Govt was exaggerating data related to job creation: Jairam Ramesh

Vastavam web: The Congress in the Rajya Sabha today raised questions about key budgetary proposals like for the proposed health insurance scheme and setting MSP at 50 per cent above the cost terming them as “jumlas” and also claimed the Centre was exaggerating data related to job creation.The Upper House which decided to sit till late to debate the Union budget also saw repeated adjournments post 7 pm following heated arguments between treasury benches and opposition, and protests by TDP members.

Questioning one of the key highlights of the budget, which the government has projected as a pro-farmer measure, Ramesh stated that while it has been said that the MSP would be set at 50 per cent above the cost, it had not been made clear what would be the criterion for deciding the cost of production.He also claimed that insufficient funds were allocated for the health insurance scheme. Ramesh claimed the scheme would anyway benefit private hospitals rather than the public.It is being touted as ‘ModiCare’, he said. Taking a jibe, he said by this logic AIIMS may be called an institute of “Modical” sciences.

Ramesh said that an insurance scheme existed during the UPA tenure and only the money had been increased. It was a work in continuation, he claimed.On jobs front, Ramesh said the government was focussing on the EPFO figures to estimate jobs created, which he claimed was a wrong approach.He said the raise in provident fund accounts had happened as there was formalisation of the informal sector due to GST and demonetisation. Even as this was a beneficial result of these two measures, he said exaggerated claims related to job creation were being made based on EPFO data, he said.”To say all these jobs are new, would be completely wrong,” Ramesh said seeking to punch holes in the government’s claims on employment. He said recent comments by the chief economic advisor had also indicated the same.He said that thought India had moved upwards, it was only due to the new insolvency law that was brought in. These measures, however, encourage a hire and fire policy towards employees, he said.

Ramesh accused the government of making exaggerated claims on issues like job creation. Following Ramesh’s speech, BJP member Mahesh Poddar and SP leader Neeraj Shekhar also spoke. The discussion will continue tomorrow.Earlier, after Rajeev Chandrashekhar (Independent) had spoken, the Chair called Ramesh to move the debate on the Budget further.Before he could continue, members from the treasury benches objected to the comments. This lead to heated arguments between BJP and Congress. Some other opposition members too supported the Congress.The Chair tried to pacify the two sides, but in vain. The House was adjourned for 10 minutes.Deputy Chairman Bhubaneswar Kalita asked Ramesh to continue his speech even as TDP members were raising slogans.

Ramesh said he could not speak amid the din and got support from other opposition members also. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel urged the protesting members to return to seats.However, they did not yield. The Chair adjourned the House for another 10 minutes. When the House met again, there was ruckus and another adjournment followed.