New Delhi: Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, interacted with the Chief Ministers to review the COVID-19 situation here today.
Union Home Minister spoke about the recent increase in Covid cases in some states, and about the need to follow test, track, treat, vaccination and ensure Covid appropriate behaviour. Union Health Secretary gave a presentation in which he discussed the rise of cases across several countries in the world, while also highlighting the rise of cases in some states in India. He spoke about the need for states to regularly monitor and report data, maintain effective surveillance, upgrade infrastructure and utilise funds given by the Centre.
The Chief Ministers thanked the Prime Minister for timely guidance and support since the start of the pandemic. They said that this review meeting has been called by the Prime Minister at the right time. They gave an overview of the status of Covid cases and vaccination in their states.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said that Prime Minister’s mantra of life and livelihood is being followed by the state. He mentioned that a high number of cases are being seen in the cities in NCR. Delhi Chief Minister said that in recent days, Delhi has witnessed high positivity rate. He also spoke about masks having been made mandatory again. Mizoram Chief Minister said that the Prime Minister’s strong support and guidance has helped the state tide over the previous waves. He also thanked the Central government for support in other health matters and development issues. Karnataka Chief Minister said that the guidance given by the Prime Minister has been a learning curve to help deal better with subsequent Covid waves. He mentioned about awareness campaigns being run to ensure Covid appropriate behaviour. Haryana Chief Minister said that high number of cases in the state are mainly being seen around Delhi, in the cities of Gurugram and Faridabad.
In his concluding remarks, the Prime Minister started with offering condolences on the loss of lives in the road accident in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. Shri Modi has announced an ex-gratia from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) for the victims of the mishap.
The Prime Minister noted the collective efforts of centre and state in the fight against Corona. He put on record his appreciation for the Chief Ministers, officers and all Corona Warriors for their efforts. He said that it is clear that Corona challenge is not fully over. Omicron and its subvariants can create problem as evident by the case of many countries of Europe. The subvariants are causing many surges in many countries. He said India has been able to deal with the situation better than many countries. Still, in last two weeks, increasing cases in some of the states show that we need to stay alert, he said.
The Prime Minister said that the Omicron wave was handled with determination and without panic and in the last two years, all aspects of Corona fight whether, health infrastructure, oxygen supply or vaccination, have been strengthened. In the third wave, none of the state saw situation going out of control. This, the Prime Minister said, should be seen in the context of the massive vaccination drive. He said vaccine reached each and every person and it is a matter of pride that 96 per cent adult population is vaccinated with at least one dose and about 84 per cent people above 15 years of age have received both the doses. Vaccine, as per experts is the biggest safeguard against corona, he added.
The Prime Minister mentioned that schools have opened after long time and some parents are worried by the increased number of cases in some places. He expressed satisfaction that more and more children are getting the vaccine. He said that in March, campaign to vaccinate 12-14 years of age was started and only yesterday, permission has been granted for Covaxine vaccine for 6-12 year old children. “Our priority is to vaccinate all eligible children at the earliest. For this, as before, special campaigns will also be needed in schools. Teachers and parents should be aware about this”, said the Prime Minister. Precautionary dose is available for all adults in the country to strengthen the vaccine protective shield. Teachers, parents, and other eligible people can take precautionary dose, he added.
The Prime Minister said that during the third wave, India witnessed up to 3 lakh cases per day and all states handled the situation and also allowed social and economic activity to continue. This balance should inform our strategy in future also, he said. The Prime Minister informed that the situation is being constantly monitored by the scientists and experts and we have to work pro-actively on their suggestions. “Preventing infections at the very beginning was our priority and should remain so even now. We have to implement our strategy of test, track and treat with same efficacy”, he said.
The Prime Minister emphasized cent percent testing of serious influenza cases and genome sequencing of the positive cases, Covid appropriate behaviour in the public places and avoiding panic. He also emphasized continued upgradation of health infrastructure and medical manpower.
The Prime Minister said that India fought a long fight against Corona with the spirit of Cooperative Federalism enshrined in the Constitution. The Prime Minister emphasized that, in the current global scenario, for the strength of India’s economy, coordination between the central and state governments in economic decisions is necessary. He said that in the conditions imposed by global events, this spirit of cooperative federalism becomes all the more important. He explained this in the context of petrol and diesel prices.
The Prime Minister said that in order to reduce the load of petrol and diesel prices central government has reduced the excise duty and had requested the states also to reduce taxes. some states reduced taxes but some states did not pass on the benefits to the people, leading higher cost of petrol and diesel in these states. This is not only injustice towards the people of the state but harms the neighbouring states also. He said that states like Karnataka and Gujarat undertook the tax reduction for the welfare of the people despite revenue loss while their neighbouring states earned revenue by not reducing tax.
Similarly, the Prime Minister said that last November a request was made to reduce VAT but many states like Maharashtra, West Bengal, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Jharkhand did not do so for some reason. The Prime Minister said 42 per cent of the revenue at centre goes to State governments. “I urge all the states to work as a team in this time of global crisis following the spirit of cooperative federalism”, The Prime Minister requested.
The Prime Minister also pointed out that with increasing temperature, fire incidents in forests and buildings are increasing. He specially asked for the fire safety audits of the hospitals. He said our arrangements for meeting this challenge should be comprehensive and our response time should be the minimum.