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Congress attacks govt. on Finance Bill, export of medical equipment

Rahul Gandhi. Photo: File

Rahul Gandhi. Photo: File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Rahul Gandhi questions ‘delay’ in stopping export of ventilators, suggests ‘criminal conspiracy’

The Congress on Monday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government over a provision in the Finance Bill and a reported delay in banning exports of medical equipment including masks and ventilators.

Also read | Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India

Party communications chief Randeep Surjewala accused the government of being “inhumane and heartless” to make profits by raising excise duties on petrol and diesel.

“Dear PM, to take advantage of people’s miseries in this fashion is utterly shameful, inhumane and heartless. People are losing livelihood and jobs and BJP government is profiteering from the crash in crude oil prices by raising excise duties. Don’t push people to the brink,” he tweeted.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman moved an amendment to the Finance Bill, 2020 that empowers the government with enabling provisions to raise the excise duty on petrol and diesel by ₹8 per litre each in future. The amendment along with the Finance Bill was passed without a debate in the Lok Sabha.

 

In a separate tweet, the Congress also accused the government of “criminal conspiracy” for not banning export of critical equipment like ventilators and surgical masks until March 19.

“Respected Prime Minister, why did the Indian government allow the export of all these things till March 19 contrary to WHO’s advice to keep sufficient stock of ventilators and surgical masks. Which forces encouraged these games? Isn’t this a criminal conspiracy,” Mr. Gandhi asked in a tweet in Hindi.

The Congress MP also tagged a news report which claimed that India did not stockpile the virus protective equipment for health workers despite WHO guidelines.

“Should you not sack Union Commerce Minister and Commerce Secretary for permitting exports of ventilators, surgical masks, face masks, raw material for masks/coveralls till March 19. This is criminal as our own doctors, nurses and patients are facing acute scarcity,” said Mr. Surjewala who tagged the March 19 order of the Centre that barred exports of surgical masks among others.

Watch | COVID-19: Masks and sanitisers are now essential commodities

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 7:56:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-attacks-govt-on-finance-bill-export-of-medical-equipment/article31143675.ece

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