Modi government cannot say it didn't anticipate consequences, it has been forewarned: Chidambaram on vaccine crisis
Veteran Congress leader and former Union finance minister P Chidambaram on Saturday criticised the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre and said that it cannot say now that it didn't anticipate the consequence of the vaccine shortage because the government had been "duly forewarned".
In a series of tweets, Chidamabaram also said, "The final warning to the government is that if vaccinations are not accelerated, it will not be possible to prevent a third wave."
Stressing that the government needs to provide data on capacity of domestic producers, orders placed for vaccines, import contracts concluded and the agreed schedule of delivery such vaccines etc, the Union minister alleged on the micoblogging site that that the Centre has not disclosed such information yet.
"The claim of the Union Health Minister of getting 216 crore vaccine doses by December 31 to vaccinate the entire adult population by that date must be backed by hard data. So far, it is not," Chidambaram wrote on Twitter.
On Wednesday, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said India will have procured 267 crore Covid-19 vaccine doses by the end of the year, and will be in a position to inoculate at least all of its adult population. "Between August to December 2021, India will have procured 216 crore vaccine doses while, by July this year, 51 crore doses will be procured," the Union minister said during his interaction with the health ministers and principal secretaries of West Bengal and eight northeast states.
Chidambaram further said both International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Health Organization have cautioned India about the consequences of the slow pace of vaccination.
The IMF observed that the situation in India is a warning of the possible events in low and middle-income nations that have seemingly escaped the pandemic till now. A report co-authored by IMF economist Ruchir Agarwal and its chief economist Gita Gopinath on Friday also said that under the business-as-usual scenario, the vaccine coverage in India is expected to remain under 35% of the population by the end of 2021.
India has administered more than 193 million vaccines across the country till Friday, since the nationwide inoculation drive began drive on January 16. However, it hit a roadblock to maintain its pace in the past couple of months owing to shortages of vaccines. Beneficiaries across the country faced difficulty in finding slots on the CoWin app, the official portal created by the Centre to book vaccination slots at both government-run and private hospitals.