‘Should We Hang Ourselves?’ Union Minister on Vaccine Shortage
Gowda stressed that the the ruling government’s administrative decisions are not guided by any political motive.
While fielding questions on vaccine shortage across the country, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers DV Sadananda Gowda on Thursday, 13 May, asked whether government officials should hang themselves for their failure to produce vaccines as was directed by the government.
According to PTI, The Union minister said, “The court has with good intention said everyone in the country should get vaccinated. I want to ask you, if the court says tomorrow that you have to give this much (of vaccine). If it has not been produced yet, should we hang ourselves?”
Gowda said that the the government’s administrative decisions were not guided by any political motives or vested interests.
After declaring a premature victory over the virus, the Narendra Modi government was at the receiving end of global criticism for its mishandling of the COVID-19 health emergency.
High courts of Delhi, Allahabad and Karnataka, as well as the country’s Supreme Court also questioned the Centre’s policies on vaccine distribution, hospital and oxygen availability.
However, the minister said that the government has been doing its job ‘sincerely and honestly’, during which time some shortcomings have surfaced, PTI reported.
Gowda added, “Practically, certain things, which are beyond our control, can we manage them?” He said that the government was doing its best to ensure that things get better in a day or two and people are vaccinated.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national General Secretary C T Ravi also claimed that without ‘proper arrangement’, fatalities would have been manifolds, PTI reported.
He informed that oxygen supply has been raised from 300 metric tonnes to 1,500 metric tonnes due to systematic preparation and added that the “preparations failed because of the unimaginable spread of COVID”.
On the subject of courts pulling up the Centre on the issue of COVID-19, Ravi said, “Judges are not omniscient (sarvajna). Based on whatever is available with us, the technical advisory committee will recommend how much (vaccine) needs to be distributed. Based on that report, we shall take a decision.’
As India continues to record over 3 lakh new infections daily, an acute vaccine shortage has resulted in several states, including Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Odisha, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh, floating global tenders for procurement of COVID vaccines.
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