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Lok Sabha Debates
Combined Discussion On The Demands For Supplementary Grants General … on 21 August, 2000

13.44 hrs.

Title: Combined discussion on the Demands for Supplementary Grants General for the year 2000-2001 and Demands for Excess Grants- General for the year 1997-98. (Concluded)

MR. CHAIRMAN: The House will now take up the next item – Supplementary Demands for Grants (General) and Demands for Excess Grants. I now call Shri Rupchand Pal to continue his speech.

SHRI RUPCHAND PAL (HOOGLY): Mr. Chairman, Sir, while speaking on the 17th August, I had asked the hon. Minister of Finance why he was seeking to have a certain amount for arranging VRS and VSS in respect of seven Central Public Sector Enterprises, namely, MAMC, NBCIL, RIC, TAFCO, WIL, BPMEL and TCIL. Why is he seeking an amount of Rs.150 crore in this Supplementary Budget for the VSS?

In that case, why should he not reconsider the prayer of so many people, including different sections of this House, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, the trade unions and others, that unit-wise study should be made? An Expert Committee had suggested that there was a possibility of revival, if the Government could sincerely try to do it. So, I am again reiterating the demand that these public sector enterprises should be revived and helped. It involves hundreds and thousands of workers and their families.

I had asked a question. After the formation of the small State of Jharkhand, it seems that the Government may have to have a rethinking in respect of Barauni Plant. Here is a Demand for additional budgetary support for Hindustan Fertiliser Corporation, Fertiliser Corporation of India and PPCL. If that be so, I would request the hon. Finance Minister to consider the case of Durgapur Plant also. After the formation of the new State of Jharkhand carving out from the united State of Bihar, when you are considering it sympathetically, I would request you to reconsider the Durgapur Plant.

There is also a provision for IISCO. As far as I understand, the amount that is being proposed is Rs.381 crore, for IISCO to waive off the outstanding loan including interest, as a part of the package for revival of SAIL. Revival of IISCO under Steel Authority of India – as a part of SAIL itself – has been a longstanding demand. Now, it seems that the blast furnace has reached such a stage that an amount not less than Rs.370 crore is required immediately for lining and construction of the already damaged blast furnace.

IISCO has got large assets; it includes its captive washery, captive mines, a good township, etc. No less than 26,000 or 27,000 people depend on it. If you add a large number of others who are depended on it, it will be more than 40,000 people. They are depending on this unit. Members from different sections of this House have been demanding that such a prestigious unit should be helped and revived. While replying, the hon. Minister should clearly spell out what he proposes to have the revival packages.

Many suggestions are pending with the Government. It should consider them. This will be not only in the interest of West Bengal, but also in the interest of the country as a whole.

DR. NITISH SENGUPTA (CONTAI): Many good suggestions have been rejected in the past.

SHRI RUPCHAND PAL : Yes. You did not apply your mind. You could have helped much more than this.

There is a provision for electronic voting machines. Electronic voting machines have been tried in different parts of the country. But questions have also been raised about its functioning. As you know, in the Bidhan Nagar Municipal Poll, it so happened that in one ward, it got stuck up. What happened is that the engineers from Hyderabad had been brought. They could not explain why it did not work. Ultimately, a repoll had to be arranged.

Even though developed countries, like Japan, have made a lot of progress in electronics, they have decided not to use the electronic voting machine. It may be because that by a prior programming, the result of the elections could be influenced. The Election Commission is going to procure a good number of them. So, the Government needs to convince the people of this country that there is no such possibility that by a prior programming the results cannot be influence in favour of any party. Why is it that developed countries like Japan have decided not to use electronic voting machines?

On the question of construction, and maintenance of roads, I would like to say that our national highways are in a very bad shape. The Government should have a re-look on the question of construction of infrastructure. There should be a full-fledged discussion in the House on the issue of infrastructure, particularly the national highways.

At this juncture, I cannot but mention two or three points. One is about the share market. What is happening in the share market is a matter of grave concern to all of us. Even the business houses are saying that their business confidence have been totally shaken. Even today, there are reports in leading newspapers that out of the study of 200 companies for which quarterly results are available, nearly fifty per cent of the companies recorded decline in operating profit margin. Except the new economy, 23 software companies, 12 fast moving consumer goods and 13 pharma companies, all others have done poorly. Should we depend so much on the new economy? I think the Finance Minister must be aware what the leading economist and Professor of North-Western University, Robert Gordon, has said. Taking into account the experience of the share markets, he has illustrated that the new economy cannot measure up to the greatest innovations of the past.

I know the hon. Finance Minister is again and again emphasising about merger of the bullockcart economy, brick and mortar economy and the new economy, that is the mouse and click economy. I know that. But of late what is happening? Even today’s newspapers are giving a grim picture of the economy and its performance. The withdrawal of the Foreign Institutional Investors is a matter of serious concern. I do not know it is correct or not that nearly 1.8 billion dollars of foreign exchange reserves have been depleted. If I am not correct, I may be corrected. Foreign Direct Investment is declining and declining in spite of all such concessions and red carpet welcome. Nothing is happening. Although the hon. Finance Minister is trying to reassure this House and this nation that he is committed to follow reform process, nothing is happening. The hon. Finance Minister should explain that. I do not agree with what he says. I do not agree not only with the direction of the reforms but also with the pace, sequence and quality of reforms. The Government are yet to explain to this country about the disinvestment process. In the name of reforms and in the name of giving it to the strategic partners, they are actually indulging in out-right sell-out of the firms to their competitors.

I would like to make one or two points before I conclude my speech. The first one is about the savings that are being noticed in the past few years. The C&AG has made scathing comments, about 1998-99, about several departments including the departments of Atomic Energy, Environment and Forests, Space, Electronics, etc. They could not spend an amount to the tune of Rs.993.14 crore during this period. If that be so, in such a situation when the Government has already embarked on a number of nuclear programmes and when Pakistan is equating it with all sorts of things, for example by getting missiles and things like that – we can debate it on a different occasion – even then the departments have failed miserably to use the money that was allotted to them. The C&AG says that out of the allocated amount, the Department of Atomic Energy could not spend Rs. 214.52 crore, Space could not spend Rs.206.13 crore, Environment and Forests, Rs.213.43 crore, and the Department of Non-Conventional Energy, Rs.109.50 crore. The Minister may kindly explain to this House as to how the Government is coming out with proposals in Supplementary Budget for PSEs so that they can outrightly sell the very good and prestigious public sector enterprises when they themselves could not spend whatever has been given to them.

I would like to make a mention about another thing. We had raised it in the House also. In 1987, this House had adopted the Jute Packaging (Mandatory Use) Bill, 1987, which later on became an Act. It was for the hundred per cent mandatory use of jute packaging material for foodgrains, sugar, cement and fertilisers. In respect of cement, there was some dilution and the provision of hundred per cent use was taken away. In the case of Urea, it was ultimately limited to 20 per cent only. Very recently, we find that the Cabinet is taking a decision in this regard. We had met the Prime Minister and raised this issue. We were assured by the Prime Minister that the dilution will not take place and that it has been suspended up to 30th of September,

As you know, more than one crore of people are dependent on this industry which is concentrated mostly in the Eastern part of India. Economy of West Bengal is dependent on the jute industry. There are about 79 jute mills in total in the country, out of which 59 are in Bengal only. There are about 14 lakh jute producers. We find that even after what we have said and after the assurance given by the Finance Minister, K.P. Geethakrishnan Committee on Expenditure Commission have made a recommendation that less and less use of jute should be made to make food cheaper. We had made a demand that the subsidy in food should continue in the interest of the poorer sections of the people as also for the people who are on the threshold of poverty, maybe one or two points up or down. But what we see today is amazing. The whole world is looking at it. The FCI godowns are flooded with over-supply of wheat and rice. There is no short cut to reduce the stocks before the kharif season procurement which is expected to commence in the next few weeks.

