The effective vaccination has happened only for a very small population of India while as usual Modi is trying to hide the facts.
By Rakesh Raman
The prime minister (PM) of India Narendra Modi is patting on his back with the claims that 100 crore (1 billion) Indians have been vaccinated against Covid-19. While Modi is known for telling lies effortlessly, his claims – like bikinis – conceal more than what they reveal.
In fact, the effective vaccination has happened only for a very small population of India while as usual Modi is trying to hide the facts. According to the independent Financial Times Covid-19 global vaccination tracker, as of October 19, India had fully vaccinated just 20.8% of its population of 1.4 billion.
In other words, India has fully vaccinated only 29.4 crore people while Modi claims it is 100 crore. Since most Indians are uneducated and gullible, Modi often cheats them with his false rhetoric, shallow sloganeering, and fabricated figures.
Now, Modi has cleverly concealed the fact that the purpose of vaccines is to protect people against the virus. If people are not fully vaccinated, they face the same risk of catching Covid-19 infection as the unvaccinated persons.
Moreover, there are serious concerns about the safety and efficacy of vaccines particularly those which are being used in India. It is largely believed that the Indian vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin – are not properly developed and may cause harm to the vaccine recipients instead of protecting them from the virus.
Recently, in September, the UK had refused to accept travelers who are vaccinated with Covishield — the Indian variant of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured under licence in India by Serum Institute of India.
As Covaxin also continues to be a risky vaccine, reports suggest that WHO has further delayed the emergency use authorization (EUA) for Covaxin, as WHO recently sent more technical queries to its manufacturer Bharat Biotech. But this unauthorized vaccine is still being used in India.
In June, the European Union (EU) had allowed foreigners vaccinated against Covid-19. But Covishield was not on the EU ‘Green Pass’ list. Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines were approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Earlier, the Chhattisgarh state in India had complained about the vaccines being delivered by the Indian government. Chhattisgarh health minister T.S. Singh Deo had written a letter to the then health minister of India Harsh Vardhan to explain the safety concerns of the vaccines. In his letter, Deo had publicly expressed his government’s concerns about Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.
Although Modi chose to share the misleading data of 100 crore vaccinations on October 22, the truth is that even fully vaccinated people are getting infected with Covid-19 and there is no data available on the deaths of vaccinated people.
Since the Modi government has been continuously hiding Covid-related facts, people demand transparency and truthfulness. In August, the Supreme Court of India had issued a notice to the Modi government to file its response on a petition seeking transparency of Covid-19 vaccine data. The petition filed by Jacob Pulayil sought information on the clinical trials conducted for Covid-19 vaccines while there are serious doubts about the efficacy of Covid vaccines.
But the case has been surreptitiously brushed under the carpet, as the Modi government has not publicly shared the vaccine or vaccination data related to safety, effectiveness, and side effects of vaccines. Instead, Modi is telling half-truths or blatant lies to hoodwink the Indian voters and the global community.
In a recent event on the topic “Speaking Truth to Power: Citizens and the Law,” a Supreme Court of India judge Justice D.Y. Chandrachud highlighted manipulation of Covid-19 data as an example. “One cannot rely only on the state for truth. Totalitarian governments are known for their constant reliance on falsehoods to consolidate power,” he said. His remarks subtly targeted the Modi government.
While Modi is working in an autocratic manner and there is no political opposition to challenge him and his government, he is not being held accountable for his misdemeanors. Instead of protecting Indians during the ongoing health crisis, Modi is unscrupulously using this crisis to gain political and financial advantage.
Of late, in October, a former Supreme Court judge Justice MB Lokur expressed his anguish over the lack of transparency in the PM-CARES Fund. While the PM-CARES Fund was created by Modi to collect public money to deal with Covid-19 pandemic in India, the Modi government brazenly refuses to reveal the details of money collected and spent through this account during the past over a year.
Since the information about the Fund is not being revealed even through RTI applications, Justice Lokur believes that it amounts to the subversion of the Right To Information (RTI) Act.
As the PM-CARES Fund has presumably collected thousands of crores of rupees (estimated to be billions of dollars), there is a possibility of huge corruption in the management of the Fund. The chattering classes believe that Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) use such dubious funds to win elections fraudulently either by manipulating the electronic voting machines (EVMs) or by purchasing voters and legislators of opposition parties in horse-trading deals.
Meanwhile, in an ongoing RMN Poll, 81% people say that Modi is not handling the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis effectively. In other words, Modi has failed to handle the Covid crisis and he is trying to hide his failures by sharing misleading data on Covid infections, vaccination, and deaths.
In fact, during the past 7 years of his rule, Modi has failed in all areas of governance, as people of India are suffering under unprecedented inflation, hunger, unemployment, government corruption, political criminality, religious animosity among communities, and extreme misery.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.
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