Vajpayee government was gone in 13 days. Who asked him to go and take the oath? Can you answer that? He was one of the tallest leaders. He had suffered in those 13 days. Why do you unnecessarily try to provoke me? I was not anxious to become the Prime Minister. The situation was such. After the fall of Vajpayee government all secular leaders met. That discussion went on for one week. VP Singh’s name was mentioned. He declined. Jyoti Basu was the tallest leader. He agreed, but his party Politburo differed. Then, he mentioned my name. I did not want to accept it. It went on for two days. I know the difficulty of running a coalition government.
Delhi Metro was kept in cold storage for 10 years. We introduced the Public Distribution System. 36 crore people below poverty line got 10kg rice at Rs 3 and 5kg wheat at Rs 2. Respected Speaker, I have earlier told about the humiliation I suffered. Rs 3 was the rate of kerosene oil. Nobody objected. How to find resources? The issue was that World Bank President, Wolfensohn came to India. I hosted him a dinner. He asked me that you have violated all the conditions of the IMF and the World Bank. You cannot get any further assistance from the World Bank. Then, I took a decision that when the black money is there why we should go to the World Bank. I proposed two programs. One was Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme.
Whatever may be the problem today, I must compliment my colleague P Chidambaram.
Let me be very frank. He said he would not do it; Indira Gandhi
took this decision and there was no achievement; there was no progress; even Morarji Desai had to take a decision. There was no positive response. The actual tax payer blamed the government. He said he did not want to take such a blame. Then, how to generate the money? When I took charge, Rs 17,800 crore was the oil pool account deficit. I wanted to make up that. I come from a poor family, farming family. I know the difficulty. How to generate the resources? This is a big dispute. I did not want to go for any funding from outside. So, this Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme was proposed.
Another scheme I proposed was that the black money should come for the nation building activities. There should be voluntary building with the black money from those people who come forward to build the highways, tourism activities, investment and infrastructure. It should come from our own Indians who have got broad minds. The only thing was that Jyoti Basu was aggrieved. He said that we should first announce the Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme. If it is going to be useful then we would think of the next item. We got Rs 10,800 crores of revenue generated from the first Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme. That had been used for the Public Distribution System.
I am only saying that do not unnecessarily talk about the Mahagathbandhan, the coalition governments. Vajpayeeji started with the coalition government. Earlier, there was a minority government. Narasimha Raoji also suffered. I do not want to go into all those points. Coalition governments can also do something if proper understanding is there. No person in my government had any differences, though there may have been differences anywhere outside. We cooperated so much with each other. Ultimately, what has happened, it is not an issue for me. (You have got your turn too. Now people are talking that there may be a coalition government again. It is not my version, but media version. We are watching all these things. That is why I said that whichever coalition governments were there in the past, they have also done something for the States. Pension for farmers and poor people, eradication of poverty and all those things are a concern of not only the present government.
Maybe a new India is his dream. I am not going to say all those promises which he has made in the first Presidential speech. I do not want to hurt his feelings. I would only say one thing. A full House is not here. We are all committed to farming sector, annadaata. There is no difference party-wise. I would like to reiterate what the Father of the Nation, Mahtma Gandhi said: “Remember that dark brown starved man bending under a scorching sun, scratching a little plot of land to eke out a living. Anything you do, you do for his benefit.” You announced Rs 6000. That is only Rs 17 per day. Please think over it. How much benefit are you going to give the industrialists?…(Interruptions) It is not a question of telling any names. It is a question of searching our hearts. Has Modi ji gone for election campaign without this corporate money? How much money has been spent? We can also understand. The people of this country are not fools; they are well-awakened. All this progress may not bring so much of euphoria. They will take their own decision. You are giving Rs. 6000. Telangana is giving Rs 10,000. How much is Mamata Banerjee giving? There are various States. I think even Odisha is providing more than Rs 10,000. The Prime Minister announced Rs 6,000, out of which Rs 2,000 is in this Financial Year. By that time, election will be over.…(Interruptions) Is it going to clear the difference between the rural and urban sectors, between farmers and other sectors? If it is going to give them at least a certain living standard, we will be happy.
Edited excerpts from a speech by former Prime Minister and MP from Hassan, HD Deve Gowda in the Lok Sabha on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address, February 7