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NDA members on Public Accounts panel block discussion on vaccination policy

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on July 15, 2021

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury

GST issues to be priority item

 

The Public Accounts Committee meeting, held here on Wednesday to frame the programme for the year, saw uproarious scenes over Chairman Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s suggestion that the panel must examine the vaccination policy of the Centre. NDA members opposed the move as such an item did not figure in the agenda for the day.

Opposition members told BusinessLine that the ruling coalition members didn’t allow the Chairman to speak at all. “Ruckus went on for some time in the presence of CAG Girish Chandra Murmu and other senior auditors,” a member said.

The ruling party members, however, said it was not mentioned in the agenda papers circulated to them. “There are some pending CAG reports and audit paragraphs before us. Some new reports of the CAG has also been tabled in Parliament. The agenda of vaccination was not there,” a member said.

The discussion on vaccines was started by senior member and DMK leader TR Baalu. He urged the panel that the distribution of vaccines must also be taken up by the panel. In his concluding remarks, Chowdhury presented his opinion about the current situation of vaccination drive and said the Centre should provide details of the production, purchase, export and distribution of the vaccines.

However, BJP members asked him to present his opinion in front of the media rather than before the panel as an out of the agenda item, a member said.

Senior members said that if there is no unanimity among members, a new subject cannot be taken up by the panel. When we took up the 2G spectrum issue, it was a united decision. Though the report was not allowed to be tabled by the Congress members, the deliberation went on within the panel. PAC can suo moto take up a subject and ask the CAG to do an audit, but this can be done only with agreement of all members. If there is a single dissent, then it cannot be taken up,” another member said.

Congress member Shakti Singh Gohil had said the panel should hear what the Chairman has to say. BJP’s Satya Pal Singh and Shiv Sena member Rahul Ramesh Shiwale also said the panel must hear what the Chairman has to say. But NDA members such as Jagdambika Pal and Rajiv Ranjan Singh said it is not in the agenda and Chairman should not raise it in his concluding remarks.

GST to be priority

The panel, meanwhile, decided to take up the issues in GST as a priority agenda. “GST is going to be our priority agenda in the coming days. CAG has marked some fault lines, which needs to be plugged. It is not only the issue of money going to states, but even the collection of taxes need to be examined. We will look at every aspect and recommend our solutions to the Centre,” a member said.

Published on June 16, 2021

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