Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Opposition in Rajya Sabha attacks govt for ‘ignoring’ people’s woes

Narendra Budania (Cong) criticised the government for pushing crores of people into poverty and unemployment through its note ban move.

By: PTI | New Delhi |
February 7, 2017 7:50:11 pm
rajya sabha, pj kurein, rajya sabha deputy chairman mukhtar abbas naqvi, naqvi parliament, mukhtar abbas naqvi rajya sabha, rajya sabha kurien, india news Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien at Rajya Sabha during the winter session of Parliament in New Delhi on Thursday. (PTI Photo / TV GRAB)

Opposition in the Rajya Sabha today attacked the government over the demonetisation issue accusing it of ignoring the woes of the common man, as well as the farmers and the small and medium industries. Participating in the resumed debate on the Motion of Thanks for President’s address, RJD leader Premchand Gupta said the government has brought in the ‘inspector raj’ after demonetisation and hit the industry hard.

“One of the biggest segments to be hit besides the farmers, is the small and medium scale industry, which used to back BJP. But you have declared them a thief and brought back the ‘inspector raj’ by ensuring that an inspector is behind them,” he said wondering how jobs can be created in such an environment.

The government was coming out with one scheme or another to “hoodwink the people, Gupta said.

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There was also a brief war of words between the RJD member and those from BJP over certain remarks on reservation which were expunged by Deputy Chairman P J Kurien. The House which had taken up the discussion in the afternoon, had to be reconvened due to lack of quorum.

Gupta said an environment of ease of business has to be created rather than “just talking about it”. The RJD leader also said that the tourism sector has been badly hit because of demonetisation.

Ridiculing the government’s plans to build 100 hi-tech smart cities, the RJD leader said the government should first focus on building drainage lines in cities like Gurgaon which houses hi-tech companies but gets flooded during rains.

Congress leader Viplove Thakur said there is nothing new in things they speak about. “They make it sound like nobody before Modi has done anything. Where were they during the freedom struggle?”

Taking a dig at the Prime Minister, she said it seemed that Modi has got “Aladdin ka chiraag” (Aladdin’s magic lamp) “and all the buildings you see, the airlines, the high technology and the Chandrayaan are because he rubbed this lamp and not because past Prime Ministers have worked hard.”

“This is not governance, but event management. If you point out an error, then you become anti-national,” she said.

Thakur also took the government to task over the publicity after surgical strikes and accused it of “selling” the sacrifices of soldiers at the border.

Nominated MP K T S Tulsi said he was waiting for a mention of the “catastrophic impact” of demonetisation in the President’s speech. However, the “deafening silence” on the issue in the address is a matter of grave concern, he said.

“It is said that the design of the new notes was finalised on May 19, 2016. If the design had been finalised, what prevented the government from printing the notes or recalibrating the ATMs. This is a tragedy where over a 100 lives have been lost and no one is sorry. There is no compensation or assurance of employment, because the government doesn’t want to acknowledge that people have died standing in queues,” he said.

He questioned whether the government was unaware of the distressing unemployment rate while taking up demonetisation.

“Everybody knows black money is not kept in cash,” he said adding that the government has made all Indians criminals by forcing them to stand in queues to deposit their savings in cash.

Participating in the debate, Ram Kumar Kashyap (INLD) expressed concern over growing incidence of female foeticides and said this should be brought in the category of “heinous crime” so as to bridge the gender gap.

On suggestion of holding the simultaneous election of Lok Sabha and state assemblies, he supported the idea but said the all parties should be taken into confidence. Simultaneous election would result in saving of money, which could be utilised for eradicating poverty and unemployment.

Kashyap also demanded that farmers loan should be waived to provide relief to them.

TKS Elangovan (DMK) said the President’s address has made many “mountains out of molehills”. “Opening of bank accounts cannot be called financial inclusion,” he said.

The DMK member charged that the government took the demonetisation decision to hide its failure to bring back blackmoney stashed abroad.

Equating note ban as “burning the house to kill bedbugs”, he said there was no fruitful result of demonetisation.

Also Read | PM Narendra Modi’s marathon speech in Lok Sabha: Fight is for poor, interests of nation supreme

On simultaneous election, Elangovan said this is possible in a two party democracy but “we are multi-party democracy”. Citing the example of Lok Sabha elections in 1996, 1998 and 1999 at short intervals, he said: “When Parliament is dissolved, can we dissolve all state assemblies?”

Simultaneous polls can only be possible if there is proportional representation, he added. K C Ramamurthy (Congress) said the President’s address appeared to trumpet government’s scheme and term it as “monotonous and visionless”. He said nothing has been mentioned about the internal security in the address. The Congress member spoke at length about the need of police reform and alleged that ‘Smart Police’ scheme remained on paper and has been “reduced to a ‘jumla'” even after more than two years of the NDA government.

