A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made his speech in the Parliament, both Houses discussed the Union Budget.
The Budget session is marred with protests by Andhra Pradesh members claiming that the Union government has not fulfilled its promise on granting Special Category Status to their State, and today is no exception.
The Rajya Sabha was forced to adjourn repeatedly, and later ignoring the protesters, who continued to shout slogans, sat till about 10 pm to discuss the budget.
After a marathon discussion on the Union Budget marred by the agitation by TDP members, the House is adjourned for the day. It will meet again at 11 a.m. on February 9.
Mahesh Poddar (BJP, Jharkhand) rises to speak after Mr. Ramesh.
House reconvenes. Agitators unrelenting.
Mr. Ramesh continues his speech amid the din. He seeks to demolish the budgetary promises ranging from MSP to the universal insurance scheme as a rehash of the previous UPA govt. Nothing fresh, but continuity, he says.
We want universal health care coverage in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala model, not in the insurance model, he says.
Mr. Ramesh says, there's a BJP member in this House, a Harvard expert, whom the govt. doesn’t want to listen on economy, but only on temples and cows.
Mr. Ramesh refuses to listen to the Chair to conclude.
House resumes. Chair makes an important announcement: “Dinner for members will be available at 8.20 pm at the snack bar."!!!!!!
Agitators back at the Well. Mr. Ramesh asked to continue speech. Protests continue. Mr. Ramesh wants order restored.
Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad says that the Opposition accepted Chair’s proposal top sit late, but one cannot speak in a din. Since our friends from TDP are not relenting, we cannot speak. So there's no alternative but to adjourn the House, says Mr. Azad.
Point of order raised by Sukendu Sekar Roy (Trinamool, West Bengal) under Rule 257 on Power of Chairman to adjourn the House.
HRD Minister renews his call to TDP members to settle down.
Chair asks TDP members to resume their seats.
MoS Mr. Goel says if Mr. Ramesh doesn't want to speak, next speaker should be called. Loud protests from Opposition benches. Mr. Ramesh is heard saying:“I want to respond.”
Mr. Roy wants a ruling from Chair.
Ramdas Athavale adds to disorder.
Point of order by Javed Ali Khan (SP, U.P.) under Rule 259 , wants the House adjourned. He says Chair is not obeyed. House is run on Ministers’ whims, he alleges. Loud protests from the Treasury.
Though the Chair is not audible, he was seen leaving, followed by an announcement that the House is adjourned till 8.58 p.m.
House reconvenes, protests continue. Slogans continue. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vijay Goel’s attempt doesn't cut ice with the agitated members. Pramod Tiwari (Congress, U.P.) raises point of order, instead contributes to disorder saying BJP cheated A.P.
CPI(M)’s Rangarajan says it's the duty of the NDA Ministers to correct the agitating members, who are the alliance partners.
HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar tries to pacify the protesters. And the Chair adjourns the House for 10 more minutes.
The House reconvenes, and Mr. Ramesh resumes his speech. He says he will judge, and speak on the budget, not by his criteria, but by the Finance Minister’s criteria.
Quotes from the BJP manifesto in 2014 on the promise for farmers and the agri sector. And tries to pick holes on the promise quoting an affidavit in February 2015 that the 50% MSP was unrealistic.
Says MSP for wheat was 106% in 2013-14 the last budget year of the UPA, and goes on to reel out statistics on MSP. “What is the Finance Minister promising,” he asks. For Kharif crops, paddy had 36% over MSP, he says.
Numbers available with the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices show for all the Rabi crops, what the NDA promised had been achieved in UPA regime, he says. “Promise of the FM is vastly exaggerated,” he says.
A.P. members are back in the Well, disrupting Mr. Ramesh’s speech. Renuka Chowdhary of the Congress is heard vocally protesting the disruption. Chair adjourns the House for 10 minutes.
Jairam Ramesh (Congress, Karnataka) rises to speak. When he refers the Prime Minister’s “almost delayed live telecast” to decode the budget, he is faced with opposition from the Treasury benches. Bhubaneswar Kalita in the Chair has a hard time in persuading them to return to their seats.
Mr. Ramesh says it was a fact that the PM came on TV to decode the budget for the first time in the history on independent India.
Treasury benches disrupt speech again. Maafi maango, maafi maango slogans from Treasury benches. Chair adjourns House by 10 minutes.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar (Independent, Karnataka) rises to speak, underscores it's the 11th time he rises to speak on a budget. Quotes from his first speech on a budget in 2008.
Meanwhile, the Upper House is continuing with its discussion on the Budget. BSP member Rajaram from Uttar Pradesh is speaking. When the farmer could not be given his due, and not waive his debt, he asks, from where does the govt. get the funds for its universal insurance scheme or the free LPG scheme. He picks holes in the Swachh Bharat scheme, says Mayawati’s govt. in U.P. did successful cleanliness campaign without holding the broom in street after street.
Adjourned for the day amidst ruckus. To meet on Friday at 11.00 am.
Jaitley address AP issue
When the State was bifurcated, the AP was at a serious disadvantage. Several of the provisions in the special package was done, but some are pending. We have given, so far, funds as promised for a large number of institutions that are being created because existing ones went to Telangana. The funds will be continued as an when required.
As for the capital city, we have made several payments for various facilities and some payment for Pollavaram. There are two areas that are still being worked out. One is the amount in lieu of the special package. In a meeting yesterday, this has been discussed and has been sent for the State's approval. And as for the revenue deficit, we have sent a proposal to the State. But the officers are expecting something more - so we are trying to narrow that gap. I am sure it will be worked out in a few days.
Regarding a few other points like the Railways and Petroleum facilities - we are in discussion with the ministries to find best solution. Rest assured that we are "extremely sympathetic" to AP's requirements.
FM on demonetisation, Rafale deal allegations
First quarter after GST, the service sector grew by over 8% and manufacturing sector grew by over 1%. Now, digitisation and personal IT are increasing. Quantum of taxes are also increasing.
IBC has changed the way people borrow from banks and do business. In every budget, I had a chapter for middle class and pensioners, to give them relief.
About price rise: Supriya Sule raised the question of price rise, but she forgot how bad it was under Congress. As for disinvestment, when a sector is strategic, it stays with govt. When it is not, should the govt spend money on losing business? Should we not to use it to help our friends like those from AP who want to spend it on their people?
Speaker extends the time of the session till the end of this speech.
The ups-and-downs in the markets happened across the world - from Dow Jones to Japan. That did not happen because of the decisions India made. These decisions - be it demonetisation or GST - these are difficult decisions and that is the difference between UPA and NDA. We know how to bite the bullet and take difficult decisions when need arises.
Rafale deal allegations
It is in larger interests of India's security that the Rafale deal details cannot be disclosed - it gives details of weapon system and capacity of the weapons systems. It has been the practice be it when Pranab Mukherjee or A.K Anthony was the minister. Details of armament purchase, item-wise, cannot be given in detail because it is not in larger interest. You are manufacturing issues since Modi is running a clean government, he says.
INC's Shashi Tharoor responds that no member wants to put the national security at risk. You are accountable to the people for the expenses of the govt and that is what the Opposition wants to know.
Mr. Jaitley responds that they are as much accountable as the UPA government.
Furore ensures over Jaitley's charge that the Opposition is trying to jeopardise to national security. Opposition chants "we want justice" and does not allow Mr. Jaitley to address the Andhra issue despite the Speaker's and Jaitley's repeated requests.
Arun Jaitley responds to queries
Data can't be subjective. IMF, which is globally highly-regarded says that India is the fastest growing in the world. They have forcast that it will be the same next year. You can't wipe out these numbers according to your like/dislike., says the Finance Minister.
You have been in power for 55 years, just introspect as to how much you contributed to either removing or creating these problems before criticising. Structural reforms maybe of short term difficulty, but will help in medium and long term.
Opposition heckles him saying "Achche din kab aayega?"
Fiscal deficit was over 6% when you were in power, says Mr. Jaitley. We have brought it down to 3.5% This year our aim was to bring it down to 3.2%, but we had a challenge with the GST.
As for Aadhaar - from childhood, I have heard that subsidies must be rationalized. The UPA govt started the process of giving a technological ID for the subsidies. We came into power and decided to channel it to make sure the subsidies are given in properly. You, he addresses the Congress, could not bring in the law regarding Aadhaar. The law was silent on privacy requirement. We put in a whole chapter regarding privacy and we are committed to it. I personally believe that privacy is a fundamental right, I have said this before.
I am unable to reconcile when those who initially floated it and is now disowning it.
Consider GST , for instance. Countries all over the world has worked for years to stabilize it - in India, and the credit belongs to all State govts, we passed this in 3 months. Every State knows it is in larger interest.
Congress members ask him to cap it at 18%
Mr. Jaitley responds that that is possible only in the countries where there are not many people below poverty level, like Singapore.
Punjab's crop-burning brought up
You complain about the farmers burning crops in Punjab and Haryana and making the lives of those in Delhi miserable - I ask, are these people not affected by the suicides of the farmers? When I ask this, my friends will ask, wasn't the situation the same when you were in power? Yes, I agree, but that is why your government was elected into power, says Sunil Kumar Jakhar from INC Gurdaspur, Punjab.
I feel a connection to the FM because he won the seat from Amritsar, so I ask you to help Punjab. Gurdaspur has a soldier in almost every house. After I became MP, I have gone to 4 houses where soldiers have died in border. You used to blame former PM Manmohan Singh for writing "love letter" to Pakistan - I don't care what letter you write, but I want to give a proper answer to those families., he concludes.
Manas Ranjan Bhunia, AITCC, West Bengal speaks
Where is the money to develop the country? For education? the FM has proposed Ayushman Bharat - sounds good. If it is implemented properll, no one can complain. But it looks unlikely. So please enlighten us how you plan to implement Ayushman Bharat and from where you will get the funds for the same? It will benefit multi-national insurance companies, not common man. I am a doctor, so I understand how these things work. Patients are treated only if they have insurance. They are charged high amounts, whether they need that treatment or not.
The FM has given a rosy picture saying the farmers' income will double by 2022. I have read between the lines of the last 4 Budget Speeches and is asking - where is the employment? Employment has a definition - it should be continuous in nature, it should have benefits as defined by ILO. That is not happening.
There is no Green, White or Blue Revolution - only saffron revolution under this government. There are no structural reforms to give relief to the poor middle class.
We need to establish natural fibre mission - why are we concentrating only on bamboo mission in this speech? We should bring jute, coir and other fibres under one umbrella as suggested by the Planning Commission.
Vishambhar Prashad Nishad, SP, UP speaks
The Parliament is to discuss issues of the farmers and the common man, but here everything except actual issues are discussed. I say, ask those who are creating commotion to leave so that we, who are actually interested in speaking about important things, get to do that.
The Budget has been disappointing because the provisions provided are supremely insufficient. Swasth Bhima Yojna, Pradhan Manthri Yojna - none of these are actually enough. These ministers have never gone to a public hospital - they are not used to it. But I have seen them. In those hospitals, from morning 3'o clock, people start standing in queue to see doctor. How will they address these? By bringing in private sector?
As for Pakistan, on one hand, you say we are fighting them. But on the other hand, you import hing, sugar and such from them, ruining our economy.
Mr. Nishad's speech is interrupted when the Andhra MPs protesting are requested to go back to their seats as the FM has assured to give a reply to them in the Budget reply speech, which they do.
Meanwhile, in Rajya Sabha, opposition members try and disrupt the BJP member's speech despite repeated requests from the Speaker to go back to the seat.
N.K Premachandran, RSP, Kerala speaks
Mr. Premachandran says that no measures have been taken to address the climate change effects on the agriculture. What is the cost of production calculation criteria, he asks.
The crude oil increase of $10 in global markets will decrease the GDP by 0.2%. How will you address this? Will you further increase the already high petrol and diesel prices? he asks. The budget proposal is not sufficient to meet the concerns expressed in the Economic Survey.
He says that the nature of GDP growth is as impt as the amount of GDP growth. Right now we have only jobless growth, which will benefit only the corporations, he adds. The habit of this government is to give a benefit with right hand and to take away another by the left hand.
BJP's Uday Pratap Singh (MP) speaks on the various agricultural schemes. The infrastructure achievement has been the thrust of our government, he says. We have worked to improve the life villages, following in the footsteps of L.K Advani.
We have worked hard to improve Railway efficient too. Earlier the Goods trains used to go empty after it has reached it's destination, causing loss to the Railways. We have figured out a way to reduce the loss caused by this.
On MSP, employment and insurance
Between 2004 and 2014, MSP increased by 100%. But for the last three years, you fooled the farmers.
Ours is the only country that says GDP is falling but employment is increasing. What kind of jumla is this? Mr. Chidambaram goes on to quote the total number of vacancies in his old constituency in Shivaganga and in the Kolkata HC. Even in LG's Delhi, where you do not allow the elected govt to function, there are many many posts vacant in Prisons dept, Revenue dept and Education dept and so on. Instead of telling people this is a job and that is a job, why don't you fill these posts?
The biggest jumla is the world's largest govt-funded medical insurance. Not one rupee has been allotted. From where will you raise resources of Rs. 1 lakh crore? There is no way you can do that in the remainder of the next one year.
I will not say you did nothing in Budget Speech - if someone writes 167 paragraphs, it is bound to have some nuggets. You announced 24 medical colleges, we welcome it. The point is you have an absolute majority in Lok Sabha. In 2014-15, economy was growing at 7.2%. You should have done something with it - you did not. No jobs, farmers in distress, education in shambles. Children's health record too is pathetic. You are leaving behind a limping nation. All I can hope is we will not have to listen to another Budget by you.
Chidambaram speaks amid protests
There are multiple issues in the Budget, he says. The real GDP has not increased in 4 years. This discredits your "fastest growing economy" theory. The farmer relative to other sections of the society has become poorer. For four years, you could not address this challenge, so how are you going to address it in the remaining one year? Finance Minister is not here today - but I want to ask him 12 questions. I hope he will answer it sometime in this House or elsewhere.
For instance, Economic Survey said there are two economic vulnerabilities - fiscal account and current account. I want to know the current account deficit number for current year. Also, what is your estimate of the crude oil prices? And most importantly, will you, if crude oil prices increase, increase the petrol/diesel prices or provide relief for common man by cutting the excise duty?
Which are the schemes and projects that has been hit by the reduction in capital expenditure? Has Pollavaram project been hit? How many ILO-defined jobs have you created in the last year? And in a lighter vein, will you now recommend selling pakoda to ILO to add to their job lists?
Arvind Swami said that individual household savings has fallen, but corporate savings have risen. 5% of GDP is a loss of investment. In that background, corporate tax is expected to grow next year by 10.15%, income tax by 19.88% and GST by whooping 67%. Worldwide, experts say that indirect taxes like GST are regressive and direct taxes like CT and IT are progressive - and yet, the indirect tax that affects the middle class is expected to grow, looting the middle class, giving a pass to the corporations.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar tries to talk amid protesting members. AITC MP Derek O'Brien from West Bengal tells that those members are disrupting the House. The Chairperson T.K. Rangarajan appeals to the protesting members to stop the chaos.
House adjourned till 2.21 p.m.
Samajwadi Party MP from Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh, Tej Pratap Singh Yadav talks about how budget has not given enough allocations for farm sector, but will benefit private sector more. "In 2017, there are certain situations which don't let citizens feel safe. Defence has got very less allocation in the Union Budget 2017-18. In times like this when China is all set in the border areas, the govt should be more considerate towards security."
"The people need new trains, there are derailments and security issues, but the govt hasn't taken any steps towards this," he added.
Sharad Tripathi of BJP from Sant Kabir Nagar, Uttar Pradesh says, "In food processing, this govt has made provisions and increased the turnover."
