Govt prepares House agenda with focus on Covid handling

New Delhi: The government is prepared to discuss its management of Covid-19, a key demand of the opposition parties, in the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament.

A senior minister who asked not to be named said the government is confident of replying to all questions of the Opposition related to Covid-19. The Opposition wants to raise issues ranging from deficiencies in the healthcare system that were exposed during the second wave of the Covid pandemic, to the slow pace of vaccination during the monsoon session of Parliament beginning Monday.

The government also has a busy legislative agenda: six ordinances, nine pending bills and at least 15 new bills.

According to a person aware of the details who asked not to be named, the key bills that the government will try to push are those on DNA technology, the rights of senior citizens, the National Institute of Food Technology, and tribunal reforms.

The government hopes to pass the Marine Aid and Navigation bill, Juvenile Justice Amendment bill, Assisted Reproductive Technology bill during the session.

While the government wants the smooth functioning of both the houses to enable the passage of key bills, it is also prepared for a stormy session.

The Opposition has accused the government of being unprepared for the second wave of the pandemic and blamed it for a botched vaccination strategy.

The government has decided to take on the Opposition “with facts and figures” said a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader on condition of anonymity.

“We are prepared to have a discussion on the second wave of the Covid pandemic. Let the opposition ask questions; we have all the answers. We have data to prove how India quickly got its act together to provide essential health care and save lives. There was a 14 to 16 day period when there were some shortages but we overcame the problem within a short time,” this person added.

On the Opposition’s charge that the pace of vaccination is slow and the government did not take timely steps to procure vaccines, this leader said: “No country in the world can administer vaccines in a single day. India has administered more dozes than America,” the leader said.

The Opposition is also gearing to corner the government on the issue of inflation, especially the rise in fuel and cooking oil and gas prices.

CPI data shows consumer price inflation at 6.26% and petrol price in Delhi has spiraled to ₹101.54 currently from ₹90.40 on May 2.