New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) The issues of corruption and 2G spectrum allocation scam Wednesday dominated the resumed debate in the Rajya Sabha on President Pratibha Patil’s address to the joint sitting of parliament’s two houses.
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury blamed the government for failing to collect money from defaulting companies in the 2G spectrum scam.
The Left leader said the money could have been used for funding welfare schemes of the people.
“This money, being described as notional loss, could have been adequate to finance 35 kg subsidised food grain to over 80 percent of the total households. Alternatively, this could have funded schemes like right to education and healthcare for all,” Yechury said.
Yechuri also rejected the argument that spectrums were allocated at lower prices to keep mobile calls cheaper.
Yechury attacked the government for giving huge tax concessions to corporate and high-end tax payers while the common man is suffering.
“Living conditions of the people have abysmally deteriorated as multi-billion tax concessions (worth Rs.225,000 crore) have been given to corporates and high-end tax payers,” Yechury said.
Hitting back at the opposition, Congress member Rajiv Shukla suggested that the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the 2G spectrum scam should probe allocation of spectrum since 1998. He also called for probes into the disinvestment policies of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, which was in power then.
Later, participating in the debate, Bharatiya Janata Party member Shanta Kumar accused the government of not being willing to bring home black money stashed in Swiss banks, even though the Switzerland government wanted to return it.
“Switzerland wants to return the money, why don’t you want to take it back?” he asked.
He also noted that a proposal by the government said that the issue should not be treated as one of tax theft.
“The government is planning to take 45 percent tax on the black money, it will be like laundering the money by taking tax,” he added.