14.00 hrs.

The Government is trying several ways. Firstly, they have announced a drastic reduction of Rs.100 to Rs.150 per quintal in the issue price of wheat. But the situation did not improve. Then they wanted proposals for export giving loans and offering bartar trade of wheat itself. That also did not give any result. It shows that the Government has no thinking at all how the people of this country can be fed. On the one hand food is rotting in the Food Corporation. There is no off take even after slashing down the issue price and even after such proposals of bartar trade and all these things. On the other hand, people in Orissa and in the flood affected areas are starving. The Government owes an explanation to the nation that how is it that after 50 years of Independence, such is the position that on the one hand there is so much of food and on the other hand the Government had no policy to distribute it among the poorer sections of the people who are flood affected and who are affected by the natural calamities. People have also lost jobs because of the Government policies of disinvestment and all these things. Today, paddy prices in Bengal and many other States are coming down to such an extent that the agricultural producers are not producing it. We have discussed it many times. Be it in Andhra Pradesh or Maharashtra or Uttar Pradesh, the farmers had no option left but to commit suicide. In such a situation food security is in jeopardy.

Lastly, we are fast moving towards BoP crisis. I do not know how the Minister will try to assure us in this regard. He has tried to assure even day before yesterday, maybe in Jamshedpur – where he said that they have inherited the WTO binding and all these things because of Congress who had put their signature and that they have to bear it. So, with self-sufficiency and Swadeshi, they are moving and the devaluation of currency and all these things will not affect them at all. But

what will happen if the oil prices go up and up in this week? Even now the hon. Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas has already stated that maybe very soon they have to hike the prices of petrol and petroleum products.

Sir, steel industry is in doldrums and whatever potential we had for exports is not there now. The American Government has complained that there is too much of dumping and that they have to settle the issue with our steel industry. Sir, this Government is out to destroy everything. I think, if they do not change their economic policy, their desperate and mindless decentralisation policy and liberalisation, things are not going to improve.

Sir, there is a proposal for setting up one Chair at Oxford University for Indian history and culture with an expenditure of Rs.14 crore. There have been some other Chairs in Oxford and in other Universities of the world. Could the Minister kindly explain what is the speciality about it? The outfits of this Government and particularly the major partners of this Government are out to communalise the educational institutions, cultural institutions, and other Study Centres. These Centres are deprived of the money. They are distorting and re-writing the history. The Minister may explain what they have in their mind about the Indian history and culture. Is it a saffronized presentation of Indian culture? Is it a distorted presentation of Indian history or some objective history that has been a continuous process?

That should be the focus. The Minister may kindly explain about this Chair, the quality of this Chair and particularly what is in their mind about this.

DR. NITISH SENGUPTA : The Centre for Social Science Research in Calcutta was established in commemoration of Sir J.N. Sarkar. But nothing has been done thereafter.

MR. CHAIRMAN : Please take your seat.

 

डॉ. रघुवंश प्रसाद सिंह (वैशाली) : सभापति महोदय, बजट का अनुपूरक अनुदान मांगों पर बहस चल रही है। हमें याद है जब माननीय वित्त मंत्री ने ऐलान किया था कि प्रधान मंत्री ग्रामोदय योजना लागू करेंगे। हम लोगों को उत्सुकता हुई कि ग्रामोदय होगा, लेकिन जब हमने उसके बारे में जानकारी की, तो पता चला कि देवेगौड़ा जी जब प्रधान मंत्री थे, उस समय एक बेसिक मिनीमम सर्विस, बी.एम.एस. की योजना चली थी। उसमें यह व्यवस्था थी कि राज्य अपनी-अपनी प्राथमिकताएं तय करेगे कि वे कौनसा काम पहले चाहते है जैसे किसी राज्य ने पीने के पानी को प्राथमिकता दी, किसी राज्य ने गरीबों के घर बनाने को प्राथमिकता दी, किसी ने सड़क बनाने की प्राथमिकता दी, इस प्रकार सभी राज्यों ने अपनी-अपनी प्राथमिकताएं बताईं। उसके अन्तर्गत बिहार राज्य को २५० करोड़ रुपए सालाना गरीबों के घर बनाने के लिए मिलना था लेकिन उस योजना को खत्म कर दिया गया और उसकी जगह पर प्रधान मंत्री ग्रामोदय योजना शुरू करने का निर्णय इस सरकार ने लिया। उसमें ५ हजार करोड़ खर्च करने की हम लोगों को जानकारी मिली है। उसमें से ढाई हजार करोड़ रुपए से सड़कों का निर्माण करने का निर्णय लिया गया। इसके अंतर्गत एक या डेढ़ हजार की आबादी वाले गांवों को जो सड़कों से नहीं जुड़े हैं उन्हें सड़कों से कनैक्ट करना शामिल है। हमें यह जानकर अत्यन्त प्रसन्नता हुई कि एन.डी.ए. की सरकार गांवों की ओर बहुत ख्याल कर रही है।

सभापति महोदय, हमने रूरल डैवलपमेंट विभाग का जो प्रतिवेदन पढ़ा, उसमें हमने पाया कि डीजल पर सेस के रूप में जो एक रुपए का टैक्स लगाया गया है उससे सड़कें बनाने का काम होगा। इससे पांच हजार करोड़ रुपए की आमदनी होगी जिसमें से ढाई हजार करोड़ रुपए नैशनल हाइवे के निर्माण पर और ढाई हजार करोड़ रुपए रूरल रोड्स के निर्माण पर खर्च होगा। इसको पढ़कर हमें लगा कि गांवों को जोड़ने का जो बेसिक मिनीमम सर्विस प्रोग्राम था, उसमें भी गांवों को सड़कों से जोड़े जाने की बात कही गई, प्रधान मंत्री ग्रामोदय योजना में भी गांवों को सड़कों से जोड़ने की बात कही गई और डीजल के ऊपर लगे सेस से जो आमदनी होगी, उसमें से भी आधा धन रूरल रोड्स के निर्माण पर खर्च किया जाएगा जिससे हमें बहुत प्रसन्नता हुई। इसी प्रकार की जानकारी सभी राज्य सरकारों को भी गई कि ग्रामों को सड़कों से जोड़ा जाएगा। इसलिए राज्यों की ओर से नक्शे और तमाम योजनाएं बनकर केन्द्र सरकार के पास आईं, लेकिन अभी तक वह मामला कैबीनेट में नहीं गया है। मामला अटका हुआ है। हमको बहुत प्रसन्नता हुई कि सरकार तीन-तीन स्थानों पर गांवों को सड़कों से जोड़ने पर जोर दे रही है और तीन-तीन तरफ से पैसा उसके ऊपर खर्च करने की योजना बनाई जा रही है।

सभापति महोदय, हमें इन सब योजनाओं की जानकारी करने से पता चला कि यह कोई नई योजना नहीं बल्कि पुरानी योजना को समाप्त कर के उसे नया नाम दे दिया गया है। यह तो वही बात हुई महोदय, जैसे हमारे यहां एक रामलीला हो रही थी। उसमें पात्रों की कमी थी। एक आदमी रावण का मुखौटा लगाकर आ जाता, कभी वही आदमी हनुमान का मुखौटा लगाकर आ जाता और कभी वही जामवंत का मुखौटा लगाकर जनता के सामने आ जाता। यही काम यह सरकार कर रही है। नाम नया है लेकिन योजना पुरानी ही है। अलग-अलग नामों से अलग-अलग कामों के जरिये पुरानी योजना को बता दिया है कि हम नई योजना चला रहे हैं। यदि ऐसा है, तो मैं पूछना चाहता हूं कि डीजल के सेस का जो पैसा है वह कहां जमा है ? क्या वह पैसा कंसोलिडेटेड फंड आफ इंडिया के खाते में जमा है या जहां-तहां चला गया और उस स्कीम का क्या हुआ? राज्य सरकार के लोग तैयार हैं और हर राज्य से हर प्रकार की सूचना आ गई है, इस बात की जानकारी हमें है, लेकिन अभी तक इस बारे में कैबीनेट का फैसला नहीं हो सका है। इसलिए हम आरोप लगाते हैं वभिन्न योजनाओं को, पुरानी योजनाओं के नामों को बदल कर दिखाएंगे और ऐसा काम करेंगे, तो यह राम लीला के पात्र की तरह से छल करने का काम हुआ और इस प्रकार जनता के साथ छल किया जा रहा है। इसलिए मंत्री महोदय अपने जवाब के समय बताएं कि डीजल के सेस का पैसा कहां जमा है और वह पैसा प्रधान मंत्री की ग्रामोदय योजना के तहत लगाया जाएगा या उस योजना के तहत अलग से पैसा दिया जाएगा और इस प्रकार से देश के साथ छल कर के इतने बड़े देश को बिना सिद्धान्त और नीति के चलाया जा सकता है?

