The Monsoon session of Parliament has barely begun, crucial matters need to be discussed, however it seems that only denials, excuses and disruptions are happening so far. Parliament sessions will convene again on Monday July 26 after they were adjourned following the Opposition’s massive protests on Friday. The protests were mainly centred on the allegations of the Pegasus spyware being detected on the phones of 38 Indian journalists, politicians including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, former election commissioner Ashok Lavasa, Union ministers and journalists.
Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi has alleged that Pegasus spyware is a “weapon” to be used against terrorists, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have used this weapon against the “Indian state and against our institutions.” The entire week, Union minister for electronics and information technology (MeitY) Ashwini Vaishnaw has maintained that even suggesting India used Israeli spyware Pegasus to hack phones of journalists, activists and ministers, including him, was an “attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions”. Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi has called this a case of treason, and demanded that a judicial inquiry under the supervision of the Supreme Court be set up to reveal who was responsible for ordering such “sedition”.
#PegasusSnoopgate देशद्रोह का मामला है।
हमारी सीधी सी माँग है- सुप्रीम कोर्ट की निगरानी में इसकी न्यायिक जाँच हो ताकि देश को पता चले कि ये देशद्रोह किसके कहने पर किया गया- PM या HM? pic.twitter.com/65A3aIb4XQ
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 23, 2021
Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar gave a written reply in Rajya Sabha that “no deaths due to lack of oxygen have been specifically reported by states and UTs.” Pawar, was responding to the question by Rajya Sabha member M.V Shreyams Kumar seeking information on deaths of Covid patients in hospitals due to lack of oxygen. The answer had unleashed a wave of fresh grief across the country where many such deaths had been reported at the peak of the Covid-19 second wave in April and May when the health system had all but collapsed. Leading hospitals across the country had sent SOS messages on social media about oxygen shortage in their Covid-19 wards. This was not limited to Delhi NCR, SabrangIndia reported how Bihar was reeling under the Covid-19 crisis from dearth of oxygen supply, cylinders, long queues outside hospitals, hoarding, black marketing to police harassment. From Uttar Pradesh’ Bhaisa Kund cremation ground the priest, KK Pandey, told SabrangIndia in April, had said that his sister-in-law might not survive due to oxygen shortage.
According to a data analysis report by Arvind Subramanian, Center for Global Development and Brown University, Abhishek Anand Harvard University and Justin Sandefur, Center for Global Development, India has under-counted deaths. It concluded that the actual deaths during the Covid pandemic are likely to “be in the several millions not hundreds of thousands”. This they said makes this “arguably India’s worst human tragedy since partition and independence.” However, the government of India still seems to be reluctant to recognise the tragedy, and its various causes even on the floor of the Parliament.
The Health Minister was asked to share “the number of doctors, nurses and other para medical personnel who lost their lives in the war against the COVID-19 pandemic during the first and second waves,” and if there was “any proposal from Government to recognize them as COVID martyrs”. The minister of state replied that “the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare does not maintain occupation wise data on COVID-19 cases and deaths”. She added that life insurance benefits are being provided to Health Workers under “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP): Insurance Scheme for Health Workers Fighting COVID-19”. Data denial if not outright fudging seems to be a hallmark of this government.
However, just a month ago, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) president Dr JA Jayalal had told SabrangIndia that there is a delay of compensations to medics martyred to Covid-19. Over 650 doctors had died due to Covid-19 in just two months.As per latest state-wise break-up, Delhi had the highest number of deaths; Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu reported a sizable increase in doctors’ death within a span of eight days, IMA secretary general Jayesh Lele had added.
Union Minister Rao Inderjit Singh told Parliament that the Centre had no plan to introduce any population control policy. He was responding to unstarred questions by Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi and BJP MP Anil Agarwal asking if the Union government had plans to make such a policy. The Bharatiya Janata Party led Union Government’s reply in Parliament, however, is in contrast to the party’s government in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP’s own Adityanath as UP CM announced the new population policy for 2021-2030 on July 10, and sought feedback on it. Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) sent detailed comments/suggestions to the Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission over the proposed Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilization and Welfare) Bill, 2021. The CJP, drew reference from some experiments and worldwide trends that have shown that there is a “direct and deep co-relation” between basic civic amenities and healthcare available for women, (including facilities for personal sanitation and hygiene) from marginalised sections, their access to education and health needs, nutrition etc., that also facilitates ready acceptance of population control practices.
CJP writes to UP Law Commission over the draft Population Control Bill of 2021
Pegasus spyware trotting into ministers’ phones, who is next?
Over 1.4 crore children in Bihar don’t have access to digital devices: Centre in LS
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