Madam, I do not find any reasons as to why all these conditions were to be put.
IDPL is one of the standardized companies. Its Unit at Chennai has the capacity to produce drugs, tablets, capsules, surgical instruments and fabrication of hospital equipment. It caters not only to the State of Tamil Nadu but also Pondicherry. It produces not only the surgical equipment but also other appliances in the medical field with ISI specifications. In its quality, it is number one. The plant maintenance is also of the international quality.
Madam, as proposed earlier, to keep the prices under the control of the Government of India as also to help the plant to survive, this plant can be put under the Department of Health and Family Welfare.
Madam, I would also like to draw the attention of this august House that during the previous Government's regime, the then Minister, Sardar Surjit Singh Barnala inspected this Unit and had promised that he would help us for its revival, but I am sorry to say that this Government is taking a different attitude as far this Unit is concerned. But at the same time, the drug industries which are situated in Hyderabad, Rishikesh and Gurgaon were rehabilitated to the tune of Rs. 1,000 crore. My point is that why has the IDPL Unit at Chennai been given a step-motherly treatment? In order to avoid the regular and frequent use of spurious drugs in the market also, it is necessary to have this Unit revived.
Madam, Chairperson, I am not able to find any reasons as to why this Government is giving a step-motherly treatment to this Unit. Just because it is situated at Chennai, is it that the Government of India not accepting the revival plans relating to this Unit?
I once again urge upon the Government to kindly to revive this Unit. I would also urge upon the Government to give the regular salaries of the workers working in the plant and see that this pharmaceutical company is included, along with other IDPL Units, in the Government of India List for market survey.
I am coming to another area. In Tamil Nadu, we are facing a crisis in the textile industry. The textile industry which contributes over 30 per cent to forex earnings accounts for 20 per cent of industrial production and contributes 9 per cent of GDP and provides millions of jobs and it has been passing through a critical period for the last two years. The major problems encountered by textile units are demand recession, liquidity crunch, unhealthy competition on account of excise evasion, sagging exports following East Asian currency turmoil and surging imports of textile products.
The textile industry started in the year, 1968 with 119 mills all over the country and out of nine subsidiary Units, eight have been referred to BIFR, but till now the BIFR has not come out with any final solution to the problem.
The industries which have made some development and progress, have already become sick. It is something unimaginable. Where is the flaw? Why are the industries going sick? Why then have we started the industry at all? Are we to allow those industries to become sick? This is a point of doubt. The hon. Minister should see that a continuous Monitoring Cell is set up in every public sector undertaking constituting a Body with the Managing Director of the Unit, the Managing Director of the financial institution and also the
Secretary to Industry and Commerce to advise and to monitor the sick units. There is no point in allowing the Units going sick. The revival of those sick industries is the problem which we are facing today.
The Government is making undue delay after the report of the BIFR and that has added fuel to fire. In the case of NTC, the implementation of Turn Around Strategy as approved by the Government of India in 1995 was dependent primarily on the resources available after disposal and replacement in and around mills and it has not so far materialised. This undue delay is highly condemnable. It was assured during the visit of hon. Minister for Textiles in the year, 1998 that the revival of NTC-run mills would be given top priority. I urge upon the Government to give a serious thought to it.
Before I conclude, I would like to say that most of the composite textile mills are in a bad shape. It has been estimated that the fund required for updating these mills in two phases would be Rs.2,500 crore out of which Rs.1,780 crore would be raised through sale of land of 25 mills. Then why should there be a delay? Why is the Government not taking immediate steps in this regard?
I would like to say that Government should not privatise everything in the name of globalisation and liberalisation. I urge upon the Government to revive IDPL Units at Chennai and Gurgaon.
SHRI AJOY CHAKRABORTY (BASIRHAT): Hon. Madam Chairperson, I wholeheartedly support the Resolution which has been initiated by our senior colleague, Shrimati Geeta Mukherjee.
I hope, all the Members cutting across party lines will support this Resolution and adopt this Resolution wholeheartedly because it is a question of survival of our country. It is a question of life and death for thousands and thousands of workers employed in those public sector undertakings and are on the verge of retrenchment.
