Priyanka Gandhi, Congress General Secretary
Janjwar Desk. On the 15th of August 2020, amidst much fanfare, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared before the nation that his government was ready with a complete plan to vaccinate every single Indian citizen. It was easy for us all to believe this declaration of preparedness because after all, India's vaccine production capacity and programs had a robust foundation.
As far back as 1948 Jawaharlal Nehru inaugurated India's first vaccine manufacturing unit in Chennai and in 1952 he set up the National Institute of Virology in Pune. Over the next few decades, India successfully vaccinated its population against diseases like smallpox and polio. By the 1980s we had begun to export vaccines to other countries and were well on our way to becoming one of the largest manufacturers of vaccines in the world.
As the Covid Pandemic ravaged the world, however, an uncomfortable truth began to emerge. India's status of excellence as a vaccine manufacturer became yet another propaganda tool for our Prime Minister.
By the time the second wave had hit us, India was reduced to a shameful dependence on vaccine imports from other countries to vaccinate its own people.
𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝗱𝗶𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗵𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗻?
While countries across the world began placing vaccine orders in advance as early as July 2020, India's first ever order for the Covid-19 vaccine was placed in January 2021. As if that was not negligent enough, the number of vaccines the Modi government ordered for a population of 130 crores was a paltry 1.6 crores.
Between January and March 2021, 6.5 crore vaccines were exported by India to other countries. Many countries were even sent the vaccines as free gifts from India. All this was a grand PR exercise for our Prime Minister who had already declared victory over Corona at international forums at the same time. Meanwhile only 3.5 crore Indians were vaccinated against Covid-19 during the same three-month period.
On the 1st of May the government opened up vaccinations for the 18-44 year age group. This group consists of approximately 60 crore people, but the government had only ordered 28 crore vaccines that would at best ensure the full vaccination of 14 crore people.
As of today, 11% of all Indian citizens have received the first dose of vaccinations and only 3% have received both doses.
The celebratory "Teeka Utsav" was announced right in the middle of the nightmare being faced by people who were running from pillar to post trying to save the lives of their loved ones. Within a month of its announcement the number of vaccinations fell by 83%.
The Prime Minister's photograph is plastered across each of our vaccine certificates, but he has abdicated responsibility for ensuring the vaccination of all Indians. Instead, the central government has conveniently passed the buck to the states. The states in turn, strapped of finances and with no assistance from the Central Government have been left to make arrangements of their own.
As you can see, in a glaring testament to his inability to govern, the Prime Minister actually took the steps that ensured India's inability to vaccinate its own sons and daughters against Covid-19.
Now that we are here, and despite all sorts of grandiose proclamations most people are scrambling to register themselves for vaccines and waiting in line, there are some questions to which we are owed an answer:
𝗪𝗵𝘆 𝗱𝗶𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗣𝗿𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝗠𝗶𝗻𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗰𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗺 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗴𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗵𝗮𝗱 𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗮 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗲𝘁𝗲 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗻 𝘁𝗼 𝘃𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗜𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗮𝗻𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝗔𝘂𝗴𝘂𝘀𝘁 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟬 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗶𝘁 𝗱𝗶𝗱 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗲 𝗮 𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴𝗹𝗲 𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘃𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗲𝘀 𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗹 𝗝𝗮𝗻𝘂𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟭?
𝗪𝗵𝘆 𝗱𝗶𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗼𝗱𝗶 𝗚𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗲𝗻𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗴𝗶𝗳𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝘃𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗰𝗿𝗼𝘀𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝘀𝘁 𝗲𝗻𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘁 𝗵𝗮𝗱 𝗲𝗻𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵 𝘃𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝘃𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝗽𝗲𝗼𝗽𝗹𝗲?
𝗪𝗵𝘆 𝗵𝗮𝘀 𝗜𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗮, 𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗶𝗴𝗴𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘃𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗲𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱 𝗯𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝗿𝗲𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗱𝗲𝗽𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘃𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝘃𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝗽𝗲𝗼𝗽𝗹𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝗱𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗴𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝘁𝗿𝘆 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗳𝗮𝗶𝗹𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗶𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁?