STEEP FALL IN PRICES OF RUBBER
SHRI C.P. NARAYANAN (KERALA): Sir, I want to bring this issue to the notice of the House and the Government. Millions of rubber farmers in India, particularly Kerala, Tripura and other States, are in dire straits. The price of rubber, over a few years, has come down from Rs.240 per kg to Rs.100 per kg. Annual production of rubber is about nine lakh tonne and the loss every year is of about Rs.13,000 crore. The farmers are not getting even the cost of production now. Rubber is a product whose gestation period is of seven years. For that reason, they cannot shift from one crop to another crop. Added to this now, with the fall in price of crude oil, is a threat of synthetic rubber entering into the market. The price of oil has come down to less than 70 dollars and the market is full of oil. Every possibility is there that synthetic rubber will be made available and our tyre producers and other industries will naturally shift to synthetic rubber. This will affect the natural rubber producers in a big way and these farmers will be put to greater hardship. The Government has not been paying attention to this fact. The Government was allowing indiscriminate import to support the tyre industry and other industries. These industries, in spite of the fall in the price of natural rubber, have not brought down the price of their commodities even to a small level. They are making a huge profit.
(Contd. by VKK/1M)
SHRI C.P. NARAYANAN (CONTD.): And the farmers are facing a big loss. The Government has to intervene to save them from the clutches because this is not going to be a temporary affair. The demand for rubber, natural rubber, is coming down firstly because of availability of synthetic rubber and secondly because in Europe, Japan and other areas, there is recession. Because of that, there is less demand for natural rubber. So, taking all these things into consideration, the Government has to see to it that the rubber farmers are protected and the rubber production is continued. Thank you.
SHRI T.K. RANGARAJAN (TAMIL NADU): Sir, I associate myself with the matter raised by Shri C.P. Narayanan.
SHRI DEREK O’BRIEN (WEST BENGAL): Sir, I also associate myself with the matter raised by Shri C.P. Narayanan.
SHRI P. RAJEEVE (KERALA): Sir, I also associate myself with the matter raised by Shri C.P. Narayanan.
SHRI K.N. BALAGOPAL (KERALA): Sir, I also associate myself with the matter raised by Shri C.P. Narayanan.
SHRI RAM NATH THAKUR (BIHAR): Sir, I also associate myself with the matter raised by Shri C.P. Narayanan.
SHRI ANANDA BHASKAR RAPOLU (TELANGANA): Sir, I also associate myself with the matter raised by Shri C.P. Narayanan.
SHRI JOY ABRAHAM (KERALA): Sir, I also associate myself with the matter raised by Shri C.P. Narayanan.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Sir, we also associate ourselves with the matter raised by Shri C.P. Narayanan.
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: All those names may be noted. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI P. RAJEEVE: Sir, we have given a Calling Attention notice. The Commerce Minister is here. ...(Interruptions)... We have submitted a Calling Attention notice. ...(Interruptions)... It is a very important issue. ...(Interruptions)...
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: The hon. Chairman will examine it if you have given a Calling Attention notice. ...(Interruptions)... Now, Shri M.P. Achuthan. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI JOY ABRAHAM: Sir, it is very important. ...(Interruptions)...
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: He is still on rubber. Rubber is elastic. ...(Interruptions)... Now, Shri M.P. Achuthan.
SHRI K.N. BALAGOPAL: Sir, next week, we will come to the Well of the House and we will not allow this. ...(Interruptions)... This is a big problem not only in Kerala, but also in other places. ...(Interruptions)...
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Now, Shri M.P. Achuthan. ...(Interruptions)... Mr. Rajeeve has said that he has given a Calling Attention notice. If it is admitted, then you can discuss this.
श्री नरेश अग्रवाल : माननीय उपसभापति जी, हमने भी नियम 257 के अंदर नोटिस दिया है ...(व्यवधान)...
श्री उपसभापति: क्या आपने इसी सब्जैक्ट पर नोटिस दिया है ...
श्री नरेश अग्रवाल: उपसभापति महोदय, पेट्रोल प्राइसेज़ के बारे में नोटिस दिया है ...(व्यवधान) ...
श्री उपसभापति: हां, ठीक है ... (व्यवधान) ... वह दूसरा सब्जैक्ट है ... (व्यवधान)... श्री एम.पी. अच्युतन ...(व्यवधान)....
श्री नरेश अग्रवाल: सर, आप ही ने कन्वर्ट कर के लिखा ... (व्यवधान)...
श्री उपसभापति: श्री एम.पी. अच्युतन ...(व्यवधान)....
