Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Nation on 7 June, after his last address, which was on 20 April. Between these two addresses, India saw a scathing catastrophe taking over the Nation and no amount of rhetoric can change this grave reality. But as always, we saw our Prime Minister after all the devastation was done. He was back again to cajole the masses and to take hubris about his own self.
PM Modi said, “New health infrastructure has been developed in the 1.5 years with Covid hospitals, ventilators, beds, to preparing a network of testing labs. During the 2nd wave in April-May, demand for medical oxygen increased at an unprecedented rate.”
Sadly, nobody saw these claims to be true on the ground. All the citizens have witnessed is the time when we just saw SOS requests on social media when people were dying on roads. Many didn’t even have an entitled cremation. There were no beds available in hospitals. Do we call this tackling a global pandemic on a war footing?
The Prime Minister announced the central government would provide free vaccine doses for all citizens above the age of 18 after 21 June, adding state governments will not have to spend money on procuring them. Now this U-turn on the vaccination policy has raised several critical questions, while the opposition claimed that its concerted pressure for centralised procurement of vaccines and the Supreme Court’s rap on the Centre’s knuckles did the trick.
The Supreme Court had slammed the ongoing vaccination drive for the 18-44 age group as “arbitrary and irrational”.
But some other questions are emerging from this. The Prime Minister, in his address, said, “We thought to let the states monitor 25% of the vaccination work. That was done on 1 May. They understood then what are the difficulties faced in making such a programme happen. Within 2 weeks of May, some states started saying openly that the earlier system was good. More states joined in, even those who’d endorsed decentralisation.”
But he forgot to address the contrasting and enormous part of it: the central government was preparing for several months to implement and roll out the vaccination drive while the states had just 11 days to work on the vaccination drive. The central government announced on 19 April that the vaccination process had been decentralised to states and asked the states to roll out the process from 21 May. Isn’t this a red flag?
The other red flag in between the Prime Minister’s address and the reality is, the central government was allotted a budget of 35,000 Crore to purchase the vaccines. But when the Centre decentralised the vaccination process, it had asked states to purchase vaccines with their own money.
When there are times to take credit, the central government comes into the picture and when someone is to be blamed, the soft target for the central government states. So if you’re ready to gather praise, be prepared to gather criticism for your own faults.
Doesn’t all of this come to light as the lapses of the central government, which are being covered with the incorrigible attitude and remorseless praise for oneself?