been cut to 90 days. Even the provision of half-day leave has now been discontinued, being allowed only in exceptional cases. This will come in the way of regular training. One of my colleagues has written to Mr. Suresh Prabhu regarding this and I hope he takes immediate action.

Another important aspect of social responsibility is energy conservation. There is a Railway Budget promise to fit all coaches of all trains of Indian Railways with bio-toilets by 2019. The government has given up on this. In reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha a few days ago, it said only “about 800 trains” had “either some coaches or all the coaches fitted with bio-toilets”. So I would like to ask the Minister what is the projected timeframe for fitting all coaches with bio-toilets?

No doubt rail safety was emphasized in the Budget with the announcement of the Rashtriya Rail SanrakshaKosh. However, as on November 2016, 1,25,754 non-gazetted posts related to safety were vacant. As of October 2016, there were 410 pending compensation claims relating to train accidents. Instead of bullet trains, doesn’t India need more safety officials?

I would also like to speak specifically about our state West Bengal. The 2017-18 outlay for West Bengal is Rs 6,336 crore as compared to Rs 3,820 crore in the previous year. Projects worth Rs 40,000 crores including the Metro Railways are ongoing in Bengal. However, you have allotted only 15% to Bengal in the Demand for Grants. This will slow down these projects.

I am happy to point out that Kolkata Metro Railway is performing very well. Budgetary GTR projections for 2016-17 were at Rs. 242 crore. Revised estimates pushed up this figure to Rs. 256 crore. Kolkata Metro, Northeast Frontier Railway and East Coast Railway are the only zonal railways that have posted better figures than the initial budgetary projections.

However, the Railways has sent a letter to the West Bengal government stating that from now on the state has to take responsibilities of all ongoing and upcoming projects of the suburban system as well as Metro Railway. While this may work with a few State Governments, this model is not viable for those states that are debt stressed or cash strapped.

Also, in both Houses of Parliament, our MPs have made specific demands, I would urge you to please look into those as well. Railway Budget has been swallowed up by the General Budget. I urge the Minister to ensure that the social responsibility of the Railways is not side-tracked in pursuit of economic viability.

Thank you, Sir.


Trinamool’s day in Parliament

After playing the role of the principal Opposition party in the Winter Session of Parliament, Trinamool Congress is again dominating the proceedings of the House in the Budget Session.

After raising a Zero Hour discussion on Mother Teresa yesterday in the Rajya Sabha, Trinamool won the support of the major Opposition parties. The party also slammed the Government during the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address.

On Friday, Debabrata Bandyopadhyay raised the issue of Santhali language being represented in Devnagari script instead of in Ol Chiki in an advertisement published by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. He called it an insult to the Santhal community and demanded an apology from the Government.

During a Zero Hour discussion in the Rajya Sabha, Vivek Gupta asked the Government to reconsider delinking forest land from the wildlife impact assessment system by the National Wildlife Board and allowing adjustment within a 10 km range of national wildlife zones for such clearances. He said that forest cover can be increased while going for sustainable development, environment and infrastructure.

During a Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, senior MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy questioned the Government on why 14 districts have been excluded from the coverage of handloom marketing assistance. Also speaking on the handloom industry, Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Gupta asked the Government why two jute units in West Bengal have been removed from a BIFR assistance scheme and also, why there has been no increase in the number of people in the handloom industry in the state getting health insurance, from the 2012-13 numbers.

D Bandyopadhyay raises the issue of representation of Santal language in Devnagri Script by GOI | Transcript

Sir, at the very outset I wish to congratulate the Government of India for paying a tribute to the 22 scheduled languages of India on the occasion of Matribhasha Diwas.

The Government of India, through the Ministry of Human Resources Development, had published a message in a popular English daily on Matribhasha Diwas. The advertisement had the 22 scheduled languages of India. But, Santhali was represented in the Devnagari script.

Sir, this is a great insult to the Santhal community of India as well as to ‘Guru Gomkey’ Pandit Raghunath Murmu, the inventor of the Ol Chiki script. Sir, the Santhal community has a long history of struggle; they have contributed to our freedom movement too, through the Santhal Rebellion.

The legends of Birsa Munda and Sidhu-Kanhu are popular in Bengal. You would be happy to know that West Bengal has given second language status to the Santhal language. Schools with Ol Chiki as the medium of instruction have been set up by Mamata Banerjee’s government. A university named after Sidhu, Kanhu and Birsa has also been set up in Purulia district of West Bengal. The West Bengal Government has also set up a separate department for the welfare of tribal people.

