Sir, Gurdaspur is plagued by inadequate roads and unreliable power supply. Its farmers need help with irrigation and technology, including high-yielding crops. The unabated decline in public investment in agriculture for several years now is emerging as the bane of Indian agriculture. In my constituency too, investment is needed not only to build roads, power supply and communication facilities, but crucially in irrigation, without which rapid growth is difficult to sustain. Though the agro-processing sector has been given a thrust area status, necessary infrastructure is not there in the rural areas and so, I would request that attention should be given to this sector. But the most important need of my constituency is that we need to build two bridges across the rivers Ravi and Beas.

16.00 hrs.

By these bridges not being there, the constituency is divided into four parts. The people have to travel from one point to another across the river. They have to travel about 80-90 kms extra from point `A' to reach point `B'. Otherwise, they would just have to travel about five to seven kms. The goods rot there because the transportation costs increase. The goods have to go through Jammu and Kashmir. To reach Punjab, we have to go through Jammu and Kashmir. They have to pay taxes over there. On the other side, they have to go through Himachal Pradesh. There also, they have to travel a distance of 80-90 kms extra. So, nobody is investing there. The factories that have been there are closed right now. So, I would like to bring this to the attention of the Ministry of Surface Transport also that we definitely need some help there.

After freedom at midnight, the India that now sets out into the sunlight is changing fast. India has always had pride. Now, India has ambition. Now, it stands at a new threshold, with greater triumphs and achievements once more in sight.

I would like to conclude with the words of India's first Prime Minister. Speaking to India's Constituent Assembly on the eve of our Independence, he said:

"We end today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself again. The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us."

Perhaps his words are more relevant today than ever before. Thank you.

SHRI MADHAVRAO SCINDIA (GUNA): Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I would just like to make a small submission. Through you, I would like to address the hon. Minister of Home Affairs that the latest news that we have received is that the cyclone is moving at a speed of 250 kms. per hour. It has hit Paradip Port and heavy damage is being caused. It is moving north-west towards West Bengal and all the six coastal districts - 200 kms. long - will be affected. Thousands of houses have already been destroyed. So, in the hon. Minister's reply, could he try and update us on the situation and also apprise us of what we are doing from the Centre and what coordination exists, if any?

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SHRI PURNO A. SANGMA (TURA): Mr. Deputy-Speaker, Sir, first of all, I would like to join all the hon. Members who have spoken before me in extending my heartfelt thanks to the hon. President of India for having taken pains to address both the Houses of Parliament assembleld together. The President in his Address to the Parliament has described the 13th Lok Sabha as the first Lok Sabha of the next century. He has asked us to look at the country's past with pride and her future with hope and confidence. The hon. President has reminded us to look at our many missed opportunities in the past.

Finally, he has urged that our collective strength should be pressed into service to meet a great future. By reminding all this, the President was actually expressing his concern about - the seniormost Member of the House has already pointed out - the stability of the Government, the governance itself and the stability of the polity itself. Shri Indrajit Gupta has expressed his doubt as to whether, in spite of the fact, there is a feeling in the ruling group that they have the mandate to rule, the coalition will work.

I would like to share his feelings, whether they really have the mandate and whether there will still be stability.

If you look at the results of the last election to the Thirteenth Lok Sabha, there has been not much of change visible, as Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav also had pointed out. But I feel that two things should be taken note of. One is that the people of India seem to be very much dissatisfied with the national parties and the people of India are now going towards the regional parties.

What was the position of the BJP in the last elections? The strength of the BJP in the Twelfth Lok Sabha was 182 and their strength in the Thirteenth Lok Sabha is 182. It is same. Not even an increase of one seat! What was the strength of the Congress Party in the Twelfth Lok Sabha? It was 140 and now it is 112. Let us concede 112. What was the strength of the CPM in the Twelfth Lok Sabha? It was 32 and in the Thirteenth Lok Sabha it is still 32. What was the strength of the CPI? I do not want to go into all the details. But it has come down. So, the seven recognised national parties, with the exception of Bahujan Samaj Party, have either maintained their figure of the Twelfth Lok Sabha or they have come down. There is not a single national figure who could improve its position even by one more Member. That is the position of the national parties in our country today.

When you look at the regional parties on the other hand, you find that they have improved. Let us take TDP. In the last Lok Sabha, they were 17 and today they have 29 Members. The seats of the Samajwadi Party in the last Lok Sabha were 20 and today they have 26. The Shiva Sena in the last Lok Sabha had 6 seats and today they are 15. The BJD had 9 seatsin the last Lok Sabha, today they are 10. The Trinamool Congress had 7 seats in the last Lok Sabha and now they are 8. The PMK had 4 seats and today they are 5. The MDMK led by Shri Vaiko had 3 seats in the last Lok Sabha and today they are 4. I have many more figures but I do not want to quote all those figures. What I want to say is... (Interruptions)

SHRI RAJESH PILOT (DAUSA): Some of them are newly born.

