Trinamul Congress Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien today said that the BJP government at the Centre is increasingly restoring to Ordinances and has flouted democratic norms and undermined the spirit of Parliamentary democracy.
He said,”as Parliament convenes amid the Covid-19 pandemic from Monday it will need to consider and approve ordinances promulgated over the past six months.”
Since 24th March when the lockdown was imposed 11 ordinances have been signed by the President. O’Brien also questioned the BJP for cancelling Question Hour so that the opposition was not given a chance to hold the government accountable.
He alleged that Zero Hour was reduced to thirty minutes from sixty minutes. Mr O’Brien said, “This is unique in the past seventy years where the Parliament is bypassed and ordinances are promulgated.”
He said that five out of eleven ordinances are broadly related to the Covid19 but the other ordinances are unrelated to the pandemic.
The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance in response to the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank scandal was promulgated. There have been two Parliamentary sessions since the scandal became public but not draft Bill was introduced in the House.
Similarly, permitting corporate farming and liberalising agricultural trade regimes as well as produce movement to benefit big retailers, should have been preceded by adequate parliamentary debate. He said, “These are significant and controversial decisions.” He asked whether that care has been taken to address the information asymmetry between farmers who sell and big traders and corporations that buy? This could have been scrutinised by a Parliamentary Committee he added. But Mr O’Brien alleges that the ordinance glosses over it passing itself as either pandemic relief to farmers or an economic reform. But it is neither. He also said that the timing of such ordinances is very odd.