A note on brief talking points made by Shri Arun Jaitley, Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, and Defence while intervening in the debate on the motion for thanks for the President.
The President’s Address to Parliament is a directional roadmap of the NDA Government. It is not an agenda for one year, but a futuristic vision for India. The elections are over. Post elections, we have to embark on the task of nation building. We in the Government are required to display modesty. My friends in the Opposition must demonstrate the graciousness of a loser.
What do the results indicate?
It is after 30 years that a single party in Parliament has got majority of its own. The results have demonstrated that unlike previous elections, this election is not about the arithmetic of alliances. This was more about the changing chemistry on the ground. Traditional vote banks have been smashed. Those who governed badly and thought caste would save them, have been trounced. Those who indulged in political opportunism such as switching alliances have been badly wounded. Those who indulge in corruption and use their political weight to subvert investigation have been defeated. Those parties which relied on dynasties have suffered set back, and those who thought that minorities are not equal citizens but merely a vote bank and relied on consolidation have been disappointed.
This election has seen an expression of hope in the NDA, BJP and Shri Narendra Modi. After three decades, large crowds were there to express solidarity with the leader they had hoped to see guiding their destiny. If this election is an expression of anti-incumbency against the Government, it was simultaneously an expression of hope in Shri Modi and the BJP.
Where do we stand today?
We stand today in a challenging situation. The UPA inherited a 8.57% growth rate. It is leaving behind a growth rate of sub 5% for two consecutive years. The fiscal deficit is abnormally high at 4.5%. Inflation in April is at a high of 8.9%. Tax buoyancy has suffered. Tax GDP ratio is at 10.1% as against budgeted 10.8%. We have seen a decade of jobless growth. The credibility of the Indian economy has been hurt. Investors had stopped looking at us. Investments cycles both domestic and international have been broken. If there has been no investment, there will be no jobs, no revenue, no infrastructure.
The only silver lining now is that the current account deficit has improved. The election results have made a political statement and the global and domestic investment into India is looking up. The investors are once again showing interest in India.
Why did this happen?
This happened because of certain reasons. We must learn the lessons so that these lapses are not repeated again. You cannot run the Government where Prime Minister does not have last have last word. Prime Minister must be having an authority to overrule others. You cannot build structures of men with obsolete ideologies situated outside the Government who dominate Government policies. Massive corruption such as 2G spectrum, coal allocation and CWG destroyed investors faith in India. Lack of stable tax policy dissuaded investors away from India. It became a defining moment against us. When investigation agencies were misused against the opposition, an environment of political confrontation was created, the possibility of arriving at a political consensus was impossible.
The lessons from not nipping corruption at the right time.
When 2G spectrum allocations were taking place and the leadership of the Government received numerous complaints about dubious nature of allocations, the Prime Minister did not step in. When coal blocks were being allocated on the basis of nepotism, the Prime Minister did not step in. |The same was the story with regard to the Commonwealth Games and Cash for Votes. The integrity of the Government became questionable. Its credibility was doubted.
The Government delayed the formation of Lok Pal. It then brought in a weak Bill which would lead to a Government controlled Lok Pal. It thereafter, framed rules to subvert the process. The lessons from the above for the present and all future Governments is that when you discover corruption, it has to be nipped in the bud. If you cover up, you lose credibility. A Government which loses credibility is unable to perform.
Our challenge today is that the first right of resources belongs to the poor. We have to revive India’s economy. We have to restore investment cycle. We have to give particular emphasis to low cost manufacture. India missed the first industrial revolution. It missed the bus for manufacturing decades ago. It is on the verge of missing the revolution on becoming a hub for low cost manufacturing. This is the last opportunity and we cannot afford to spoil it. We have to spend a large part of Natural resources on both social and physical infrastructure. We have to unleash the potential of Indian entrepreneurial spirits. We have to concentrate on highways, ports and airports and Social Sector infrastructure. We have to deal with the coal block mess and increase power generation in the country. We have to concentrate on skill development, affordable housing, urbanization and quality higher education.
We want to develop an India which is self-reliant. The Indian society has to be non-discriminatory and compassionate. Our resources have to be spent on the neglected areas of North-east and Tribal belts. National security always remains a top priority for the NDA Government. We want States to be our partners in growth. We will not discriminate against any State on the basis of political complexion.
Our Policies with regard to our neighbors will be dictated by security considerations. Policy with regard to rest of the world will be influenced both by national priorities, traditional relations and economic realities.