Shri Veerappa Moily, MP and former Union Minister addressed the media.
Shri Moily starting with the plight of BSF soldier Shri Tej Bahadur who uploaded then video, complaining of mismanagement with regards to the food supply, the quality of food that was being provided. The Superiors found fault with the uploading of video and he was very much harassed. Mr. Moily said, "I am told that he had gone incommunicado and nobody could tell his whereabouts. His wife in a habeas corpus plea filed in the Delhi High Court said she was worried about his safety as he has not been able to contact her for the last three days. The Delhi High Court ordered her husband to be produced before the Court".
Mr. Moily pointed out that the short story reflects the morale of the Defence Forces which is depleting day-by-day with such incidents, BSF may have come out with some clippings with regard to the calls made by him but even then, habeas corpus petition is still pending. Mr. Moily said, "It is most a unfortunate story, which reflects how the Army has been managed, how they are not being properly supplied with the rations, uniforms etc.
Commenting on the provisions of the Budget recently presented in Parliament, Shri Moily said, "The Budget which is presented by the Hon'ble Finance Minister, reflects the sad affair of the allocations to the Defence sector. They have surrendered Rs. 7,000 crore of capital budget of 2016-17, which underlies the structural incapability of this Government to spend even the inadequate allocation. I do not know whether the Defence Minister is doing his job or not except thumping his own chest. They do not do anything to strengthen the capabilities of their establishments. India faces conventional war challenges from Pakistan's F-16s and rapidly modernizing Chinese Air Force. The Capital Outlay has decreased in the fiscal year 2017-18, to Rs. 10.5 Billion that means 5% decrease from the previous year. This will decelerate military modernization and preparedness".
Commenting on the GST, Shri Moily said, "There are lots of confusion because they say they will launch GST from 1st of July. Today you must have found news with regard to the GST net work, which rejected CAG's request to name Auditor and do extra audit. This has had sad reflection with regard to preparedness to launch the GST. From the Budget once could see that VAT Income of all the States has declined sharply. This is mainly because of the demonetization and also due to various other factors. Naturally, as far as the GST is concerned, it is said by almost all the Economists, that for another 2 to 3 years, GST revenues will be decelerating in all the States. The States will be badly hit. This has not been envisaged by the Finance Minister. No provision whatsoever has been made in the present Budget for meeting such challenges. That means they are most insensitive for implementing a very important enactment like GST, which was brought by us. If at all any blame should go, it is to the present Government, which has delayed implementation of GST for more than three years".
On Investment side – which can definitely create jobs – I can say there is a jobless economy in this country for the last three years. As far as Investment side is concerned, CMIE, which is authenticating agency, has estimated that Gross Fixed Capital Formation - a key indicator of investment demand in the economy - will contract by 2% by 2016-17, which had increased by 6.1% in 2016. The Statistical Department had estimated that investment demand will contract by 0-2% in 2016-17. The question is will the Budget bring back growth and revive the spirits of investors. This is unlikely to do so. CMIE again quoted that in ten yearsbetween 2002 to 2012, investment went up by 6 times from Rs. 15 lakh crore to Rs. 100 lakh crore. However from 2012 till today i.e. till this month it remained at Rs. 100 lakh crore. Of course, there was lot of pressure on CMIE to revise their estimates but they refused to do so. This is the sad state of affairs. They could not even maintain status quo. Present NDA Government could not do anything to push it further.
Insofar as the GDP is concerned - 1% less GDP means Rs. 1,50,000 Crore less. That in another two-three years because of the demonetization and many other anti-development actions taken by the present Government, I think, there will be loss of a very heavy sum. Ultimately 2-3% GDP will be less – just imagine to what extent our income will come down. They give much emphasis on the fiscal consolidation and in 2016-17 they have estimated that fiscal deficit will be 3.54% of GDP and if you go through the document, I have gone through the document – there is a mistake in the value printed in the Budget. At a glance it says 3.2%. When you do the arithmetic calculation, you see it is 3.54%. This calculation is till January calculation and up to March, it will definitely reach up to 4%. That means that the so-called credible fiscal consolidation will just collapse.
Coming to agriculture, Shri Moily said, "As far as Agriculture is concerned, it is again a very sad story – three continuous years there has been drought. This Government has not done anything to come to the rescue of the farmers like UPA did in 2008 - Rs. 72,000 crore loans were waived in UPA-II Government. This is a drought created by them and there is nothing in the budget to reform food and fertilizers subsidies totalling Rs. 2.15 lakh crore. There are pending bills of Rs. 80,000 crores. Their claim of doubling farmers' income by 2022 is just a mere rhetoric. It cannot happen because if you want to double the income, it is not 4.1% growth in Agriculture – the growth should be at 9% which is impossible – no country can achieve forget about our own country and there are no reforms in Agriculture. One important programme, which provides jobs for the rural people is MNREGA, where only 86% of households that demanded employment under MNREGA are provided employment in 2016-17 and is the lowest in the last 5 years. They say we made very big allocation to MNREGA, whereas the %age wise, with regard to the demand made, there is the lowest in the last 5 years. There is no vision for employment and job creation in Budget 2017-18. As far as far increase in allocation for MNREGA is concerned, only 1% over what was in 2016-17. The allocation for the scheme should be demand driven. It s not as if allocation is made. It is a demand driven programme and correspondingly increase in greater proportion year to year as people pick up the programme with great consciousness".
