Friday, July 10, 2020

How Modi used UPA era Act to control Covid-19 - Fly on the wall

Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

How Modi used UPA era Act to control Covid

The Congress has been strongly criticizing Prime Minister Modi for usurping the powers of states while dealing with Covid epidemic/pandemic. But it conveniently forgot that the Disaster Management Act (DMA) under which Modi did it was enacted during the UPA regime in 2005. Modi as Gujrat Chief Minister had vehemently opposed the proposed Bill and alleged that the UPA wants to swallow powers of the states. But he was the lone voice in his own party as the Central BJP leadership looked the other way. When the Coronavirus broke out in 2020, Modi invoked the same 2005 Act to declare it a as national epidemic and took complete charge under the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). The NDMA is directly under the Prime Minister who is its chairman. Shockingly, Section 6 & Section 10 of the DMA, 2005 give enormous powers to the PMO which some experts considered harsher than provided for in the Article 356.

Why Amit Shah came on the scene late

Suddenly, Union Home Minister Amit Shah is in the fore-front of fighting the battle against Covid. But It’s a wrong popular notion that Home ministry is nodal agency to handle the Corona pandemic. But its not. The Act clearly says the MHA is responsible for response, relief and preparedness for natural calamities and man-made disasters. But not ‘drought and epidemics’ which is under NDMA with PM as Chairman. The NDMA website reveals that Amit Shah is not even a member of the NDMA. Though the NDMA should to be 9-member body with a Vice Chairman. But currently, it has five members; G V V Sarma, Kamal Kishore, Lt. Gen. Syed Ata Hasnain (retd), Rajendra Singh, and Kishore Vatsa and no Deputy Chairman. The Union Home Secretary is Chairman of the National Executive Committee (NEC) under the NDMA. But its a dual role. He issues orders to ministries and states not as Home Secretary but as Chairman of the NEC on the direct orders of the PMO.

Priyanka Gandhi’s House riddle

After being told to vacate the 35 Lodhi Estate bungalow, the last word on Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s next destination continues to baffle political class. The widely reported speculation is that she will shift to Lucknow in late Shiela Kaul's house to strengthen the party in UP. It is said she is unwilling to shift to Lucknow immediately due to on-going Covid-19 pandemic and UP emerging as a new hot spot. Secondly, she doesn’t want to take the risk of traveling to UP along with the family now. She will not go to her husband Robert Vadra’s palatial flats in Gurgaon. Reason; Robert Vadra loves to walk in the Lodhi Gardens in the morning and Priyanka in the evening. Vadra keeps tweeting photos while walking in the Lodhi Gardens. Insiders say that she may temporarily shift to 10 Janpath House of her mother with daughter Miraya.Robert can keep shuffling between Gurgaon and Delhi.

Rohan Jaitley for DDCA ?

Late Arun Jaitley’s son advocate Rohan is in the news these days. Jaitley’s friends and associates want him to become DDCA president, a post once held by Jaitley himself. Elections are due after Rajat Sharma resigned. The last word is yet to be known.