With the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament scheduled to meet on Friday to discuss a selection of subjects, the panel’s Chairman Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury Tuesday said that he will persuade the members to take up for review the entire gamut of issues related to the pandemic, lockdown and unemployment situation across the country.
The Congress leader in Lok Sabha and Berhampore MP told The Indian Express that all issues related to Covid-19 will be discussed in a “staggered, phase by phase manner” and the working of the PM CARES Fund may also come up “consequently” as it is part of the government’s efforts to deal with the outbreak.
The Opposition, particularly the Congress and the Left parties, have claimed a lack of transparency in the PM CARES Fund.
The agenda of the meeting on Friday was “selection of subjects” for examination during the year 2020-21, Chowdhury said, adding that the Comptroller and Auditor General is expected to be present. “The norms are that…in the presence of all the members…we have to prioritise…which are those issues ought to be taken up following the CAG’s observations etc. And out of this, we will certainly pick up the issues… we can also take up other important issues which have not so far been mentioned in the CAG report. We will certainly do on Covid, lockdown, unemployment etc etc…All the issues related to Covid will be discussed in a staggered manner, phase by phase,” Chowdhury said.
“I personally am interested and certainly will persuade all of my colleagues that it is a national issue and without any hesitation we all should focus on it… this is the first time in history we have faced this kind of pandemic so this is a real opportunity so that we contribute something to the nation. The objective of the PAC is to contribute something positive,” he said.
Asked whether the PAC can take up such issues since the CAG has not given any report, he said “That is not mandatory. We can take up other important issues also…suo motu…we have that kind of prerogative and privilege.”