Close share trading; Bring petrol, diesel under GST: Opposition demands in Parliament

Last Updated 20 March 2020, 14:59 IST

From closing share trading on account of "bloodbath" on Dalal Street to rolling back of the hike in excise duty on petrol and diesel, the Opposition members made a host of suggestions and demands in the Lok Sabha in the face of growing cases of COVID-19, even as the government asserted that the infections have not yet reached the "community-level" and all efforts were being taken to contain its spread.

"We are in touch with everything going on the research front," Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told the Lok Sabha, asserting that the government was trying to use "good information" in the best manner to deal with the situation.

There is a well-defined protocol and scientific advice on who needs to be tested for the novel coronavirus infection, he added.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Trinamool Congress' (TMC) Saugata Roy said there is “a bloodbath” in the stock market and huge amount of investors' wealth has been wiped out.

"I have a proposal for the government. Share trading should be stopped as there is a bloodbath in the stock market," the TMC leader said.

Congress member Hibi Eden pointed out that the government has hiked the duty on petrol and diesel at a time when the livelihood of people is at stake due to novel coronavirus spread.

"I urge the government to reduce the duty and immediately withdraw the decision," he said, adding crude oil prices have dipped significantly and the government is not passing the benefit to people.

He also demanded the inclusion of petrol and diesel under the purview of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

As the novel coronavirus has impacted the businesses, the government should provide a reasonable time for repayment of loans, another Congress member H Vasanthakumar demanded.

DMK's K Kanimozhi noted that 80 per cent of the country's workforce is in the informal sector.

"I urge the government to take into account the plight of these people to protect their livelihood," she added.

Both Houses of Parliament would meet at 2 pm on Monday, not at the usual 11 am.

The decision was taken after several members said they would not be able to reach the national capital from their respective constituencies in the morning following the relocation of flights and cancellation of trains due to coronavirus.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla informed Lok Sabha that the Question Hour would remain suspended on Monday.

(Published 20 March 2020, 10:42 IST)

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