COVID endured the rage; Despite a year of preparation, we were again caught on guard: Sonia Gandhi

Presiding over the meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), he called for the manufacture of all necessary equipment, medicines and machinery for the treatment of Goods and Services Duty (GST) free CVD-19.

Congress has always believed that fighting the Kovid-19 epidemic is a national challenge that should be kept above party politics and is hopeful that the proposed proposals will be considered in the spirit of true democratic traditions, he said.

Accusing the Center of giving preferential treatment to several states, Gandhi said he had maintained “thunderous silence” at the request of states ruled by the Congress and other opposition parties.

“It would be true monarchy to accept this challenging time as an Indian rather than a political opponent,” he told the meeting.

Considering that India has the highest rate of infection, he further asked whether the export of vaccines should be postponed and whether protection of Indians should be given priority.

“How proud we are of our generosity in other countries that dying is going to help thousands of our people,” he said.

Gandhi said that from February-March last year, the Congress had extended a hand of cooperation. “But we cannot forget the fact that the second wave of the COVID-19 epidemic is raging in the country. Even after a year of preparation, we are sorry to see it again,” he said.

Gandhi said that instead of listening to the constructive advice of the opposition, the Union ministers have been pressured to attack the opposition leaders for giving such advice.

“This misleading ‘me vs. you’ debate is childish and completely unnecessary,” he asserted.

Gandhi said he had recently held discussions with the chief ministers and ministers of the Congress-ruled states, where the Congress coalition government is in power, to review the situation arising out of them.

“There was a complete unpreparedness on the part of the Narendra Modi government in predicting, assessing and managing the crisis and there was such a definition of avoidance,” he said.

“However, there is silence on the part of the government. In contrast, some other states have also received the desired treatment or relief,” he said.

After giving several suggestions to the government, Gandhi said that the Center should also reconsider its preference for candidates in the field of vaccination.

He suggested that the age of government vaccination should be 25 years or less, as well as all young people at risk for asthma, angina, diabetes, kidney and liver disease and other similar illnesses.

Currently, Indians above the age of 45 are eligible for the vaccine and the government has said it will gradually provide vaccines for other ages.

“During my discussions with our Chief Ministers, questions were raised about GST. They felt that as a precautionary measure, all equipment, machinery, medicines and assistance required for the prevention and treatment of CVV-19 should be exempted from GST,” Gandhi said.

The Congress chief said that 12 per cent GST has been levied on life-saving drugs like remedicator and medical oxygen as well as other basic supplements, which is a matter of great concern, the Congress chief said.

“As the central and state governments move forward to control the situation by adopting partial curfews, travel restrictions, closures and lockdowns, we will again limit economic activities that will hit the already distressed people, especially the poor and daily wages,” he said.

Thus, it is important to provide monthly income support and transfer a certain amount In the account of every deserving citizen, 000,000, Gandhi said.

He further complained that after months of rejection, the central government has now approved emergency use for vaccines developed elsewhere, noting that it was “too late”.

The Congress chief has expressed deep sorrow and grief over the loss of loved ones to families affected by the epidemic over the past year.

“Their pain and suffering is our pain and suffering,” he said.

He also reiterated a deep sense of gratitude and support to the health and frontline staff and the medical fraternity who have been providing their services under severe stress and risk.

“We salute their sense of duty and dedication,” Gandhi said.

The CWC meeting was also attended by former party chief Rahul Gandhi, general secretary, other permanent invitees and acting in-charges of the party, who gave various suggestions for tackling the epidemic. PTI ASK / SKC ANB ANB

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