A group of 22 opposition parties led by the Congress held a first virtual meeting today and demanded resumption of Parliament functioningThe parties, in a charter of 11 demands to the Centre, asked for direct cash transfer of Rs 7,500 a month for six months to the accounts of each non-income tax paying family in the country
Assembling at the initiative of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, opposition leaders, including NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, DMK’s MK Stalin and Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, accused the government of usurping state powers and demanded financial package for states to manage Covid.
“The government has failed in discharging its responsibilities. Grand announcements have been made but they do nothing meaningful to help the poor. In fact, the government has unabashedly usurped powers vested in the states, undermining the constitutionally guaranteed federal democracy,” a statement from the opposition said after Sonia, in her opening remarks, said the PM relief package was a cruel joke on the people and the government had no exit strategy out of the lockdown.
Among 11 opposition demands are distribution of free 10 kg foodgrain to the needy for six months, 200 work days under MGNREGA, free transport of migrants, safe return of Indians abroad, publication of Covid related information, reversal of labour law amendment, procurement of rabi crops at MSP, release of funds for states and unveiling of exit strategy.
“Every leader expressed concern that the Centre has usurped powers of states,” Congress media head Randeep Surjewala said later flagging alleged denial of funds to states, and dilution of state powers and civil liberties in the “garb of Covid”.
The parties also sought a revised fiscal package.
“Successive lockdowns have yielded diminishing returns. The government also stumbled badly on the testing strategy and the import of test kits. Meanwhile, the pandemic continues to take its toll. The economy has been gravely crippled. Every economist of repute had advised an immediate need for a massive fiscal stimulus,” said Sonia