At Rs 28 daily consumption, India's poverty declines!Govt looking at passage of four economic bills in budget session! Mamata appeased but Jayalalithaa slams PM's statement on Sri Lankan war crimes!Dinesh Trivedi's replacement Mukul Roy to be sworn-in on Tuesday! Unless humiliated, Mamata is Committed to UPA! Forced to put on hold key policy reforms policies onMonday, Manmohan Singh said difficult decisions were needed to revert to 9% growth trajectory as the path ahead is not easy.
At Rs 28 daily consumption, India's poverty declines!Govt looking at passage of four economic bills in budget session!
Dinesh Trivedi's replacement Mukul Roy to be sworn-in on Tuesday!Forced to put on hold key policy reforms policies onMonday, Manmohan Singh said difficult decisions were needed to revert to 9% growth trajectory as the path ahead is not easy.
Mamata appeased but Jayalalithaa slams PM's statement on Sri Lankan war crimes!Jayalalithaa slammed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement on alleged war crimes by Sri Lanka saying it is a non-commital reply.The AIADMK and DMK have been urging the central government to take a stand on the US led resolution moved at the UN Human Rights Council against the war crimes committed by Sri Lanka.The prime minister had said India was inclined to vote in favour of a resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN which meets India's objectives with regard to the future of ethnic Tamils.
Key benchmark indices on Monday slumped for the third straight day to reach their lowest closing level in two weeks in the backdrop of a near-certain rate cut in April post budget considering high oil prices and also amid weak European cues.
Notwithstanding her pin-pricks to the government over various issues, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today said she was committed to the UPA and would remain with it unless it is humiliated or "they throw us out". Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said that the Trinamool Congress would withdraw from the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government (UPA) if humiliated.In an exclusive interview to a IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, she defended her decision to push for Dinesh Trivedi's sacking from the Union Cabinet after he raised passenger fares in all the classes in the budget.
The government will try to legislate at least 3-4 economic bills in the ongoing session, pushing forward the financial sector reforms, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Monday.
"At least 3-4 bills for which we have received the recommendations of the Standing Committee, I will try to get those legislated in the later part of the (Budget) session," Mukherjee told reporters after meeting the Reserve Bank board here.
He further said the Standing Committee on Finance, headed by Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, is expected to give its report on the major economic reform bills by the beginning of Monsoon Session.
"(Standing Committee) reports will be available at the beginning of the monsoon session. So if we have that then at least at the middle of the financial year, we would be able to get many legislations passed," he said. "Yashwant Sinha is working hard" so that reports could be finalised before the Monsoon Session.
The Committee has submitted its report on 'Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill 2011', 'The Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill 2011', 'The Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill 2008' and Direct Taxes Bill.
In his 2012-13 Budget, Mukherjee had said, he plans to move Micro Finance Institutions (Development and Regulation), National Housing Bank (Amendment), Small Industries Development Bank of India (Amendment), National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Amendment), Regional Rural Banks (Amendment),Indian Stamp (Amendment) and Public Debt Management Agency of India, during the Budget Session.
The Budget session of Parliament is expected to conclude on May 22.
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee expressed hope that the direct tax regime would become effective from 2013-14.
Responding to a query in a post-budget interaction with industry leaders, he said the DTC legislation would be in place in 2012-13, but "effect would be from the next year onwards".
Standing Committee on Finance headed by Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha scrutinised the DTC Bill and submitted the report to Parliament on March 9.
On the changes suggested by the panel in the DTC, Mukherjee said two recommendations, General Anti Avoidance Rule ( GAAR) and Advance Pricing Agreement (APA), have already been proposed in the Budget 2012.
DTC will replace the Income Tax Act, 1961. On the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, the Finance Minister said the government was working on a model legislation for the new indirect tax regime.
"So far the progress is GST is concerned, I can share with you that only model legislation we are working," he said and stressed upon political consensus for early implementation of the legislation.
