Coronavirus | Sonia Gandhi presses for reducing immunisation age to 25 years and above

Congress president Sonia Gandhi. File photo   | Photo Credit: PTI

Congress president Sonia Gandhi at an address to the Congress Working Committee (CWC) has said that the government must reconsider its priority for vaccine candidates by reducing the immunisation age to 25 years and above especially for those in this age group with comorbidities.


The CWC met on Saturday to discuss the ongoing COVID-19 situation in the country.

Ms. Gandhi said that the second wave of COVID- 19 had caught us off guard once again, despite the fact that the government had an year to prepare.

She also urged the government not to take adversarial position. “Let us ensure that the suggestions our party puts forward are considered by the government of India in the spirit of true democratic traditions. Taking on these challenging times as Indians, rather than as political opponents, will be true Rajadharma,” Ms. Gandhi added.

She has urged the government to waive GST on medicine and medical equipment required to fight COVID-19, provide ₹6,000 per month of financial assistance to the needy families and ensure safe transportation for the migrant workers who have already started returning home due to partial lockdowns in various cities.

She said the high GST rate was also flagged by the Congress Chief Ministers in a recent meeting with her. Drugs like Remdesivir and medical oxygen as also other basic supplements were subjected to GST @ 12%. Even basic equipment like oxymeters and life-saving critical equipment like ventilators were subjected to 20% GST. “In the current state of affairs, this is inhuman and untenable,” she added.

Fresh partial curfews and travel restrictions to control the situation would once again restrict economy activity, pushing the daily wagers to an edge, Ms. Gandhi pointed out. “It is, therefore, imperative to provide monthly income support and transfer an amount of ₹6,000 in every eligible citizen’s account,” she said.

The government, she said, should also be mindful of the fact that the reverse migration had once again started and it was critical to arrange safe transportation and suitable rehabilitation for such workers.

After the meeting, former Union Minister and Congress leader P. Chidambaram said "We charge the central government with colossal mismanagement of the war against the pandemic for the following reasons:

  • Failed to create sufficient public awareness that a waning pandemic could be a precursor to a second wave that may be more devastating than the first wave.
  • Failed to rapidly scale up the production and supply of the two approved vaccines in India by providing sufficient funds and other concessions, if sought.
  • Failed to curb the exports of large quantities of vaccine doses to other countries. While some quantities should have been donated to small and developing countries, the zeal to export to rich countries was unwarranted
  • Failed to provide adequate funds to the state governments that were fighting a two front war — one against the pandemic and the other against the economic recession — despite accumulating hundreds of crores of rupees in the opaque PM-CARES Fund.
  • Failed to eschew the rhetoric—(the Prime Ministers who claimed that we will win the war against COVID in 21 days compared to the Mahabharata war that was won in 18 days) and self-congratulatory utterances (Ministers who proclaimed that the whole world has praised the manner in which the Prime Minister has tackled the pandemic).
  • We regret to say that the nation is paying a very heavy price for the thoughtlessness and unpreparedness of the NDA government to tackle the gravest disaster that has hit the country and has affected millions of families claiming 1,75,673 lives so far. It is a shame that the country with the world’s largest vaccine manufacturing capacity has earned the odium of being among the most affected countries in the world.
  • Several valuable suggestions were made during the CWC. These suggestions are being collated and will be sent by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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Printable version | May 13, 2021 4:39:04 AM |

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