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Congress demands all-party meet, blames Modi for Covid 'failure'

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 07, 2021

Demands convening of Parliamentary Standing Committee meetings to take a stock of the situation

Stepping up the the pressure on the Centre, the Congress demanded the Prime Minister Narendra Modi convene an urgent all-party meeting to discuss the challenges due to the pandemic.

“The Centre has abdicated its fundamental responsibilities and duties towards the people instead of alleviating their suffering and pain at the time of a pandemic,” Congress president Sonia Gandhi charged here on Friday at a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party. She also demanded that the meetings of Parliamentary Standing Committees must be convened urgently to take stock of the situation.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, in a letter to Modi, said the Centre should scientifically track the virus and its mutations across the country using genome sequencing as well as its disease patterns. He urged the Centre to dynamically assess the efficacy of all vaccines against all new mutations as they are identified.

‘No empathy’

Sonia Gandhi said India is in the grip of a deadly health disaster and millions are scrambling to access basic healthcare, life-saving medicines, oxygen, and vaccines.

“It is heartbreaking to see people battling for their lives in hospitals, on roads, waiting in vehicles, far too many for want of any medical help at all,” she said and urged her party’s workers to dedicate their services to people.

. “Let us be absolutely clear — the system hasn’t failed. The Modi government has been unable to constructively channelise India’s many strengths and resources. I say this categorically - India is crippled by a political leadership today that has no empathy for the people. The Modi Government has failed the people of our country,” she said in her address to the MPs.

The Modi government ignored expert advice and refused to strengthen the supply-chain for oxygen, medicine, and equipment. “It failed to place sufficient orders for vaccines in time to meet the needs of our people. Instead, it consciously chose to allocate thousands of crores for non-essential projects that have nothing to do with the people’s well-being,” she said.

Also read: Human lives matter, consider lockdown: Rahul to Modi

She added that the BJP-run governments, instead of helping desperate patients, have been using the State’s repressive power to arrest people merely for crying out for help.

“They are cracking down on citizen groups who are trying their best to help. They are also compelling social media platforms and the media to obfuscate the truth and ignore the pleas of desperate citizens,” she added.

‘Lack of strategy’

Rahul Gandhi reiterated that the entire population must be rapidly vaccinated.

“Be transparent and keep the rest of the world informed about our findings. The government’s lack of a clear and coherent Covid and vaccination strategy, as well as its hubris in declaring premature victory as the virus was exponentially spreading, has placed India in a highly dangerous position: today the disease is growing explosively. It is currently on the verge of overwhelming all of our systems. GOI’s failures have made another devastating national lockdown almost inevitable,” he said.

Through the letter, he requested Modi to prevent a repeat of the manifold suffering caused by last year’s lockdown, and asked the Centre to act with compassion and provide critical financial and food support to our most vulnerable people. “In addition, it must be ready with a transportation strategy for those who will require it,” he added.

 

‘Enable scaling up’

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said the Centre must issue notifications under the Patents Act to freely license all patents necessary for vaccine and drug production, including for equipment and all raw materials to treat Covid-19.

“Issues of the amount of royalties can be decided in due course as laid out in the Patents Act. The Union Government must provide full support to those companies and institutions which have facilities to scale up vaccine production. Indian industry has the capability if Intellectual Property barriers are removed,” he said.

 

Published on May 07, 2021

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