इसकी सफाई कौन देगा और लोगों को कैसे जानकारी होगी।

११वें वित्त आयोग ने अनुशंसाएं कीं और सरकार ने उन्हें मान लिया है। जो पिछड़े राज्य हैं, जहां आर्थिक पिछड़ापन है, ज्यादा राज्यों की आर्थिक हालत खराब है, चौपट है। …(व्यवधान)

SHRI TRILOCHAN KANUNGO (JAGATSINGHPUR): Bihar has got a bonanza.

डा. रघुवंश प्रसाद सिंह : बिहार से बढि़या हालत उड़ीसा की नहीं है। …(व्यवधान)

श्री अरुण कुमार (जहानाबाद) : नीति, सिद्धान्त से राज्य चला रहे हैं। …(व्यवधान)

सभापति महोदय : आप बैठिए।

डा. रघुवंश प्रसाद सिंह : क्या आप लोगों का फायदा नहीं होगा? आप गांव जाते हैं तो यह नहीं कहा जाता कि सड़कों से जोड़िए। …(व्यवधान) ११वें वित्त आयोग ने कहा है कि पिछड़े राज्यों को ज्यादा सहूलियत दी जाए। हालंकि मैं कह रहा हूं कि ११वें वित्त आयोग की अनुशंसा में भी पिछड़े राज्यों को सहूलियत देने की बात है लेकिन वित्त मंत्री जी बताएं कि क्या उससे उनकी हालत में कोई सुधार होने वाला है। जो अनुशंसाएं की गई हैं, उससे सुधार नहीं हो सकता। भारत के संविधान की भावना है कि पिछड़ा समाज, पिछड़ी जाति, अनुसूचित जाति, जनजाति, जो अभी तक वंचित, शोषित, उपेक्षित हैं, उन्हें रिजर्वेशन दिया जाए। उसी आधार पर जो पिछड़े राज्य हैं, उन्हें राष्ट्र की मुख्यधारा में लाने के लिए विशेष तरजीह दी जाए। क्या क्षेत्रीय विषमता देश के लिए अच्छी चीज है? इसलिए उस भावना का ख्याल रखते हुए ११वें वित्त आयोग ने अनुशंसाएं की हैं। उसके खिलाफ विकसित राज्य एकजुट हों, भारतीय संविधान की भावना का ख्याल किए बिना कि हमने ज्यादा विकास कर लिया है, पिछड़ों को छोड़ दिया जाए। हर राज्य अपना सवाल उठा सकते हैं। कुछ राज्यों के मुख्य मंत्रियों की बैठक हो रही है। श्री चन्द्र बाबू नायडू, आंध्रा चीफ मनिस्टर को पहले पी.एम. मैटीरियल कहते थे लेकिन वे अपने पैरों में अपने आप कुल्हाड़ी मार रहे हैं। कहते हैं कि ११वें वित्त आयोग ने पिछड़े राज्यों को इतना क्यों दे दिया। वह नाजायज है। विकसित राज्यों को उससे दंड मिल रहा है। यह उचित नहीं है। रिजर्वेशन के खिलाफ जो आत्मदाह कर रहे थे, क्या वह उचित था? सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने भी कहा है। इस देश को चलाने के लिए भारत के संविधान में आरक्षण को लागू करने की बात हो रही है। अभी संविधान संशोधन आएगा। पिछड़े राज्यों की आर्थिक तबाही को देखते हुए उन्हें सोशल जस्टिस, फाईनैंशियल जस्टिस मिलना चाहिए। केन्द्र सरकार को ११वें वित्त आयोग से भी आगे बढ़ कर कार्य करना चाहिए। लेकिन इसमें राजनीति चल रही है, मुख्य मंत्रियों का कुछ दबाव चल रहा है और बैठक हो रही है। राज्यों के फाईनैंस सैक्रेटरीज की बैठक हो गई है। मुख्य मंत्रियों की बैठक अभी चल रही होगी। मैं आपके माध्यम से आग्रह करना चाहता हूं कि जो पिछड़े क्षेत्र हैं, देश में आर्थिक विषमता है, उसे दूर करने के लिए ११वें वित्त आयोग ने जो कदम उठाए हैं हमें उससे और आगे जाना चाहिए। देश के १०-१२ राज्य आगे बढ़ जाएं, और राज्य पीछे छूट जाएं, तो क्या हिन्दुस्तान तरक्की करेगा। यह कौन सा अर्थ शास्त्र है, कहां का अर्थ शास्त्र है। ११वें वित्त आयोग की अनुशंसा से भी पिछड़े राज्यों की आर्थिक तबाही में समाधान नहीं होने वाला है। इसलिए पिछड़े राज्यों को राष्ट्र की मुख्यधारा में लाने के लिए उनकी तबाही को दूर करने का काम करना चाहिए। …(व्यवधान)

सभापति महोदय : आपके दो सवाल हो गए हैं, और कितने सवाल हैं। क्या यह अंतिम सवाल है ?

डा. रघुवंश प्रसाद सिंह : डब्लू.टी.ओ. में ७१४ चीजों के आने का कानून पास हो गया और अगले साल ७१५ चीजें आयेंगी, कुल १४२९ सामान आएंगे। उसमें क्या आयेगा। उसमें नमक, दूध पाउडर आयेगा, यह सब बाहर से आयेगा। हिन्दुस्तान मल्टीनेशनल का बाजार हो रहा है। मैं इस सभा के माध्यम से आम जनता का, आम किसान का आहवान करता हूं और माननीय सदस्यों का ध्यान आकृष्ट करता हूं कि देश कहां जा रहा है, किसानों की हालत क्या होगी। यहां मल्टीनेशनल बढ़ेगा, ईस्ट इंडिया कम्पनी की तरह आ रहा है। मल्टीनेशनल कम्पनियों का इतना सामान आने का निर्णय हो गया, आटा चूरा, हल्दी, मसाला सब बाहर से आयेगा। दूध आयेगा तो यहां के पशुपालकों का क्या होगा, यहां के किसान का क्या होगा, यह सब सवाल सोचने के हैं या नहीं हैं कि देश को हम लोग कहां ले जा रहे हैं।…( व्यवधान) मैं किसान का सवाल उठा रहा हूं तो आपको कष्ट हो रहा है क्या?