GOVERNMENT DECISION TO CUT PLAN ALLOCATIONS FOR SOCIAL SECTORS TO MEET FISCAL DEFICIT TARGET
SHRI M.P. ACHUTHAN (KERALA): Sir, I would like to draw the attention of this House to the reported move of the Government to slash the social sector spending drastically. In many sectors, the Government is trying to cut short the allocations. In education, the slashing is for Rs.11,000 crore; in health, it is Rs.7,000 crore; and in rural development, it is Rs.20,000 crore. When the hon. Finance Minister presented the Budget, he said that he is sure that he will be able to achieve the fiscal deficit target of 4.1 per cent and after that, we have seen the repeated statements of the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister that the economy is growing fast; there is flooding of FDI; the Sensex is soaring like anything and creating new records; everything is fine and there is no scope for any deficit in the Budget. Now, what happened to that? Now, you are trying to cut short or slash the social sector spending. I think it is a concerted effort, a policy aim, of the Government to encourage some sectors, that is, private sector in education, health, etc. If you cut the spending in the health sector, who is going to benefit? It is the private hospitals. If you cut the spending in education, who is going to benefit? Of course, it is the self-financing colleges and the commercialised private sector. So, this is a conscious effort on the part of the Government to encourage and give more concession to the private sector. On the one side, you are cutting the social sector spending; on the other side, you are giving more concessions to the corporate sectors. There is no slashing in the corporate sector spending. You are giving them more concessions in the name of export concession and so on. So, it is a conscious effort on the part of the Government. (Time-bell)
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Okay. ...(Interruptions)... Now, Shri Vijay Goel. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI M.P. ACHUTHAN: You have to take this into consideration. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI ALI ANWAR ANSARI (BIHAR): Sir, I associate myself with the matter raised by Shri M.P. Achuthan.
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Now, Shri Vijay Goel.
CHANGING NORMS FOR NURSERY SCHOOL ADMISSION IN VIEW OF RECENT DELHI HIGH COURT JUDGMENT
श्री विजय गोयल (राजस्थान) : माननीय उपसभापति महोदय, मेरा समय अभी समाप्त हो रहा है। दिल्ली में नर्सरी विद्यालयों में दाखिले के लिए हजारों माता-पिता लगातार धक्के खा रहे हैं। वर्ष 2007 से लेकर 2013 तक, हाई कोर्ट ने अशोक गांगुली की रिपोर्ट के ऊपर जो ...(व्यवधान)...
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Time is over. Now, Question Hour. ...(Interruptions)...
श्री विजय गोयल: उसके बाद, अब दुबारा से हाई कोर्ट का ... (व्यवधान) ...
(1N/MP पर आगे)
(12.00-1.00 PM – Question Hour)
The House re-assembled after lunch at two of the clock,
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN in the Chair.
संसदीय कार्य मंत्री (श्री एम. वेंकैया नायडु): लोकतंत्र में राजा पीछे, प्रजा सामने है।
श्री उपसभापति : हां, हां, प्रजा सामने है, वह तो ठीक ही है। आजकल ऐसा ही है।
श्री एम. वेंकैया नायडु : सर, मैंने वही कहा कि लोकतंत्र में ऐसा है। लोकतंत्र का महत्व है।
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Now, clarifications on the Statement made by the Minister on ‘India’s Stand in WTO’. Shri Anand Sharma.
CLARIFICATIONS ON STATEMENT RE. ‘INDIA’S STAND IN WTO’
SHRI ANAND SHARMA (RAJASTHAN): Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, I rise to seek certain clarifications on the Statement made by the Minister of Commerce and Industry in this House on the WTO Agreements reached in the General Council in Bali.
Sir, it is a 19 paragraph-statement in which the Minister has laboured to give an impression that because of this Government and the Prime Minister’s dynamic leadership, a new breakthrough in WTO has been achieved. I would say, in all humility, that this Statement should have been very carefully read before it was made in this august House, because the Statement is long – we have no objection; the statement is confusing, for those who have not followed the entire trade agreements and the history of international trade agreements, going back to the Uruguay round, the GATT agreement, the Marakesh Agreement, leading to the establishment of the WTO. The time when the nine Agreements were negotiated and reached in Bali, was the first time since 1995, after the WTO was established, that the WTO Ministerial reached any agreement, in MC-9 in Bali, in December, 2013.
Sir, why I am saying that it is confusing, and initially I found myself confused a bit, is, on the 18th of December last year, I had made a statement in this House about the agreement reached on public stockholding for food security purposes, making it abundantly clear that the issue was simply with regard to the external reference price. Food security, as such, is not part of the WTO agenda; it is a sovereign space. So, when it came to the external reference prices, India had taken a very firm position. India had tabled a proposition which was not accepted at that time by the US and EU. India had succeeded in putting together a big coalition of countries. Finally, the meeting got extended and there was a breakthrough. The impression which has been sought to be created by the Minister and the Government is that a new agreement has been reached in Geneva.