Under the leadership and initiative of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who was a great statesman of our country, the then Government adopted the policy of socialistic pattern of society. During that very period, the Government took up building heavy industries and public undertakings for self-reliance of our country, thus creating employment scope for the unemployed youth of our country. So, the big steel industries such as those at Durgapur, Bokaro, Bhilai and Rourkela, the Sindri Fertilizer Factory and Chittaranjan Locomotive Works were built under the initiative of the Government and thousands and thousands of young men of our country were working efficiently in those industries.
We are proud of those industries. It is a pride of our country. The Chitaranjan Locomotive Works is constructing and manufacturing high standard engines for Railways. It is not bad in quality comparing other countries. But at present, after the globalization or liberalization policy of the Government, these public sector undertakings are ruined day by day.
Except Bhilai Steel Plant, all other big steel industries are now running in losses. Many colleagues have mentioned the names of other public sector units and I need not mention the names of the PSUs which will take much time of the House.
We are proud of `navaratnas'. But at the present juncture, there is a policy of the Government whereby the `ratnas' are being removed from the `crown'. They have thus become `crownless navaratnas.' So many different industries are there like jute, textile, tannery, etc. They are now sinking or being ruined day by day. The cotton industry or the textile industry are one of the most important industries of our country. Gujarat is the Manchester of India.
1547 hours (Dr. Laxminarayan Pandeya in the Chair)
Not only in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, but all over India practically, the textile industries or the cotton industries are very important industries of our country. But those industries are now being ruined and becoming sick day by day.
If you take the jute industry, West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Bihar and Orissa are the States which are jute-growing States. But mainly the jute industries are situated in West Bengal, on the banks of Ganga and on both sides of the Bhagirathi river. Jute mills are situated there. Thousands and thousands of workers from Bihar, UP, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Assam and other States are working in those jute mills. Now, all the jute mills are being closed and thousands and thousands of workers are out of job. They are now living under the blue sky with their families. Some of the workers committed suicide due to unemployment which is again due to closure of jute industries.
Let us come to other industries. Kanpur is industrially a big city of Uttar Pradesh. Tannery is very famous in Kanpur. Now Kanpur has become a ghost city. It is now destroyed. If you visit a tannery, you will see that there is only sheds and no employees. No person is now working there. Now it has become a ghost tannery in Kanpur. Same is the case with industries in Gujarat and Maharashtra. In Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore is a famous city for textile industries. They are now becoming sick and being ruined.
IDPL is one of the medicine manufacturing companies. It is one of the public sector undertakings of our country which has its units in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal and most other States of India. Now, IDPL is becoming sick day by day and the employees of IDPL are coming to Delhi and participate in dharna. Every year we are witnessing that these people are coming from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, West Bengal and other States to Delhi, participate in dharna and meet the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister also gives an assurance that he would look into the problem, but nothing happens. There is no result. My colleagues have mentioned many things on this issue and I would not like to repeat them. I would like to say that the Government should change its policy. The Government should come forward and take measures to revive the sick public sector undertakings. The workers who are on the verge of retrenchment should be saved. In the Question Hour, a question about the ECL was raised. It is the oldest and the biggest coal industry in our country. Seventy thousand employees are on the verge of retrenchment and they are going to lose their jobs. What would happen to them? It is the Government's duty to provide them jobs. It is an obligation on the part of the Government to provide jobs for those who are working in the public sector. As we all know, unemployment problem is one of the greatest problems in our country. If the Government is silent, then what would happen to our country? The Government of India should come forward and take measures to save the sick public sector undertakings and its employees.
With these few words, I conclude. Thank you.
