BJP member paints dismal picture of rural India in Lok Sabha

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New Delhi, Apr 28 (UNI) A BJP member today tried to rouse the Lok Sabha in cajoling the government into action in providing basic facilities in the countryside of the nation by quoting the Sachar committee report.

Participating in the discussion on Finance Bill for 2008-09, Mr Haren Pathak said 2,12,585 villages do not have a pucca road, 3,21,530 villages no bus stop and 2,69,719 villages no post office.

At current pace it will take another 25-30 years to provide these facilities in rural India even after 60 years of Independence.

He said as per National Sample Survey of 2006-07, ten crore people live on Rs 9 per a day, 30 crore on Rs 12 a day and 30 crore urban residents live on 19 per day. Quoting Commerce Minister Kamal Nath's Dubai statement of April 25, the BJP member said 30 crore Indians do not earn more than Rs 40 per day.

Without disputing the UPA government's claim of robust economic growth, the BJP member said it has not benefited the poor. He said a buoyancy in tax collection from Rs 2,54,000 crore in 2003-04 to over Rs 6,87,000 crore in 2007-08 has, too, not helped the poor, particularly farmers three of whom committed suicide last week.

He asked why the government had borrowed 12 billion dollars from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank if tax collections had nearly trebled and foreign exchange reserves are at an all-time high now.

Without questioning the Rs 60,000 crore debt waiver by the UPA government, the BJP member asked if unabated suicides by farmers amounted to "one time settlement of life" instead of one time settlement of loan's offer made to one crore farmers. The debt waiver and relief scheme, he said, does not address the core issues afflicting Indian agriculture.

Mr Pathak sought details of relief to income tax payers and urged the Finance Minister to implement repeal of bank cash transaction tax from April 1, 2008 and not from beginning of next fiscal when he will not be there.

Earlier, the debate had to be suspended for about five minutes for want of quorum. Mr Nikhil Kumar of Congress, who sought national old pension scheme for all those above 60 years of age and classified as below poverty line (BPL), irrespective of the fact whether they were destitutes or not, concluded his arguments after lunch break.

Mr B K Deo of BJP, who resumed the debate, wanted higher allocations for provision of urban amenities in rural areas at Rs 1,000 crore.

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