Abhishek Singh, a BJP MP of Chhattisgarh is the next speaker. "When govt's missions become citizen's Jan Andolan , then it works out well. Women in villages have become a key part in this country's development, being a part of trade activities. Every house should have a toilet. People can build their own toilets and make use of govt's funding for other developments."
Prem Singh Chandumajura of Akali Dal says 73 per cent of wealth is with one per cent rich. "Rich is getting richer, poor is getting poorer," he says.
He lauds government's decision to link MSP with production cost. Mr. Chandumajura suggests having a separate parliamentary session on agrarian crisis to create a comprehensive agriculture policy. He also suggest agri-process machinery to be exempted from GST.
His speech is cut-short due to paucity of time.
Vinod Kumar Sonkar is the next MP to speak. He claims Aligarh Muslim University doesn't implement reservation to the SCs. When Indira Gandhi nationalised the banks, she claimed it will benefit the poor. But until Jan Dhan was announced, 30 lakh people didn't have a bank account, he says.
On demonetisation, Mr. Sonkar claims even Indira Gandhi didn't give the details of note bank implemented during her regime.
Mr. Sonkar suggests the pensions to disabled, widows and elderly should be common to all States and should be not less than Rs. 3000 per month. He also suggests MNREGA beneficiaries should get the benefits of insurance.
Bring back surcharge on super-rich, says AIADMK MP
J. Jayavardhan of AIADMK speaks. He requests an ad-hoc grant to Tamil Nadu to balance the loss incurred in the devolution of states. He also suggests the cess earned should be added to the divisible pool of funds. He also suggests to bring back surcharge on super-rich.
Dr. Jayavardhan opposes the GST imposed on projects executed by the States. This is additional burden to the States, he says.
He claims the Centre is yet to clear the pending arrears due to Tamil Nadu.
Chennai suburban trains have been left-out in the Budget. The allocation of Metro has also been considerably reduced, he says.
Dr. Jayavardhan says the Central government has not made any allocation for cyclone Okhi rehabilitation.
Rajan Vichare of Shiv Sena speaks. He says the middle class are unhappy with the Budget. He seeks more information of the health insurance plan.
Mr. Vichare seeks more allocation for Thane bypass plan and Smart City plan. He asks escalators to be installed in all Central Railway stations.
Why just Delhi NCR? The entire country needs to think about pollution. "Everyday we are killing our next generation," Mr. Trivedi.
Mr. Trivedi, a former Railway Minister, says the sector is being ignored. We used to discuss Railways for three days once. Today, it is reduced to commercial entity, he says.
It is sad the Muslims are being questioned on their loyalty. Muslims are loyal and they are citizens of India, he says.
The most religious state of the world are not Islamic State of fundamentalists. They will come from research labs and the Silicon Valley, he says.
Learn from Bengal, Trivedi tells government
Dinesh Trivedi of Trinamool Congress rises to speak. Some of his party members step out. "They are not walking out. They are going to meet the Home Minister," he says.
Quoting Swami Chinmayananda Mr. Trivedi says "Your words will have no effect unless you are able to live it."
"You talk of Vasudaeva Kutumbakam. You can take ideas from this side (Opposition) as well. We also have good ideas."
Mr. Trivedi's speech is more focussed on taking the Opposition along in the process rather than seeing them as someone who oppose the government for the sake of opposing. You didn't take the help of Dr. Raghuram Rajan, who predicted the global meltdown in 2008, he says.
See West Bengal. We take everyone while making decisions, he says. Bengal is number one in Ease of Doing Business. We have already doubled the farmers' income in Bengal. Medicines are free for the poor, he says.
Bengal has earmarked Rs. 60,000 crore for health insurance. But Union Budget has allocated Rs. 2000 crore. That is why everyone calls it a jumla, Mr. Trivedi says.
Kanyashri scheme, recognised by the UN, is better than Beti Bachao... scheme, he claims.
The budget has ignored climate change. It is so different from Economic Survey, he says.