SHRIMATI MARGARET ALVA (CANARA): Mr. Chairman, Sir, I think we have come to the end of a very interesting and a very telling debate on the public sector. I have been one of those who have served the Committee on Public Undertakings. We have analysed the problems being faced by the public sector in various fields. I must say that most often we tend to blame the public sector for all the problems that it is facing, forgetting the pioneering role it has played in this country in various fields. In areas, in places where the private sector was not prepared to invest, the Government, in the early years of Independence built the public sector and laid the foundation stone for industrial growth and development. It has played a pioneering role in the social sector as well. The social priorities of the public sector cannot be ignored. Over the years, due to various reasons, the public sector has run into problems. There has been no investment when it is most needed, there is no modernisation and no effort at keeping the profitability as the main purpose. I have been in Government and I was involved in the process of selecting the Chairmen and personnel for the public sector undertakings. I have seen the problems that are faced by the public sector undertakings. Most of those who are involved in the selection process belong to everywhere but the public sector. There is no commitment in selecting the right people. The public sector positions, whether Directors or Board Chairman, are tend to be filled up by the retired bureaucrats or the bureaucrats who have not been empanelled or those who do not want to leave a particular place. There is no permanent commitment, interest or responsibility. They are appointed for three years and they get all the benefits even though the undertaking is incurring losses, but they are not held responsible for what has happened. These people go back either to some other Department or to the Government itself. This has been the bane of the public sector undertaking. The Chairman and other technocrats have repeatedly complained to me that they had to wait for two or
three days in the corridors of power for getting an appointment with the Joint Secretary or a middle level officer to get something passed or to get some little things cleared.
This kind of a dual control from the Ministries on the public sector has been the bane of the public sector. There is no point blaming them. They have not been allowed to function commercially. They do not have the autonomy to take decisions and required clearances have never come in time. Besides, there is dumping, as I said, of unwanted people on the public sector. Even the Public Sector Enterprises Board, has not had people from industry in the selection process to be able to say that they need these kinds of people with them. The public sector somehow has not been cost-effective. There has been no competition over many years in this country. They were in areas where there was no competition. The Government did not allow foreign companies to operate and so, there was complacency. But, more than that, there was over-staffing of the public sector to please all the powers that be. The Ministers want the people appointed. Members want the people appointed. The Chief Ministers want the people appointed. So, this attitude of "please all" has dumped into the public sector staff and the people who are really redundant. I think rationalisation and modernisation are what the public sector needs rather than closing down as a blank kind of a decision. Policy changes have come. We were in Government, I agree because every time when something happens people say that it happened during Shri Narasimha Rao Government. We were in Government. We had discussed the issue. BIFR was established so that there would be a support system for revival, investment and help to undertakings which were in trouble because as we opened up, there was a competition.
The hon. Minister has been in the Government for the last two years. I have written to Shri Sinha. BIFR comes under the Ministry of Finance. I have been to the Chairman of the BIFR pleading that cases be heard. Once the Chairman told me to do something. He said that he was the Chairman and he had one more member on the Board. They cannot even constitute a Bench because minimum of two members are required to constitute a Bench. In the entire BIFR appointments are just not made, as was just pointed out, 14 members were to be appointed and today we have only three. The Government is telling the world and the country that it is involved in reviving and helping the units which are sick. How can the BIFR even function if you are not even serious about appointing people? Why cannot these retired bureaucrats at least be appointed? They want to be the Chairmen of certain companies. If nothing else, they can at least work on BIFR. That has not been done. This whole sham of saying,
means, the moment a company is referred to the BIFR, it has to be closed down because the banks stop financing saying,
Everybody withdraws the moment it goes to the BIFR because they know it is the end of the story.
So, nobody is prepared to bail out a company which goes to the BIFR.
I can give you any number of examples. So many companies have been mentioned. But, I must say about the dues to the public sector from public sector and the State Government. Take for instance the coal. There are losses in the coal industry. The electricity boards do not pay their dues for the coal which has been supplied. You cannot stop supply because immediately there will be a crisis. If you look at their balance sheets, the dues from the public sector itself are being paid to them by the Government by some ways and means so that they have the money to revive. They have the property which can be sold, re-invested, modernised and made to function.
Today, I must say at the cost of objection from my friends in the Left, the Unions at last have begun to become very responsible as far as the revival is concerned. NTC was mentioned. I was in the Committee which was set up by the Government of India to work on the revival package for the NTC. We tried to negotiate. The Unions were there. Without meaning offence, there were two units which were always running into loss. The Units in the South were making profits. All the money that came by way of profits from the working units in the South went to pay the salaries, bonus and everything else which was demanded in Bengal and I think Bihar. When we asked them to close down the units which were not working, as was said just now, and let the other Units work, there was a hue and cry in Bengal and everywhere.