Opposition Must Have It’s Say

parliamentKamal Morarka

The first part of budget session has concluded yesterday. There are two sides of it: the good side is that some legislation work got done because of fewer disruptions and some sort of understanding between the treasury benches and the opposition. That is the good sign because in a democracy it is after all parliament which should reflect the people’s opinion and it should work. What has been happening over the last few years, and this tradition was started by the BJP when it was in the opposition of not letting the work go on. The Congress did it with greater efficiency and came under criticism that they are obstructing the house. Even more the unfortunate comment of the government that unelected people are holding up the wishes of the elected people does not hold water. The Constitution has provided for two houses and there is nothing what is not expected has happen, even previously there were governments in Lok Sabha that could not get things passed. The method is to have bipartisan discussion bring them around; more shouting and counter-shouting should go through the press and TV than in Parliament. Let us hope that in the second part of the session also constructive work will be done as the old saying goes: “the opposition must have its say and the government will have its way.” After all you are in majority, but opposition should allowed vent out it feeling fully. The bad part is the bills which are being passed have not got proper scrutiny. Why a Real State Bill has to be passed one does not understand. It is a state subject. Except for Delhi or union territory on can understand. Maharashtra, Gujarat etc. make their own rules. But, if made rules which will be difficult to follow will create a further mess. So passing bills in a hurry without full understanding is not good. Similarly Aadhar Bill, it is highly controversial bill. Of course it was brought by UPA and now NDA. It is like tracking of an individual, which is done only in totalitarian society not in democracy. You are giving a number to each person in the garb of help the poor. You should restricted to the BPL (below poverty line) people. Everybody in India has to give his finger print or iris picture; it is not a good thing you are handing over too much precious information in the hands of the people who can easily misuse them. Let us see how it works.
Secondly, an important point is Vijya Mallya’s going to London. People have said that he ran away, he fled. The Attorney General has put the record straight by saying “he is not an absconder. He is not wanted by any court. There is no arrest warrant against him.” Does not it mean he is a free citizen? Moreover, he is an MP. It is true that his company owe a large amount of money to banks. That is not a criminal activity. Banks have given loans with their eyes open. He has not robbed them in the middle of the night. Now the figure banded about Rs. 9000 crore. The story goes that Mr. Mallya went to the State Bank of India Chairman and offered that if for his 9000 crores the same yardstick is applied which has been applied to the other corporate houses under Reserve Bank of India guidelines, the figure would four thousand and odd crores, and he is prepare to pay. He was refused. The State Bank of India Chairman said this cannot be applied to you. What is this that there are different rules for different people? Has he not satisfied Amit Shah or whoever collects money for the BJP? What exactly the problem? And, I am not advocating for an individual. The atmosphere you are spoiling. You are inviting foreigners to put industries here. What kind of image they will get? That a prominent industrialist till yesterday ferrying MPs in his flights – his airline was suppose to be best in India – he is still an MP and this how you treat him. If you really want money to come in or industries to come in, this whole atmosphere needs to be changed. Moreover, the Vodafone retrospective tax regime also continues. Of course this government is talking of make in India, ease of doing business, blah-blah-blah, but the reality is that the atmosphere for the corporate sector and moreover small and medium traders is hostile. They have levied one percent excise on jewelry without understanding that there are thousands if not lakhs of people who are doing so small jewelry work that they do not even have method to compute and pay that one percent. You apply this on somebody whose turnover is sizable. You can do it. You cannot apply across the board to thousands of people. These things have been done without proper thought and obviously the Finance Minister and others do not have enough time to go into it. Some bureaucrat somewhere is creating more work for themselves and more post for the bureaucracy.
The third interesting thing is Anand Bazaar Patrika news survey on UP elections. It is too early. UP election is still one year away, but they have given a substantial lead to the BSP, Mayawati’s party. One year is long time to go but even the feeling among the people is that she will remain ahead. How much ahead and who will be number two and all we have to wait and see. Let us see what happen.

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