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Opposition slams Centre on COVID-19, ordinances, migrants issues in Rajya Sabha


New Delhi, Sep 19: Opposition parties on Saturday attacked the government in the Rajya Sabha, accusing it of crossing "constitutional bars", interfering in the affairs of states, failing to control private hospitals during the coronavirus crisis, and being unable to protect the migrant labourers and the poor.


Participating in a debate on The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020, they also charged the government with entering into the "league of three democracies" in the world that promote what they called 'ordinance raj'. Derek O'Brien (Trinamool Congress) accused the Centre of interfering in the functioning of states through the Bill.

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The Bill provides for jail terms up to five years and hefty fines for attack on healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus outbreak or during any situation akin to the current pandemic.

The BJP, instead of preaching others to abstain from politics, should not indulge in politics, he said, adding the ruling party wants to take all the credit for schemes despite states contributing to them. Terming the Centre's 'Ayushman Bharat' Yojana an imitation scheme, he claimed West Bengal was way ahead in health schemes and it implemented insurance cover for even allied workers and included mental wellness of healthcare workers in it.

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"The Centre is paying 60 per cent for the scheme and the state 40 per cent. But when it comes to credit, the Centre wants to take all credit," he charged. He also attacked the government using the term "ordinance raj".

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    "There are only three parliamentary democracies in the world in which this ordinance raj is still possible - India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The emergency ordinance route is dangerous. Root of all ordinances is a 1935 Act. The Viceroy era is gone but the attitude of arrogance still remains with the BJP government," he said.

    He also demanded to know what action the government was taking against those who claimed cures for coronavirus and fooled people selling drugs. "Moreover, if the sole bread winner of a family has died due to COVID-19, he should be compensated and protected by the government," he said.

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