STATEMENT BY MINISTER
FUNDS EARNMARKED FOR RAJIV GANDHI FOUNDATION IN THE GENERAL BUDGET 1991-92
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THE MINISTER OF FINANCE (SHRI MANMOHAN SINGH): This issue of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation has been raised by many Hon. Members.
I have to inform the House that the Government have received a letter dated 31st July, 1991, from the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. The Foundation has thanked the Government for its intention to donate a generous sum to the Foundation. However, the foundation has suggested in its letter that the best way to carry out this intention is for the Government to identify suitable projects and programmes and fund them directly and implement them under its own supervision.
The Government have accepted the view expressed by the Foundation. Accordingly, a sum of Rs. 100 crores proposed in this year's Budget, to be given over a period of five years, will not be donated to the Foundation. However, the Government will identify suitable projects and programmes. These projects will be named after Shri Rajiv Gandhi and the Government will spend such sums as are necessary to carry out these projects and programmes. (Interruptions).
SHRI CHANDRA JEET YADAV (Azamgarh) : Mr. Chairman, Sir, this is a very casual way of dealing with the Budget. We are discussing the Budget of the country and the discussion is going on. The Government cannot take this kind of a most casual approach to allot the money of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and then withdraw it. From this, it appears, as if the Foundation is the master of the Budget of this country. The moment a letter comes from the Foundation the Finance Minister comes before the House and makes a statement. I do not know whether he is speaking on behalf of Cabinet. Also I do not know whether the Government had an opportunity to discuss it or not. This is not the way to deal with the Parliament of this country, which is the master of running the financial affairs of this country.
MR. CHAIRMAN : You have expressed your point.
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SHRI CHANDRA JEET YADAV : Sir, this House will take care of the Budget of the country.
Respecting the views of the entire Opposition as well as his own party members, will the Finance Minister in the same way, make a statement that the fertiliser subsidy, which has been withdrawn, will not be withdrawn ?
Sir, he is lightly treating this Parliament and I strongly protest against the casual treatment of the Government.
SHRI P.C. THOMAS (Mavattupuzah) : Mr. Chairman, Sir, I am on a point of order.
MR. CHAIRMAN : What is your point of order ?
SHRI P.C. THOMAS : Sir, we are discussing the Budget and in the Course of the Budget discussion, you have allowed the Finance Minister to make a statement. Can other Members be allowed to intrude and make a discussion on the Statement of the Finance Minister at this stage?....(Interruptions)
MR. CHAIRMAN : There is no point of order in this.
SHRI RAM NAIK (Bombay-North) : Sir, I am on a point of order.
MR. CHAIRMAN : What is your point of order?
SHRI RAM NAIK : Whenever any Minister makes a statement, he has to inform the House in advance that at such and such a time he will make a statement. No such information has been given to the House.
There are two points...... (Interruptions)
MR. CHAIRMAN : I heard your point. Any Minister with the
permission of the Chair is allowed to intervence in any debate. The Finance Minister asked the permission of the Chair and he was allowed.
SHRI RAM NAIK : I have not completed my point of order.
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Kindly listen to my point of order....(Interruptions)
MR. CHAIRMAN : When I am on my feet, please sit down.
Shri Chandr Jeet Yadav wanted to know whether the Finance Minister has made this statement on his own or whether the Cabinet has decided it. I am sure--we all know parliamentary procedure--that whatever the statement the Minister makes, we presume, it is a collective decision of the whole Cabinet.
SHRI INDRAJIT GUPTA (Midnapore) : I am not making any
observation. Would the hon. Finance Minister care to inform the House as to who has signed that letter on behalf of the Foundation ? Is it an unsigned letter ? Is it an anonymous letter ? Is it signed by the Chairman of the Foundation ? Or is it such a high secret matter which is to be kept hidden from Parliament ?
SHRI MANMOHAN SINGH : It is a letter from the Chairman of the Foundation.
SHRI RAM NAIK : I am on a point of order. Whenever any important statement is to be made by the Minister, the House must be informed in advance so that those who are interested in that statement can come and listen to that statement. That is the general rule which is being followed. Now intervention by a junior Minister or by another Minister is also allowed. But is it intervention ? This cannot be an intervention. This is a policy statement.
MR. CHAIRMAN : By no stretch of imagination can you address the Finance Minister as a Junior Minister ?
