Ex-PM Manmohan Singh shares 5-point remedy to battle COVID-19 crisis in letter to PM Narendra Modi

New Delhi: Former Prime Minister and senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh on Sunday (April 18) wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the grim COVID-19 situation in the country and recommended ways to tackle the current crisis. 

In his letter to PM Modi, Singh stressed ramping up COVID-19 vaccination efforts and suggested that the focus must be put on the percentage of the total population vaccinated instead of absolute numbers.  

“The key to our fight against COVID-19 must be ramping up the vaccination effort. We must resist the temptation to look at the absolute numbers being vaccinated, and focus instead on the percentage of the population vaccinated,” the letter read. 

“First, the government should publicise what are the firm orders for doses placed on different vaccine producers and accepted for delivery over the next six months. If we want to vaccinate a target number in this period, we should place enough orders in advance so that producers can adhere to an agreed schedule of supply,” he said.

The veteran Congress leader added that the Centre should indicate the expected supply to be distributed across states based on a transparent formula.

“The central government could retain 10 per cent for distribution based on emergency needs, but other than that, states should have a clear signal of likely availability so that they can plan their roll out,” the letter read. 

Noting that India currently has vaccinated only a small fraction of its population, Singh said he is certain that with the right policy design, “we can do much better and very quickly”.

“There are many things we must do to fight the epidemic but a big part of this effort must be ramping up the vaccination programme,” he emphasized. 

Manmohan Singh said that its over a year that people have been grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic, and with the second surge that we are currently witnessing, people are beginning to wonder when their lives will get back to normal.

Singh’s letter comes a day after Congress chief Sonia Gandhi chaired a meet of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) and accused the central government of “gross unpreparedness” and “adhocism” in battling COVID-19 crisis. 

Discussing ways of dealing with the coronavirus crisis, Gandhi demanded that the government should reduce the immunization age to 25 years from the current 45 years. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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