Oppn puts demands in black and white

Oppn puts demands in black and white

Changing the approach of mere voice-raising, Opposition parties, including the Congess, have decided to be heard through their words by sending notices to the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry, demanding debates on issues that concern them.

The Congress has pressed for a debate on the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)—a flagship programme of the previous UPA regime—as well as drug pricing in the coming week. 

The Congress wants to corner the government over the rural job scheme as it is suspicious that the NDA government is curtailing its reach and penetration. The others have sought discussions on problems relating to fishermen’s release and food adulteration.

Although these issues were raised in the Lok Sabha business advisory committee on Thursday, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan still has to write to the concerned ministers before planning debates.

According to sources in the ministry, the Speaker will decide the timing and rules under which debates will take place in the House after getting the approval of ministers. Nitin Gadkari, when he was holding the Rural Development portfolio, had suggested that the MGNREGS be tweaked to be restricted to certain districts to plug leakages.

The new Rural Development Minister, Chaudhary Birender Singh, had assuaged the agitating nerves of the Congress by publicly declared that the scheme helped the poor.

A senior minister, however, told Deccan Herald that the Centre is not allocating any more funds for the UPA flagship scheme, which was assigned Rs 33,364 crore during the budget. At the same time, however, he asserted that the government reserved the right to review the scheme to make it more effective.

Earlier, the Congress had accused the NDA government of “political vendetta” to alter the ratio of labour to materials in the MGNREGS and trying to de-control prices of life-saving drugs.

Ahead of Modi’s US visit, the Congress had charged the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority of withdrawing an order that had kept the prices of certain essential drugs under control.

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