The NDA government was trying to reduce state governments to the level of municipal corporations when it comes to decision making, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury alleged on Wednesday. Addressing a "Telangana Online Public Meeting", he said about 15 crore people lost their jobs and their purchasing capacity during the first three months of the lockdown period, while the rich become richer.
Maintaining that the Centre failed to check the spread of the coronavirus, he alleged that the number of tests being done for the killer virus was one of the lowest in the world. On top of that, the government washed its hands off and left the people in the lurch with regard to the pandemic, he said.
"There is greater responsibility and burden on states in tackling COVID-19 pandemic. (Centre should) support states. States are asking for GST tax dues from the Centre. The Centre says it has no money. On the other hand, our Prime Minister Modi created a private trust fund PM Cares Fund). Where is that money going? Thousands of crores of money. He gave tax exemptions to donations made to PM CARES," Yechury said.
"You give that money (PM Cares Fund) to the state governments to overcome the crisis (COVID-19 pandemic). (You want) All the powers should be centralised. The present administration is going on by reducing the centre-state relations, by reducing the state to municipal corporation level. They say that you are not state governments, but just municipal corporations and we will decide from the centre," the CPI(M) leader alleged.
He said the Modi Government did not give enough time for states to prepare for the lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus when it was announced initially in March. Yechury said the Centre merely talks about 'aatmanirbhar' or self-reliant India, but its actions of "selling off" PSUs amounted to 'aatmasamarpan' (surrender) of the country's resources to Indian and foreign capitalists.
He further said the government is allegedly in the process of selling off PSUs, including railways and airports. Yechury alleged that the Narendra Modi-led Government completely neglected the coronavirus spread, though the first case was reported in January, "as it was busy in toppling some state governments, including in Madhya Pradesh."
Yechury claimed that the COVID-19 spread was effectively controlled in socialist countries such as Vietnam and Cuba, while many capitalist nations failed.