Communist Party of India MP Binoy Viswam on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to give representatives of smaller parties a chance to share their opinions and suggestions on the coronavirus crisis at the all-party meeting on December 4, reported ANI.
The Left leader said he was informed that during the meeting, only parties with more than 10 members in Parliament will be allowed to speak, while the smaller parties have to join as silent participants.
“It is deeply unfortunate that the voice of millions of Indians who are represented by these MPs will be silenced on such an important issue due to logistical issues,” Viswam wrote. “I urge you to kindly re-consider this decision and allot some time to MPs from smaller parties to share their opinions and suggestions on the pandemic.”
He said while Modi’s decision to discuss the pandemic was a welcome step, it was also paramount that the “entire nation comes together” to face the unprecedented challenges.
Viswam said that in case the Prime Minister’s Office still found it impossible to accommodate the smaller parties, he wanted to put across his views and suggestions on the subject.
These included increasing the testing facilities, especially among the vulnerable population, and reducing the cost of tests across the country. Provide free masks and soaps to those people who cannot afford the same, Viswam added.
The CPI leader asked the prime minister to ensure that the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana was extended till May next year. “Expand the scale and scope of MNREGA to provide employment opportunities to those who have lost their source of livelihood due to the pandemic,” he added.
He asked the Centre to ensure the safety and security of migrant workers who return to work after a long lull resulting from the lockdown imposed in March to contain the spread of coronavirus. “Contractors and owners must be entrusted with their safety and the Government must overlook the same,” Viswam said.
Besides, the government should also ensure the price of the vaccine against Covid-19, once it is available, to ensure that it is “affordable and accessible to every person of the country”, the CPI leader said.
The upcoming all-party meeting on December 4 is the second one called by the government to discuss the coronavirus crisis. The first one was held in April.
It comes at a time when several states in India are witnessing a surge in coronavirus cases amid the intensifying cold and also due to the festival season. The prime minister had on November 24 held a virtual meeting with the chief ministers of Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, West Bengal, Haryana and Rajasthan to review the coronavirus situation in the respective states.
India’s coronavirus count rose to 94,62,810 on Tuesday morning as it reported 31,118 new cases in 24 hours. The toll rose by 482 to 1,37,621.