New Delhi [India], May 15 (ANI): Pointing out the Centre's delay in taking decision, former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday asked who will be accountable for the avoidable infections and loss of lives due to the central government's delay to invite other vaccine manufacturers to produce COVAXIN.
In a series of tweets, Chidambaram said the suggestion for compulsory licences be issued to other manufacturers had been offered by the Congress four weeks before the government took the decision.
"Four weeks after the CWC demanded that compulsory licenses be issued to other manufacturers, the central government has decided to invite other manufacturers to apply to produce COVAXIN!" he said.
"Better late than never. But who will be held accountable for the avoidable infections and loss of lives by this delay of 4 weeks? Who bungled the simple arithmetic of the huge gap between domestic production and demand?" he added.
The Congress leader further asked if it was correct that the central government had not yet found a foreign manufacturer on whom a firm order has been placed to import vaccines?
"The central government continues to lie to the people of India," he said.
After several reports of COVID-19 shortages at inoculation centres across the country, NITI Aayog member, Dr VK Paul, on Thursday said the central government and Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech are willing to invite other companies, which want to produce COVAXIN in a bid to scale up the vaccine production.
Meanwhile, Congress' national spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told the Centre not to 'insult intelligence' by making false promises and then extending timelines.
In a tweet, he asked how the government planned on vaccinating the entire adult population by December this year, considering it would require over 91 lakh jabs a day, and the maximum doses administered a day, globally, is about 41 lakh.
"Don't insult intelligence by false promises & then extending timelines. How can #Govt vaccinate 18+ popn by dec '21? Needs 91+ lac jabs/day, frm aug 2dec '21? Max done globally/day is 41 lacs/day, less than half? Do u hv magic wand or r u plain irresponsible when thus promising?" he tweeted.
India is currently in the midst of the third phase of the nationwide vaccination drive. According to the union health ministry on Friday, the cumulative number of doses administered in the country stands at 18,04,29,261.
As many as 3,26,098 new COVID-19 cases, 3,53,299 discharges and 3,890 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, as per Union Health Ministry.
The number of total cases stands at 2,43,72,907, including 2,04,32,898 recoveries, 2,66,207 deaths, and 36,73,802 active cases. (ANI)