On Monday, former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram asked the government in Rajya Sabha if Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping talked about the border situation when they met at the G20 Summit in Bali. This caused the Treasury benches to object and disrupt the meeting.
The Congress MP said these things after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman began talking about Appropriation (No. 5) Bill, 2022 and Appropriation (No. 4) Bill, 2022.
Chidambaram said that he had the right to improve conditions at the border. He said that he had asked for an extra Rs 500 crore for border roads as a supplementary grant request. He also said that he did not want any sensitive information.
“These roads in the Northeast are important and near the border,” he said. “We know who the danger is on the north and east borders. What has China given up on Hot Springs? Have the Chinese agreed to talk about the problems at Doklam Junction and Depsang Plains?”
“You are making more space between things. What exactly is a buffer zone? From what we know, it will not be a patrolled area. Does that mean we’re not patrolling where we used to?” Chidambaram asked, which caused BJP MPs to interrupt him.
The Congress leader asked the government what infrastructure the Chinese were building on the other side. He said he didn’t want to know what infrastructure was being built on the Indian side because it might be a defence secret.
When Chidambaram started talking about a video of Modi and Xi meeting in Bali, BJP member G V L Narasimha Rao spoke up and said that the topic had nothing to do with the discussion of the Bill.
Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar told Chidambaram to take note of the rule in question. Chidambaram then said that a video of the meeting showed that Modi and Xi shook hands, but Modi was the one who spoke.
“I just want to know, without getting into specifics, if the situation at the border was talked about? Just yes or no,” Chidambaram said, which caused the Treasury benches to start up again.
Chidambaram’s comments came after the Opposition walked out of the meeting earlier in the day because they wanted to talk about the recent fight between Indian and Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh.
When talking about the government’s request for an extra Rs 3.25 lakh crore for this financial year, Sushil Kumar Modi from the BJP pointed out that Rs 1.09 crore of that was for subsidising fertiliser. He asked states not to use the Old Pension Scheme, saying that if they did, they would put the cost on the next generation.
Derek O’Brien, an MP for the Trinamool Congress, said that the Centre was putting “economic blockades” on states.
Raghav Chadha of the Aam Aadmi Party said in his first speech that the demand for grants was really a “demand for subsidy.” He said that the AAP government in Delhi was accused of giving away free stuff when it gave subsidies. “Our freebie is called a revadi, but theirs is called a subsidy,” he said.
Prashanta Nanda, a member of parliament for the Biju Janata Dal, asked the Union government to stop sending money directly to implementing agencies because it was “parking” the money and instead send it through the state’s consolidated fund.
V Vijaisai Reddy, a member of the YSRCP, criticised Chidambaram for his time as Finance Minister. He said that Andhra Pradesh’s current financial problems are due to the fact that the state was split in two by the UPA government at the time. He also said that the NDA government had not done enough to make sure there were enough funds for fuel, fertiliser, and the MGNREGA when the Budget was made in February.
On Tuesday, people will talk about the Bill again.