चौथे सवाल में इनका जो पी.डी.एस. है, उसमें इन्होंने गेहूं का भाव नौ रुपये किलो कर दिया और गरीब के लिए ४.५० रुपये कर दिया, लेकिन उसको वह पांच रुपये किलो मिल रहा है, जबकि बाजार में ५.५० और छ: रुपये किलो गेहूं का भाव है। अब यह सवाल उठा कि इनके गेहूं की खपत कैसे हो, इनके तमाम सहयोगी दलों ने कहा कि भाव घटाइये, लेकिन इन्होंने उसे मूंछ की लड़ाई बना दिया। कोई खेल बात है, भाजपा का राज है, सहयोगियों की मैं कोई परवाह नहीं करता, यह भावना भी रही। व्यय समति ने कहा तो १०-२० पैसे घटाये हैं, लेकिन व्यय समति के कहने से १०-२० पैसा घटा। गरीब आदमी, गांव के आम उपभोक्ता को नौ रुपये में और व्यापारी के हाथ में छ: और सात रुपये में बेचने का फैसला सरकार ने किया है कि नहीं किया है? इतना बड़ा छल, इतना बड़ा धोखा, इतना बड़ा गरीब विरोधी, उपभोक्ताविरोधी कार्य हो सकता है, नहीं तो अनाज का क्या होगा। आप चाहते हैं कि अनाज का प्रिक्योरमेंट नहीं हो तो किसान का क्या होगा, आम किसान और आम उपभोक्ता का क्या होगा। इस सरकार की क्या नीति है कि सरकारी सस्ते गल्ले की दुकान से नौ रुपये किलो और व्यापारी के हाथ में पांच, छ: और सात रुपये किलो बेचने का सरकार ने फैसला किया है। इतना बड़ा छल, धोखा और गरीब, किसानविरोधी कार्रवाई कोई नहीं हो सकती।

अन्तिम पांचवें सवाल में मैं बिहार पर आता हूं। बिहार के बंटवारे के बारे में माननीय वित्त मंत्री जी बहुत उत्सुक थे, इन्होंने बड़ा जोर लगाया हुआ था। इनको बुझाता है कि बिहार के या किसी राज्य के बंटवारे से ही तरक्की कर जायेगा। यह कहां का समाजशास्त्र है, कहां का अर्थशास्त्र है, यह हमको नहीं बुझाता है। लेकिन सदन ने पारित किया तो बिहार से अभी श्री राजीव रूडी कह रहे थे कि बाढ़ से २७ जिलों में तबाही है, एक करोड़ लोग प्रभावित हैं। यह हर साल की बात है कि कुछ जिलों में बाढ़ है और कुछ जिलों में सुखाड़ है। बाढ़ है, सुखाड़ है और ऊपर से बंटवारा है तो उस राज्य का क्या होगा। क्या आप वहां उग्रवाद चाहते हैं, इसलिए कहा कि स्पेशल केटेगरी देनी चाहिए। आज माक्र्सवादी लेनिनवादी पार्टी का बड़ा भारी जुलूस आया है और जंतर-मंतर पर प्रदर्शन किया है कि राज्य को स्पेशल केटेगरी घोषित किया जाये और उस पर जो बकाया कर्जा है, उसको माफ कर दिया जाये। वहां पर बरौनी का कारखाना बन्द है, सिन्दरी का कारखाना बन्द है। सुना है कि तीन-चार बार यहां एक बैठक हुई है, उस सवाल को हम उठा चुके हैं, जो सिन्दरी फर्टिलाइजर कारखाना है, उसी का पी.डी.आई.एल. है, अंझोर खाद का कारखाना है, बरौनी कारखाना है, ये सब बन्द हैं, खराब चौपट हालत में हैं और इनपर एक्सपर्ट कमेटी की रिपोर्ट है…

( व्यवधान)

सभापति महोदय : अब समाप्त कीजिए।

डॉ. रघुवंश प्रसाद सिंह : ग्रामीण विद्युतीकरण का पैसा नहीं गया, ४० करोड़ रुपया आर.ई.सी. ने मंजूर किया था, वह अभी तक नहीं गया। वहां विद्युतीकरण के बिना कैसे विकास होगा।

आज नौ लाख हेक्टेयर जमीन में जल भरा हुआ है। मोकामा में एक लाख हेक्टेयर जमीन में जल भराव है और गंगा, कोसी तथा गंडक नदियों के बेसिन वाले एरिया में आठ लाख हेक्टेयर जमीन में जल भराव है। किसान परेशान हो रहा है। यहां सी.पी. ठाकुर जी बैठे हुए हैं, उनको मालूम है। बिहार सरकार ने गंडक का फेज वन केन्द्र सरकार को भेजा है, लेकिन उस पर कोई ध्यान नहीं दिया गया। इसी तरह से कोसी फेज टू का क्या हुआ, कुछ पता नहीं है।

ये सारे सवाल ऐसे हैं जिन पर अगर विचार होगा तब क्षेत्रीय असंतुलन जो है, आर्थिक विषमता है, सामाजिक विषमता है, उसका समाधान हो सकता है। इसलिए मैं वित्त मंत्री जी से कहना चाहता हूं कि मेरे द्वारा उठाए इन चार बिंदुओं पर वे ध्यान दें और अपने जवाब में बतायें कि सरकार इनके बारे में क्या कर रही है। हम विपक्ष के लोगों में एका नहीं रहता, उधर के लोगों का भी कहना है कि सरकार ठीक नहीं चल रही है, पूरी तैयारियां हो गई हैं इस सरकार को हटाने की और यह जरूरी भी है। हम लोग बड़े पैमाने पर आंदोलन करके इस सरकार को हटाने की तैयारी कर रहे हैं। वैकल्पिक व्यवस्था क्या होगी, इसका भी इंतजाम करेंगे। इसलिए सरकार निरंकुश न हो, गरीब विरोधी न हो, किसान विरोधी न हो। वनिवेश के

जरिए देश को बेचने की तैयारी हो रही है। आप भी सभापति महोदय वनिवेश का विरोध करते हैं। माडर्न फूड इंडस्ट्री की २००० करोड़ रुपए की जमीन बेच दी। हमारा राष्ट्रीय झंडा आसमान में उड़ा करता था, उस यर इंडिया को भी बेचने को यह सरकार उतारू है। इसलिए इनके खिलाफ हम आंदोलन करने वाले हैं। आंदोलन करके हम इनको मजा चखाएंगे और इस सरकार को हटा देंगे।

DR. B.B. RAMAIAH (ELURU): Mr. Chairman, Sir, the hon. Finance Minister has brought the Supplementary Demands for Grants(General). This is not the first time we are having this. This is the routine standard thing. There is nothing new about that. It is always a problem when you prepare a Budget. Somewhere or other, there would be gaps. This time I find that the Departments of Food Processing, Heavy Industries, Power, and Surface Transport are having more demands as compared to other Departments. Whatever it is, today, we are planning for better programming, financial stability, reduction of deficit finance to the maximum extent possible, and controlling the inflation within limits. That is the main part of the subject. However, though the subject is only the Supplementary Demands for Grants, normally on an occasion like this, I would like to speak a bit more about other items concerning finance.

Today, we feel that the Demands for Grants for infrastructure are one of the most important items, and the Finance Minister should take into consideration its requirements and to see that infrastructure is given a top priority. We have been making our best efforts for the last several years but still we are not able to enjoy the fruits of the infrastructure development – roads, power, ports and other requirements. What are the main reasons in not achieving this? Why are people not able to invest money in this field? Maybe, there may be some constraints, which require a longer duration for the tax concessions, financial support, and additional support from both the Central and the States. They are all interrelated between the Centre and the States.

Look at what happened in the case of surface transport? People are willing to come but the land acquisition is a problem. A lot of other issues have also to be settled as early as possible. Same is the case in the field of power generation. We have come across instances where people are willing to invest in the field of power generation but there are issues which have to be resolved carefully to see that it should be made more attractive in order to see that gap in the field of power generation is reduced.

