How Modi-baiters use viral media to malign India
28 April 2021
As India let guard down on Corona care, letting in the worst form of the pandemic, an even worst form of anti-India tirade has taken shape. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s enemies, who lost the ‘farmers’ agenda, found a new stick to beat the administration, blaring out half-truths about shortfalls in the country’s Covid care apparatus.
Modi baiters who follow the path of Jhadists and the so-called liberal media of the West, take turns to tarnish the image of India as the Pharmacy of the World and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stature as the head of an upright and benevolent administration.
And, as heavy local demand squeezes global supplies of Indian vaccine, multinational pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna etc are trying to push through exports of their costly, yet unproven vaccines, on the strength of their market standing.
Meanwhile, the United States is looking to release 60 million AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine doses to other countries, according to a White House release.
US also agreed to ease curbs on vaccine raw material exports to India. The assurance comes after conversation between National Security Advisers Jake Sullivan and Ajit Doval.
The prejudiced `liberal’ media continue to raise hell against Prime Minister Modi’s handling of the Corona virus pandemic, with reports in Qatari media Al Jazeera pointing to pledges of help for India pouring in from across the world, purportedy stating that the Indian government is standing as a mute spectator as the pandemic rages and that the only hope for Indians come from promises of help countries like the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States offer.
“Indian state ‘cracks down’ on hospitals flagging oxygen shortage,” adds another Al Jazeera headline.
“World reacts to India’s catastrophic Covid surge,” blares one headline; “Covid ‘swallowing’ people in India as crematoriums overwhelmed,” claims another.
“India: tearful relatives beg for oxygen and hospital beds for Covid patients,” claims another headline.
“Another former PM writes to PM Modi on suggestions to better India’s Covid-19 fight” – this is the second letter written by a former prime minister to Narendra Modi. Former prime minister Deve Gowda wrote to Narendra Modi with suggestions on how India can better tackle the second wave of Covid-19, says a report in The News Minute.
The BBC has turned out to be the worst of the lot with headlines like “India running out of vaccines as Covid crisis deepens,” and "Patients suffer at home as Covid chokes hospitals.”
“India’s Covid crisis ‘beyond heartbreaking”, says another report citing the World Health Organisation (WHO). “India sees a new world record for a rise in daily cases for the fifth consecutive day as the country faced an alarming shortage of medical and hospital supplies,” says the report.
“Health ministry says people should start wearing masks inside homes too,” says The Wire, the worst of the viral media.
"India reportedly running out of vaccines amid Covid surge," finds The Guardian.
These viral media also conveniently quote and misquote world leaders to tie down India.
At the same time these viral media cannot tolerate criticism of the country’s enemies. “India’s removal of tweets critical of Covid response ‘dangerous’, “ says one report.
Removing dozens of tweets critical of the government’s pandemic response puts people’s health at risk and quashes dissent, say legislators and human rights activists, the report adds.
None of them, however, is not in a mood to support government’s efforts to address the huge challenge the country is faced with.
Government of India has so far provided more than 156 million vaccine doses (15,65,26,140) to states/UTs free of cost. Of this, the total consumption, including wastages is 14,64,78,983 doses. More than 10 million doses (1,00,47,157) are still available with the states/UTs to be administered. According to the union health ministry.
States/UTs will receive more than 80 lakh (86,40,000) doses in addition by the current stocks with them.
Furthermore, 3,00,000 doses of COVID vaccine are in the pipeline for delivery in the next three days.
India launched the world’s largest vaccination drive on 16 January 2021. A liberalised and accelerated Phase 3 strategy of Covid-19 vaccination will be implemented from 1 May 2021. In Phase-III, the National Vaccine Strategy aims at liberalised vaccine pricing and scaling up of vaccine coverage. Procurement, eligibility and administration of vaccines have been made flexible as part of the liberalised vaccination strategy.
Vaccination is a crucial pillar of the five point strategy of government to fight the pandemic, which includes Test, Track, Treat and Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) as the other complementing and equally important containment and management measures.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday chaired a meeting with top officials to review the Covid-19 situation in the country. He got an overview on the situation in the country relating to oxygen availability, medicines, health infrastructure, etc.
The Empowered Group working on boosting oxygen supply briefed the prime minister on the efforts being made to ramp up availability and supply of oxygen in the country. They informed the PM about increasing allocation of oxygen to states. It was discussed that the production of LMO in the country has increased from 5,700 tonnes/day in August 2020 to the present 8,922 tonnes (on 25 April 2021). The domestic production of LMO is expected to cross 9,250 tonnes/day by the end of April 2021.
It was the unfortunate deaths due to shortage of oxygen in Delhi and elsewhere that changed the discourse over the Covid-19 pandemic, which became so emotionally surcharged that all facts and reasoning became irrelevant, says a report in The Tuglak.
The oxygen shortage-induced deaths first occurred in Delhi corporate hospitals, and, according to reports, these hospitals continue to make hay while the pandemic spreads like wildfire.
According to reports, the per day cost of Covid treatment in a Delhi private corporate hospital varies from Rs25,090 and Rs53,090 to Rs75,590 while the average two-week treatment costs come to Rs5,00,000 Rs6,00,000 or Rs12,00,000, depending on the type and class of the hospital.
However, the reports fail to highlight the fact that one-fifth of Indian districts have not reported any Covid-19 cases for the last 7 days.
The health ministry also lived on the false premist the the nation has succeeded in flattening the Covid curve” declared the health minister Dr. Harshvardhan, two months back, on Feb 15. By then the daily infections which had peaked to 90000 cases last year were down to less than 9000. But, things changed dramatically into an unprecedented disaster in April [See Table below]
The production, trade, stocking and use of oxygen is privatised. The trade in medical oxygen is not controlled or regulated in India -- though its prices are controlled by the National Pharma Pricing Authority (NPPA) — an autonomous body under the chemicals and fertilisers ministry.
While oxygen availability has been a logistic challenge for Delhis hospitals, with producers enter private contracts with industries, hospitals and also governments to supply oxygen, there is no shortage of oxygen now.
India currently produces 100,000 tonnes a day of oxygen, with one company In Gujarat alone producing a fifth of it. The worst art of oxygen story is that, oxygen worth Rs 300 is stored in a cylinder that costs Rs 10000 for oxygen! The distant production and multiple trade chains in oxygen, transport in tankers and stocking in cylinders created huge logistic issues even in normal times. In times of pandemic disaster, this normal supply chain wouldn’t withstand, particulrly when Delhi, where the deaths occured, is several hundred miles away from where the oxygen has to come.