Rajat Sharma

Covid: Critics may not accept Modi’s success, but they now need to change their mindset

akbThe people of India have nixed all baseless speculations and rumours about Covid vaccines by lining up in thousands at government and private hospitals to get vaccines. The nationwide vaccination drive is off to a roaring start with over 4 lakh elderly people in the 60-plus age group and more than 60 thousand in 45-60 age group with co-morbidities taking vaccines as of Tuesday evening. More than 50 lakh Indians have so far registered on CoWin portal to get the vaccine.

The writing on the wall is now clear: all dire warnings about the indigenously developed Covaxin have now been proved baseless, judging by the huge turnout of people. This stupendous success has been possible because of a strong national leadership that has the political will to think big and achieve its goals.

Many experts had raised suspicions about whether the government would be able to vaccinate the entire 135 crore population spread over this vast country. On Monday, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi led from the front by taking the Covaxin jab, millions of Indians decided to come out and get their first vaccine dose.

In my primetime show ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ on Tuesday night, we showed visuals of people in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Nagpur, Bengaluru, Gurugram, Patna, Bhopal and Pune, lining up at hospitals to take the jab. Old and infirm people mustered courage and confidence to take their first dose. Braving 39 degree Celsius heat in Nagpur, people were seen standing in queues waiting for their turn to get vaccinated. Thousands turned up at the Nesco ground in Mumbai, where the BMC had set up a Covid vaccination centre for old people to get their names registered, take appointment and get their jabs. Despite early glitches, the system worked fine as hundreds of people got themselves vaccinated.

There were some shortcomings though. The government and local authorities could have advised people how to get their names registered and take appointments instead of crowding at hospitals. People in Mumbai were getting vaccinated at 44 spots. This, in a state like Maharashtra, which noticed a spike of 7,863 new Covid cases on Tuesday, out of which Mumbai accounted for 849 and Nagpur 877. More than six thousand new Covid cases were recorded in Nagpur in the last six days alone.

The nationwide vaccination drive is no mean task. More than 40 crore Indians in the age group 45 and above will get vaccinated in the current Phase 2. This is more than double the population of USA. One feels gratified seeing visuals of hundreds of old and infirm people waiting in hospitals to get their Covid jab. This, in a country, where the normal till now was: Nothing works in India.

When the Covid pandemic broke, there were dire predictions that lakhs of Indians will die like cats and dogs due to lack of treatment because of lack of doctors, PPE, masks, oxygen, ventilators and hospitals. This was proved wrong. Doctors and healthcare workers in hospitals got masks, PPEs, sanitizers and ventilators to treat the Covid patients.

When the nationwide lockdown was announced, many people predicted that Indians will not accept confinement inside their homes and will defy lockdown. This premonition was proved wrong.

When scientists in UK, USA, Russia and China started work on Covid vaccines, there were people who said we cannot manufacture vaccines in India and we will be at the mercy of other countries. This, too, was also proved wrong. Today, India can say with pride that it is the largest manufacturer of Covid vaccines and is supplying vaccines to small countries that are in dire need. The World Health Organization has praised India’s work in the field of Covid vaccination. Pessimists in India were proved wrong.

Today India can say with pride that it has tackled Covid pandemic better compared to even developed countries. On Tuesday, the Union Health Ministry claimed that the pandemic is now, more or less, under control in India. Active Covid cases in India is now less than 2 per cent. There has been a big decline in the death rate too. The proportion of patients who recovered is higher compared to new Covid cases. Except two states, Maharashtra and Kerala, which have noted a spike in new Covid cases in the last two weeks. Out of 1.68 lakh active cases in India, there are 1.26 lakh cases in the two states of Maharashtra and Kerala.

India’s success in controlling Covid pandemic has brought a new energy among the multitudes. This is evident from the large number of old people who are going to hospitals to get themselves vaccinated. Their faces exude confidence and energy. They know that the war is almost won.

Such visuals of thousands of old people waiting to get vaccinated have forced critics to shut their mouths. Even as the world praises India and its government, those in the opposition may feel hesitant in praising and giving due credit to Narendra Modi. Credit or no credit, the message that has gone out is clear: the war against Covid is almost won. The naysayers need to change their world view. The common people in India have changed their mindset, it is time our ‘netas’ too must also change their line of thinking.

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