As the country is seeing a sharp and continuous rise in COVID-19 cases, former PM Manmohan Singh’s letter to PM Modi had 5 suggestions to fight the rising COVID-19 infections. On Sunday, former PM Manmohan Singh wrote a letter to the Centre and stated how India is currently “facing an unprecedented emergency”. In the letter the economist pundit emphasised on how the current government should focus on setting up a right testing policy
Manmohan Singh’s letter to Modi- 5 suggestions made by Singh:
Suggestion 1- Make vaccine orders public
1) Singh’s first suggestion to Modi was that the govt should make the firm orders for vaccine doses that are ordered and accepted public for the next 6 months. Singh added that if the nation wants to vaccinate a target number of people, there should be enough orders placed in advance.
Suggestion 2: States should know about vaccine distribution plan prior to roll out
2) The government should have transparency and should let the states know how they will be distributing the expected supply of vaccines. Moreover, Singh suggested that the Centre can keep 10% of the vaccines as emergency. “Other than that, states should have a clear signal of likely availability so that they can plan their roll out,” Mr. Singh wrote.
Suggestion 3: Categorise front-line workers below the age of 45 for wider coverage
3) In a bid to cover as many people as possible, Mr. Singh suggested that the frontline workers under the age of 45 can be categorized so that they can also be vaccinated. Mr. Singh gave examples of teachers, bus drivers, taxi drivers, municipal and panchayat staff, lawyers who have to attend Courts as front-line workers that can be vaccinated even if they are under the age of 45.
Suggestion 4: Vaccine manufacturers must be supported by funds and concessions
4) Mr. Singh lauded the nation’s vaccine manufacturing intent and capacity by writing, “Over the past few decades, India has emerged as the largest vaccine producer in the world. thanks to policies adopted by the government and robust intellectual property protection.” “At this moment of a public health emergency, the Government of India must proactively support vaccine producers to expand their manufacturing facilities quickly by providing funds and other concessions,” Mr. Singh Suggested.
Suggestion 5: India should import from foreign vaccine manufacturers cleared by credible authorities
5) Mr. Singh also suggested that the country should import vaccines from any manufacturers that are cleared by certain credible authorities like USFDA or EMA. Noting how the country is facing an unprecedented emergency, he wrote, “All consumers of such vaccines could be duly cautioned that these vaccines are being allowed for use based on the approval granted by the relevant authority abroad.”
Delhi CM Kejriwal Appeals to Modi
It should be noted that it’s not only Mr. Manmohan Singh that has come forward to writing PM Modi. Recently many leaders of opposition have independently written to the Prime Minister, appealing him to shift his focus from the West Bengal elections to the nation-wide pandemic, lack of oxygen and lack of vaccinations.
On Sunday, Delhi CM and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal also wrote a letter to PM. In his letter Kejriwal sought Centre’s help in procuring more beds and oxygen supply for citizens of his state.
“The COVID situation has become very serious in Delhi. There is a huge shortage of beds and oxygen. I request that at least 7,000 out of 10,000 beds in Central government hospitals in Delhi be reserved for COVID patients and oxygen be immediately provided in Delhi. We are making all efforts at our level. Your help is needed,” he wrote.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee writes letter to Modi, asks Centre to ramp up supply of Remdesivir
Meanwhile, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, who’s been locking horns with PM Modi during the West Bengal Assembly Elections also wrote a letter to Modi. In her letter she asked Centre’s permission to purchase vaccination from state funds and launch a vaccination campaign that will cover entire West Bengal.
“You may recall that I had written to you on February 24, 2021 to allow the state to purchase vaccination doses directly with state funds and launch a massive free vaccination campaign in the state covering the entire population,” she wrote.
She also wrote, “While West Bengal is one of the best performers in vaccination, it is now suffering because of uncertainties of supply from Government of India end. We have to vaccinate around 2.7 crore and we need 5.4 crore doses. We request for your urgent intervention to ensure that the state gets its requirement of vaccine doses fulfilled at the earliest.”