SHRI RAM NAIK : I did not say so. I said that a junior Minister can intervence. The Finance Minister has a right to make an intervention. But can this be called an intervention ? Intervention means a speech. But this is a policy statement... (Interruptions) MR. CHAIRMAN : When I am on my feet please sit down. I think, keeping the
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sentiments and the views expressed by the House in the last two days, the Finance Minister and I presume, the Cabinet in its wisdom has taken a view... (Interruptions) Please do not interrupt when I am talking. Will you please sit down ? I take strong objection to this.
When I am standing on my feet you cannot start shouting like that. Now Mr. Ramashray Prasad Singh will speak......
MR. CHAIRMAN : Nothing will be recorded. ......
THE MINISTER OF PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (SHRI GHULAM NABI AZAD) : I have great respect for my colleagues from the other side. While the Finance Minister replies on the general debate on Monday, I think that will be the proper time for him to keep all the facts before the House. At this moment, he just wanted to inform the House. The Minister is entitled to make a statement any time. He gets the precedence at any time. So what he has done at the moment is that he has just informed the House. If there are further clarifications or he wants to give further statement, that he can do during his reply on the general debate. .... (Interruptions). Should I take it that this is politically motivated ? As long as this was there, you wanted that it should be withdrawn. Now since it has been withdrawn, you want to know how and why it has been withdrawn. I cannot say beyond this that this is totally politically motivated. I am sorry to say that.
SHRI INDRAJIT GUPTA : Will that letter which has been written on behalf of the Foundation and addressed to the Government or the Finance Minister, be laid on the Table of the House or is it considered a top secret ?
MR. CHAIRMAN : Is there any necessity to lay it on the Table of the House ...... (Interruptions)
SHRI BASU DEBACHARIA (Bankura) : I want to know what is the difficulty in
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placing the letter on the Table of the House. .... (Interruptions).
SHRI MADAN LAL KHURANA (South Delhi) : Sir, the country wants to know how and why it was withdrawn. This is public money. They will lay it when it suits then. It proves that they have utilized the money according to their fancy. They are not allowing funds for providing drinking water facility in slums. This proves it.... (Interruptions).
SHRI RAM NAIK : Sir, after deciding to give such a huge grant, what new development made them change their decision. We would like to know the details.... (Interruptions).
MR. CHAIRMAN : They have told you the new development. He has read out the letter received from the Foundation.
MR. CHAIRMAN : Shri Khurana was enquiring about the contents of the letter. He was not present here. The hon. Finance Minister has disclosed the contents of the letter.
MR. CHAIRMAN : He very specifically disclosed the contents of that letter.
SHRI GHULAM NABI AZAD : The hon. Minister is not supposed to read the letter. This is for him, if he so desires. He has just conveyed the decision of the Government. It may be confidential or it may not be confidential. You wanted a decision in this regard...
(Interruptions). You are not concerned about the letter. You are concerned about the decision of the Government and the Government has taken the decision.
MR. CHAIRMAN : Nothing will be recorded.
SHRI MADAN LAL KHURANA : Mr. Chairman, Sir about 3500 women 289 General Budget
demonstrating against the price rise were beaten up by the police and several women were injured in the incident. (Interruptions) [English]
MR. CHAIRMAN: You come half way through and then start the whole thing. This has got no relevance at all.
[SHRIMATI MALINI BHATTACHARYA in the Chair]
SHRI RAM NAIK: Madam, Chairman, now you have graced the Chair.
Now, two issues have arisen. One issue is what Shri Khurana has said about the lathi charge on the.... (Interruptions).
MR. CHAIRMAN: Please, this is not the time for that...
KUMARI UMA BHARTI (Khajuraho): Male police were deployed to arrest the women holding demonstration against the price rise at Patel Chowk whereas lady police should have been deployed there. They were also lathi charged.... (Interruptions)
MR. CHAIRMAN: You have had your say. Now please sit down...
KUMARI UMA BHARTI: Several women were injured. I am coming from there. Shri Khurana was also there. The lathi-charge was done by male police and even proper buses were not provided to transport the arrested women Please request the hon. Minister to provide full details to the House. If such a thing has happened, the guilty policemen should be punished... (Interruptions).
SHRI RAM NAIK: Madam Chairman, some letter is alleged to have been
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received from Sonia Gandhi, which is alleged to be in respect of budget allocation.... (Interruptions).
MR. CHAIRMAN: There are Ministers here and they have taken
cognisance. Please sit down now. Yes, Ramashray Prasad Singh Ji.