Now, Sir, I would like to read para 5 of the Minister’s statement before I seek clarifications on that: “The general Council decision on public stockholding for food security purposes is a new, unambiguous decision.”
(CONTD. BY HK/2C)
SHRI ANAND SHARMA (CONTD.): "...It makes it clear that a mechanism, under which WTO members will not challenge the Public Stockholding Programmes of developing country members for Food Security Purposes, in relation to certain obligations under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, will remain in place in perpetuity...." I have no quarrel with these words. Then comes, "...until a permanent solution regarding this issue has been agreed and adopted." Now, Sir, I checked and went through the Bali Ministerial and I went through WTO General Council Declaration which is in my hand. This is a Declaration of 27th November, 2014. I straightway come on this whether it is a new Agreement because it is a wrong claim which I say with full sense of responsibility. Sir, I am reading the statement of Ambassador, Jonathan Fried, who chaired the General Council in Geneva. His statement on this subject says, "With respect to the Decision on Post-Bali work, circulated in document WT/GC/W/690, Members are collectively acting on the premise -- I put an emphasis on the words 'Members are collectively acting' -- that the entire Bali Package can and must be pursued and that all Members will engage constructively on the implementation of all the Bali Ministerial Decisions in the relevant WTO bodies, and on the preparation of the clearly defined work program on the remaining DDA issues -- about which there is a paragraph, I will come to that -- mandated in para 1.11 of the Bali Ministerial Declaration, with a new deadline to agree on the work programme -- which Minister refers to in her statement -- by July 2015."
Second para, "Therefore, in adopting the three Decisions on Public Stockholding for Food Security Purposes, on the Protocol of Amendment for Trade Facilitation, and on Post-Bali work simultaneously -- now this should be very attentively heard -- we are 'reaffirming' the entirety of the Bali Ministerial mandates, including the priorities that Ministers identified at Bali."
Now, I would like the Minister to shed some light and educate the House that who is right -- the Chairman of the General Council or this document. I will go further. Sir, the Director-General of the WTO, Roberto Azevedo, had a Press Conference the same day. Our Minister also had a Press Conference and our Government has publicised this as a major victory. What does the WTO Director-General say? He says, "WTO Members came together at the General Council this afternoon and took three decisions. I will just say a word or two about each one. The first decision clarified the Bali Decision on Public Stockholding for Food Security Purposes." It is clarificatory. It goes on, "It makes clear that peace clause which was agreed in Bali will remain in force until a permanent solution is found." Now, Sir, I will read further. "It also states that Members shall make all efforts to negotiate a permanent solution by 31st December, 2015", which the Minister referred to and definitely it is an advancement of the earlier targeted date of 2017.
(Contd. By KSK/2D)
hk -- KSK/GS/2.10/2D
SHRI ANAND SHARMA (CONTD.): I will explain that also. Now, it goes on to say, “If no solution is reached by this new target, that is, MC 10, which will be in 2015, by this new target date in December 2015, the Peace Clause will simply remain in place and in effect until negotiations do conclude and a permanent solution is adopted.”
Now, Sir, the Minister, in para 6 of her statement -- I will read it so that it is understood by the Members of this august House -- says, “This would do away with any ambiguity on this aspect as well as guard against the possibility of no cover being available after 2017 in case a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security purposes is not arrived at by then. It, therefore, strengthens the safeguard available for continuing the Minimum Support Price policy which is a lifeline for millions of our low income, resource poor farmers.” We all know it and we are on the same page on that. Now, Sir, this is much-maligned and less-understood. The rest of the world understood, as I will show further, these statements and declarations. It was simple English language which was understood even by non-English-speaking member countries of the WTO. The only country, which had difficulty in understanding the Bali Formula, which is referred to as the Peace Clause, was India. Now, what is this Bali Formula? It says, “Para 1 to read as under:- Members agree to put in place an interim mechanism, as set out below, and negotiate an agreement for a permanent solution for the issue of public stock holding for food security purposes for adoption definitely by the 11th Ministerial Conference.” Now, Sir, each Ministerial Conference takes place after two years. The 11th Ministerial Conference will be in 2017 and the 10th Ministerial Conference will be in 2015. Now, this was interpreted by this Government and the Minister, and statement was given to this House not once but twice, that it is only for four years. That is why I said, “Minister, you were factually wrong.” I will proceed further. The Minister should have read, before this House, para 2 of the Bali Agreement, which says, “Para 2 to read as under:- In the interim, till the permanent solution is adopted and provided that conditions set out below are met, member shall refrain from challenging, through the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism, compliance of a developing member with its obligations under articles 6.3 and 7.2(b) of the Agreement on Agriculture. Any developing member seeking coverage or programmes under paragraph 2 shall ensure that stocks procured under such programme shall not be used for export to adversely affect trade.” Now, Sir, in this clarificatory statement, which I refer to, the Chairman, Ambassador Jonathan Fried -- the Chairman of the General Council and the General Council declaration, which I will put on the Table of the House -- has categorically stated that it is a re-affirmation in entirety of the Bali Ministerial decisions. The DG, WTO, has said, “It is merely a clarification of what the Ministers had agreed to in Bali.” I just read the Bali Formula. If there is anybody, a scholar of English language, who can tell me that I, all the other Ministers, the WTO Director General, and the Chairman of the General Council, were wrong in their understanding of the English language, and they have said that it is only for four years. That is misleading this House and the country. (Time bell) Sir, please, I have two more clarifications.
