Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu urges everyone to put aside political differences.
Asserting that the government is committed to ensuring adequate availability of COVID-19 vaccines, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 13 called for harnessing the combined power of community groups, political parties and NGOs in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Interacting with Governors and Lieutenant Governors of all States and Union Territories through video conference, Mr. Modi urged them to actively engage in ensuring that social institutions collaborate seamlessly with state governments.
Mr. Modi said the feeling of “janbhagidari” (people’s participation) that was seen in curbing the virus in 2020 needed to encouraged now as well and added the role of Governors becomes all the more critical to achieving this.
Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, Home Minister Amit Shah and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also participated in the virtual interaction on the issue of the COVID-19 situation and ongoing vaccination drive in the country and it took place amid an astronomical rise in the COVID infections across the country in the last few weeks that has seen India gallop past its last year peak with a number of states reporting new highs daily.
In his comments, Mr. Modi asserted that the government is committed to ensuring adequate availability of vaccines and highlighted that India has become the fastest nation to reach the landmark of 10 crore vaccinations.
Noting the positive impact of tika utsav (vaccination festival) in the last four days, he said that in this period, the vaccination drive was expanded and new vaccination centres also came up.
“Modi suggested that governors can actively engage to ensure that social institutions collaborate seamlessly with the state governments towards micro containment. He said their social network can help ensure an increase in the capacity of ambulances, ventilators and oxygen in hospitals. Along with spreading the message about vaccination and treatment, governors can also spread awareness about AYUSH-related remedies,” an official statement said.
The Prime Minister noted that youths being our workforce are an important part of the economy, and said it is important to ensure that they follow all protocols and precautions. Governors’ role is also critical in ensuring the greater engagement of our students in university campuses towards this “janbhagidari”. There is a need to focus on better utilization of facilities at university and college campuses, he said, adding that like the last year NCC and NSS have a key role to play this year as well.
“Governors are an important pillar of janbhagidari in this battle and their coordination with state governments and guidance to the institutions of state will further strengthen the nation’s resolve,” he said.
Discussing the rise in the cases, Mr. Modi said the country stands to gain from the last year’s experience and improved healthcare capacity. The country has become “aatmanirbhar” in kits and other material related to testing, he asserted, adding that this has led to a reduction in the cost of RTPCR tests also. Most of the products related to testing are also available on the GeM portal.
“The Prime Minister emphasised the significance of increasing tracking, tracing and testing, and said that RTPCR testing needs to be increased from 60 per cent to 70 per cent. He said that it is pertinent to ensure that more and more people get tested,” the statement said.
Put aside differences: Naidu
In his comments, Mr. Naidu urged everyone to put aside political differences and work as a team to defeat the coronavirus pandemic.
One of the most useful lessons we have learnt during the last year is that we have succeeded in our fight against COVID-19 mainly because of collaborative work, Mr. Naidu said.
He noted that the central government has decided the COVID-19 strategy in close collaboration with the state governments and “called upon everyone to keep political differences aside and act unitedly as a team”, a statement issued by the Vice-President’s Secretariat said.
Expressing concern over the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country, Naidu cautioned that the healthcare infrastructure will inevitably come under tremendous pressure. “He called for special focus on 10 states that account for 85 per cent of national cases and 89 per cent deaths reported in the last 14 days,” the statement said.
Recognising that the challenge is formidable, the vice president said the country is better prepared today as compared to last year because the nation has ramped up infrastructure over the course of the past one year.
Noting that every governor, as the constitutional head of state, has an important role in the fight against the pandemic, Mr. Naidu wanted them to collaborate actively with their respective chief ministers and act as consensus builders.
“You can not only share your experience and expertise but also provide guidance to the state governments on crafting a more effective strategy,” he told the Governors.