Centre's COVID-19 response shows incompetence: Yechury

Political executive proving its incompetence by knee-jerk reactions on COVID-19: Yechury to Modi

Yechury shot off a letter to Modi highlighting that his previous communications demanding help for migrant workers to reach their homes and Rs 7,500 per month for the poor among others have gone "unanswered" and "not even been acknowledged".

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Sunday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his government's COVID-19 response, saying democratic accountability is "grossly missing" in his style of governance and the political executive is proving its "incompetence" by knee-jerk reactions.

He accused the Modi government of squeezing the states financially even as the Centre is going ahead with the "unnecessary wasteful expenditure" like the Central Vista project with a new residence for the Prime Minister and "other public relations exercises" at the time of economic distress to meet this grave medical emergency.

Yechury shot off a letter to Modi highlighting that his previous communications demanding help for migrant workers to reach their homes and Rs 7,500 per month for the poor among others have gone "unanswered" and "not even been acknowledged".

Referring to the number of explanations given to its on order, he said, it has now become the habit of the central government to issue "orders that cannot be understood" followed by multiple clarifications and even rescinding those orders. "We saw the track record of such a dismal governance model when demonetisation was undertaken. Clearly, the political executive in the country is proving its incompetence by knee-jerk reactions.," he said.

He also questioned Modi's "singular disdain to face the media and reply to the concerns" of the people.

"Leaders of the government in most countries address regular press conferences and answer questions. This is the only way to remain accountable and to give confidence to the people that the government is both competent and in command of the situation..The Chief Minister of the LDF government in Kerala holds a daily press briefing and outlines the measures that the government has taken to generate the confidence required for the people to face this challenge. Democratic accountability is grossly missing in your style of governance," Yechury said.

Demanding that funds must be liberally transferred to the states, he said the outstanding dues of the state governments over GST collections have not been paid to them yet. He said deductions from salaries of government employees and others are being forcibly transferred to PM-CARES and these funds must be immediately deployed to meet the requirements to strengthen the fight against the pandemic.

On "wasteful expenditure", Yechury said it was " amazing, bordering on criminality, that the Modi government is going ahead with the Central Vista project. "The legacy of this government during the last five years of spending money on statues, bullet trains, propaganda campaigns etc. instead of public health care, education etc. must be stopped forthwith. The requirements of battling the pandemic must be prioritized," he said.

Yechury repeated his request to provide Personal Protection Equipment and testing kits on a war footing. He said even now after a month of lockdown our testing rates remain one of the lowest in the world, "shamefully even lower" than Pakistan.

He also reminded the government that India cannot afford to see a larger number of non-COVID deaths because of lack of medical attention to those suffering from non-communicable diseases while the central focus is on COVID-19.

"Reports estimate that more than 3 lakh children and lakhs of pregnant mothers have been deprived of crucial life saving vaccines during the lockdown. More than a lakh cancer patients and 3.5 lakh diabetics have not got the required treatment. Even programmes like Malaria eradication and TB have shown huge decline in the last five weeks. There are reports of huge shortfall in blood supply in blood banks, so crucial for people with blood disorders like thalassaemia, haemophilia and sickle cell disease. Surely, such a situation cannot be acceptable and must be corrected forthwith," he said.