PM Modi meets governors on Covid, assures vaccine availability
- PM urges governors to ensure community networks engage with states to boost health infrastructure
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday called for harnessing the combined power of community groups, political parties and NGOs as he met governors of states to discuss ways to intensify the battle against the second wave of Covid-19 which is showing an alarming trajectory, even as the government is boosting efforts to ramp up vaccinations across the country.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the Prime Minister suggested that the governors can actively engage to ensure that social institutions collaborate seamlessly with the state governments towards micro-containment. He said that their social network can help ensure an increase in the capacity of ambulances, ventilators and oxygen in hospitals.
The governors, who also act as chancellors of universities, would also be engaged to play a critical role in ensuring the greater engagement of university students in achieving people’s participation, according to an official statement on the meeting. “We also need to focus on better utilization of facilities at university and college campuses,” Modi said, adding: “Just like last year, NCC and NSS also have a key role to play this year as well.”
The Prime Minister also announced that the government was “committed” to ensuring adequate availability of vaccines, a day after the Centre said that coronavirus vaccines cleared for use in the US, the UK, the European Union, and Japan will get fast-track approval in India, potentially boosting the country’s pandemic response through possible imports of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) products. On Monday, the drug regulator allowed emergency use of Sputnik V, the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute.
Discussing the rise in the number of Covid-19 cases, the Prime Minister said that at this stage of the fight against the virus, the country stands to gain from last year’s experience and improved health care capacity. “The Prime Minister emphasised the significance of increasing tracking, tracing and testing, and said that RTPCR testing needs to be increased from 60% to 70%. He said that it is pertinent to ensure that more and more people get tested,” the official statement said.
This is the first time the Narendra Modi government is tapping the Raj Bhavans in the battle against the raging pandemic. On Wednesday, record 199,506 cases of Covid-19 were reported.
In his meeting with the chief ministers last week, Modi spoke at length about the youth’s role in curbing the pandemic. On Wednesday, too, the PM maintained that young people are the workforce of India and play an important part of our economy. “It is important to ensure that our youth follows all Covid related protocols and precautions,” he said.
Participating in the meeting, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu called upon the governors to bring up a coordinated front by leading all-party meetings in their respective states and maintained that “a ‘Team India spirit’ cutting across political lines should be adopted and as Governors are the ‘Guardians of the State’, they could guide the State Governments.”
Union home minister Amit Shah stressed the importance of saving each and every life while the governors shared details of how their respective states were tackling Covid-19, the statement said.