This has been truly appreciated, and this is true unity in diversity

Sir, through you I wish to make my grievance known to the Government. It must provide a suitable explanation for that lapse on the floor of the House and issue an apology to all the Santhal-speaking people of India.

Thank you.

Debabrata Bandyopadhyay’s statement: My comments were misinterpreted

Statement by D Bandyopadhyay, Rajya Sabha MP:

I am a soldier of Trinamool Congress and a committed party worker. I joined Trinamool inspired by Mamata Banerjee’s honesty and organisational capabilities.

My statement has been misinterpreted. I did not mean it. All I said was that dissenting voices were normal in any democratic party.

Those of us who come from non-political background need to be extra careful in the future in what we say because our general statements are being misconstrued.

I had never meant that the leadership was slack or immune to it. I have the highest regards for Mamata Banerjee and Trinamool. I will be a member of the party till my last breath.

There is no question of my leaving the party… I am 100%… 500% with Trinamool.

রাজ্যসভা সাংসদ দেবব্রত বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়ের বিবৃতি:

আমি তৃণমূল কংগ্রেসের সৈনিক এবং দলের একনিষ্ঠ কর্মী।  মমতা বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়ের সততা ও সাংগঠনিক ক্ষমতায় উদ্বুদ্ধ হয়ে আমি তৃণমূলে যোগদান করি।

আমার মন্তব্যের অপব্যাখ্যা করা হয়েছে। আমি যা বলতে চেয়েছি তা হল একটি গণতান্ত্রিক দলে নানা মতাধিকারী থাকতেই পারে। আমি আমার বক্তব্য সব দলের জন্যই বলেছি।

আমরা যারা রাজনীতির বাইরে থেকে এসছি, তাদের ভবিষ্যতে কোনো বক্তব্য রাখার আগে সাবধান হওয়া উচিত কারণ আমাদের সাধারণ বিবৃতিরও ভুল ব্যাখ্যা হচ্ছে।

আমি দলের নেতৃত্বের দিকে আমি কোনো আঙ্গুল তুলিনি। আমি তৃণমূল কংগ্রেস ও মমতা বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়ের প্রতি শ্রদ্ধাশীল। জীবনের শেষ মুহূর্ত পর্যন্ত আমি তৃণমূলে থাকব।

আমার দল ছাড়ার কোনো প্রশ্নই ওঠেনা। আমি ১০০%  কেন, ৫০০% তৃণমূলের সাথে আছি।

Pass on the benefit of fuel price reduction to the common man: D Bandyopadhyay | Transcript

Trinamool MP Debabrata Bandyopadhyay today spoke in the Rajya Sabha during a discussion on The Appropriation Bill, 2014. He requested the government to pass on the benefit of fuel price reduction to the consumers.

Full transcript of his speech:

In a market economy, when international prices go down, our petroleum and other fuel prices also go down. Then, why does the Government always enhance the Excise Duty and thereby does not allow the benefit to be passed on to the consumers? That is my short point.

If the prices go up, you increase the price, if the prices go down, you want to cap it. I do not like this. I request the Hon’ble Finance Minister, through you, to withdraw the Excise Duty and request the Government to pass on the benefits to the consumers.

D Bandyopadhyay raises the issue of the poor condition of National Highways in West Bengal | Transcript

Trinamool MP Debabrata Bandyopadhyay today made a Special Mention in the Rajya Sabha on the poor condition of National Highways in West Bengal.

Full transcript of his speech:

Sir, I would like to speak about the poor condition of the National Highways in West Bengal. Particularly, I would like to speak about the conditions of NH-6 and NH-34.

With regard to NH-6, the portion between Kharagpur and Chichira on the Jharkhand border has been in a state of utter disrepair. The portion passes through the Naxal-affected areas of Paschim Medinipur, in the Jangalmahal region, making it doubly important. The road is not only a lifeline in general but also a crucial component of the developmental initiatives in Jangalmahal to counter the Naxalite influence.

As for NH-34, the work of four-laning between Barasat and Krishnanagar has been extremely slow. Sites have been abandoned by contractors, completion dates have been stretched again and again. The result – a part of the National Highway is not traffic-worthy and poses a threat to lives.

Despite the State Government’s repeatedly taking up the matter with the Centre, unfortunately, things have not improved. Roads remain in poor shape and the life-threatening condition persists. Road safety is of prime concern to India as 10% of the lives lost in India are due to the poor conditions of the National Highways.

The callous attitude towards the maintenance of highways needs to change. I urge the Minister through you, Sir, to complete all the pending projects on time, which is extremely crucial for West Bengal as well as the seven sister States of the North-East.

