The Constitutional Conduct Group comprising retired civil servants from All India and Central Services on Thursday in a letter to PM Narendra Modi on Thursday has urged to provide free, universal vaccination to all citizens of India, ramp up RT-PCR testing in both rural and urban areas, make adequate funds available to the states for provision of medical facilities, draw on the existing surplus food grain stock to provide free rations to the families of the marginalized and deprived sections.
The Group has suggested the constitution of an all-party committee at the central level to advise on and review all government decisions and monitor the control of the pandemic in different areas of the country.
These actions are necessary as despite warnings from the international community and our own scientists, the breathing space between the first and the second waves was not used to augment critical resources such as medical staff, hospital beds, oxygen supplies, ventilators and drugs and other medical supplies.
‘’Even more inexcusably, no advance planning was done to secure adequate stocks of vaccines, despite India being one of the major vaccine suppliers to the world. The complacency displayed by you and your ministerial colleagues at various forums not only diverted attention from the looming threat but probably also contributed to both state governments and citizens letting down their guard at a crucial juncture. As a result, your Atmanirbhar Bharat is today compelled to seek the help of the outside world to lessen the agony inflicted on its own people by your government,’’ said the Group.
The Group has called upon the PM to fully provide, in consultation with state governments, for existing nutrition schemes for school going children and supplementary nutrition for mothers and children in the pre-school age groups. Further, it has requested to provide a monthly income support for the current financial year to the needy sections of society to enable them to meet contingent expenses and unforeseen emergencies. Economists have recommended ₹ 7000 per month per household, equivalent to minimum wages.
The Group has stressed the need to immediately remove the FCRA restrictions imposed on NGOs so that they can avail of funds provided by foreign governments and charities for Covid-19 management and other related activities. It has suggested to place all data in the public domain and ensure that evidence-based policy measures are implemented.