The development of any country depends upon the development of its basic infrastructure. If you do not have proper power supply, you cannot develop the industry. Today, both industry and agriculture depend mainly on power. So, I feel that the hon. Finance Minister has to give more thrust to these important areas. Then, our imports and exports have to move faster. For this purpose, the ports have to be modernised. A small country like Singapore can handle substantial quantity of imports and exports today very fast and they are able to do that due to the modernisation of their ports. Here also, we need to modernise our ports with better equipment and better system of computer operations. That is the only way in which we can move our imports and exports faster. I am sure that the hon. Finance Minister would look into these aspects.

Sir, the other day, we have discussed as to how the funds are being utilised under various rural development programmes. The development of the rural areas is a very important thing where we are spending a lot of money today. In this context, MPLADS is one of the programmes which is really very useful for implementing various rural development works. Under this scheme, we are able to utilised the funds released by the Ministry of Finance in a much better way than they are used in any other area like irrigation, industry, education or health services. Today, we can see that, with better controls and with better methods of utilisation, we are able to utilise the money in a useful way for rural development. We are spending this money mainly in the field of rural development. The type of controls that we are having now for this scheme is much better than that are there in any other scheme for which the money is released by the Government of India. Everybody is interested in this scheme and I am hopeful that we would be able to convince the hon. Prime Minister also to increase the money allocated to each MP for this scheme. Now, the State Governments are also giving money to every MLA for the development of his constituency and they give near about Rs.One crore to each MLA. Every MP has seven Assembly constituencies covered under his Lok Sabha constituency. Though we are not asking that much money, we would request that the Finance Minister should, at least, increasing the amount to some extent than the existing one.

Sir, earlier, the thinking was that the utilisation of money under this scheme was very poor and an amount of Rs.1,800 crore is lying unutilised. This was mainly because there was no proper understanding between the District Collectors and the officers of the Central Government. Of late, we are conducting a number of meetings where they could have a lot of interaction between them. Recently, we had a meeting of all the District Collectors of Southern States, officers of the Central Government and the Members of Parliament and in that meeting we realised as to what are the constraints that are coming in the way of utilising this money. Now, after taking proper action, within six months we have been able to release an amount of Rs.1,844 crore. So, there is a tremendous scope for the utilisation of funds properly for rural development under this scheme. I hope that the hon. Finance Minister would be able to give us additional funds for utilisation under this scheme.

Sir, every now and then natural calamities like cyclone or drought occur in our country. So, the allocation under the National Calamity Relief Fund should be increased substantially, because every time, we find that not enough funds are there and the affected people do not get proper relief. In fact, the funds under MPLAD Scheme were also utilised for providing relief to the people who were affected by natural calamities. We have used this fund for providing relief to the people because we felt that it was very important to do so. So, I am sure that the hon. Finance Minister would be able to give us more funds for this scheme.

Sir, agriculture is the backbone of this country. More than 70 per cent of the population of our country lives in rural areas and they mainly depend on agriculture. There are two aspects here. One is, with the Green Revolution, we have been able to improve the production of rice, wheat and sugar in our country. The other thing is, we are not able to get enough storage facilities for our produce, enough financial assistance from the banks, whereas the other countries, who are also following the WTO norms, are able to help their farmers and they are exporting their surplus produce to other countries. Those countries have been giving substantial amount of subsidy on various items. For example, we are producing more poultry products in our country and this is one of the industries which should be given enough subsidy. But, somehow or the other, the Planning Commission is not willing to support such industries. I feel that we have now come to a stage that in spite of the increase in our population we have to take care of them and we have to invest substantial amount of money to control the population. But, despite the increase in our population we are able to increase our production substantially in various sectors.

That requires the Government support. The Government has to give a lot of additional encouragement so that the country is able to earn more than what they are doing now.

The same thing is in the case of software technology. We are only producing software technology on low-cost basis. We have to produce software technology so that our people are able to take it to other countries and earn more from all those things. But we need various facilities for these people like satellite control system and other facilities so that with software technology, the industrial development could come up.

Recently, we have also been talking about disinvestment. The disinvestment policy, started in 1991, is in the right direction. Earlier, we have invested Rs. 2,50,000 crore in public sector whereas the investment at some place or the other is somehow not that good.

To control deficit finance, we have put a brake. The disinvestment policy that we are following is correct. But the main thing required is transparency and the experts who should be able to utilise the disinvestment and do a good job.

The other thing that we have to do is that the funds that come out of the disinvestment should be properly planned and utilised for proper direction, that is, either for VRS or medical education. Once we identify this factor, it will really be a good job so far. In 10 years, we have been able to disinvest only Rs. 18,000 crore out of Rs. 2,50,000 crore. We have done a very little in ten years. That means, we are not really keen to do that. We have to make substantial progress on this front.

Coming to industrial sickness, there is a lot of money which has been blocked either by financial institutions or banks due to sickness of industry. We have only the BIFR which deals with the people in the small sector.

MR. CHAIRMAN : Please conclude.

DR. B.B. RAMAIAH : Sir, you have to give me time because you have used more time than what you were supposed to use. Now, you cannot say that I cannot have more time.

14.31 hrs. (DR. RAGHUVANSH PRASAD SINGH IN THE CHAIR)

The BIFR is not able to tackle all this industry so that sickness is avoided. I am sure that the Minister of Finance would be able to find out some methods as to how the mergers and amalgamations should take place so that idle money, idle industrial equipment and idle labour, that is possible, should also be reduced to whatever extent it is possible.

There are some of the items about which there are constraints. I have mentioned earlier about the WTO. The WTO has given a lot of teeth for us. If you can use the teeth and take quick decisions, we can have foreign direct investment and a Board where the applications will be processed very fast. We should have direct foreign investment. We have put a separate board where the applications will be cleared very fast. Here also, we have to identify various sectors. Even for agricultural products, you can put 100 per cent protective duty. But if we are not doing it, sometimes, we will be facing the problems in the case of small scale industry or heavy industry or petro-chemical industry or on the agricultural side. Even people think that we are liberalising too much. The liberalisation is only for the quantitative restrictions. But the tariff protection is a factor that we should utilise it. If we do not use it, we are doing a lot of injustice to this country. It is not the WTO that is wrong. It is not utilising ourselves is a factor that we have take into consideration.

About the Rupee-Dollar tariff, there was a lot of discussion that took place last week. Here are two aspects. One is that the rupee is weak. Imports have become more expensive. So, we are discouraging imports. What we have to do is that production must go up. Today, petroleum is the main product. With the import of petrol at a high cost and such other things, the cost is going up. That is why, I think, the amount of trade balance is now more than $ 4 billion. In a short time, our exports have increased. But the balance of trade has gone up because of import of crude at a high price. What we have to do is that inflation should be contained. We have to reduce some of these aspects wherever possible. You cannot increase the prices of all these things simultaneously with an increase in that thing. It may be temporary and may be able to take care of that. But a concern about these factors is very important.

As I put it earlier, there are education, medical and various other things. The hon. Minister of Finance should take care of some of these items. The housing part will also create some issues. But in any case, I hope, the hon. Minister of Finance will take more interest in the basic issues. I support the small quantity that he has asked for as additional supplementary grants. He has to do a lot more for development. I am very thankful to you.

SHRI PRIYA RANJAN DASMUNSI (RAIGANJ): Mr. Chairman Sir, participating in this discussion on Supplementary Demands for Grants is a very customary one, but it provides an opportunity to have an appraisal of the fiscal management of the country and to understand the direction of the Government in which it is attempting.

Mr. Chairman Sir, widely debated acclaimed claims of the reforms, rightly or wrongly, have been projected in two directions, that is, investment from outside and disinvestment from inside. I am just not going for disinvestment now, I am talking of investment from outside. The reply given by the hon. Finance Minister on 18th August made it absolutely clear that the economic scenario of the country in terms of investment from outside is really in doldrums. The Government””s own commitment on the floor makes it further clear. The Government is not clear as to how it will reach its target.

