Hyderabad: AIMIM president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi on Tuesday termed the decisions of the Centre on imposing and lifting of the ongoing lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus across the country as ‘unplanned and hasty’.
He demanded that the States should be authorised to take decisions on whether to continue with it or not. He blamed the Union government for its failure in taking right decisions at the right time which led to an economic crisis in the country.
Speaking to mediapersons here, Owaisi extended support to Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao who criticised the Centre’s failure to defer loan payments, increase Ways and Means advance or conditional increase in FRBM (Fiscal Regulation and Budgement Management) limits, to tide over economic crisis due to Covid-19 lockdown. He said despite repeated requests from the Chief Minister, the Modi government did not even attempt to help the State during the lockdown.
“The Central government is not ready to listen to States. What help did the Modi government extend to States to tide over the current crisis? Nothing. As a result, the States have no revenue,” the Hyderabad MP said. He pointed out that Telangana’s monthly revenue of Rs 11,000 crore had come down to a mere Rs 1,200 crore even as it requires Rs 3,000 crore to pay salaries and pensions. He rubbished the Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package which is claimed to be about 10 per cent of the national GDP, when it actually accounts for just 1.6 per cent of GDP.
Owaisi, holding the BJP government at the Centre responsible for the plight of migrant labourers, said they should have been sent to their home States in March last week when Covid-19 cases were fewer in numbers and the virus was less virulent. “Instead, people are being allowed to go home when the virus is more rampant. I have been consistently criticising the lockdown because it is unconstitutional. If you read the Constitution, both health as well as law and order are State subjects. But the Modi government violated the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution and misused the National Disaster Management Act to dictate terms to the State governments,” he alleged.
Owaisi stated that the officials sitting in the national capital do not know what is good or bad for the States. “An officer sitting in South Block or North Block will not know what is happening in Hyderabad. It is for the States to decide when the lockdown should be implemented or lifted, what should be closed or should not be closed,” he said. He stated that due to unplanned decisions of the Centre, the economy was in doldrums. He pointed out that the Prime Minister gave four hours to impose lockdown and eight days to lift it.
On the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the Pangong Tso area in eastern Ladakh, he questioned the ‘silence’ of the Union government on the matter and demanded that it take the country into confidence. “On behalf of the Government of India, there was a statement from the Defence Minister that they are engaged in a dialogue with China. We want to ask what you are talking about with them… take the country into confidence,” he said.
Owaisi also appealed to the members of Muslim community to take a policy decision to prevent elderly persons aged above 60 years from going out of their homes or entering mosques for prayers, as they are prone to risks. He also urged the managements of mosques to remove carpets which are easy carriers of viruses and bacteria as well as ask those who are offering prayers to do it on the floor. He also urged the Muslim elders and Muftis to take a decision on measures to be taken to maintain physical distancing and other COVID-19 preventive steps at mosques when they open after June 8.
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