- PM Narendra Modi, on Friday, held an all-party meeting to discuss COVID-19 with leaders of various political outfits and top union ministers.
- The floor leaders from every Lok and Rajya Sabha party were invited to participate in the virtual meeting.
- This is the second all-party meeting which was called by the government to discuss the COVID-19 situation since its outbreak.
On Friday, 4th December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to meet with leaders of different political parties from both Parliament Houses to discuss the country’s Covid-19 pandemic situation.
Floor representatives from all Lok Sabha parties as well as the Rajya Sabha were invited to hold the virtual meeting from 10.30 a.m. onwards.
After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the 2nd all-party meet which has been called by the Indian Government to discuss the Coronavirus situation.
The first meeting was held in the middle of a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus on April 20.
Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, Minister of Health Harsh Vardhan and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi will also attend today’s meeting.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (Lok Sabha) and Ghulam Nabi Azad (Rajya Sabha) of the Congress, Midhun Reddy (Lok Sabha) and Vijayasai Reddy (Rajya Sabha) of the YSR Congress Party, Sudip Bandyopadhyay (Lok Sabha) and Derek O ‘Brien (Rajya Sabha) of the Trinamool Congress, are the floor leaders of the various parties scheduled to attend the conference.
The government is likely to update leaders on measures taken to deal with the pandemic and the advances made in the development and distribution of vaccines.
The Prime Minister held several meetings with chief ministers, last on November 24, putting particular emphasis on states with a high Covid-19 caseload to review the situation there and give suggestions and also address the administration and distribution of vaccines.
He held a virtual meeting on Monday with three teams working on creating and manufacturing the vaccine for Covid-19.
On Saturday, he also visited pharmaceutical companies in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune to check the production work of coronavirus vaccines there.
According to the Union Health Ministry, India has reported the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world after the United States, but is one of the countries with the lowest deaths per million population globally.
The meeting also comes a day after the letter from Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla urging him to convene a short winter session to discuss many issues, including the agitation of farmers and the preparation of the vaccine for Covid-19.
Chowdhury said in his letter that the winter session will be convened with all the Covid-19 protocols in place to help people understand the important issues that the country is currently facing.
The nation currently faces a number of very important issues. The continuing agitation of farmers and the status/preparation of the vaccine Covid-19, the letter read, are the most prominent among them.
For immediate discussion in Parliament, Chowdhury also identified issues such as economic slowdown, unemployment, persistent stand-off along the India-China border and unabated ceasefire violations along the India-Pakistan border. He also said that there is a need for a thorough and transparent debate and discussion on the important issues that has already been mentioned above.
The Lok Sabha Secretariat was ready to hold the winter session last month, Birla said, but the dates would be determined by the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs.
The demand of Chowdhury was also endorsed by Manish Tewari and Shashi Tharoor, his party colleagues. Tewari called for Parliament’s winter session to be convened at the earliest to address various pressing issues facing the country, such as the ongoing protest of farmers against agricultural reform laws, Chinese aggression and the crisis of Covid-19.
He said that because of Covid-19, parliamentarians “owe it to the country to lead by example by not avoiding our duties.”
The former trade union minister said, “In view of the farmers’ uprising, when tens of thousands of farmers from different parts of the country are protesting around Delhi to seek the repeal of three controversial agricultural laws. The former Trade Union Minister also said that “It has become more important to convene Parliament for a winter session.”
He added, “And Parliament is the best forum to debate and deliberate on these issues while taking into account farmers’ concerns and demands”. For over a week now, farmers from Punjab, Haryana and other states have been camping at border points of Delhi to protest against the three agricultural reform laws of the Centre that were implemented in September. Tewari said that daily meetings are already being conducted by various parliamentary panels such as the standing committees and joint parliamentary committees. There is no rationale or justification to miss the winter session.