Sir, in the reply the hon. Finance Minister has said:

“that the foreign investments are allowed in all the sectors except a small negative list subject to a policy and the impact of foreign investment and borrowing on our economy is limited as can be seen from the fact that the investment rate has exceeded the rate of domestic saving only marginally.”

He also gave the data. In 1996-97, the savings ratio was 23.3 per cent, and the investment ratio was 24.6 per cent; in 1997-98 the savings ratio was 24.7 per cent, the investment ratio was 26.2 per cent; and in 1999 the savings ratio was 22.3 per cent and the investment ratio was 23.4 per cent. Further he said:

“The role of foreign investment and other borrowings in the national income is quite limited. External sources constituted only 4.4 per cent of the gross investment in the Eighth Plan.”

 

I can understand that because that was just the beginning of the reforms era, which was yet to be crystallised.

“Later on the remaining 95.6 per cent investment are from domestic resource and in the Ninth Plan period the external resources are expected to contribute only 7.45 per cent gross investment. ”

But in the light of the statement and the present updated position of the foreign investment, as indicated, it cannot even reach 7.45 per cent.

Sir, this being the scenario, what is happening inside the country, let us address the issue. It is no bad to invite all the companies to compete in the gambit of your reforms programme and policy for which we are also substantially committed. I do not like to run away from our responsibility as the Indian National Congress while we introduced the economic reforms under Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Sir, I can give you two classic examples and the hon. Finance Minister will bear me out. He has received the same presentation from the CII. There are five giants in cement industry in the world. I may mention two of them, Lafard of France and Gluble of Europe. Now with regard to the Indian Cement in terms of its quality and capacity, first I talk of quality. It has been tested in the United States and graded as Category I quality of cement. I do agree that Indian Cement industry was languishing for various reasons, like outdated plant and machinery, capacity augmentation was not substantial, investment and establishment was not at par with the economic and fiscal discipline. I am not going into that.

I give one example. A company came in India called Lafard. It started buying one after another cement units. The question is, it started buying from what capital. It is not Lafard who brought the capital from France. It came in India and started buying one after the other companies asking their names and loans from the banks. It started buying and investment not with foreign investment but from our own public sector banks and financial institutions. It started taking the money from our own reserves, from our hard earned, gained strength in the banks and started buying up these companies.

He is jacking up the price or jacking down the price as he desires and the foreign investment is nil. Is it a policy that you are going to encourage? Is it a policy that you are going to follow? We have built up certain empire, maybe its health is not good. Somebody may come from abroad and say, `I want to improve its health, give me money at a lower rate of interest.”” I am not going to argue on that. The point is that he is addressing our banks and our financial institutions to pay him the project cost for buying it and he says that he will not spend a single paisa either in terms of dollar or currency or anything. This is what is sickening me. You have got a petition in this regard from CII. I do not know how the Government has reacted to that, whether the Government has any control on that, and whether the Government is superior or those companies are superior.

Mr. Chairman, in regard to disinvestment, I do not have to say much because we have debated enough. Our leader of the Party and the Leader of the Opposition, Shrimati Sonia Gandhi, had written a letter to the hon. Speaker on the 18th of August that there should be a Standing Committee of Parliament on disinvestment. Any proposal in regard to disinvestment should come to this Committee for checks and balances, at least to understand what is happening. I hope that the Government will come forward with a decision for achieving that. You wanted to get Rs.10,000 crore. Mr. Finance Minister, I was too happy – I am not scoring points – and safe as a citizen of India that disinvestment portfolio was linked with the finance because it was the Finance Minister and the Finance Ministry who have to make checks and balances of the entire fiscal administration every second, minute, or month. Such a vast country like India, which is having so many State Governments, for having these checks and balances, the nodal authority is the Finance Ministry. I do not know what compelled the Government to create a Disinvestment Ministry making it totally free from the Finance Ministry. The Finance Ministry comes to know about what the Disinvestment Ministry is proclaiming after 48 hours or one week. Before they make any quarrel in public, in the so-called NDA discipline, they just try to assemble somewhere and try to sort out the issue outside Parliament.

Now, you have proclaimed that you have planned to achieve Rs.10,000 crore through disinvestment. Did you spell out your policy at any point of time that this amount of Rs.10,000 crore is not to meet the budgetary deficit but to strengthen the PSUs and to strengthen other social infrastructure, for which you want to invite more foreign investment? No. So, the nation is guessing you, Mr. Finance Minister, and the Parliament is questioning the bona fide of your working. Are you taking a fast track of disinvestment? These days, in the modern airports, there is a fast track checking – immigration and everything. I think, your Disinvestment Ministry is a fast track Ministry, with which you cannot keep up your pace because proper co-ordination is lacking. You are not having a fast track and you are standing like a passenger in the common queue and feeling that you will go with your passport when your turn comes. Your Disinvestment Minister, with the fast track approach, is going ahead, and one day you will find that your portfolio will be disinvested because of the way he is behaving and moving. Mr. Finance Minister, today you have got a chance. After this Session there will be recess for two months. I do not know what you are going to do within those two months, and the Parliament would not know about it. The constituents of NDA, with their usual conjunction to keep their electorate with them, will make some statements – TDP from Hyderabad and BJD from Orissa – that they are not happy, they will say, taking their electorate into confidence, that they have made a noise. Then, the Prime Minister and others will call a meeting of the constituents of NDA over a cup of tea and say, `Look, the country is in a grave situation. If you do not listen to me, Congress and others will gang up against us. Please keep quiet.”” This is the usual practice, which you have been doing. You do it. That is not the issue.

Will you really announce in this House today that the amount realised from disinvestment is not aiming to meet your budgetary deficit but precisely it is being reserved or planned, not for transferring into the Consolidated Fund of India, but it is for the specific heads of investments where the PSUs will be strengthened and developed? Will you please announce it today? If you cannot spell out even today, I think, Parliament has every right and for that reason, the nation has every right to develop suspicion about your way of functioning in so far as the entire finance management of the country is concerned. Therefore, I would request you to spell out that thing.

The scene of capital market is very rough. Mr. Finance Minister, you have received a number of petitions. I do not like to go into this. These days in the capital and share markets, a few foreign institutional investors and casino boards enter in the morning and decide their plan of operation on their own style. The small, medium and indigenous investors of the country have been complaining me that we have hardly a place to play around that casino board. This is the internal scenario. You know better. You are in the job. You can reply properly. I have discussed this matter enough earlier also.

Shri Rupchand Pal has said about a few commodities. It is not only jute but others are also in a bad shape. Of course, jute is in a very bad shape because of your packaging policy. You say, you are for the poor. You say, you are for the people. You, Mr. Finance Minister, come from Bihar. You know if jute is adversely affected, who will cry in the Bihar villages? North Bihar villages will cry because largely most of their one day’s chapati comes from the jute mills of Bengal. I feel proud that Bengalis and Biharis stay together to struggle to revive both their rural economy and Bengal economy through jute. I feel always proud. In every Holi festival I find in the jute mill areas that we are together and one. Mr. Finance Minister, you represent Bihar. I do not know whether the Ministry of Textile and other Departments consult you. The jute is waning. After this packing order, God save us, the situation is so bad. I also represent a jute growing area. I cannot explain what is happening because I do not know considering the way you are functioning almost casually and the way you are lacking in policy, what you are going to do tonight and what you are going to do day after tomorrow.

Tea is also in a bad shape. I remember while I was handling this Department for four years in the Ministry of Commerce, there was a boom in the tea industry. The Indian tea industries were safe, strong and effective ones. Today, I am not questioning your policy because we have accepted the policy of import and export regime after the GATT agreement in a different manner. Ceylonese teas are dumped in India. Indian tea industry is crying. Therefore, these are few areas where India should feel proud of augmenting its own strength to cater to our cheapest beverage, a cup of tea, even in the villages, and also to export it substantially.

