The implementation of the lockdown and aspects related to it, such as movement of migrant workers and the Centre’s coordination with states, will be scrutinised by a key Parliamentary committee next week.
A meeting of the Standing Committee on Home Affairs has been convened by chairman of the panel Anand Sharma on June 3.
This will be the first regular meeting of a Parliamentary committee ever since the nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 25. Sharma’s attempts to convene a virtual meeting of the panel earlier did not meet with success after the Rajya Sabha secretariat did not clear his proposal to hold a meeting over video-conference citing security concerns.
Sharma told The Indian Express: “I have convened a regular meeting of the Standing Committee on June 3. I hope all members will be allowed to participate — all those who are able to travel since air travel has been resumed, or travel by road; and those who are constrained because of circumstances and situations. I have requested Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to facilitate their joining in the meeting and their participation through video-conferencing, as is being done elsewhere.”
Sources said Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla is likely to brief the committee on various aspects of the lockdown and its handling by his ministry.
Sharma, as also the Congress, had been critical of the government for not allowing meetings of the Parliamentary panels to take place to ensure oversight. The views were echoed by leaders of the 22 opposition parties when they met last week.
“It is important that the Government of India reaches out and engages in a dialogue with all political parties in a systematic manner, listens seriously to the suggestions that we have to make, activate Parliamentary institutions like Standing Committees and be genuine in helping the states financially and otherwise,” the parties had said in a joint statement last week.
Picking holes in the Rs 20-lakh crore financial package announced by the Union government, former Finance minister P Chidambaram had demanded that Parliamentary Standing committees on finance, industry and commerce and labour ministries should be convened at the earliest to discuss it.
Sources said the panel headed by Sharma will look into all aspects related to the lockdown since the Home Ministry is the nodal ministry implementing it. From implementation of the lockdown to coordination with states, opening up of business establishments and factories, movement of migrant labour, all issues related to the lockdown will come up, a source said.
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