Leaders of 12 Opposition parties have, in a joint letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urged the government to begin a free universal mass vaccination campaign in India to help battle the COVID crisis.
This is a second joint letter by the opposition parties to the PM. The last one was sent on May 3. Mamata Banerjee, M K Stalin, Uddhav Thackeray, and Hemant Soren are the chief ministers who were signatories to the letter.
The other signatories include Congress president Sonia Gandhi, HD Deve Gowda of JD(S) Sharad Pawar (NCP), Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Dr. Farooq Abdullah (NCP), Tejashwi Yadav (RJD), D Raja (CPI), and Sitaram Yechury of CPI(M).
“We have repeatedly in the past drawn your attention, independently and jointly, to the various measures that are imperative for the Central government to undertake and implement. Unfortunately, your government has either ignored or refused all these suggestions. This only compounded the situation to reach such an apocalyptic human tragedy,” the letter read.
“Without going into all the acts of commission and omission by the Central government that have brought the country to such a tragic pass, we are of the firm opinion that the following measures must be undertaken on a war footing by your government,” the letter said.
What the letter advice
- It has sought for central procurement of vaccines from global and domestic sources.
- The letter said India should immediately begin a free, universal mass vaccination campaign across the country.
- It sought compulsory licensing to expand domestic vaccine production.
- The letter said the budgetary allocation of Rs35,000 crore for vaccines should be immediately spent as so far only Rs5000 crore has only been spent.
- It asked that the Central Vista project should be stopped immediately and the money should be used to procure oxygen and vaccines.
- It also called for money in the ‘unaccounted private trust fund’- PMCares to be used to buy vaccines, oxygen, and medical equipment to fight COVID.
- The other demands include a basic allowance of Rs6000 a month to vulnerable families who have no source of income, free foodgrain distribution, and also repealing the farm laws.
- They also sought a response to the letter in the interest of India and its people.
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