Thank you, Sir.

Debabrata Bandyopadhyay speaks on the Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2014 | Transcript

I rise to support the Bill. This is a three in one law. It simultaneously amends the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992, the Securities Contract (Regulation) Act, 1956 and the Depositories Act 1996. This is a fairly complicated piece of legislation, which requires a thorough knowledge not only of the laws it seeks to amend but the complex functioning of financial market.

The Securities & Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 was enacted for the purpose of increasing the confidence of investors. But unfortunately, the act was not implemented in the true spirit. Inaction on the part of the authorities under the SEBI Act and lackadaisical attitude of the authorities under the SEBI Act have resulted in the act not being properly implemented. Steps were not taken against erring stock brokers, sub-stock brokers, share transfer agents, other intermediary and non-banking institutions who are actively associated with security market and to refund money to the poor investors. In the interplay of sharks of the money market they lost out totally.

Chit funds have grown in the country like mushrooms in the last three / four decades. They have history beginning in southern Indian States and then spreading across the country. 3 or 4 decades ago, the Sanchayita scam came to light. Thousands of families were ruined and the culprits got away. This chit fund menace continues to grow, unchecked through the 80s and 90s in different names – cheating unwary investors. Most of these chit funds were not registered under the SEBI Act for long three decades. These unregistered chit funds functioned to maximise profits for themselves, caring nothing for the investors. Investors were left in the lurch. There is no point in blaming anyone for what had happened. But my fervently appeal to the Finance Minister to prevent any further mischief and to protect the general investors who had been the unfortunate victims of the foul game of the financial operators in the market. We are happy that the Government has come forward to protect the unwary investors from falling victims to the sharks who operate in the money market to maximise their own or corporate gain at the cost of investors. Once the Bill becomes an Act, SEBI would have powers to call for information not only from the people or entities associated with the securities market but also from persons who are apparently not directly associated with securities market.

Besides the capital watchdog would get increased powers to crack whip on illegal investment schemes. The Bill aims at protecting investors as well as to curb for fraudulent investment schemes thriving at the expense of innocent investors.

We are happy to note that to deal with huge pendency of cases, special courts would be established for the prosecution of offences under the securities law to provide speedy trial. This is a welcome feature.

To keep the credibility of SEBI we would caution the Government not to use its powers to settle any political score.

While appointing Chairman, the Government has to ensure that candidate has the highest credibility to have investors’ confidence.

In West Bengal we have a bad and long history of the activities of such chit funds last 40 years. This is not phenomenon. The case of Sanchayita is well known. SEBI should proactively try to control such mushroom growth of chit funds in whichever name they operate. The Trinamool Congress would always support any pro-people such activity. But SEBI should not convert itself into another CBI.

May the FM consider two observations:


  1. The opponents of this Bill may say that giving such powers to one body may lead to misuse and make this legislation draconian. There is a clause to summon anyone not even directly connected with the matter. However, the pluses in this Bill far outweigh the negatives.


2.   Consider an orderly exist to such schemes so that small investors are not inconvenienced. We must do all at it takes to standby the smallest investor who looks to                    us to look after his interest.

Debabrata Bandyopadhyay speaks regarding the Indians stranded in Iraq | Transcript

Sir, the first question I would like to ask is: What is the total number of Indians stranded in Iraq? There are conflicting numbers. It is good that about 4,900 Indians have been assisted to come back, but out of how many? It is important to know that. I shall be extremely happy if the Government could give an answer to this.

Secondly, Sir, there are construction labourers from Murshidabad, Malda, North Dinajpur, Nadia and North 24 Parganas districts of West Bengal in Iraq. In fact, according to the latest information that I have, most of the family members are not in touch with those who have gone abroad. In fact, they are in an absolute misery to know what has happened to them. So, I would like the Government to take measures to bring those 4,900 Indians back.

What will happen to the rest? Many of them do not have their passports with them because the agents keep the passports with them. Many of them do not have money with them, because it is the agents who pay the money to take them there and also to bring them back. So, they are just stranded like beggars in a foreign country. Sir, I would urge, through you, to the Government to bring them back with an appropriate financial help, so that they reach their near and dear ones. We are deeply concerned, particularly, about the construction labourers. They have gone not only to earn their living, that they have done, but they have also done many things for the other country. Iraq Railways would not have run but for the Indian Railway workers. The Iraq Roadways would not have been there but for the Indian construction workers.

So, it is not that they go there only to earn, but they are also contributing to their welfare. So, I would request the Government to take the matter very seriously, which they have done, and bring back all the Indians who want to come back.

Thank you.