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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 28, New Delhi, June 26, 2021

Collaborate with Trade Unions to counter Covid - Letter to the Prime Minister | Binoy Viswam

Friday 25 June 2021

Binoy Viswam
Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha)
116, North Avenue New Delhi - 110 001
Mob: 96057667022 E-mail: binoyviswam55[at]gmail.com

To
Shri Narendra Modi Prime Minister Government of India, New Delhi.
Respected Shri Narendra Modi ji

Date: 22.06.2021

The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic caused immense havoc in the lives of every person across the country. With the spike in death tolls and rapid spread of the virus across the country, the best efforts of healthcare workers and emergency responders were undermined by the systemic failures of health infrastructure that we all witnessed. As the third wave is predicated by experts in 6-8 weeks it is of utmost importance that Governments at the Centre and in States work together to ensure that maximum number of people are vaccinated in the country by the end of July 2021.

At present only 3.6% of our population is completely vaccinated while 16.4% have received at least one dose, while these figures are improving, the increase in daily vaccinations has to be maintained systematically and sustainably. At the same time, it is of utmost importance that the vaccine program reaches every person across society, especially those that are socially and economically marginalized. The Government must explore door to door campaigns for vaccination across the country and all possible resources must be diverted towards this exercise. As the Central Government has rightly taken on the duty to procure vaccines, it must ensure the sufficient production and equitable distribution of them to all States. Governments may also consider collaborating with organized bodies such as trade unions, workers associations and welfare associations to increase the spread of vaccination in urban areas while using the Panchayati raj system to increase coverage in rural areas.

While the priority must be to vaccinate as many people as possible, it is also important for the Government to address all the shortcomings that were witnessed in the second wave and learn from those experiences to ensure that the Government is responsive to the needs of the people. Strengthening the healthcare infrastructure in rural and urban areas, enlarging the MNREGA, PDS & other social welfare schemes as well as ensuring that economic activity is aided to revive the failing economy should be priorities for all Governments. Lastly, it is essential that the Central Government extends its full co-operation and assistance to State Governments across the country. The need of the hour is to create open and effective modes of communication between Centre and State to ensure that no impediment is faced in the fight against this virus. In the spirit of collaborative politics and co-operative federalism, I also urge upon you to call an all-party meeting to discuss the preparedness for the third wave and undertake a united approach in the fight against this deadly virus.

The inhumane scenes that we have witnessed in the last 4 months and the unimaginable loss faced by the people of India must serve as a solemn reminder to the Government to their duties and responsibilities towards the people of India. The failure to vaccinate a significant portion of our population before the third wave hits will have devastating consequences for the lives of people as well as the economy of our nation.

Yours sincerely

Binoy Viswam

Leader of CPI Parliamentary Party & Secretary, National Council
Member, Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change Member, Consultative Committee on Environment, Forest and Climate Change

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