Modi govt all about ‘shortages, shortcomings, and short-sightedness’: Congress

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the priorities of the Prime Minister and Home Minister reflect that they have become “inefficient, incompetent and indifferent towards the COVID crisis”

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi (Twitter)
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi (Twitter)

NH Web Desk

The Congress on Friday hit out at the government over its handling of the COVID pandemic in the country where there is "shortage" of everything.

Attacking the government over its inept handling of the crisis, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said in a virtual press conference, "There is a shortage everywhere at the peak of the crisis. This government defines shortages, shortcomings, and short-sightedness."

He said that the priorities of the Prime Minister and the Home Minister reflect that they have become "inefficient, incompetent and indifferent towards the COVID crisis".

"Why did the top two office bearers of the BJP government - the Prime Minister and the Home Minister -- relocate themselves to West Bengal despite the Home Ministry being the nodal agency for managing COVID.

"Why is there a shortage of everything? What are the plans of the government to tackle the issue of the shortage of beds in the state government hospitals, private hospitals, shortage of vaccine dosage, shortage of oxygen," he asked.

“All venerable institutions have to realise that their primary job is to protect the lives of citizens of India, not the reputation of the central government! Just like net neutrality, the nation needs ‘Vaccine Neutrality’ from the Government,” he said.

He also asked why the government is allegedly under-reporting cases of infections and deaths and why has the number of tests gone down in places like Delhi, which is hardly conducting 1 lakh tests per day.

The Congress also criticised the Supreme Court's suo motu intervention in the management of COVID-19 in the country. Singhvi said high courts were efficiently upholding the citizens' right to life and holding the government accountable in a more nuanced way on a case-to-case basis and they should have been allowed to carry on their work.

However, the Supreme Court on Friday observed that it did not stop high courts from hearing cases related to COVID-19 management in the country. Taking note of the grim situation created by the massive surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths, the Supreme Court had on Thursday said it expects the Centre to come out with a national plan to deal with proper distribution of oxygen and essential drugs for the patients.

Here are some of the comments made by Abhishek Singhvi during the press conference:

● The media, everywhere in the world, is terming (India’s situation) as “World’s Worst Outbreak”!

● Patients are dying while their families search in vain for hospital beds. Supplies of oxygen and medicines are running low, leading to robberies of drugs from hospitals. Crematoriums and burial grounds cannot cope with the sheer number of corpses.

● The devastation has sparked outrage at the lack of preparation among officials who believed that the worst of the pandemic was over. Only two months ago, India was revelling in its success of reining in the spread of the virus. Now it is reporting almost 3.5 lakhs infections and 2,500 deaths a day.

● India currently stands at the first position in the world and is taking 9 days to double the cases. It also stands possibly number one and certainly number two in terms of daily Corona deaths and now occupies the second position in total number of infections, but is moving fast to outstrip all others.

● Both the number of new cases and the percentage of positive tests are climbing at the fastest rate in the world, with the latter jumping from 3 per cent last month to 16 per cent.

● Delhi is reporting 25,000-30,000 cases everyday and the number of cases is doubling every five days.

● The rate of ICU patients in Nagpur at 353 per million is higher than it was anywhere in Europe during the pandemic. Mumbai, the financial capital, has more than 194 ICU patients per million.

● Analysis by international media have pointed towards under-reporting of deaths. Local news reports for seven districts across the states of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar show that while at least 1,833 people are known to have died of COVID-19 in recent days, based mainly on cremations, only 228 have been officially reported.

● India’s vaccine preparedness was also worse than it seemed. For months, the government boasted of a major stockpile of vaccines. The government even launched a “vaccine diplomacy” campaign that sent doses to other countries.

● On 7 April, Delhi officials said that even a solo car driver would be punished for not wearing a mask properly. The same day, India’s Home Minister drove through a campaign crowd in the state of West Bengal, waving without a mask and throwing rose petals.

● There is hardly any research on the new variant and the ICMR and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has hardly ensured that the research on vaccines/ boosters for new viruses is initiated.

● Instead of managing our own crisis, the government has been exporting crucial elements. In the past few months, it has exported 6.5 crore doses of vaccines; 11 lakh Remdesivir injections; 9300 MT of Oxygen; 2 crore COVID testing kits exported every month.

● The heartrending cry of anguish from hospitals, doctors, patients and others comes from every nook and cranny of the country, especially from those literally gasping for breath from an oxygen starved system.

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