Ramamurthy said police reforms should be taken in a serious manner and asked the government to do some concrete things for welfare of policemen. “Unless police reforms are taken seriously, internal security may collapse,” he said.

He said the wages of policemen should be fixed separately taking into consideration their risk factor and services provided by them. The Congress member expressed concern over police not getting any kind of training after recruitment and also the lack of housing facilities for them.

Stating that more than 30,000 policemen died since 1961 and numbers are increasing every year, he said: “Policemen who died on duty should be treated as martyrs”.

As soon as he finished his maiden speech, his party colleague Viplove Thakur said no ministers are taking note of the points raised by the members of the Upper House. Rejecting the opposition charge that the government has not done anything for dalits, Shambhuprasad Tundiya (BJP) said all the government’s schemes are meant for poor and dalits.

He said the government is committed to dalits and poor and highlighted various steps taken by the government to pay proper respect to Bhimrao Ambedkar.

Narendra Budania (Cong) criticised the government for pushing crores of people into poverty and unemployment through its note ban move.

Suggesting that the government should do something to fulfill the promises to give relief to poor, he demanded that the farmers should be given 30 per cent bonus over the minimum support price this time. Observing that there were many expectations of poor and other classes while farmers were expecting loan waiver, he said the Prime Minister has offered nothing in his address to the nation after completing 50 days of note ban on December 31 last year.

Budania also demanded loan waiver for farmers saying “You give loan to big people. They don’t work for you. But farmers work for you and the country. Please waive off their loans.”

Attacking BJP for claiming that nothing has been done in last 70 years during the rule by Congress and other parties, Budania said “everything has been done in last two and a half year. Please fulfill the promises you have made to the people. There is need to do surgical strike on poverty and unemployment. People are tired of your claims and promises.”

Narendra Jadhav (Nominated) equated demonetisation as a step taken by Robin Hood who used to rob the rich and distribute the wealth among poor. Maintaining that there was short term pain but long term gains, he said the GDP growth will be affected in third and fourth quarter this fiscal but the growth will be at earlier levels from April 1, 2017, which will be “more clean and sustainable.”

Jadhav was of the view that the banks have been recapitalised due to note ban as all the black money has come into circulation.

He suggested revocation of the scheduled castes and schedule tribe sub-plans, abolished recently, under which the government used to provide a proportion of funds to provide benefits of various welfare schemes to these socially and financially backward communities.

Also Read | Shashi Tharoor in Lok Sabha: No positive impact of demonetisation on economy

T G Venkatesh (TGP), Narendra Kumar Swain (BJD) and Ram Vichar Netam (BJP) hailed government schemes, particularly the demonetisation move. Abdul Wahab (IUML) said even the RBI was not aware as to what has transpired during the demonetisation period. “They don’t know what is happening. They are not even aware as to how much money has come back into the system after demonetisation. It remains a secret even now.”

Criticising the manner in which the RML Hospital here handled the case of its leader E Ahamed, Wahab asked the government to change the name of the hospital as it did not do justice to the name of the tall socialist leader.

Accusing the hospital of misconduct, he said even the family members of the late leader were not allowed to meet him at the hospital. Ahamed died on February one. Rejecting the demand, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the entire hospital should not be accused and doctors who attended to the late leader should not be targetted.

“The name of the hospital should not be changed. A detailed report has already been issued by the government on the treatment that was offered. The doctors were the same who treated him earlier also. The entire hospital should not be blamed,” Naqvi said, adding “it is not good to say that the entire hospital is bad.”

The House witnessed some heated exchanges on the issue. Wahab said a IUML delegation will meet the Prime Minister later in the week to press for an enquiry in the issue. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, while intervening in the debate, listed various achievements of the government including sorting shortage of coal and urea in the country.

“Corruption in the urea matter has gone and this shows that how good intentions on part of the government can make a huge difference,” he said.

On demonetisation, he said the party “which made the people of the country stand in queues for over 50 years” for even basic things like milk and gas is now crying hoarse over the demonetisation move meant to cleanse the country of black money.

Digvijaya Singh (Congress) attacked the minister and asked if there was a shortage of BJP members in the House so a minister has to intervene on their behalf. Later the minister sparred with Jairam Ramesh as he spoke about clearing various projects during his tenure as Environment minister.

Ripun Bora (Cong) also attacked the government on the note ban issue, while Union Minister Ramdas Athawale said the Modi was “doing a great job” and everybody should support him.

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