Congress chief Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has criticised the central authorities’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, accusing it of refusal to “acknowledge the magnitude of the problem”. In an unique interview with CNN-News18, she has additionally expressed considerations over the agricultural unfold of the illness in Uttar Pradesh, saying it might have “massive consequences”, particularly within the backdrop of what she stated was an insufficient testing infrastructure. She additionally advised a five-point plan, together with a vaccination coverage, to handle the outbreak. Edited excerpts:
As per UP figures, the COVID-19 instances are in management and ‘not too high’. You suppose it is a appropriate evaluation or is the state authorities enjoying it down?
Yesterday morning, there was a information report of 100 individuals dying in a single village. Just a few days in the past, there was one other information merchandise about roughly 40 individuals dying in one other village. Our reviews from employees in each block are that persons are dying in appreciable numbers every single day after exhibiting COVID-like signs. I say COVID-like as a result of many should not in a position to get examined or handled in rural areas. We have now all seen the horrific movies of the shallow graves alongside the banks of the Ganga and the lifeless our bodies floating in its waters. If the Chief Minister feels that the variety of lifeless is “not too high” then I’d strongly advise him to encourage the right determine to emerge within the public area. If the extent of the unfold of the pandemic is wrongly assessed and the harm performed by it’s underestimated, then the struggle in opposition to it is not going to succeed. Within the curiosity of the individuals of Uttar Pradesh, it’s crucial for the federal government to acknowledge the reality. Solely then will it be capable of do what it takes to avoid wasting lives.
There are horrific footage of lifeless our bodies floating that present how grave the scenario is. Yogi govt says nobody ought to dump our bodies within the river. Too little too late and meaningless?
That is typical of the best way BJP governments have been reacting to the Pandemic each within the states and on the Centre. It’s a five-step course of:
• Refusal to acknowledge the magnitude of the issue.
• Failure to plan in depth and put in protecting measures with a propensity to depend on shallow, occasion primarily based measures designed to reinforce their very own PR.
• Retreating in to their silos and abdicating duty because the pandemic hits its peak and devastates the lives of individuals.
• Aggressively oppressing and attacking the general public once they act in desperation to avoid wasting their family members and the reality of the catastrophe begins to emerge.
• Re-appearing in public to take credit score as soon as the issue appears to hit a pure plateau and making an attempt guilty others for the catastrophe earlier than it.
It’s a very inexplicable response to a disaster.
As a substitute of serving to individuals with sources to carry out the final rites of their kin, the federal government threatens them with dire penalties.
As a substitute of doing all it will probably to offer individuals and hospitals with Oxygen, it places FIR’s on those that ask for assist and threatens to confiscate their property.
As a substitute of ramping up testing exponentially, figuring out sizzling spots and taking motion, the federal government first bans non-public testing, then reverses the ban however ensures that solely 20-35% are RTPCR assessments in order that the positivity charge stays supressed.
There isn’t a semblance of governance in Uttar Pradesh. The concept Yogiji is a professional administrator is hole. He’s a failure at governance and the individuals of U.P are paying with their lives for his incompetence.
Isn’t it a worrying incontrovertible fact that COVID-19 has now unfold to rural elements?
This can be very worrying as a result of it can have large penalties. The supply of medical assist, even primary medicines for residence isolation, not to mention oxygen, hospital beds and so forth is severely compromised. From the reviews I’ve been getting, persons are scared, there’s a stigma in opposition to COVID so many don’t settle for or declare that they may have it. As well as testing shouldn’t be simply accessible. Persons are dying in massive numbers and lots of should not even clear that the deaths are COVID associated. In U.P, there’s a concerted try by the authorities to declare these dying of comorbidities or associated points as non-COVID deaths.
Practically 400 districts throughout India nonetheless have a double digit positivity charge, it is a signal that we’re not testing sufficient. The present testing capability is round 20 lakhs, nearly 80% of that is in city areas. Which means that we don’t actually have an correct evaluation of the standing in rural areas. The scenario is scary and tragic.
What in your thoughts is the answer?
Nicely, one answer would have been to plan and put in place measures for the emergence of the second wave. There was sufficient warning, the federal government had all of the sources at its disposal. India is among the largest producers of oxygen on this planet, why are we having to beg different nations for assist immediately? Why did the federal government do nothing between the primary and the second wave? It might have put in place a logistics community and elevated the variety of oxygen tankers within the nation in order that if a disaster hit, oxygen might have been transported to hospitals with ease. As a substitute we elevated the export of oxygen seven occasions in 2020. We’re one of many largest vaccine producers on this planet. Whereas the US positioned orders with Indian vaccine producers in July 2020, our authorities waited until January 2021 to position its first order. Most nations ordered vaccines in portions many a number of occasions that of their inhabitants. We ordered 1.60 crore vaccines for a inhabitants of virtually 140 crores. Not solely that, between January and March 2021, we exported 6.63 crore vaccines and vaccinated solely 3 crore Indians. We exported 11 lakh doses of Remdesivir within the final six months.
However now that we’re on this tragic scenario the place our authorities has utterly failed to guard us and abdicated duty. I have no idea if this authorities is keen to hear but when they’re then:
• Firstly, they must make a transparent vaccination coverage. They should centralise procurement and decentralise distribution. Presently they’re functioning in reverse. Their central authorities’s vaccination coverage is predicated on political exigencies slightly than being pushed by the necessity to save the utmost variety of lives. Nowhere on this planet are states and cities in the identical nation compelled to problem tenders and compete in opposition to one another to amass vaccines.