There is a big talk on the question of legacy - when I spoke while initiating the debate on Budget, I spoke and gave the figurers that what is the legacy you found in NPA. On 31.3.2014, the NPA was 4.5% that is the %age of gross advances. On 31.3.2015 it was 4.6%, on 31.3.2016 it was 7.8% and now on 31.12.2016, it is 9.1%. Look at the increase, this Government could not control it. They could not regulate it.
On NPA and Loans – it is totally the Corporate sector only which even Mr. Rangarajan famous Economist, former Governor of RBI said that it is only the recapitalization which has rescued the Banks. Last 2-3 years, they gave Rs. 25,000 crore. This year, they provided only Rs. 10,000 crore which is a peanut. As against about Rs. 2.5 lakh capitalization, I think they should forget everything else but concentrate on Banks – building the Banks which have been dynamic, which have served the people both in the the rural and also urban areas. What is the point in just making rhetoric? -Jan Dhan programme and many other programmes – unless you are in a position to revive the banks. Now the kind of Chairmen, kind of MD who have been appointed to the banks, even a man who is unfit to be the GM of a Nationalized bank is fit to be in the top one of the five top Banks. He becomes the MD and Chairman. Central Bank should regulate but there are no Regional Heads of any of the State Bank Regional Boards. They have incapacitated the regulators. They have incapacitated the banks and the industries are suffering. The day will come when they think there is some money which is forcibly and coercely acquired by the Banks through demonetization and can be used. Now they are not removing the restrictions because they know there might be run on the banks. Even, when most of the world economy was in trouble in 2008-2009, none of the banks closed. None of the banks were incapacitated. They continued. But now for the first time they are not in a position to lend and Banks' position has become worst and no regulations, no control. Banking system itself - forget about the NPA – undoubtedly is under great stress and they should resolve it totally. It is your legacy to allow the banks to close. It is our legacy to nationalize the Banks. They want to restart - start with the open slate. I think they are going to create biggest crime against the banking system in this country. And cleaning up the bank balance sheets, they cannot do anything and over a dozen State owned banks, account for 40% of the total loans, and this is the fate of the Banks".
Mr. Moily commenting on the public sector said, "How they are managing Oil and Gas sector where I had something to deal with that – in my capacity as a Minister, I must tell one example, our idea and our roadmap was to make this country self-sufficient , create CBM Gas, creating Shale gas and go for big exploration in addition to Bombay High. Many of the sectors are Kaveri Basin, Goadavri Basin, there is plenty of tonnes of oil which is available. Crude Oil production in MMT in 2012-13, was 37.62, today it has been reduced to 37.46 and natural Gas production from 40.679 MMT, it has reduced now to 35.280. Our own production has very steeply come down. Crude oil import has increased rapidly in 2015-16, 2016-17. The Crude import in MMT in 2012-13 was 184.795, it is now 199.222. That means to that extent, you are to earn to pay the others for the Oil. This is the fate. During our UPA-II we had constructed three Caves to store the crude Oil – one in Udipi District, the other in the Mangalore District, and other at Visakhapatnam. They were commissioned but they are not taken even now they have not filled up those Caves which we had built. This was the good opportunity because the price of crude oil is down, they could have tackled this but they have not done. So import bill is going up day by day. So, even with regard to the earnings are concerned, there is no reinvestment from their own Sector e.g. as far as excise duty is concerned, in 2012-13 it was Rs. 73,310 Crore whereas in 2015-16 it is Rs. 1,78,591 Crore. The entire money goes not to the oil sector for exploration or for R&D but it gets back to the coffer of the Government and ultimately the excise duty is diverted to other sectors. This is the kind of economy, which they are building it up and as I have told you earlier, it is economy on jobless growth track. Millions of young people enter the job market every month and this has not been factored. In fact currently 20 different Ministers manage 70 different skill related programmes. However there is absolutely no going forward and the sectors where the job growth has been totally neglected.
With regard to cashless society not even 3% of the country is on digital economy as on today and they think that within 20 daysor 50 days they can make this country a cashless society by digitalizing the banks within a month or two. 93% money they have sucked without putting the money back. They had said that national optical fibre network which was renamed as Bharat Net in 2015 aimed to connect 1 lakh Gram Panchayats by March 31, 2015 with band width of 100 Mbps. However because of poor planning, they lost the deadline by 3 years and now it seems they want to complete by December 2018 with only Rs. 10,000 crore allocations for the Bharat Network. Is it possible with Rs. 10,000 crores to cover such a big area? As of December 4, 2016 only 26% of the Gram Panchayats have been laid with optical fibre. Where the provision in the budget - no money is provided and only 6% have been integrated and tested. Even in the villages, that were connected to the network, average broad band speed is half of what the government has promised. This government has no institutional memory, they do not have institutional experience and they do not have institutional network .So it is most unfortunate today that we are in this country where every where they are failing. There is only rhetoric nothing else but rhetoric no performance altogether.