The GST Constitutional Amendment is currently with the Standing Committee on Finance.
The proposed GST would subsume most indirect taxes like excise duty and service tax at the central level and VAT on the state front, besides local levies.
An individual above a monthly consumption of Rs 859.6 in urban and Rs 672.8 in rural areas is not considered poor, as per the controversial formula.
Furthermore, the Plan panel has kept the poverty threshold even lower than it submitted to the Supreme Court last year, which created an outcry among the civil society.
The Plan panel had said in its affidavit before the apex court that the "poverty line at June 2011 price level can be placed provisionally at Rs 965 (32 per day) per capita per month in urban areas and Rs 781 (26 per day) in rural areas".
The civil society had questioned this definition stating it was very low. As per estimates released today, the number of poor in India has declined to 34.47 crore in 2009-10 from 40.72 crore in 2004-05 estimated on the basis of controversial Tendulkar Committee methodology. The methodology recommended by the Committee includes spending on health and education, besides the calorie intake.
Among religious groups, Sikhs have lowest poverty ratio in rural areas at 11.9 per cent, whereas in urban areas, Christians have the lowest proportion of poor at 12.9 per cent. Poverty ratio is the highest for Muslims, at 33.9 per cent, in urban areas.
Poverty in rural areas declined at a faster pace than in urban cities between 2004-05 and 2009-10, according to the Planning Commission estimates released today.
The total number of poor in the country has been estimated at 34.47 crore in 2009-10, as against 40.72 crore in 2004-05.
"The all India head count (HCR) ratio has declined by 7.3 percentage points from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05 to 29.8 per cent in 2009-10, with rural poverty declining by 8 percentage points from 41.8 per cent to 33.8 per cent and urban poverty declining by 4.8 percentage point form 25.7 per cent to 20.9 per cent," said an official statement.
The sharp decline in poverty of over 10 percentage points was witnessed in Himchal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttarakhand.
The data revealed that the poverty has increased in North-eastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland, the statement said.
Some of the bigger states, such as Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh have shown only marginal decline in poverty ratio, particularly in rural areas.
The Planning Commission's estimates of poverty are based on methodology recommended by the Tendulkar Committee, which includes spending on health and education, besides the calorie intake.
The data reveals that among religious groups, Sikhs have lowest poverty ratio in rural areas at 11.9 per cent, whereas in urban areas, Christians have the lowest proportion of poor in the country at 12.9 per cent.
In rural areas, poverty ratio for Muslims is very high in states such as Assam (53.6 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (44.4 per cent), West Bengal (34.4 per cent) and Gujarat (31.4 per cent).
In urban areas, poverty ratio at all India level is the highest for Muslims at 33.9 per cent. Similarly, for urban areas, the ratio is high for Muslims in states such as Rajasthan (29.5 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (49.5 per cent), Gujarat (42.4 per cent), Bihar (56.5 per cent) and West Bengal (34.9 per cent).
Among social categories, Scheduled Tribes face the highest level of poverty at 47.4 per cent, followed by Scheduled Castes at 42.3 per cent and Other Backward Castes at 31.9 per cent as against 33.8 per cent for all classes in rural areas.
In urban areas, Scheduled Castes (SCs) have poverty ratio of 34.1 per cent, followed by Scheduled Tribes (STs) at 30.4 per cent and Other Backward Castes (OBCs) at 24.3 per cent against 20.9 per cent for all classes.
In rural Bihar and Chhattisgarh, nearly two-third of SCs and STs are poor, whereas in states such as Manipur, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh the poverty ratio for these groups is more than half.
Meanwhle, amidst tough bargaining,Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ton Monday met Samajwadi supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav at their residence in Lucknow.
During the meeting, the Founder of the Art of Living hoped Akhilesh would succeed in ushering in a corruption-free society, an SP release said.
He hailed the party's decision to chose Akhilesh for the CM's post, it said adding the spiritual leader blessed both Mulayam and his son.