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Please be brief.
(Followed by 2E – GSP)
SHRI ANAND SHARMA (CONTD.): What have they written? It says, "Paragraph 2 of the Bali decision shall be read as follows." This is the clarificatory statement and I am reading from the document. 'In the interim' is removed; para 1 remains the same. It further says, "Until a permanent solution is agreed and adopted, and, provided that the conditions set out in paragraphs 3 to 6 of the Bali decisions are met, Members shall not challenge through the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism, compliance of a developing Member with its obligations under Articles...". Except in place of, 'in the interim, till a permanent solution', here, it says 'until a permanent solution'. The rest is the same, even its wording. There is no comma, full stop, which is different.
Now, Sir, equally important it is to say that though I will appreciate and acknowledge that there is one categorical statement that the Member shall try as the best endeavour to have a permanent solution by 2015 but the Declaration keeps both. And, I will read that also because it is very important. If a permanent solution for the issue of public stockholding for food security purposes is not agreed and adopted by the 11th Ministerial Conference, the mechanism referred to in paragraph 1 of the Bali Decision, as set out in paragraph 1 of this Decision, shall continue to be in place until a permanent solution is agreed and adopted.
Now, this is the Declaration. They are referring to both together, what you are claiming to be a new decision. Now, Sir, next paragraph to this reads, "In accordance with paragraph 1.11 of the Bali Ministerial Declaration dated 11 December 2013, the negotiations on a permanent solution on the issue of public stockholding for food security purposes shall be pursued on priority." The Minister's statement has also claimed that to be a new thing which has been achieved, particularly saying that this will be pursued on a priority basis.
Now, Sir, I will just recall from my memory and correct this part. The Bali Declaration is with me. In para 10 of her Statement, the Minister has said, "The General Council has also unequivocally agreed to delink the negotiations for a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security purposes from the agriculture negotiations on other issues under the Doha Development Agenda. This would ensure that the negotiations for a permanent solution would continue even if the negotiations on such other issues are delayed."
Next is the claim that the work programme will be put in place by July, 2015. I would like the Minister to either accept or deny or reject that this decision of delinking and the work programme to be prioritized is part of the Bali declaration. Delinking the negotiations on public stockholding for food security purposes from the other issues of the Doha Development Agenda negotiations, including the negotiations on agreement on agriculture, was done clearly in Bali.
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Now, please conclude.
SHRI ANAND SHARMA: Sir, these are two very important points. And, this was agreed to. The post-Bali work programme is part of the Bali Declaration, and, it is very important for me to put it on record here.
SHRI SATYAVRAT CHATURVEDI: It is merely reiteration of the Bali agreement.
SHRI ANAND SHARMA: Yes, I have said so. Now, Sir, I am going to refer what the DG says. What does he say? Sir, the Director-General states, "The third decision taken today concerns the post-Bali work programme. With this decision, Members committed that this work will resume immediately and that they will engage constructively on the implementation of all Bali Ministerial decisions, including the work programme.
(Contd. by SK-2F)
SHRI ANAND SHARMA (CONTD.): Now, this is what the DG says. I have read what the Chairman has said. What actually, I will say with all respect, we have achieved as a country is this. Sir, the deadline for the work programme to be put in place as per the Bali Declaration, which is here, was within twelve months, that was December, 2014. The great achievement that is being claimed is that now the new deadline for the work programme is 2015, July, that is, we have succeeded in making one achievement of delaying the work programme by seven months. (Time-bell)
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Okay.
SHRI ANAND SHARMA: No; I still have more to say. Please, Sir.
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Please conclude.
SHRI ANAND SHARMA: This is very important. This is a nineteen-paragraph statement. I am just going to conclude. I am not going to take that much time as was taken by the then LoP and the Leader of the House on the 18th of December. Please, you cannot have different standards for me or for him.