Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Smt. Sushma Swaraj and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Sri Arun Jaitley expressing satisfaction over the just concluded monsoon session of Indian Parliament, said the BJP succeeded in exposing the complete mismanagement of the UPA.
Speaking to reporters after the conclusion of the monsoon session, they said faced with a huge anti-incumbency, non-performance, serious allegations of corruption and mismanagement of the economy, the UPA government had initially decided upon a escapist route by cutting short the size of the Monsoon Session.
According to them, the Congress strategy was to merely pass certain key legislations of the government and leave inadequate time on other subjects of public interest, which the Opposition wanted to have. However, they said this move of the government did not succeed. The Congress Party (not the UPA government) announced a decision to carve out a separate state of Telangana on the eve of the Monsoon Session. It was obvious that this announcement would cast a shadow on this Session. It indeed did.
They said they the BJP utilized the session on raising the issue of Telangana and exposing the complete mismanagement of the UPA. The BJP fully supports the creation of Telangana as a separate state. The BJP would have preferred that a Bill for creation of Telangana been brought in the Monsoon Session itself.
The economy is in deep crisis. The Rupee had been collapsing. The growth rates are down. Investment is shrinking; the UPA government is a mere helpless spectator, depending predominantly on ‘external factors’ to resolve the problem. On the mismanagement of the economy, the Party utilized every Parliamentary instrument to highlight the failures of the UPA. Separate discussions on the state of economy, on Demand for Grants were held. Even a reluctant Prime Minister was compelled to make a statement on the state of the economy and face the grilling before Parliament.
The BJP has been in the forefront of highlighting the blunders committed during the UPA government. The highlight of this session was repeated discussions on the Coal Block Allocation scam, wherein the government of the day was seriously exposed with regard to the missing coal files. The Coal Block Allocation scam involves arbitrariness, nepotism, loss of revenue and corruption. The Supreme Court is monitoring the investigations. Notwithstanding the fact that there is an extensive scrutiny by the Supreme Court, Parliament, media and public opinion, the crucial files of the Coal Block Allocation during the period 2006-09 have disappeared. The disappearance of the files is an attempt to destroy the evidence. The BJP insisted in both House of Parliament for a response by the Government and being dissatisfied with response of the Minister insisted on the Prime Minister speaking on this subject. Regrettably, neither the Minister nor the Prime Minister had any satisfactory answer.
In the National Food Security Bill, the Party, while supporting the measure in larger public interest, insisted on several amendments to make the Bill more effective. It highlighted the fact that, neither the financial outlay for the food security would be increased nor the reach as to the number of beneficiaries would be increased. The Party further highlighted that for several vulnerable sections like the BPL category, the quantum of the subsidized food, to which they were entitled, would be reduced and price being charged was higher than the price at which food was being made available under the original schemes of the Central government and many State governments.
The BJP was firmly in support of increasing the amount of compensation being paid to Indian farmers when their land was being compulsorily acquired. The Party, therefore, supported the Bill on the principle of higher compensation to the farmer. The Party, however, wanted to balance the larger interest of the farmers with requirements of economic development. The Party, therefore, suggested several amendments on the floor of the House by virtue of which infrastructure, industry, irrigation project would continue to be developed along with greater magnanimity being shown to the interest of the farmers.
The BJP supported the passage of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill as the concept of a regulatory authority for this crucial financial sector was originally mooted by the NDA government. The Party also ensured that the FDI in this sector was capped at 26 percent as against the UPA’s bid to hike it to 49 percent at one go. This is consistent with the NDA‘s policy of calibrated liberalization in financial sector.
The Party supported a large number of social welfare legislations like Street Vendors, Manual Scavenger Bills etc. The Party, however, was against hasty decisions on bills against higher accountability for those in politics and public life. Thus the Party insisted that the Government’s Bill to amend the RTI Act to exempt the political parties from its purview, as also to allow convicted MPs to attend legislative bodies required a larger consultation. In view of its doubtful constitutionality, the Party required them to be referred to the Standing Committee.
On the Judicial Appointment Commission, the BJP is firmly of the Opinion that whereas such a Commission is required, there should be proper consultation on such a serious issue. The Government wanted to rush through the Constitutional amendment creating the Judicial Appointments Commission which would have led to a hiatus and freezing of the judicial appointments as the creation of the alternative mechanism of National Judicial Commission was still pending before the Standing Committee. The BJP is of the opinion that since the constitutional amendment has not been approved by the Lok Sabha, the government must reconsider its stand and refer it to Parliamentary committee for discussion and improvement so that it is available for consideration before the Parliament at the earliest.