Centre defends its Covid management

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 20, 2021

‘PM has instructed States not to try to show reduced number of positive cases’

The Rajya Sabha witnessed on Tuesday an intense debate on the Covid situation in India that touched upon the availability of vaccines and oxygen cylinders to fudging the data on deaths.

The Opposition came down heavily on the Centre for not making available adequate funds for the States and to the people to take on the pandemic crisis. The Centre said it does want to mix politics in a crisis and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has instructed the State governments not to try to show a reduced number of deaths.

Replying to the short duration discussion, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said the Centre’s duty is to just compile and publish the data on deaths sent to them by the State governments.

“Prime Minister had told the States that no one should show less numbers of deaths or a decreased number of positive cases,” said Mandaviya.

Export of vaccines

He said the decision to export some medicines and vaccines was taken after requests from other countries. He said India exported medicines and vaccines to more than 60 countries who were in need of it. To a question on whether the Centre is capable of completing the vaccination by December, Mandaviya said the process will be completed as early as possible.

Mandaviya also claimed that Indian vaccine companies are increasing their production of Covid vaccines, and the country should feel proud about it. He said India may become the first in the world to develop a DNA-based vaccine. “

Cadila has completed third phase trial of its DNA vaccine, and has applied for emergency use authorisation before Drugs Controller General of India. Our expert team is looking into it. When this will come in the market, India will be the only country where scientists have developed a DNA vaccine,” said Mandaviya in Rajya Sabha.

‘Lacks transparency’

Earlier, initiating the debate, Opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the Covid management of the country lacked transparency. He added that the Centre failed to tackle the crisis and the effort was to create photo-opportunities for the Prime Minister. “The Centre is releasing fake figures of the death toll and it is far away from the truth. There are about 6,38,565 lakh villages in the country. Even if there were five Covid deaths in a village, the total death toll would have been 31,91,825.

“There are 7,935 urban cities, even if you take 10 deaths in each city, the toll would have been more than 7,93,500. Similarly, there would have been an estimated 3,60,000 deaths in 19 metros. On an average, it comes to 52.43 lakh deaths. It cannot be less than this. Still, the Centre says it is only 4-5 lakh. They keep saying this,” Kharge alleged.

Kharge added that Modi made former Health Minister Harsh Vardhan a scapegoat for the Centre’s mismanagement. “On every issue, the PM does not take responsibility. He makes others a scapegoat,” he alleged.

‘No deaths due to oxygen shortage’

Earlier, answering a question from Congress general secretary KC Venugopal, Minister of State in the Health Ministry, Bharati Pravin Pawar, said no deaths have been reported due to lack of oxygen by States or Union Territories. “However, Government of India has supported the States and undertook a series of actions including provisioning medical oxygen and other consumables to ensure clinical care of Covid patients in view of steep rise of Covid 19 trajectory in the country during April-May 2021,” said Pawar.

Responding to this, Venugopal said he will file a privilege notice against Pawar for misleading the House and for tabling wrong figures. “I was taken by surprise by such an answer. This is how the Narendra Modi Government is functioning. The entire country witnessed oxygen shortage and deaths due to it,” said Venugopal.

Published on July 20, 2021

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