Minister Y.S. Chowdhury suggests the Finance Minister can address the concerns of Andhra Pradesh so that the stand-off can be resolved. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar supports him. "We are with the people of Andhra Pradesh," he says.
If the issue is not resolved in 15 days, we can have a discussion in the second session, Mr. Chowdhury suggests.
Andhra Pradesh members don't agree.
Lok Sabha continues its discussion Union Budget. Ganesh Singh, BJP MP from Madhya Pradesh, talks about pro-poor schemes mentioned in Union Budget. Over 50 crore people would be benefitted through the new health insurance, he says. He terms the decision "historic."
A poor family now has a house, his children can study, his medical expenses are taken care of, his family gets gas connection. This is true eradication of poverty, he says.
Madhya Pradesh is also reeling under drought. 18 districts are affected, he says requesting the Finance Minister to allot funds to his State.
Upper House adjourned again
Rajya Sabha reconvenes. Question Hour is suspended. The House takes up Budget discussion.
In a bid to end the stand-off on Andhra Pradesh package, MoS Chowdhury suggests the Finance Minister will address the issue during the reply.
Andhra Pradesh member KVP Ramachandra Rao says the government should adhere to the assurance it has given.
YSRCP member Vijaisai Reddy says the TDP, which is an ally, had approved the President's address. How can a minister differ from it now, he asks.
Andhra Pradesh ministers are unhappy with the reply. House is adjourned till 2 pm.
Next question is on road accidents. Telangana MP Jithendhar Reddy rises to speak. He says it is his first starred question in 3 years. "I was worried if you would adjourn the House today," he says.
His question: what steps are being taken to ensure road safety? He points out the money spent on road safety awareness is lesser than earlier years. "Gadkari ji, you are doing a wonderful job but the road accidents are spoiling your name , " he says.
Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari accepts high prevalence of road accidents, the highest in the world. 86 per cent accidents occur due to non-wearing of helmet , he says. We are working on eliminating black spots in each constituency. He appeals all MPs to come up with the list of black spots in their constituency and help the ministry out, Mr. Gadkari says.
Lok Sabha reconvenes. Sloganeering too continues. Minister Narendra Singh Tomar continues giving his reply pertaining to e-Panchayat.
Members from Andhra Pradesh continue their sloganeering today too. Some of them were seen obstructing Lok Sabha staff. Speaker strongly objects to this. "If something happens to the Lok Sabha staff, it won't be nice. Don't disturb them," she says.
Speaker adjourns the House till 11:45 am
Next set of questions pertain to e-Panchayat facility . Hari Om Pandey seeks details of infrastructure support provided to panchayats to implement e-governance. Over one lakh panchayats are connected using optical fibres and soon we will connect every village panchayat, Minister Narendra Singh Tomar says.
Mr. Pandey says in his Ambedkar Nagar constituency is not connected yet and when will it be connected. Even the Prime Minister is concerned about it. We have selected 115 zillas to speed up the process of internet connectivity in these places.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury says Panchayat was Rajiv Gandhi's dream and e-Panchayat was introduced be Manmohan Singh. Today, Panchayats are dependent on State and Central governments. Will the government give more power to Panchayat Raj? We are considering these inputs and will come up with a ruling soon, he says.
Question Hour begins in Lok Sabha.
People have forgotten vada pav and idly vadai sambar due to advertisements on junk food , says a member. He asks for control on sale of junk foods. Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore quoting food security standard report says the companies should voluntarily stay away from giving such misleading ads. Nine business operators have come forward to stop such ads, he says.
Does government plans to regulate ads in social media too? a member asks. Awareness campaigns are being conducted, he says.
Members lay papers on the Table in Rajya Sabha. House adjourned till 12 noon.
Rajya Sabha conenes. Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu is in the Chair. He reads the obituary reference. Former Upper House member Frida Topno passed away on Tuesday at the age of 92.
Lok Sabha convenes. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan is in the Chair. She reads obituary reference. Narasingh Narayana Pandey and Raghunath Jha passed away recently.
Both Houses pay silent tributes to the departed souls.