Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has questioned the decision to curb restrictions when Coronavirus cases are high.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has said that the executive decisions taken by the Centre should be discussed and scrutinised by Parliament. Speaking to The Indian Express, Azad thanked Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu for his initiative along with Speaker Om Birla to explore options on reconvening Parliament.
Azad, also the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, said that the government has failed in handling the Coronavirus pandemic. He said that the entire country was shut down and immobilised on four hours’ notice.
“That was a wrong decision,” Azad said and noted that that was the time when the virus had not spread.
He said that the government should have made available all types of transportation to all workers and within a week’s time every worker would have reached their native places.
“There would not have been suffering all around, and secondly the spread of the virus would have been far less,” he said.
The Congress leader also questioned the decision to curb restrictions when cases are high. He said when coronavirus was at its peak, restrictions should have been imposed but people in millions were allowed to travel.
“So, this is totally wrong planning, more so regarding testing kits, and there are no arrangements for patients,” he said.
On the functioning of the Parliament and government’s decisions being debated, he said, “…the government has taken a lot of executive decisions. These decisions should be discussed and scrutinised by Parliament. Under Article 75 (3) of the Constitution, the Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People.”
Azad slammed the government for resorting to digital means to hold meetings and at the same time not allowing standing committees to function by employing digital technology. He said committees are not allowed to use the technologies on the ground that these technologies are not secure enough to guarantee confidentiality of committee proceedings.
“When the Union Cabinet is using such technology and when the Prime Minister is using such technology to interact with chief ministers and no confidentiality is breached, why is the supreme institution of Parliament and its committees embodying the people’s will denied such opportunities?” he asked.
Azad said parliamentary scrutiny involves all-party scrutiny of government decisions, which means people’s will is involved in fine-tuning the governance process.
He also said there is anger among the public against the government, saying “people are already accusing the Modi government of ensuring maximum pandemic and minimum governance”.
“Without the functioning of Parliament and its committees, the maximum pandemic and minimum governance would get multiplied and health, economic slowdown and human security would be endangered. There are a number of other countries where Parliament sessions are being held in one way or the other,” he said.