Rahul Gandhi targets PM Modi over report on WHO's Covid death estimate
- The Union health ministry issued a statement in response to the New York Times report, saying the country has on several occasions shared its concerns with the WHO over the methodology used.
Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over a report by The New York Times that claimed that the Indian government was stalling the efforts by the World Health Organization (WHO) to publish its estimate on excess Covid deaths. According to the report, the WHO estimate will show that India's death toll related to coronavirus disease cases is almost eight times the official numbers.
Taking to Twitter, Gandhi said that the prime minister neither speaks the truth nor allows others to speak it. He added that his earlier claim of 40 lakh deaths in India due to the virus stands vindicated, and urged the government to provide ₹4 lakh as compensation to families of those who died of Covid-19.
“Modi ji does not speak the truth, he does not let (others) speak it," the Lok Sabha member from Wayanad wrote in Hindi on Twitter along with a screenshot of the NYT article titled 'India Is Stalling WHO's Efforts to Make Global Covid Death Toll Public'.
"They still lie that no one died of oxygen shortage! I had said earlier also - 40 lakh Indians died, not 5 lakh, due to the government's negligence in Covid. Please, Modi ji - give a compensation of ₹4 lakh to every victim's family,” he added.
The ministry of health and family welfare said in a statement that the government has objected to the WHO's methodology for estimating the deaths caused by Covid-19. The ministry stated that the same mathematical model cannot be used to calculate the Covid mortalities for a large country like India and for other countries with a small population.
“India’s basic objection has not been with the result (whatever they might have been) but rather the methodology adopted for the same.”
“The concern specifically includes on how the statistical model projects estimates for a country of geographical size & population of India and also fits in with other countries which have smaller population,” it added.
The government also expressed surprise over a sentence in the report which said that the NYT could obtain the WHO's figures of excess Covid-19 mortality for India but was “unable to learn the estimates for other countries”.