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Parliament's Public Accounts Committee decides agenda in first meeting amid huge uproar

ANI | Updated: Jun 17, 2021 01:28 IST

By Ashoke Raj
New Delhi [India], June 17 (ANI): The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament decided its agenda for the following year on Wednesday, even as the meeting saw a huge uproar after Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury sought a review of the COVID-19 vaccination policy.
The agenda of the meeting was "'consideration of memorandum number 1 regarding the selection of subjects for examination during the year 2021-22".
The meeting started in a calm and methodical manner, but the differences started after the PAC chairperson Chowdhury sought a review of the COVID-19 vaccination policy and some members objected to it.
According to committee members present in the meeting, Chowdhury wanted to put forth suggestions related to COVID-19 vaccines and discuss the difficulties caused by the pandemic, especially during the second wave in the agenda, but ruling-BJP MPs fiercely opposed the PAC chairperson's idea and turned down his proposal.
"The chairperson's agenda was strongly opposed by the opinion of the present MPs and his suggestion was kept out of the agenda and was termed as his personal suggestion," a member said.

Another member of the committee told ANI, "With a humble request, all the members opposed the committee chairperson's suggestions which were off the agenda list. However, the chairperson read out the proposal without informing the members, which led to the majority of members to oppose the proposal and request him to maintain the dignity of the chair."
Meanwhile, the Congress leaders who were present in the meeting supported Chowdhury and demanded the protesting members to hear the proposal.
According to a Parliament source, "The commotion increased so much that the other staff of the Parliament ran towards the meeting room and informed the security personnel about the uproar."
It was the first meeting of a parliamentary committee with the physical presence of members amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and more than a dozen members were in attendance. The last PAC meeting in person was held in July last year.
Chowdhury had urged the Lok Sabha Speaker last month to convene an early meeting of PAC to deliberate upon the pandemic situation and the government's COVID-19 vaccination policy.
Chowdhury had said the meeting could be conducted in any mode, either physical or virtual, depending upon the COVID-19 situation.
The government has decided to provide free COVID-19 vaccine doses to all Indian citizens above 18 years of age under the revised vaccination policy, which will commence on June 21. (ANI)