May 16, 2021

Joint Letter to PM on Covid

On May 12, a letter signed by leaders of 12 major opposition parties was released that was addressed to the prime minister on immediate steps to be taken by the government to deal with the Covid pandemic.

We release the text of the letter:

The Covid-19 pandemic in our country has assumed unprecedented dimensions of a human catastrophe.

We have repeatedly in the past drawn your attention, independently and jointly, to the various measures that are absolutely imperative for the central government to undertake and implement. Unfortunately, your government has either ignored or refused all these suggestions. This only compounded the situation to reach such an apocalyptic human tragedy.

Without going into all the acts of commission and omission by the central government that has brought the country to such a tragic pass, we are of the firm opinion that the following measures must be undertaken on a war footing by your government.

Procure vaccines centrally from all available sources - global and domestic.Immediately begin a free, universal mass vaccination campaign across the country. Invoke compulsory licensing to expand domestic vaccine production. Spend budgetary allocation of Rs 35,000 crores for the vaccines. Stop Central Vista construction. Use the allocated money for procuring
oxygen and vaccines, instead.
Release all money held in the unaccounted private trust fund, PM Cares to buy more vaccines, Oxygen, and medical equipment required. Give all jobless at least Rs 6,000 per month.
Free distribution of foodgrains to the needy (over one crore tonnes of foodgrains are currently rotting in central godowns).
Repeal farm laws to protect lakhs of our annadatas becoming victims of the pandemic so that they can continue to produce food to feed the Indian people.

Though it has not been the practice of your office or government, we would appreciate a response to our suggestions in the interests of India and our people.

The signatories to this letter are: Sonia Gandhi (INC), HD Deve Gowda (JD-S), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Uddhav Thackeray (SS), Mamata Banerjee (TMC), MK Stalin (DMK), Hemant Soren (JMM), Farooq Abdullah (JKPA), Akhilesh Yadav (SP), Tejaswi Yadav (RJD), D Raja (CPI) and
Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M).