Regarding poverty alleviation programme, Mr. Finance Minister, you make an exclusive appraisal. Here, I think some will agree and some will not agree. The entire poverty alleviation and rural development programmes are done through the Panchayati Raj. I know you have no substantial support for this. Being a so-called pro-poor Government and this Budget being a Swadeshi Budget, you have tried to hit the poverty alleviation schemes and programmes by substantially cutting down the strength. But that is not my point. My point is accountability. You give the money to the States. The States give the money to the districts. In a Private Members’ Business, I moved a Constitution (Amendment) Bill. The time has come, Mr. Finance Minister. If I make you accountable as the Finance Minister and you make accountable the Chief Ministers and the Finance Ministers of the States, why should the Constitution not make the Panchayati Raj authorities also accountable for their financial indiscipline? I can give instances. I am not scoring political points. Half of the money that you give to Panchayati Raj is looted by the rural mafia. If you see the provisions of the Constitution, there is no mandatory accountability of the Panchayati Raj authorities to give the audited statement of accounts. A terrible situation is going on. I know in my area three-fourths of the fund that was given to the development of the roads and for supplying drinking water has been looted simply.

गरीब लोगों के नाम से जाली दस्तखत कर के, उनको बेबस कर दिया गया और उनके नाम पर कागजात जमा कर दिए। हम पार्लियामेंट के मैम्बर हैं, हमारी जिम्मेदारी है। आप मंत्री हैं, आपकी जिम्मेदारी है। मुख्य मंत्री की भी कानूनन जिम्मेदारी है, लेकिन जिला परिषद और पंचायत की कोई जिम्मेदारी कानून में नहीं दी गई है। वे एकाउंट दें या नहीं दें, कोई वैधानिक दायित्व नहीं है। वे घपला करें, कुछ भी करें, कानूनन आप उनको नहीं पकड़ सकते।

Nobody is there. I am trying. The Government must amend the Constitution.. There must be accountability. If accountability is not maintained the entire dream of India for rural development will be shattered.

I will now come to the important point of West Bengal’s public sector units. In your Supplementary Grants Demand No.l3, I see that you got Rs.229.5 crore for seven public sector undertakings, one of which is MAMC of Bengal.

. सर, आप हमेशा कहते रहे हैं कि इस पर चाहते हैं कि बहस हो। इसलिए मैं इस बारे में थोड़ा सा बोल रहा रहा हूं। कृपया मुझे समय दें।

In Bengal, I remember that day, I also crossed the border of the then East Pakistan in the lap of my mother, leaving everything in the then East Pakistan. In the midnight, we crossed to save the honour of my sister. I was too small at that time. A Muslim family protected us and pushed us to India. We came as refugees. In those days a strong Chief Minister called Dr. BC Roy, confronted Jawaharlal Nehru and said that it was the people of the Punjab and Bengal who were the victims of partition leaving their properties while coming to India and that they should be protected in all possible ways.

An industry was formed, the Rehabilitation Industries Corporation taking the people of the community to give them some jobs immediately and understand them well. Lot of people got benefited.

This Government – I specially address the hon. Minister Shri Tapan Sikdar got a mandate of a constituency. Can he deny it where 90 per cent of the members of the electorate are from the then East Pakistan, settled as refugees? Half of them are directly or indirectly involved with this organisation called RIC. He just did not bother! He just did not bother! He simply closed it! He simply closed it, an organisation which was protected by Indiraji, Rajivji and even by Shri Narasimha Rao””s Government. He could have told them, “Look, I am getting lot of investors, I am getting a lot of technology. You wait, I will give you different proposals.” He could have said it. But they are on the streets now.

I know what amount of embarrassment Shri Tapan Sikdar has to face his constituency. In fact, he cannot speak as he is a member of the Government. I am taking his cause and speaking about it, about rehabilitating that organisation, about reviving it. I will ask him not to close it.

MAMC of Durgapur has been closed. What wrong has Bengal done, I want to know. We paid the highest price and made the highest sacrifices during the Freedom Struggle. Now the Government is taking away one after another the public sector units of Bengal. Why? I want to know. Is it the price we have to pay?

The other day Bihar was crying, after the formation of Jharkhand. – I am crying not because I am a Congressman; I am crying because we have witnessed one nationalist movement in West Bengal from 1967 to l97l. I was there in those days Many friends came to us. We know. What is going on? It was not done in those days. And now again you are sending a message of every industry being closed down. It is the National Instruments, which used to make the components of Defence, sophisticated components. The Government gave them a red alert and they are disinvesting all the blue chip companies which are not time-fuse companies.

The last point is regionalism. The time has come for the Government to think of it.

DR. NITISH SENGUPTA : The National Instruments was founded by Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.

SHRI PRIYA RANJAN DASMUNSI : I am not questioning who founded it. I am saying that the Government of India took it. And the National Instruments produced sophisticated instruments. … (Interruptions) I had been the President of its trade union for l6 years. Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee is not the legacy of Bengal. As you feel proud of Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, I also feel proud of him. He is a great son of Bengal. I feel proud of him.

What are you talking? I do not understand as to why you are bringing small things here. … (Interruptions) He was, at that time, the Union Minister with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Dr. Sengupta, I have this much knowledge. … (Interruptions)

Now, I come to the regional imbalance. The other day we created three States. I told the hon. Minister of Finance the other day; I again appeal to you that after this Parliament Session is over, you, on your own, as a great son of India, as a former bureaucrat, as a devout and committed Minister of Finance for the nation, please have a study with the Minister of Planning, as to which are the areas of India where economic imbalance has gained serious momentum. I am not talking of Bihar. It has been debated here. I am talking of North Bengal. You do not know that from the border of Nepal and Bangladesh, weapons are coming. The most peace loving Scheduled Castes community- Rajbangshi community- a group of them has taken to gun. Gun is coming from Bhutan. They have started killing. The entire North Bengal map, if you take one day – you spend half-an-hour with your Planning Commission people, it is totally finished.

The development pace in terms of the other parts of the Bengal is so poor that you cannot imagine. Bengal does not mean Bengalis who live in Durgapur and Haldia. Right from the foothills of Himalaya it comes. The teesta tunnel has not been completed till date, which was supposed to be completed ten years back. Where do we go? Where do we get the water for irrigation?

Sir, I got a report from the Ministry of Planning and Programme Implementation. Can you dream of it, Mr. Finance Minister? My friends from CPI(M) should not mind it. It is a matter of development. An amount of Rs. 600 crore for education has not been utilised for the last 20 years and Rs. 185 crore for flood management has not been utilised. The bulk share was for North Bengal. An amount of Rs. 216 crore for road infrastructure has not been utilised. More shocking is that Jalpaiguri, Coochbehar, Dinajpur and Malda areas remain under flood. It has not been officially reported to the Government of India. It was answered by your Minister. It is a shocking state of affairs. I have a responsibility to bring this to your notice. I demanded the hon. Prime Minister to publish a White Paper. I requested the West Bengal Chief Minister also and I request you also to immediately make an appraisal. I am not asking for mutiny; I am not asking for an agitation; I am not asking for separation; I am not asking for anything, which may impair the unity of the nation. I am giving you a signal. Please believe me that a serious and explosive situation is generating there. I do not know what will happen in October and November. Therefore, my appeal to you, for the matter of North Bengal, please try to understand how to repair the regional economic imbalance in this Plan document at the end of the Ninth Five Year Plan.

Sir, the entire North-East’s main communication channel is National Highway No. 34 of North Bengal. If North Bengal is taken out from the road map, then the North-East, Sikkim, Bhutan and border of Nepal would be in a terrible situation. I was not worried one month before. Now, many people ask me as to why I am worried for the last one month. It is because I feel if the voice of democracy is not honoured and responded, then the sound of gun will rule.

