Manish Gupta makes Zero Hour mention on the attack on an Army personnel


Thank you sir, for allowing me to speak on this. A serviceman, a retired Army person was beaten to death in his house in a north Indian state on 27th July. He was attacked by a bunch of miscreants, who entered his house and broke his head with sticks. Sir, we all know the Army is a force which protects the nation. They don’t fight because of what is in front of them; they fight for those who are behind them. They fight for the country, for the people of India. So I would request, through you, Sir, for proper investigation to be done on this incident and for the miscreants who did this to be brought to book.

Manish Gupta asks a Question on ONGC’s cash reserves and working capital


Will the Minister of PETROLEUM AND NATURAL GAS be pleased to state:

(a) whether the public sector Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s (ONGC) cash reserves are precariously low, if so, the details thereof;

(b) whether the situation has been aggravated by the Government’s policy of pushing State-run firms to pay out more dividends, go in for buybacks and acquire stakes in other State-owned firms to meet its fiscal deficit targets, if so, the details thereof; and

(c) whether the dwindling of ONGC’s cash reserve had adversely affected its working capital requirements, if so, at what level should such reserves be ideally kept, the details thereof?



ONGC has in the last few years undergone a metamorphosis. It has diversified widely into such things as SEZ infrastructure, in retail etc. The question is, is the ONGC shifting away from its core competence in oil exploration and production? Is it because of the continuous movement of the NELP, NELP 2, NELP 3 where privatisation is taking place?



The limited that ONGC Videsh Ltd.  has acquired a lot of oil fields across 20/30 countries, what the future of OVL?


Manish Gupta asks a Supplementary Question on appropriate model for execution of highway projects 


I must thank the minister for giving detailed reply. It is a difficult situation to operate. Apart from this model that you are following now – Hybrid Annuity Model – are you thinking of funding from multinational agencies like World Bank, JICA etc. because as you know, your government has contacted foreign fund for solar alliance, climate change etc.


Manish Gupta speaks on the open physical threats to federalism by BJP leaders in Bengal and them announcing ‘President’s Rule’ and more after this Parliament session concludes


On 20th June in a public meeting at Paschim Medinipur a BJP leader and Former Union Minister has given an open threat to Bengal Chief Minister. He said, “A lot is waiting for you. The Parliament is still running so the nails and teeth are not being seen. See what happens when the parliament session is over.”

And another person who is the State President of BJP and now the Member of Parliament of Medinipur Constituency, said, “If you do not get the money, do not allow them to live in the village.”

These are the languages of the BJP leaders. They are instigating people to riot in Bengal. They are destroying the federal structure. In a democracy this is not done. 

Open threats to create violence in Bengal. Open threats to impose President’s rule in Bengal. I strongly urge the Government to take this issue seriously.


Manish Gupta asks a Supplementary Question on the Bharatmala 2.0 Project


There has been a delay in the project, Bharatmala 2.0. Is it because there is reluctance on the part of certain functionaries to proceed with the DPRs? This is directly affecting West Bengal. So we would like to know about the stretches in West Bengal that are envisaged within this project.

Manish Gupta speaks on The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2018


Madam Chairman, I stand to support this Bill. I think in the middle of what is happening in the country today, we need to forge and understand new laws, so that, the future of our economic activity is not endangered by persons who have malafide intentions. In this respect, I think this particular Bill will serve the purpose to a certain extent. I don’t think that this Bill will have any great impact on the present situation, except as a step towards further improving the entirety of the problems.

Clause 2 of the Bill introduces Section 143 A, but it identifies two situations. One is the summary trial and other is the summons case. Now, Section 143 also gives power to the courts, to provide for 25 per cent to the complainer, while the case is in progress. A question has been raised, as to how the government arrived at this 25 per cent. It is a very arbitrary figure, and is a very cautious approach. What we need here is a bold approach and 25 per cent, I don’t think will have the desired effect. A much higher amount – like 30 or 40 per cent – would have given a decent incentive to people who issue cheques, which bounce in the banks.

It is very important to identify the causes of delay in the courts. We make laws, we bring up new legislations, but the general situation in delay in the courts has not been substantially solved. Today there are more than 30 lakh cases pending in the subordinate courts, and 35,000 cases are pending in the higher courts. Nobody has calculated when these decisions of the courts or convictions will be handed down, will be appealed again in the higher courts, so that means more time will elapse before justice is done.