Mind you,The Samajwadi Party, which provides outside support to the UPA government at the Centre, on Monday ruled out joining it, dismissing speculation that the party was warming up to the Congress.
"We are not joining the government," SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav told a press conference in Lucknow shortly after the party joined Trinamool Congress and its rival BSP in a walk out in the Lok Sabha during voting on an opposition-sponsored amendment to the President's address.
His remarks assume significance in the context of Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh's statement that the SP could join the government though the Congress would oppose the party in the Lok Sabha elections.
To repeated questions on whether the party would join the UPA government, he said "neither have we requested the Congress to include us in the Government nor has it made such an offer so far."
When reporters pressed for a reply on whether it meant the party could consider such a move in future, he said "I have said that the question does not arise. We are not joining the Government."
Yadav, who was flanked by his son and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary, said " Why would we join the UPA government now with only one year to go. Had we wanted to join, we would have joined it earlier."
Maintaining that his party was playing the role of opposition in Parliament, he said his party's support to Congress was only on one issue which is to keep communal forces out of power.
Asked about Trinamool Congress' relations with Congress in the wake of trouble over the railway budget, Yadav said it was a matter between the two parties and he would not like to comment.
To a question on the formation of the Third Front, he said though leaders of many prominent parties participated in the swearing in ceremony of Akhilesh Yadav as Chief Minister, no such plans were underway.
"The presence of leaders of prominent parties should not be considered as an attempt at formation of Third Front," he said.
President Pratibha Patil will on Tuesday administer the oath of office as cabinet minister to Trinamool Congress MP Mukul Roy, who will take charge of Railway Ministry.
"The President will administer the oath of office and secrecy to Mukul Roy as Cabinet Minister in the Council of Ministers at 1000 hours on March 20," a Rashtrapati Bhawan spokesperson said in a statement.
The President, as advised by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has accepted the resignation of Dinesh Trivedi from the Union Council of Ministers, with immediate effect, the statement said.
Trivedi, also a Trinamool Congress MP, had resigned as the Railway Minister last night.
Dubbing the NCTC as worse than POTA and TADA, Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee on Monday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to convey her reservations over the counter terrorism provision.
"The meeting was good," Banerjee said when asked by reporters after the discussions with the Prime Minister for the first time after the Dinesh Trivedi issue broke out.
"There is no breaking news," she remarked when asked whether there was any breakup or breakdown of the Trinamool Congress with the Congress-led UPA.
Banerjee also defended her party's walk out in the Lok Sabha on the NCTC saying since the Trinamool Congress was part of the Government it can not vote against and therefore it has maintained decorum by walking out. "The NCTC is worse than TADA and POTA," she said.
Her meeting with Prime Minister appeared to have the desired result. Mukul Roy, whom the Trinamool Congress has named as Cabinet Minister to succeed Dinesh Trivedi as Railway Minister, will be sworn-in tomorrow.
Banerjee, who forced Trivedi to quit as the Railway Minister after he proposed hike in the passenger fares in the Railway budget, indicated that there will be some roll back if there is a Railway Minister of the Trinamool Congress.
"If our nominee will become Railway Minister then we will modify the fares. There is no problem in the hike in upper class fares. We have no objection...it is tolerable. But for those who are poor, who travel daily in trains or those who travel in sleeper classes, it matters," she said before going to attend the Trinamool Parliamentary party meeting.
She further said "common people travel in sleeper classes. Whatever we do, the common people should not suffer. This is our policy."
Banerjee said she has no plans to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi who is also UPA Chairperson as "she is not well. I do not want to disturb her," Banerjee said.
Replying to a question, Banerjee whose party with 19 MPs is the second largest constituent of the UPA after Congress, said that "Federal Front is already there. We have ties with all the states."
