Criticising the union government for mismanaging the COVID-19 pandemic and the health crisis in India, former Union Home Secretary Madhav Godbole says that the centre’s immediate goal has to be to vaccinate people mandatorily. He was in conversation with Author and Senior Journalist Kaveree Bamzai, as part of The New Indian Express' COVID Think Tank, on June 7.
Godbole added that the Government of India must immediately take up the responsibility of procuring vaccines and should provide them free of cost.
“Vaccines must be made available free. In terms of the cost-benefit analysis, this is a much cheaper option,” he said.
Looking back at a time when India administered polio and smallpox vaccines successfully and eradicated the viruses, he said that the same could have been possible with COVID too, had the centre not ‘micromanaged’ the vaccine administration.
“We did excellent work with vaccines. It was all done right up to the village level in a very systematic manner. Therefore, micromanagement by the centre is not called for. Leave it to the states. They know how their system works and the Government of India trying to manage everything from Delhi is not right,” he said in a pre-recorded session.
The former IAS officer said that it is up to the centre and not the states to decide whether to import vaccines.
“I don’t know why the centre is not inclined to do that and linking it to states,” he said and added that the last couple of months have been an ‘unmitigated blunder’.
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