Despite receiving persistent brickbats from critics, PM progressed unhindered with his service to the nation even in challenging times
In its seven years of service, the Modi government faced multiple challenges — some were legacy issues, others were as unpredictable as the pandemic outbreak. The government has gone beyond the electoral quid-pro-quo and provided solutions that are long-lasting and are centred around the principle of 'India First'. From ensuring housing for all and pan-India electricity supply to complex issues like suspension of Article 370, its actions and policies have been hallmarks of service and duty towards every citizen of this country.
In the current times, the once-in-a-century pandemic is one of the biggest challenges the government has faced since 2014. Adhering to the spirit of 'seva', PM Modi has once again dedicated himself to winning the battle against the virus. He has been at the forefront of mobilising resources at a war-footing. India's pharma sector, industries, armed forces, doctors and other related stakeholders are working together in tandem with the Modi government to reach out to people in need in the shortest possible time.
Within days, the oxygen production jumped and increased from 5700 MT/day in August 2020 to 9,446 MT/day in May 2021. The Indian railways launched Oxygen Expresses. Till June 2, 2021, about 23,741 tonnes of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) was delivered by more than 593 Oxygen Expresses to various parts of the country. Not just the railways, but the three arms of the Indian Armed Forces also pitched in to support the country. Devi Shetty, a renowned cardiac surgeon, has praised the government for moving "heaven and earth" to get oxygen.
Since 2020, multiple measures have been taken to ramp up healthcare facilities. On March 25, 2020, India had 10,180 isolation beds. Today this number is above 14 lakhs. The number of ICU beds increased to more than 81,000 in April 2021 as compared to just 2,168 in March 2020. The number of hospital beds stands at 18.52 lakh.
This time, along with a prepared healthcare infrastructure, we were equipped with 'made in India' vaccines. In the first phase of India's vaccination drive, which began in January 2021, three crore healthcare and frontline workers took the jab. These early strides helped save the lives of India's healthcare workers who are at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic. Till May 31, 2020, India has administered more than 21 crore doses.
India has also fast-paced manufacturing of essential medical supplies to meet the rising demand. Production of drugs such as Remdesivir rose from 37 lakh vials in April 2021 to 1.20 crore vials by May 2021. A total number of 38,103 ventilators were supplied to states, UTs and government institutions. India has already become an exporter of PPE kits and N95 masks. From just one lab in January 2020, we now have 2,463 testing facilities with a combined daily testing capacity of 15 lakh.
To ensure that those in need are taken care of in the second wave, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, covering 80 crore Indians, has been extended. Last year, Rs 1.7 lakh crore PM Garib Kalyan Package was announced to help the most vulnerable sections of the society, including the poor, farmers, migrant labourers, women etc. to tide over the crisis.
The government has augmented manpower by allowing medical interns to be deployed with full safety protocol and payment for internships. The PM-CARES fund has been a critical resource in the fight. A part of the fund is being used to install 551 oxygen generating plants across India, in addition, to already approved 162 plants. DRDO, too, would be installing 500 additional medical oxygen plants using the PM-CARES fund, taking the total to more than 1,200. Ventilators procured from the fund have been instrumental in strengthening healthcare infrastructure in states. A special fund — PM Cares for Children — has been instituted for the children who have lost their parents to COVID-19.
From ventilators to vaccines, states and UTs are being provided all the necessary resources by the Centre proportionately without political considerations. It is another story that the opposition has not left any stone unturned in turning the national crisis into an arena for political mudslinging and doing politics over dead bodies.
PM Modi has taken many brickbats, even when others failed to do their duty. But that has not stopped him from doing what is best for the country. His 'seva bhaav' continues to be the guiding light of his governance and political legacy.
The writer is an MLA and Former President of BJP Delhi. Views expressed are personal