Rahul seeks answers from PM, demands balm for note-ban hit

Rahul seeks answers from PM, demands balm for note-ban hit: White paper on demonetisation also figures on Congress leader’s list...

Rahul's charter

This refers to the report “Rahul seeks answers from PM, demands balm for note-ban hit” (Business Line, December 29). Once you are able to ask right questions, right answers will emerge from somewhere. One regrets that the Congress leader waited and watched what happens to the  post-demonetisation India for long fifty days, instead of raising these questions and suggesting solutions when parliament was in session. Let us have a look at the charter he has presented at the press conference yesterday:
i)                  Waive farm loans; provide farmers 20 per cent bonus on MSP: Poor repaying capacity of the farmers and low MSP are issues that existed even before November 8, 2016 and as a responsible opposition, Congress should have raised them in parliament.
ii)               Deposit Rs25,000 in the account of every female listedunder the BPL: Good suggestion. Here the opposition  need to appreciate the present government’s initiatives for financial inclusion and efforts to open JanDhan accounts in the first place. How to help those below poverty line could be discussed in the Budget session of parliament.
iii)             Raise the number of days and double wages under MNREGA: This is a straight admission that the scheme doesn’t meet its objective. Again, there should be debate in parliament on resources mobilization for the purpose and restructuring the scheme to meet its objectives.
iv)              Provide 50% relaxation in sales tax and income tax to small traders: Excellent suggestion. Resources can come by rationalizing tax exemptions to corporates and bigger organizations. The budget papers will give an idea about the kind of exemptions/relaxations they have been enjoying routinely(add to this the tax exemption enjoyed by big farmers on agricultural income). All these need serious deliberations in parliament and its committees and their functioning effectively depends on opposition’s cooperation.
v)                Release a white paper on demonetization: Congress can publish a ‘white paper’ on the basis of information available. Let GOI come out with official view later. Beyond arguments, the point being made is, a functional democracy needs both treasury benches and the opposition to do their homework and ‘pandemonium’ cannot be a substitute for parliamentary debates.
M G Warrier, Mumbai


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