However a silver lining is, that, recently in the Economic Survey, there is a chapter on justice delivery and courts. There is thinking in this regard that Our laws on dispute resolution can only be affected as the dispute resolution process themselves. Therefore, it is of utmost important that any legislation that the parties, who are involved in the dispute, must one way or the other be assured that their rights will be enforced in the court in the reasonable time.

The role of banks is important. RBI as the Central Bank has a very important role to play, although they are not involved in the court processes. The RBI’s recent track record indicates, as they have said, they don’t have adequate powers to deal with public sector banks. They have issued new guidelines for state’s assets in all the sectors – cement, power etc.

But the Central Bank cannot absolve itself of being more proactive. The people of India look up to the Reserve Bank. The Reserve Bank promulgates banking regulation. Banks charge Rs 300 for every representation of any bounced cheque. Reserve Bank needs to get more involved. New guidelines are unimaginative. The same guidelines have been recommended for many sectors. But each sector of economy has its own problem. This situation needs to be looked at more closely; even application of Section 421 of the CRPC. So all this will come into play when this Act is applied.

Therefore, although we support this legislation – it’s a step in the right direction – the government must keep on thinking as to what more they can do for the future.

Manish Gupta asks a Question about sanctioned work-charged posts in Railways


Sir, the issue of work-charged staff in the Railways is very old and will continue for many years. We have this issue in other departments of the Government too; work-charged staff is a serious issue.

Now, I would like to ask the Minister, through you Mr Chairman, whether the Railways is deploying any other policy to control this malaise. Is something like benchmarking of manpower productivity ratio being continuously done because it is a useful tool to control the dynamics of work-charged staff?



Manish Gupta speaks during a Short Duration Discussion on India’s foreign policy


Sir, much has been said about today’s topic by several speakers and in the process some very important issues are being flagged and highlighted.

The Chinese Government claimed yesterday that the number of Indian troops present in the Doklam area in Bhutan is down from 400 to 40. One wonders what the truth is.

In a democracy like ours, there should be free flow of information. Issues of vital importance which concern our neighbours, transgressions of the border line, movement of militants, separatists and various other problems which arise in these areas have to be looked into.

The foreign policy perspective of our country is the total or sum total of events and experiences of the past and the geopolitical realities of today.

While our neighbourhood remains an important target via what has been stated by the Ministry of External Affairs, the neighborhood policy. But yet, India’s priority should also ensure regional security, civility and peace, strengthening the economic structure through a robust outreach in the region and tune in with regional organisations to interlink the region
and keep India’s strategic importance and relevance so that we can catapult a strong India into the centrestage of the world.

As far as foreign policy goes, we have observed, and in fact even our party, the All India Trinamool Congress, has always supported, the Government of India’s foreign policy initiatives, starting from 1998 to the present day. It’s been a positive approach because, as one or two of the speakers have mentioned earlier, we stand behind the foreign policy initiatives taken by the Government of India.

But due to the sensitivity of certain border areas, especially in the Eastern Sector today, we are compelled to express our dissatisfaction with the way things are being handled. The integrity of our borders has to be ensured, because they are porous and volatile and militant groups and other separatists always seek to destabilise not only border areas but also the rest of our country.

West Bengal is a border sensitive State, and any disruption in the State could have serious security concerns. Here I am talking about the Chicken’s Neck Corridor or the Siliguri Corridor which is a gateway to Guwahati, Sikkim, Assam and Bihar.

It also includes important road corridors like NH 31, NH 31A and the railway system. After the 1962 war with China, since the early 60s, the military intelligence has repeatedly reflected to the Government that due importance is not being given to the security and safety of the Chicken’s Neck Corridor. Even recently, our CM Mamata Banerjee has pointed out this forgotten issue, it’s very vital for the eastern sector and for the development, protection of the people in the border areas.

Since the late ‘60s till date, I do not think that we have information as to whether the military presence – the BSF or the CRPF – have increased their vigil in these areas. Till recently we have observed that because of separatist activity in the Darjeeling Hills, and because of the fact that we have evidence that these separatists are being funded, are being encouraged, are being supported by such organisations which are inimical to the safety and security of India.

