On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for checking the combined power of community groups, political parties and NGOs as he met governors of states to discuss ways to strengthen the battle against the second wave of Covid-19 which is showing a dangerous trajectory, even as the government is increasing efforts to increase the number of vaccinations across the country.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the Prime Minister proposed that the governors can actively take part in ensuring that social institutions cooperate seamlessly with the state governments towards micro-containment. He said that their social network can help guarantee an increase in the capacity of ambulances, ventilators and oxygen in hospitals.
The governors, who also act as chancellors of universities, would also be involved to play a critical role in assuring the greater engagement of university students in achieving people’s participation, according to an official statement on the meeting. “We also need to focus on better utilization of facilities at university and college campuses,” Modi said, adding: “Just like last year, NCC and NSS also have a key role to play this year as well.”
The Prime Minister also declared that the government was “committed” to assuring sufficient availability of vaccines, a day after the Centre said that coronavirus vaccines cleared for use in the US, the UK, the European Union, and Japan will get fast-track approval in India, possibly raising the country’s pandemic acknowledgement through possible imports of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) products. On Monday, the drug regulator authorised emergency use of Sputnik V, the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute.
Considering the rise in the number of Covid-19 cases, the Prime Minister said that at this stage of the fight against the virus, the country stands to gain from last year’s experience and improved health care capacity. “The Prime Minister stressed the importance of improving tracking, tracing and testing, and said that RTPCR testing needs to be increased from 60% to 70%. He said that it is pertinent to ensure that more and more people get tested,” the official statement said.
On Wednesday, record 199,506 cases of Covid-19 were reported. This is the first time the Narendra Modi government is touching the Raj Bhavans in the fight against the raging pandemic.
During his meeting with the chief ministers last week, Modi spoke at length about the youth’s role in controlling the pandemic. On Wednesday, too, the PM stated that young people are the workforce of India and play an important part in our economy. “It is important to ensure that our youth follows all Covid related protocols and precautions,” he said.
Engaging in the meeting, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu called upon the governors to bring up a coordinated front by leading all-party meetings in their individual states and maintained that “a ‘Team India spirit’ cutting across political lines should be adopted and as Governors are the ‘Guardians of the State’, they could guide the State Governments.”
Union home minister Amit Shah emphasised the importance of saving each and every life while the governors shared details of how their respective states were handling Covid-19, the statement said.