SHRI PURNO A. SANGMA : Some of them are newly born like us.

I think, we have to now think whether it is a healthy trend or not for the country. I am not talking from any other angle, I am talking from the angle of the stability of the Central Government. In the last Lok Sabha we had a Government of 18 political parties. Today, we are having a Government of about 24-25 political parties. The 18-party Government survived for thirteen months. I do not know whether the 25-party Government will survive for how many months.

It is from this angle of giving a stable Government at the Centre, of giving stability at the Centre that I am talking about the trend that is emerging in our country today.

The irrelevance of the national parties, as we have seen from the results of the last General Election, is certainly, to me, a disturbing trend. The role of the national parties have to be recognised and today the first point that I would like to make is to call upon the national parties to examine why the people are rejecting the national parties. Of course the reasons are obvious. If the national parties have failed to respond to the aspirations, the regional aspirations of the people in different parts of the country would develop. This is a point which I thought that we should ponder about.

Now coming to the stability aspect of the present Government, I find that this is a minority Government. This is not a majority Government. The NDA's figure of 304 looks to be a very interesting figure, perhaps a `feel-good' figure as far as you are concerned and you must be feeling very good but whether it is a `feel-secure' figure. I am trying to bifurcate the NDA and the coalition. I will not accept that the NDA and the coalition are the same.

The people have given the mandate to the NDA. I accept it but my question is as to why the entire NDA is not in the Government today. Had the entire NDA been in the Government today, perhaps there could have been more hope--I am using the word `hope'--of stability. But it is not the case. Out of 304 Members, 29 Members of the TDP are outside the coalition. That makes the strength as 275. If you take out five more Members--there is another party, that is Chautala's party--of All India Lok Dal, who are outside the coalition, then the strength of the Government comes down to 270. If you take out two more Members of Shiromani Akali Dal, then the strength of the coalition Government comes down to 268. Will this coalition Government with the strength of 268 be able to give stability to the country and fulfil

all the promises that have been given in the President's Address? That is a question which I would like to leave to the House, particularly to the coalition partners to think about.

You have a very big responsibility to give us a stable Government. We, on behalf of the NCP, are not for destabilisation. I join with Shri Indrajit Gupta in wishing you all the best because in the interest of the nation, stability is a must. We want to have a stable Government but please do not be complacent because your position, as I said, may be a `feel-good' position but not a `feel-secure' position.

As Shri Somnath Chatterjee has mentioned, there are many points on which one would like to touch upon but because of the constraint of time I do not like to go into all the details.

The second point that I would like to make here is to draw the attention of the Government to paragraph 28 of the Agenda of the National Democratic Alliance. I want to read out out the relevant sentence from Paragraph 28, which says:

"We will enact a legislation to provide eligibility criteria that the high offices of State legislative, executive and judiciary are held only by natural born citizen of India."

This is what your agenda for the National Democratic Alliance has stated. It does not get reflected in the President's Address. I would like to know the stand of the Government on this issue. Are you going to bring in a legislation before this House? If so, when? You have to bring an amendment, either to the Constitution of India or to the Citizenship Act or to the People's Representation Act or altogether a new Act. Let it be in whatever form, but I would like to know your stand on this particular issue.

The third point that I would like to make is on the question which has already been raised by Shri Indrajit Gupta, that is, on population. The Home Minister did point out that there was a reference in the President's Address about population. But I am sorry to say that it is just a passing reference. It just simply says you will stabilise the population. It is stabilisation of the population. I really do not understand what is the meaning of stabilisation of population. I do not want to go into all the aspects of the population problem because we all know about it. But may I point out two aspects of the population problem in our country? The first aspect is the rate of growth itself. The second aspect is the pattern of growth of population.

As far as the rate of growth of population is concerned, we all know that it is, at the moment, growing at a rate of 2.1 per cent and by this rate, by 2016, the population of India is going to be 1,264 million. If you are talking about arresting this present growth rate by stabilisation of the population, then you are not correcting the trend. You just want to maintain the same. Is it the meaning of stabilisation? If you say `yes', then what you mean is that you just want to maintain the present rate of growth by not increasing it. Even then, our problem is not solved.

What is more important is the pattern of growth. The pattern of growth is really disturbing. More than 50 per cent of the population growth is unfortunately contributed by the four States of India. We call it `BIMARU' States - Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. I can produce this paper to the hon. Home Minister or even to the Prime Minister of India because -- I can claim this is a pet subject of mine -- I have made a lot of studies and research on population growth. I would like to share one thing today. The second part of my worry is regarding the pattern of growth, the distorted way of growth. Our study shows that between 1996 and 2016, in 20 years, at the rate 2.1 per cent, the growth of additional population that we will be adding to our country will be 350 million. More than 50 per cent of the 350 million population will be contributed by the BIMARU States. This is one scenario.

The second thing that I would like say is how it will have a political implication. In 1977, by an amendment of the Constitution of India, the delimitation of Parliament of India has been frozen at 1971 census. So, at the moment, the delimitation of Parliament is on the basis of 1971 census because we have frozen it by an amendment of the Constitution.

