Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has been pulled up by a Parliamentary panel for failing to deliver on as many as 40 assurances, including on availability of life saving drugs, given by different ministers over a span of 16 years.
The Committee on Government Assurances in its latest report regarding the pending assurances pertaining to the ministry (Department of Pharmaceuticals) said that “assurances from the 3rd session of 13th Lok Sabha to the 8th session of the 14th Lok Sabha are still pending for implementation even after a lapse of more than one and half years to 16 years”.
Moreover the mechanism put in place to monitor the implementation of the assurances is a failure in terms of seeking extensions and the same is ostensibly not kept under the radar of the department, it added.
Highlighting the issue of life saving drugs, the panel said it is “dismayed to note that the assurances given in reply to special mention dated May 5, 2000 regarding life saving drugs was ignored by the ministry for 16 long years”.
It further said that it was only after the assurance was taken up for evidence on April 4, 2016 that the ministry “woke up” and informed that concerned ministry dealing with the issue is Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
“This raises serious credibility issues and points towards morbid mechanism in place to review pending assurance from time to time. It also undermines the sanctity of assurances given on the floor of the house by the minister,” the report said.
The utility and relevance of an assurance are lost if there is inordinate delay in the implementation, it added.
The committee recommended that existing mechanism in the ministry should be overhauled and streamlined with a view of avoiding delay in fulfillment of assurances, particularly pending assurances.
The ministry should adopt a proactive approach and scale up coordination with Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and other ministries and departments for timely implementation of assurances, the report said.