We grew at 9% for five years before 2008, and I do believe that we can get back to that kind of growth rate provided we can agree on a number of difficult decisions," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said replying to the debate in the Lok Sabha on Motion of Thanks to the President for her address.
Although Singh did not elaborate on the difficult decisions, the critical policy actions on which the government has not been able to take any action because of political compulsions include opening of the multi-brand retail to foreign investment, deregulation of diesel prices, raising FDI cap in insurance sector and pension and tax reforms.
Singh also sought support from political formations to raise economic growth rate saying "we need a broad-based national consensus covering all sections of political opinion represented in this august House."
He said that 12th Plan, to be placed before the National Development Council (NDC) around mid-year, will lay out a credible plan of action for faster, sustainable and more inclusive growth. "I do not wish to go into details, but only wish to remind the members that our path is not easy."
Indian economy used to grow by over 9% before the global financial meltdown pulled it down to 6.7% in 2008-09. The growth in the current fiscal is likely to moderate to three-year low of 6.9%, down from 8.4% in the two preceding years. For the next fiscal, the government expects a growth of 7.6%.
Property prices will rise by a minimum of two per cent immediately due to the hike in excise duty and service tax in the Budget, National Real Estate Development Council today said.
"Property prices are surely going to rise. Now we have to see who will raise how much. However, it will increase by at least two per cent," National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) President Navin M Raheja told reporters here.
In the Budget for 2012-13, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee proposed to raise excise duty and service tax by two per cent each to 12 per cent from the earlier 10 per cent.
Service tax was, however, exempted on construction activities in specified infrastructure, canals, irrigation works, post-harvest infrastructure, residential dwelling and low-cost mass housing up to an area of 60 sq metre under the affordable housing scheme in partnership.
"For the existing buyers, developers are likely to pass on the service tax burden only, but not the excise duty hike as the agreements were signed earlier. However, for the new buyers, we will pass on the entire burden," Raheja, who is also the Chairman and MD of Raheja Developers, added.
He said the prices of input costs are going up gradually and these need to be controlled.
"After the excise duty hike, all raw materials like steel, cement, electric and other finishing equipments are going to be more expensive," Raheja said.
Usually the cost of construction, which accounts for 70 per cent of the total expenditure, will bear the pressure of excise duty hike. The service tax is usually charged on the remaining 30 per cent of the expenditure, he added.
When asked about if sales will be affected, Raheja said: "The impact on demand is already there and it is fluctuating. In other words, we are seeing cautious increase in demand."
Last week, Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association of India Chairman Pradeep Jain had also said the upward revision of the duties will further add pressure on to the overall cost of property that are bound be more costly in the coming days.
The Reserve Bank on Monday said companies will have to mandatorily informed the central bank when FII, NRI, PIO investments in them reach sectoral cap or statutory limit.
RBI in a circular also said "for the effective monitoring of foreign investment ceiling limits, the Reserve Bank has fixed cut-off points that are two percentage points lower than the actual ceilings.
"Once the aggregate net purchases of equity shares of the company by FIIs, NRIs, PIOs reaches the cut-off point of 2 per cent below the overall limit, the Reserve Bank cautions all the designated bank branches not to purchase any more equity shares of the respective company on behalf of any FIIs, NRIs, PIOs without prior approval of the Reserve Bank."
"Domestic company raising the aggregate FII investment limit of 24 per cent to the sectoral cap or statutory limit as applicable, or raising the aggregate NRI investment limit of 10 per cent to 24 per cent, should necessarily intimate the same to the Reserve Bank immediately," an RBI circular said today.
In addition, the circular also asked companies to present a certificate from company secretary ensuring that the relevant provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act of 1999 and the FDI policy have been complied with.
Sebi-registered FIIs, NRIs, PIOs are allowed to purchase or sell shares and convertible debentures of a domestic company in the market to the permissible limits of 24 percent and 10 percent respectively, in accordance with paid-up equity capital or value of each series of convertible debentures.
