Asserting that the government is committed to ensuring adequate availability of COVID-19 vaccines, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday 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, PM Modi urged them to actively engage in ensuring that social institutions collaborate seamlessly with state governments.
PM Modi said the feeling of “Janbhagidari” (people’s participation) that was seen in curbing the virus last year 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, PM 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.
“PM 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, PM Modi said the country stands to gain from the last years experience and improved healthcare capacity.
The country has become “aatmanirbhar” (self-reliant) 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 (Government e-Marketplace) portal.
“The prime minister emphasized 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.
During the interaction, Mr Naidu appreciated the prime minister for leading the fight against COVID-19 and his proactive steps to develop the infrastructure required to tackle the pandemic.
He also highlighted the scientific community’s contribution in giving a vaccine to India and the whole world.
The Vice President called upon the governors to bring up a coordinated front by leading all-party meetings in their respective states and engaging with civil society organisations to spread awareness about Covid-appropriate behaviour.
He said that a ”Team India spirit” cutting across policy lines should be adopted, and in this regard, governors as the ”Guardians of the State” could guide the state governments.
Union Home Minister stressed the importance of saving each and every life.
Union Health Secretary gave a presentation on COVID-19 cases and vaccination drive, providing an overview of how India has followed a proactive and preemptive approach in this endeavour.
The governors shared details of how their respective states are tackling the spread of the virus and coordinating activities towards ensuring a smooth implementation of the vaccination drive, while also mentioning the deficiencies of healthcare facilities in the states.
They gave suggestions for further improvement in the efforts and shared plans of how ”Janbhagidari” can be increased through the active social engagement of various groups.