SOME HON. MEMBERS: Yes.
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: So, the time of the House is further extended.
SHRI P.H. PANDIYAN (TIRUNELVELI): Mr. Deputy-Speaker, Sir, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to express the views of the All India Anna DMK on the IRDA Bill. Privatisation of insurance is a challenge to the Indian sovereignty. The Finance Minister is sitting here. He needs no transfer of technology. Money is an essential commodity, both for the insurance industry and the banking industry. It need not come from outside, from a foreign country; we can generate funds from our own resources. Instead of introducing this Bill, if the Finance Minister had concentrated on the recovery of some other dues like excise duty, income-tax, loans due to the banks, which amount to crores of rupees - two thousand or three thousand crores of rupees - he need not have piloted this Insurance Bill.
Insurance is not a sophisticated industry. A foreign investor or a foreign company need not enter India to promote our existing insurance industry. Our insurance and banking industries have been carrying on well for so many decades, since 1938. This Bill is based on a novel classical principle, that is, public interest versus private interest. Whether this Bill has been introduced or piloted and debated in public interest or in private interest, only the Government will know.
The BJP Government is bent upon getting this Bill passed and has given top priority to it. On 27.11.1999, our General Secretary, Dr. Jayalalitha had issued a statement that the All India Anna DMK expresses its grave concern on the move of the Government of India to get this IRDA Bill passed in this Session. When so many legislations which are necessary for our rural and social sectors are pending and are yet to be debated, this Bill has been given priority.
So, as I said, this privatisation is a challenge to the sovereignty and economy of our country. The Ministers take oath saying that "We bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India, as by law established".
We are not promoting any legal company. We are not promoting any Indian. We expect a foreigner, a foreign company to enter into this market. I have seen a newspaper item wherein it is said that the foreign insurers are waiting in queue to join this Indian insurance. The following firms have already engaged Indian partners - Allianz AG of Germany, Prudential Life of U.K., American International Group of U.S., Commercial Union of U.K., General Accident of U.K., Sun Life of Canada, Chubb Corp of U.S., ING Group, Standard Life, CIGNA of U.S., Canada Life, GIO Australia Holdings, All State, Guardian AXA, Zurich, Metlife of U.S. and AMP. The following firms are looking for Indian partners - Legal & General, Manulife of Canada, Royal & Sun Alliance, Yasuda Fire, Tokio Fire & Marine, Aegon, Sumitomo, Mitsui Marine, GE Capita, New York Life International, Swiss Re and Munich Re.
I would like to stress that all these companies are not going to transfer any technology or they are not going to invest the whole money. It is only 26 per cent. With this 26 per cent they are going to dominate our existing insurance industry. Since you are bent upon passing the Bill, where is the safeguard introduced in the legislation? I want to know whether, for a violation of the I.R.A. Act by the companies, if it is passed, any monetary penalties are to be imposed or not. It is not there. What is the penal action to be taken? It is not there. It is well evident from the fact that the Standing Committee's Report on Finance for 1998-99 of the 12th Lok Sabha concerning Ministry of Finance, on page 27 said that there is no such provision for considering imposing stringent punishment including monetary penalties.
I have gone through the Bill. This Bill has no relevance to Indian social and rural sectors. To develop rural and social sectors we have enough human resources and natural wealth. We have money. Why do the Finance Minister not explore the possibility of expanding the resources or augmenting the resources by investing our own brains and our our money? We have men.
Shri Yashwant Sinha, you are the Finance Minister. Can I ask the Finance Minister of the U.S. to come and occupy this chair? He can develop India. I will not allow it. I want you to be the Finance Minister. We do not want them. We select the best among our people. In that way, there is no transfer of technology. If that is so, after some years, they will say that they will also want to get a berth in the Cabinet. The foreign investors may ask this question. Then, will you provide a seat here just like the East India Company? Then India will become a colony in that way.
This Bill has no sanction of the poor people. The poor people do not understand what are the implications of this I.R.A. Bill. The Bill does not guarantee the ploughing back of the profit into the nation. What is the profit that you are going to get back to the nation? There is no prescription enunciated in the Bill.
As it is, L.I.C. and G.I.C. are participating in the nation-building activities like housing. They have invested thousands of crores. They invested Rs. 10,000 crore for electricity.
The equity prescribed for the private companies is Rs. 100 crore. If there is a calamity that had occurred in Orissa or the Bhopal gas disaster, these companies will prefer to go to litigation. What is the check? How about the Union Carbide? We are not able to get even Rs. 400 or Rs. 500 per family. The case of Union Carbide is a vivid example.
If you allow a foreign investor, a foreign company to prosper here and they go back on the commitment, what is your jurisdiction? Can you try them? Can you summon them? Can you take action against them? You have no cover. They will file a liquidation petition. They will file a winding-up petition. You had bitter experience in India that if the foreigners come in, they live like parasite. They are leaches and they will suck Indian blood. So, I appeal to the Finance Minister to withdraw this Bill because we oppose this Bill tooth and nail, having gone into the fact that it is not going to help the nation, it is not going to improve our social and rural sectors.
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Please conclude. We are crossing the extended time. Otherwise, we will have to go in for a further extension.
SHRI P.H. PANDIYAN : Just a minute. I wanted to say these things initially. Hon. Deputy-Speaker has given me the opportunity to speak now.
I quote an item from The Hindu. It says:
"When life insurance was nationalised in 1956, C.D. Deshmukh, the then Finance Minister said, insurance in the developing country must be seen as an essential service which a Welfare State should provide to its people and not as a business proposition or additional source of investment to those who put their money in the stock market."
So, Mr. Finance Minister, please see it in this perspective that if you allow these industries to prosper, then we can also ask the British to come back and rule, we can also ask America to come back and rule. These companies will dictate terms.
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Please conclude. I cannot seek further extension.
SHRI P.H. PANDIYAN : Therefore, I appeal to the Finance Minister that even at this moment, he has got time till tomorrow. He may go to his house and think over this, think over all the deliberations and withdraw the Bill.
I oppose this Bill on behalf of the AIADMK tooth and nail.
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: The list of the speakers is over. The reply of the Minister will be tomorrow after the Question Hour.
The Lok Sabha then adjourned till Eleven of the Clock on
Thursday, December 2, 1999/Agrahayana 11, 1921 (Saka)