A virtual presentation was conducted by the union Health Ministry on Friday at the all-party meeting led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to address the COVID-19 situation in the country. However, the meeting was brought to a halt multiple times by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MPs Tiruchy Siva and TR Baalu, who raised objection to the entire event being conducted in Hindi. The parliamentarians pointed out to the Prime Minister and the union government that the meeting had leaders present from non-Hindi speaking states as well.
Despite protests from the MPs, the meeting continued in Hindi, and the Prime Minister gave a speech in Hindi as well. "Both TR Baalu and I raised objection to the discussion being conducted in Hindi. When there are representatives from non-Hindi speaking states the session should have been in English. In parliament we have translators who do this but here we were not given such an option. Even the presentation that was shown us did not have subtitles. I spoke up about this during the PM's speech but there was no change in the way the discussion continued. "
According to DMK sources, TR Baalu first raised the issue of the language as there were no English subtitles for the presentation being shown to the parliamentarians. Tiruchy Siva, who is representing Tamil Nadu in the Rajya Sabha, then once again pointed out the problem when the Prime Minister was speaking.
The Prime Minister allowed him to place his complaint; but after the DMK MP was done, he then continued speaking in Hindi. In addition to this, TR Baalu also brought up the subject of farmer protests at the discussion. Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi replied that the farmers' issue was not part of the agenda.
VCK leader and MP Thol Thirumavalavan who was also in the meeting tweeted, "In the all party meeting today, the Prime Minister and all other ministers only spoke in #Hindi although they know #English. TR Baalu condemned this. Single member parties like the #VCK were not allowed even one minute to speak. This is condemnable."
Floor leaders of all political parties of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were invited for the virtual discussion on the COVID-19 situation in the country. Parliamentarians were informed that the vaccine for the virus will be ready in weeks, and that its price will be decided keeping public health as the topmost priority.
During his speech at the meeting, the Prime Minister said that nearly eight vaccines are on different stages of trial, with their manufacturing assured in India. Three others, meanwhile, are in different stages of development. He explained that once the vaccination distribution begins, healthcare workers, frontline workers and old people suffering serious conditions would be vaccinated first.