RBI monitors the ceilings on FII/NRI/PIO investments in domestic companies on a daily basis.
The IBN18 Interview
Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said that the Trinamool Congress would withdraw from the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government (UPA) if humiliated.
In an exclusive interview to a IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, she defended her decision to push for Dinesh Trivedi's sacking from the Union Cabinet after he raised passenger fares in all the classes in the budget.
Here is a full transcript of that interview:
Rajdeep: The big question Mamata ji that everyone wants an answer to - Are you planning to break with the UPA II government? Are you preparing the ground for breaking with UPA II government? That is what everyone wants to know.
Mamata: Everyone knows that whatever we are doing, is for the common people. But sometimes the dailies distort something. They give distorted news to the channels and media houses, against the Trinamool Congress. That is wrong. I am telling you, for three years now, we have been with the UPA II. Within these three years, we didn't ask for anything from the UPA government. Even today, even in parliament, though we have 20 MPs, no room has been allotted to us for our parliamentary party office. Within these three years, we never asked the commission members or the governor or any committee for anything. Whatever it is, we just maintained our commitment to the party manifesto. According to our manifesto, there are some issues related to the public arena...
Rajdeep: So you are still very much a part of UPA II. You do not want to leave UPA II... You do not want to bring down this UPA II government. You are committed to UPA II...
Mamata: I am committed because I contested the elections together and our manifesto together... I want to keep my promise. If they throw us out... Whatever with respect they will give, with that respect we will continue. If somebody humiliates, then you have to take a decision. Until and unless the humiliation, we will abide by our commitment."
Rajdeep: So you are saying that if they throw you out or humiliate you, only then you will leave this government... Am I correct?
Mamata: Yes absolutely correct.
Rajdeep: Do you feel humiliated today?
Mamata: No there are some issues I am telling you...
Rajdeep: Are you upset, angry?
Mamata: I am not upset. I am not angry also.
Rajdeep: Are you humiliated?
Mamata: You see... I cannot disclose all the story to the press. Because when I am with a particular alliance, I cannot comment against it, because there is some decorum in the democratic system. That's why whatever issue I am raising... According to manifesto I am telling you. The Congress party, they have their manifesto commitment. The BJP party has its manifesto commitment. Mulayam ji's party has its manifesto commitment. Like this, every political party has some political commitment to the people. I am committed to keep my commitment also.
Rajdeep: You are talking only in terms of your manifesto... You are committed to your manifesto.
Mamata: Committed to, related to.
Rajdeep: Let me give you an example here. The whole fiasco over the Railway Minister. You have asked for the removal of Dinesh Trivedi. Was that because of a manifesto commitment not being met, because he did not consult you before the Rail Budget, because he raised passenger fares? What is it?
Mamata: I am telling you two things. First, according to our manifesto - the FDI in retail market. The government cannot provide employment to everyone. More than five crore people are involved in the retail business. It's a self sufficient business. So we don't want the retail business should be interfered with. Similarly, price rise like fuel price hike, if it affects the common people, we will raise the issue. Similarly, the rail fare hikes... I cannot give you more details because the Rail Budget is pending with Parliament. So the new minister will take a decision about that, not me. He will maintain the decorum of Parliament.
Rajdeep: Why did you remove your own Railway Minister?
Mamata: If he is my own Railway Minister, then he should have at least... I am not saying 'Give the budget to me'. The policy decisions... He should have consulted or discussed it with the party. Can Congress place any budget without taking Sonia Gandhi into confidence? Every party has a 'parampara'.
Rajdeep: But didi, prime minister is the chief executive. Shouldn't the Cabinet take the decision or should the decision be made in Kolkata?
Mamata: TMC did not interfere on resignation of the Dinesh Trivedi. All my people have been thrown out from the railway. We never questioned that. Cabinet never passed the railway budget. Even in case of general budget cabinet endorsed it just before half an hour. Only the PM and the Finance Minister know the Budget. If somebody is deputed from the party they have to inform the party about the policy decision. At least you should inform about the price hike.