That will be the end of the day. Therefore, to represent the voice of the democracy, not as a party, I appeal to you to reconsider the issue of economic imbalance. I am not blaming anybody.

Sir, through you, I would request the Government of West Bengal also, if they are sincere and truthful, then they should also publish a White Paper. The North Bengal is being deprived of its resources. This is an area where you should not do politics. As Shri P.R.Dasmunsi is from North Bengal, you should not hear him. It is politics and you do not hear him. I may go out, but the sound of gun will come in that way when Parliament will debate the issue. Therefore, please respect the voice of democracy and do whatever you can.

Finally, at the end of the speech, I request the hon. Minister of Finance for only four things. Please spell out your policy in regard to the amount generated for disinvestment and whether it is for meeting deficit. Please spell out your target in the Inter-session period of Parliament whether you have something in your desk for bigger disinvestment without the knowledge of Parliament.

15.00 hrs.

At least we can understand that our fate is going to be sealed and the country will be further looted by X,Y,Z. Thirdly, Mr. Finance Minister, please stop the Casino Board of the FIIS in the capital market, and fourthly, advise the MNCs, from LAFARZ to anybody, to come to India, do as you like within the rules, but you have to bring the investment, you cannot take my money from the bank, invest and get the business done which we built on our own strength.

With these words, I conclude and appeal to the Finance Minister to respond in a positive direction during his reply.

SHRI BIKRAM KESHARI DEO (KALAHANDI): Sir, I rise to support the Supplementary Demands for Grants for the year 2000-01 which amount to Rs.2,536.66 crore.

Sir, you will see that there are 27 Demands to be met by the House and the most important Demands which have been identified in these papers are: the Agriculture Demands where the amount is about Rs.410 crore; the Demands of the Ministry of Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises where the amount is Rs.340.85 crore; the Demands of the Ministry of Surface Transport amounting to Rs.990 crore; and the Demands of the Ministry of power where the amount is Rs.460 crore. So, these are the major Demands where the Government wants to defray the charges which might come in the course of time till the next Budget is presented in the House.

Here, I would like to stress, firstly, on the Government’s policies for the future of the country. As you already know, Sir, this Government first came to power in 1998. Then the Parliament was dissolved and this Government was again voted back to power in 1999. So, the legacy which we inherited from the previous Governments which ruled this country, was the drained coffers of the country. So, it will take some minimum time for us to stabilise the whole thing.

Sir, if you look at the disinvestment policy or if you look at the situation of the PSUs in the country, you will come to see that the majority of the industries run by the public sector, including some of the Navratnas also, have become sick. So, it is high time that to compete with the world market, to streamline our economy and to streamline our finances, this major step of disinvestment was taken and a separate Department of Disinvestment was created to see that the industries which have been put up in the country, will run. Today, they are non-functional. They have idle assets which are lying and rotting. So, some value has to be added to these assets by disinvestment, by which they will start creating wealth for the country. So, this move of the Government, of creating the Department of Disinvestment, will definitely go a long way in improving the economy of our country.

Then, Sir, I would like to stress upon the Resurgent Bonds of the past year which increased our reserves immensely. Because of that, our foreign exchange reserves have gone up. Considering all these things, we are heading towards the right direction. Besides, when the Prime Minister spoke from the ramparts of the Red Fort in 1998, he mentioned about the regional imbalances which are taking place in the country. He mentioned in the name of the KBK district. It is one of the districts in Orissa which is one of the most backward districts of the country.

The Government has forged ahead with the KBK programme by which the poverty in those areas will decrease and the condition of the people will improve. It is not only in KBK area but in other areas of the country like Bundelkhand and places in Uttar Pradesh and places in various regions of the country where regional imbalance is felt. Our Government is sincere about mitigating the sufferings of the people. You will, therefore, see that in the Supplementary Budget itself there is a projection in Demand No. 1 concerning agriculture where the Government has tried to stress upon the agricultural needs, specially on the cotton technological missions, which can boost the economy of the farmer and can make him self-sufficient and also improve his conditions. You will then see that regarding wasteland development, in Demand No. 71 concerning the land resources, it is clearly mentioned that an amount of Rs. 1.90 crore has been kept for the Western Orissa’s rural livelihood projects. The Government is thinking in a very big way to mitigate poverty in our country. But, at the same time, I would like to stress that the machinery has to be reformed and mainly the State Governments, who will be executing these projects as these are in the State List, have to do it with sincerity.

I would like to give you the example of Orissa. In Orissa, we inherited a Government which had promised 1,000 industries in 1,000 days. But, you will be surprised to hear this today. I am just quoting one of the reports of the Chambers of Commerce. It is stated that the power consumption by industriesin Orissa, about 10 years back, was 57 per cent. But, today the power consumption by industries in Orissa is only 11 per cent. From this you can make it out. The Congress Party ruled Orissa till recently. Today Orissa is loaded with debt burden of Rs. 17,000 crore. Every year we have to pay back Rs. 2,000 crore. In the meantime, a super cyclone lambasted our coasts and affected 14 districts in Orissa thereby completely destroying the resources. Agriculture and the livelihood are completely destroyed. I would like to pray before this august House and the hon. Minister of Finance is also here, that you may kindly waive off the loan burden which is upon the State and secondly the interest burden of Rs. 2,000 crore which the Government of Orissa is to pay every year may be re-phrased so that we can come back on the rail of development. This is the condition of Orissa now.

Another big problem which is facing our country today is a legacy which has been left by the Congress and it is terrorism. You will be seeing that in every corner of the country and especially in Kashmir terrorism is increasing day by day. This is also an area where money and investments are being drained. Our Government has offered a lot of incentives to the terrorists for peace talks. Our Government wanted to talk to Pakistan. Our hon. Prime Minister went to Lahore. Then we wanted to talk to Pakistan and we also wanted to have peace talks with Hizbul Mujahideen. But it did not work out. This is also a very big drain on our resources.

SHRI PAWAN KUMAR BANSAL (CHANDIGARH): They slapped you on the face. … (Interruptions)

SHRI BIKRAM KESHARI DEO : Sir, you cannot say that our Government is not making any effort. Our Government is making efforts in all directions to get peace and tranquillity in the country.

Before I conclude and as this is only a Supplementary Demand, I would like to lastly mention regarding rural electrification programme. You will see that in most of the States, the Electricity Boards have all gone into red due to bad management and bad policies.

But today, the Government in the Supplementary Demands has shown concern for electrification in the tribal and the harijan bastis and has provided Rs. 160 crore for the purpose.

Before I conclude, I would like to mention about panchayati raj system also. I am sorry to state that the hon. Chairman, when he was speaking regarding strengthening of panchayati raj system in his Private Members’ Resolution, he mentioned that there were several States where there was no panchayati raj system. I would request that in the States where there is no panchayati raj, panchayat elections should be held and Zila Parishads and panchayai raj institutions should be made much more stronger, and there should be further decentralisation of power because that is the aim of 73rd and 74th Constitution Amendments, but that is not being implemented in the right earnest by the State Governments. Therefore, the Central Government should intervene and see that it is implemented properly.

Before I conclude, I would like to mention about Orissa and more particularly about the Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput regions. Here is the revised Action Plan for implementation of a long-term programme for Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput districts for the period 1989-1990 to 2006-2007. This was initiated by the Central Government to be implemented in this region, but the same had not been ratified and accepted by the Planning commission. So, I would request the hon. Finance Minister that this revised Action Plan may be adopted so that poverty in those areas, starvation in those areas, migration in those areas and effects of drought in those areas may be mitigated forever.

With these few words, I thank you.

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SHRI SUDIP BANDYOPADHYAY (CALCUTTA NORTH WEST): Sir, are you yourself convinced about this point? … (Interruptions)

SHRI C.P. RADHAKRISHNAN (COIMBATORE): The Chairman has no other alternative now. … (Interruptions)

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