• Secondly, they need to use all the ability and sources at their disposal to right away arrange testing and therapy amenities in each block and village. Contain all assist at hand – paramilitary, navy, civil society, state businesses, and so forth. At this stage, managing and containing the agricultural unfold is most pressing.
• Thirdly, the black fungus and white fungus epidemics are rising responses to COVID and its therapy. As time progresses there could also be extra medical circumstances rising as off shoots of the virus. It’s crucial for the federal government to take heed to consultants and have interaction meaningfully with them in an effort to put together for the inevitable third wave. It must problem a lot clearer directives. Individuals appear divided into two teams at current – those that have entry to an excessive amount of conflicting data and those that don’t have any data in any respect. Each create the circumstances for all times threatening conditions to come up.
• Fourthly, divert funds from vainness tasks just like the Central Vista Venture in direction of the struggle in opposition to COVID. It’s not simply the cash, constructing a residential palace for the Prime Minister at a time like this sends a really unsuitable sign to the general public about his priorities. It’s insensitive and hurtful to those that have run from pillar to put up searching for assist and misplaced family members because of the lack of amenities. There may be a lot that may be performed with those self same funds. For instance, simply yesterday I used to be speaking to a few of the trainer’s from UP who’ve misplaced greater than 1,600 colleagues on election responsibility, a few of these funds might have gone in direction of compensation that may maintain affected households and even in direction of a complete monetary package deal to assist medical doctors and healthcare employees who’re risking their lives to maintain the remainder of us alive.
• The fifth factor that I really feel actually must be performed is for the federal government to cease obsessing with PR and picture constructing. Greater than the rest, it’s this obsession that’s derailing each effort to struggle COVID. Concealing knowledge impedes the measures wanted to determine, isolate and deal with sufferers. Harassing and penalising those that ask for assist and even those that try to offer assist instils worry within the public thoughts and obstructs the stream of appropriate data that’s important to avoid wasting lives. All this indulgence in cooking up software kits and making an attempt to indicate each constructive suggestion as an anti-national affront is a waste of the federal government’s time and sources. It’s a disgrace at a time like this.
Basically, they should realise that it’s incumbent on them to avoid wasting lives. Whether or not they prefer it or not the duty to manipulate the nation throughout this unprecedented calamity falls upon the Prime Minister of our nation.
The federal government says it’s in management and the states must take duty.
In the course of the first wave they utterly centralised their response to the disaster, now they conveniently wish to cross the buck. The identical Residence Minister who was micromanaging lockdowns to the extent that orders have been being handed outlining steps to be taken by Resident Welfare Associations, has vanished after the West Bengal elections. The place is he immediately?
Do you see the hypocrisy? They’re performing on a brief time period PM’s Picture Administration Plan slightly than on a long run COVID Administration Plan. Sadly for them, management is about taking duty not passing it on to others. They’ve been arbitrary of their therapy of states all through this disaster. Their help has trusted the occasion to which the Chief Minister belongs. When individuals in Delhi and Punjab have been gasping for air, extra oxygen tankers from Haryana’s amenities have been being despatched to distant BJP dominated states than to Delhi and Punjab.
The Centre has not even paid many states their GST dues in months or certainly shared the Rs 1.8 lakh crores of cess they collected from gas value hikes within the final yr. Many states stay financially strapped.
If the centre genuinely needs states to handle this large disaster it ought to give them the sources to take action and never destabilise them. In spite of everything, as the primary wave started, they toppled the Congress authorities in Madhya Pradesh, in the beginning of the second wave, they dropped the Congress authorities in Puducherry. Between the primary and second waves they tried to subvert legitimately elected governments in Maharashtra, West Bengal and Rajasthan.
In hindsight, it’s so tragic that they spent their time on such undemocratic misadventures as an alternative of bringing all of the states collectively in a very democratic spirit to plan and put together for the second wave. It’s the individuals of India who find yourself paying for these misplaced priorities with their lives.
BJP leaders discuss quite a bit about collective motion and constructive politics throughout a disaster however their phrases belie their actions. At any charge, it’s the Prime Minister who’s immediately accountable for defending the individuals of India and steering the nation by way of this disaster. It’s so everywhere in the world. Nobody held the governors of U.S states accountable for mismanaging the COVID pandemic in America- Donald Trump clearly carried that may.
Indian Youth Congress and its president Srinivas BV have been questioned over hoarding allegations. Is that this severe?
The allegations of hoarding and profiteering are actually non-serious, in actual fact they’re ridiculous. For those who can’t assist individuals when they’re determined and dying and another person steps in to do what is supposed to be your job, you have to be grateful for his existence slightly than take pleasure in harassing him and his organisation for no evident purpose.
I don’t suppose anybody can dispute that the Indian Youth Congress’s conduct has been exemplary by way of the course of the pandemic. Its cadres have strived tirelessly to offer reduction utterly freed from price to affected individuals throughout India proper from the primary wave till now. Their work speaks for itself.
In any case the federal government appears to waste an excessive amount of time and too many sources in these type of actions slightly than focussing on saving lives. It’s really a tragic state of affairs.