Rajdeep: That is what I am saying. Do the Prime Minister and Finance Minister pass the Budget or does Mamata Banerjee decided the policies of the government?
Mamata: If somebody is deputed from the party, they have to inform the party about the policy decision. You don't say how many prices you are increasing. Or you don't say how much will be budget permission. But at least you should say, 'Yes I am increasing the price hike and all this'.
Rajdeep: He did not inform you at any stage?
Mamata: No no... let him not inform me. But at least work for the people... poor people. They should work for the poor people. It the higher class who have advantage can travel. The poor people everyday travel by train, more than sixty per cent of them are daily passengers. Two paisa or five paisa increase amounts to around 200 rupees in a month.
Rajdeep: But at the end of the day, you yourself has been a Railway Minister. You know the Railways are in a financial crisis. If someone raises fares, to try and bring some financial stability, what is wrong with that? And that decision is taken in consultation with the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister.
Mamata: Prime Minister and the Finance Minister do not tell the Railway Minister what to do. Just before budget they had increased 20 per cent freight rate. That increase I was not aware. I came to know about it after one CM wrote to me, I'm not naming the CM.
Rajdeep: But you did not ask for his removal at that time..
Mamata: I did not ask for removal that time, I digested it. If you see all bogus things going on then you have to take a decision. When I saw the fare increase is for the suburban area and the sleeper class.......all the poor people travel in sleeper class.
Rajdeep: You want a rollback of the sleeper class fares or total rollback?
Mamata: I can't comment on roll back. It's the business of Parliament to take the decision. Let the new minister to take oath.
Rajdeep: Did you discuss anything with the Prime Minister on the rollback?
Mamata: I did not discuss anything with the PM as this is not his matter.
Rajdeep: Let me ask you, ever since this Railway Budget came out, lot of people have praised Trivedi also. Even the analysts are saying that finally, there is a reform minded Budget.
Mamata: What reform? There has been no reform. No reform budget. Those who praise the budget only see their angle and don't see the public angle. Unfortunate part in this country today is if you say something for the poor, one section of media says it's bad. Increasing the fare is not the only way out. I believe in going for innovations. You should go for commercialization, new business options. I had given all options.
Rajdeep: Dinesh Trivedi said if you want to invest in safety, you need to raise resources. That's what he said. A lot of people have praised him. He even likened himself to Shaheed Bhagat Singh.
Mamata: I don't want to discuss anything about individual person.
Rajdeep: Is Dinesh Trivedi a part of your party?
Mamata: He is in our party.
Rajdeep: Do you plan to expel him?
Mamata: I'm not saying anything on it... it is our own party matter. I can't disclose outside. And regarding safety measures, all the reforms were initiated by me.
Rajdeep: How do you react to those who say that Mamata Banerjee is anti-reform?
Mamata: It is not reform. It's a pressure on the poor people. You people plead for some individual and don't plead for the country.
Rajdeep: Okay, do you believe that this entire episode has tarnished your image in a certain way in the sense that people now say that Mamata treats the Railway Ministry as her personal fiefdom.
Mamata: Why do Soniaji decide who will be the PM of the country? Because she is the leader of the party. Prime Minister can not decide on the Railway Minister because it is the coalition government. I can't interfere in Congress business, Congress can't interfere in our party business. We have only one cabinet minister in UPA-II and they give it to us. There are parties with ten members but two to three cabinet berths. That's why they gave us the Railway and we did not ask for Finance, Home or Defence. Who will be our minister is the party's prerogative to decide. When I became the CM they sent me a list on who will be the minister. I could not pick from their party. It was for their party to decide.
Rajdeep: Is part of the problem for you the fact that there is no UPA coordination? Shouldn't you decide a UPA coordination committee?
Mamata: We have been demanding that from the beginning. But now three years have been over. I don't need anything. I only demand they only should work for the people.