We have seen the world over that whenever there is any militant activity or, look at the history of any country, we have observed that there is always an external support to these activities. The Government of Bengal, under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee, has, in the recent past, repeatedly urged the Central Government to secure the proper interest and to provide the men and materials that are required to obviate free movement across the border. Even the BSF has serious responsibility where the border is concerned.

The Government of Bengal had asked for extra CRPF to be posted in Darjeeling but unfortunately, for some unknown reason, this police force was not provided. Accordingly, it is a matter of great concern that this area, which is not only an integral part of Bengal but of the entire country, has not yet been flagged as an area of concern by the Government of India. This kind of a dichotomy in the foreign policy would in the long run be counterproductive to the country as a whole. The Government of India’s policy of ‘Neighbours First’ has not borne any fruits.

If we look back or turn back the pages of history, we can observe that we are not into outright non-alignment at this point. We are now shifting towards a kind of a policy in which we are building strategic partnerships throughout the world. But today one matter of great concern with regard to Nepal and Bhutan is the huge currency – about Rs 3000 crore – that they are holding in old Indian currency notes.

Whenever there is any cross-border activity we have noticed, the people who move along the border – whether it is officially or unofficially – there is always a talk of an exchange rate. What is the Indian rupee worth? We have found over the years that the Indian rupee commands respect and even many transactions in these countries are dependent on the Indian rupee. Goods and services are bought with Indian rupees. It’s an extension of the Indian economy.

Now after demonetisation, the Government of India has not clearly stated their position and this is causing lot of heart-burning in these two countries. There is a deep resentment and relations are being soured. If ‘Neighbours First’ is the policy then neighbours must come first and we need to not buttress the borders. We need to also see that these insidious movement of bad elements, this dependency of the country on the economic activity in India is something to be proud of and we should build that bridge which will ensure that these neighbours do not take an inimical view to our trust.

China’s transgressions in the mountains are very well known. We are quite surprised to notice that in 1962, certain areas of India, like Tawang in the north-east, were transgressed by China. These were the dark days of Indian politics of India’s civilization, yet we have not learnt our lessons. Even to this day, we are not strong enough in that particular area where previously we had to fight an uneven war.

The Chinese are very active in Sri Lanka; they have taken over the development of a port. In fact they are going to take over the development of another port and we have found that this deal by the Chinese was made possible because of the fact that the Sri Lankan Government wagered a large amount of money to the Chinese and that’s why they were able to swing this deal. We on our part have not been active enough in the economic scene. We need to make our presence felt in the neighbouring countries, especially Sri Lanka, and we should see that our development, our arms and ammunition with the Indian Army, as you seem to have observed, is short and is not prepared for contingencies.

India needs to serve her potency and work towards tending to its frontier regions, development, military modernisation and regional economic integration to face future challenges.

Thank you.



Manish Gupta speaks on The National Institutes of Technology, Science, Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2017


Sir, I rise to support this Bill. I will just make a few points here. As mentioned earlier, the budgetary allocations in respect of these institutes has to be increased to have the proper effect. And the total number of seats allocated in all the seven institutes is inadequate considering the hopes and aspirations of the youth. We need to take a positive view on this because more than 55% of the youth in this country are unable to get seats and employment in educational institutions and in other sectors of the economy. Due importance should be given to the youth.

Unfortunately we have noticed that the HRD Ministry is habitually increasing fees. Recently there was a fee hike of 127% in these institutes and by 79% in NITs. This hike in fees makes it quite impossible for certain sections of our society to gain admission. This is quite a problem in other institutions also. Even for management institutes, the fees that are charged are quite high. In fact, recently people had come and met me. They are saying that they cannot afford higher education or technical education because of the cost of the education.

Sir, the other issue is that a lot of research is being done in these institutes and we have observed over the years that the fruits of research never devolve to the sectors for which this research is done. Research produces doctorates and PhDs but there is a gap between devolution of this research to the different sectors of the economy. The internal administration of these institutions needs to be looked into.

We really need to know the state of higher technical education, of research. So, I would suggest that the Minister should consider putting out an Annual Report or a White Paper on the status of such institutes and of the overall status in the country.

Thank you.


Manish Gupta asks a Supplementary Question on stadiums


Sir, stadiums are an emotive issue in all the States, especially in the rural areas. I wanted to know from the Hon. Minister whether the new scheme that the Sports Ministry has taken up, Khelo India, includes stadiums and what is the budgetary outlay.