Jalil deems it unconstitutional
Ruling Awami League (AL) General Secretary Abdul Jalil yesterday in parliament termed the presence of advisers to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the cabinet meetings unconstitutional.
“The advisers can't sit at the cabinet meetings; lots of secrets are discussed there; ministers took oath of secrecy but they did not as per the constitution,” Jalil said participating in the general discussion on the proposed budget for the next fiscal year.
Jalil, also chief of the parliamentary standing committee on commerce ministry, demanded holding discussion on defence budget in parliament in detail to avoid hide and seek game.
Participating in the discussion Liberal Democratic Party President Oli Ahmed proposed reduction of manpower of Directorate General of Intelligence Forces (DGFI) and ensuring that their activities are restricted to their organisation.
The party, at the age of 60 and that led the liberation war, now depends on former bureaucrats for running both the party and the government, which has brought the party to a standstill, Jalil lamented.
“If bureaucrats are assigned to implement the budget they will never be able to implement our dream budget,” Jalil said without mentioning any names of advisers to the prime minister.
The AL-led government amended government rules of business empowering Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to appoint her advisers and special assistants as many as she deems necessary.
The amendments authorise the premier to determine the terms and conditions of the appointments, as she deems expedient in public interest and also allow her to let any of the advisers or special assistants attend cabinet meetings or any other government committee.
The premier has already appointed five advisers -- former bureaucrats HT Imam, Dr Mashiur Rahman, Major General (retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique, former director general of Health Directorate Prof Syed Modasser Ali, former vice chancellor of Jahangir Nagar University Dr Alauddin Ahmed and Dr Towfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury.
They attended the cabinet meeting as the prime minister provided them with the ministerial tasks.
On defence budget, Abdul Jalil, who is not being allowed to perform as general secretary of AL though he is still elected general secretary, said it was mentioned in the proposed budget that 5.3 percent of the total revenue budget was allocated for the defence forces.
'But the actual figure is much higher as the defence forces receive allocation from different ministries, which is not mentioned in the defence budget,” Jalil said.
As for example he mentioned the money allocated to the army from the education ministry to run cadet colleges and from the health ministry to run military hospitals.
He also criticised the assignment of the army to collect toll at the Bangabandhu Bridge. “On what condition the army was given the job? Is it a trade body? They are also given banks, hotels,” Jalil posed a question.
Jaili also demanded trial of the past caretaker government for their unconstitutional activities.
Participating in the discussion Liberal Democratic Party President Oli Ahmed also demanded investigation into the alleged harassment of politicians and businessmen during the past caretaker government.
Supporting the proposal for whitening of black money Oli said if the scope is not given the black money will be siphoned off.
Participating in the budget discussion, Jatiya Party lawmaker ABM Ruhul Amin Hawlader proposed scrapping the caretaker government system and empowering the Election Commission (EC) to hold the parliamentary election.
Chief of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources Ministry Abdur Razzaque yesterday said BNP could send names of its two lawmakers to include them in the parliamentary team that will visit Tipaimukh dam site.
“Send two names instead of one if you want. Let's work together for national interests,” the parliamentary body chief said participating in the general discussion on proposed budget for the next fiscal year.
The parliamentary body formed a team with its members to visit Timaimukh dam area.
BNP lawmakers were not included in the parliamentary team as they are not members of the parliamentary standing committee on water resources ministry.
Later, Razzaque urged the opposition to send one lawmaker's name to the committee to incorporate them into it.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday, however, urged the main opposition BNP to send its own delegation to the Tipaimukh dam site and submit report after their return.