Now, this freeze will continue up to 2,000 A.D. What is your stand now? I think, the Government has to explain. Are you going to remove that freeze? Are you going to go for a new delimitation of parliamentary constituencies? If you are doing so, to how many years are you going to extend this freeze of the limitation of Parliament? Why I am saying so is that if you remove this freeze and if you delimit the parliamentary constituencies which is on the basis of population, then the net result would be Bihar will get two more parliamentary seats; Uttar Pradesh will get 14 more parliamentary seats; Madhya Pradesh will get five more M.Ps; Rajasthan will get four more M.Ps; and on the other hand Tamil Nadu will lose eight parliamentary constituencies. (Interruptions).

AN HON. MEMBER: What about Lakshadweep?

SHRI PURNO A. SANGMA : I am not going to every State. We have taken a lot of pain in studying the situation. Tamil Nadu is going to lose eight parliamentary seats; Kerala -a small State- is going to lose four parliamentary seats; Andhra Pradesh three; and Karnataka one at the present growth rate of population and present pattern of growth of population in our country. I feel that besides this problem on the economy of the country and everything, it is going to create a political problem for us and we have to collectively tackle this problem.

I would urge upon the Government that we have an all Party Ponference on population growth. We have a special sitting of Parliament to discuss about this and reach a consensus on the new Population Policy in our country, otherwise we are going to face a lot of problems in future.

I will quickly cover the points. The fourth point I want to mention here is economy. Of course, I am not going to deal with economy as of today because we will have an opportunity to discuss the Budget. The Minister of Finance is here. We will do it at that time. But I only want to point out that in the President's Address, on the one hand, the President mentions about the fiscal rectitude through improved expenditure management, and the President also promises setting up of an Expenditure Commission. It is your idea. The Expenditure Commission would inter-alia lay down road map for downsizing the Government. It is very good and I must welcome the repeated statements of the hon. Minister of Finance who says that his topmost priority is to bring about a financial discipline and containment of Government expenditure. This is what the Minister of Finance has been repeatedly telling the nation and the President has promised us that soon there will be fiscal rectitude through improved expenditure management as well as Expenditure Commission to downsize the Government. If that is your policy, why this Government had to create so many new departments? You have created a new Department of Primary Education and Literacy. Where is the need for the Government of India to have a Department of Primary Education? Primary Education under the Constitution of India is under the domain of the Panchayati Raj. Instead of decentralising the power, instead of decentralising the process and the system why do you want to concentrate more and more at the Central level?

I have some suspicion on this. Why the Government of India or the Government of the BJP, with so much of strength coming from RSS and VHP, should take over direct administration of the primary schools in the country, is a big question mark. I have my suspicion and I would like the Government to answer this. If their policy is to down-size the Government structure, why have they gone on to create new Departments of Drinking Water and Supply, Road Transport and Highways, Shipping, Telecom Services, and so on? Of course, I welcome the creation of the Department of Information Technology because that is the need of the hour. That is a new Ministry they have created...(Interruptions). But my question is why did they have to create so many new departments and bring such a huge financial burden on the exchequer?

SHRI MANI SHANKAR AIYAR : To accommodate 25 parties.

SHRI PURNO A. SANGMA : I have always taken a position, it is known also, that instead of creating new Ministries and Departments, I have advocated for abolition of certain Ministries at the Centre. The Ministry of Rural Development is not required, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is not required. These are all State subjects. People sitting in New Delhi cannot understand what is happening 3,000 kilometres away from here in the villages. What is the point in Central Government having a huge establishment of rural development, sports and what not? I am in favour of dismantling some of them. Take Agriculture, for example. I can understand your keeping the ICAR as far as the research part is concerned, but why Agriculture? It is just to keep control over the States. It is just to delay the delivery of the finances. I am speaking from my own experience as a Union Minister as well as a Chief Minister. We will have to down-size the Union Ministries. They are thinking about down-sizing the Government. I quite agree to that. They should please go ahead and do that. But, in the meantime, they should not create many new departments.

Having said so, I must deviate from my stand and welcome the creation of a new Ministry for Tribal Welfare. I congratulate the Government and thank the Government for that. I must also thank the Government and both the Houses of Parliament - the Upper House and the Lower House - for having passed the Constitution Amendment Bill for extending the reservation for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes for another ten years. But the Members who have participated in the debate - I did not participate because I wanted to give chance to others - have expressed so many things. They have said that in spite of all this, nothing much has happened in these fifty years. I would say that nothing is going to happen also until and unless the Governments at the Centre and in the States are really serious about the welfare of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. I am not going into all the details but I shall just give one example and that is for the attention of the Finance Minister. The Ninth Plan Document says - please check it up - that over Rs.2,00,000 crore of outlay earmarked under the Special Component Plan for Scheduled Castes was not actually used for their benefit during the Eighth Plan. I am reading from your Ninth Five-Year Plan Document.