Rajdeep: The point is you somewhere feel that the UPA is not taking care of West Bengal. You have been asking for a 3-year moratorium on interest payments on the huge debts that West Bengal has. The Centre has not agreed. Do you feel that the Centre is anti-Bengal?
Mamata: In 2005 the central government started the FRBM policy, the then WB government did not accept it. We are carrying baggage of Left front legacy. Before election PM assured us for a special package. Now more than 2 lakh three thousand cr debt is pending. I'm not begging for money from the Centre. We need to protect our right. Our total income is 21000cr only. Central government is taking 22 thousand crores from the State treasury. How will I give drinking water, food or electricity to the people.
Rajdeep: You must have raised this issue with the PM so many times... And Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is from Bengal...
Mamata: Forget it. He is the Finance Minister for the entire country, entire world. People of Bengal are not beggars. Every state has its own respect. The rumour is going on that the Bengal people did not vote for congress so the financial blockade is going on. It is most unfortunate. I'm hurt but I don't want to quarrel over this. I did not go to Sonia Gandhi on this issue because It's not good to disturb her. She is not keeping well and I wish her speedy recovery. We met PM ten times and Pranab Mukherjee 12 times. They assured us before election. Manmohanji did promise to do something. But I don't know what happened actually. there should be some restructuring of the debt system so that the states like Kerala, Punjab and WB can get their due. We don't want money but interest payment and debt payment should be stopped for sometime.
Rajdeep: Today also your members absented themselves from Parliament when the issue of the NCTC came up. You don't approve of what the government has done.
Mamata: It's a federal issue... the interference with the state government. I appreciate combating the terrorism. But state government and the Central government should do it together. Centre is like the parent and the state government is like the children. If you need a good health of the children then both parent and the children should be in good health. During my last visit they had a press statement that without consultation with the CMs they would not implement the decision. Why did they include it in President's address? This unnecessarily created confusion. This is not less than TADA. I fought against TADA. This can be politically misused as per your will.
Rajdeep: Somewhere down, is all this because of breakdown of communication with the Congress?
Mamata: That's true. If they want to continue we don't want to fight everyday. There should be some mechanism. The alliance party must enjoy some trust also. When there is an alliance there should be consultation, coordination and good understanding. If anything hurts anybody then they can discuss it and sort it out.
Rajdeep: Analysts are saying that Mamata now wants a mid-term election... Because if it goes on till 2014, anti-incumbency will set in in West Bengal...
Mamata: There will be no anti-incumbency in WB. We have done an excellent job in nine months. Whatever we had committed 99 percent work is done.
Rajdeep: The one thing that is coming out clearly from this entire episode is that it's a one-man show in the Trinamool Congress.
Mamata: Sonia ji decides for Congress. For BJP they have their leaders. Mulayamji decide for their party. You ask the MPs and the MLAs about the dialogue within the party. We have all the forum. I come from a common family so it's the attitude of the people from Delhi to behave like this and to humiliate us. I will belong to common man and will be talking about the common man.
Rajdeep: A section of the government now feels that the Samajwadi Party is a more reliable ally than the Trinamool Congress...
Mamata: Congress does like this. I've a good relationship with Mulayamji. A section of congress talks about that I know it. It's their prerogative to get SP into alliance. You can't have a tie up with SP because of fighting with Mayawati. You can't have alliance with RJD because of some fighting on any issue with RJD. Similarly if you have some issue with TMC you can't go with CPM. This is unfair in alliance politics. In last three years there is no tension on individual issues. There is not financial issue. On Dinesh Trivedi issue there was a foul play going on. I don't want to talk more about it.
Rajdeep: I am getting the impression that you are now getting tired of it all... that you are feeling humiliated... that you want to exit.
Mamata: What I am saying is there should be some respect...
Rajdeep: Otherwise elections in 2012?
Mamata: I don't know... I don't know.
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