Congress’ 14-point attack on govt over ‘grave errors’ in Covid-19 management

  • The Congress also accused the Centre of not releasing sufficient funds to the state governments to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, party leader Rahul Gandhi and Punjab CM Capt. Amarinder Singh during a virtual meeting on Covid-19 situation. (@capt_amarinder/Twitter Photo)
Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, party leader Rahul Gandhi and Punjab CM Capt. Amarinder Singh during a virtual meeting on Covid-19 situation. (@capt_amarinder/Twitter Photo)
Published on Apr 17, 2021 04:55 PM IST
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By | Written by Kanishka Sarkar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The Congress party on Saturday reiterated that the central government handled the coronavirus pandemic inadequately and that its initial response measures were “ludicrous”. Between January 30 last year, when the first Covid-19 case was detected and January 16 this year, when the first vaccine was rolled, “there is a saga of tragedy, incompetence and colossal mismanagement,” the Congress said in a statement after a meeting of its working committee.

The opposition party also accused the Centre of not releasing sufficient funds to the state governments to fight the pandemic. According to the Congress Working Committee (CWC) statement, despite warnings by experts, the government “failed miserably and paved the way for the havoc that is being caused by the second wave of the pandemic.”

The CWC prepared a 14-point list of charges against the government over its “colossal mismanagement” of the war against the pandemic. Here’s is the list

  1. Failed to create sufficient public awareness that a waning pandemic could be a precursor to a second wave that may be more devastating than the first wave.
  2. Failed to rapidly scale up the production and supply of the two approved vaccines in India by providing sufficient funds and other concessions, if sought.
  3. Failed to resort to compulsory licensing and production of the two approved vaccines in other pharma manufacturing facilities in India.
  4. Failed to universalise vaccination after health workers and front line workers had been vaccinated in Phase I.
  5. Failed to get rid of pre-registration and bureaucratic control over the vaccination programme.
  6. Failed to leave the vaccine roll-out to the state governments and public and private hospitals.
  7. Failed to prevent, or at least minimize, the wastage of vaccine doses that stands at more than 23 lakh doses today.
  8. Failed to maintain the scale and momentum of testing, tracking and tracing of infected persons and their contacts.
  9. Failed to grant emergency-use approval to other vaccines that had got approval in the U.S., U.K., European Union and Japan under a misguided notion of atmanirbhar.
  10. Failed to allow the import of other approved vaccines manufactured in other countries to augment the supply of vaccines.
  11. Failed to adopt a need-based, fair and equitable allocation of the vaccine doses to the various states. Official data shows that several states governed by Opposi-tion political parties got less than their fair share despite their need.
  12. Failed to curb the exports of large quantities of vaccine doses to other countries. While some quantities should have been donated to small and developing countries, the zeal to export to rich countries was unwarranted.
  13. Failed to provide adequate funds to the state governments that were fighting a two front war — one against the pandemic and the other against the economic recession — despite accumulating hundreds of crores of rupees in the opaque PM-CARES Fund.
  14. Failed to eschew the rhetoric—(the Prime Ministers who claimed that we will win the war against COVID in 21 days compared to the Mahabharata war that was won in 18 days) and self-congratulatory utterances (Ministers who proclaimed that the whole world has praised the manner in which the Prime Minister has tackled the pandemic).

(The 14 points cited above are from the Congress Working Committee report)

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Wednesday, January 26, 2022