IAMC Weekly News Digest, 7th May 2021
On Jan. 28, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared victory against COVID-19. Addressing a virtual summit of the World Economic Forum, he sought applause for saving “humanity from a big disaster by containing the coronavirus effectively.” Three months on, India is the epicenter of the pandemic…. India might have been spared this humanitarian crisis had Modi not neglected his duties and vilified those who offered him constructive counsel. He had the time, means, and access to expertise to proof the country against this inferno. As early as last November, a parliamentary committee had issued warnings of a second wave and urged the government to stockpile oxygen. But rather than bolstering India’s capacities, Modi used the virus to burnish his cult and pillage the country….
As India’s Covid-19 crisis tipped past breaking point last month, dozens of countries pledged critical aid. Planeloads of ventilators, oxygen supplies and antiviral drugs began arriving last week, with photos showing massive parcels being unloaded at New Delhi airport. There’s just one problem: for many days, much of the cargo sat in airport hangars as hospitals on the ground pleaded for more provisions. Medical workers and local officials are still reporting the same devastating shortages that have strained the health care system for weeks now – raising questions, even among foreign donors, of where the aid is going…. many state and local authorities claim there has been little to no communication from the central government on how or when they would receive relief….
The PM CARES Fund had allocated Rs 2000 crore for the “supply of 50,000 ‘made in India’ ventilators to government hospitals run by Centre/State/UTs.” This information was made public in May 2020. But The Quint has learnt that of these 50,000 ventilators, the delivery of almost 9,000 Low Flow Oxygen (LFO) ventilators has been held up due to non-payment of dues to the designated manufacturer….Tragically, this has happened even as the number of active COVID cases are at an all time high…. The PM CARES Fund is run directly by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)…. The PMO claims that the PM CARES Fund is not a ‘public authority’…. There is no doubt that this has cost lives of many Indian citizens. The time and funds were there, but the job was just not done in time….