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More Covid-19 vaccines administered than procured? RTI reply bares Modi claim

By Rosamma Thomas* 

The Narendra Modi government has done it before – data has been doctored or suppressed when it would have reflected poorly on India’s governance. Ahead of voting in the 2019 general elections, data about unemployment, which had reached a 45-year high, was suppressed. It was then released officially, once elections were over.
Prime Minister Modi is not renowned as an expert with numbers – he reportedly committed faux pas at Davos in 2018, that 600 crore voters had voted for him, when the total population of India is only 130 crore, with 80 crore registered voters.
Now, it appears that even the websites that the Government of India (GoI) operates may have lost the ability to count accurately – while the Cowin website that records the number of doses of Covid-19 vaccines administered in the country showed that 200 crore Covid vaccinations were administered by July 17, 2022.
In response to a Right to Information application from Rajiv Lather, HLL Lifecare Limited, the nodal government agency responsible for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines, said on August 26, 2022 that only 176.47 crore doses of vaccine had been procured by July 26, 2022.
On March 22, 2022 "The Free Press Journal" reported that the protocol for disposal of vaccine stocks that had expired was not clear – lakhs of doses were set to expire, and it as yet not clear what process of disposal would be followed.
It appears that the websites that the Government of India operates may have lost the ability to count accurately
In February 2022, WHO criticized richer nations that were dumping close-to-expiry-date vaccines on poor nations. By April 2022 Serum Institute of India announced that it would halt manufacture of vaccines as it had built up large stocks as there was a global glut and 200 million doses remained unused.
By August 2021, there were already questions raised about the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was sold by the name Covishield in India. By late 2021, South Africa, which had earlier ordered this vaccine, had stopped using it since data emerged casting doubts on its effectiveness. As the vaccine demand waned, by October 2022 AstraZeneca announced that it would focus more on drugs for respiratory infections and to treat cancer.
Globally, there are now calls to punish those who were responsible for compelling people to get the vaccine. Vaccine uptake in India too has plunged, even though the Cowin dashboard shows every day thousands of people continue to be vaccinated, and the numbers keep rising, with little clarity on the vaccination doses procured and used.
Rajiv Lather, who uncovered this information, questions if no wasteage occurred during transport or in storage. Besides, some doses were also exported to other nations as “grant”. So how is the government claiming that it has administered so many doses in addition to what HLL claims it has procured?
*Freelance journalist. Click here for RTI reply



'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site The article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

BSF should take full responsibility for death of 4 kids in West Bengal: Rights defender

By Kirity Roy*  One is deeply disturbed and appalled by the callous trench-digging by BSF in Chetnagachh village under Daspara Gram Panchayat, Chopra, North Dinajpur District, West Bengal that has claimed the lives of four children. Along the entire stretch of Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal instead of guarding the actual border delineated by the international border pillars, BSF builds fences and digs trenches well inside the Indian territory, passing through villages and encroaching on private lands, often without due clearance or consent. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Social justice day amidst 'official neglect' of salt pan workers in Little Rann of Kutch

By Prerana Pamkar*  In India’s struggle for Independence, the Salt Satyagraha stands as a landmark movement and a powerful symbol of nonviolent resistance. Led by Mahatma Gandhi, countless determined citizens walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in Gujarat. However, the Gujarat which witnessed the power of the common Indian during the freedom struggle is now in the throes of another significant movement: this time it is seeking to free salt pan workers from untenable working conditions in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK).

How GMOs would destroy non-GMO crops: Aruna Rodrigues' key submissions in SC

Counterview Desk The introduction of Bt and HT crops will harm the health of 1 billion Indians and their animals, believes Aruna Rodrigues, who has made some 60 submissions to the Supreme Court (SC) during the last 20 years. As lead petitioner who filed Public Interest Litigation in 2005, during a spate of intense hearings, which ended on 18 January 2024, she fought in the Apex Court to prevent the commercialization of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Indian agriculture. 

Jallianwala massacre: Why Indian govt hasn't ever officially sought apology from UK

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller*  The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, apologized in July 2023 for his ancestors’ role in the colonial slave trade. He is not alone in expressing remorse for past wrongs. In 2021, France returned 26 works of art seized by French colonial soldiers in Africa – the largest restitution France has ever made to a former colony. In the same year, Germany officially apologized for its 1904-08 genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia and agreed to fund reconstruction and development projects in Namibia. .

Interpreting UAPA bail provisions: Is Supreme Court setting the clock back?

By Kavita Srivastava*, Dr V Suresh** The Supreme Court in its ruling on 7th February, 2024 in   `Gurvinder Singh v State of Punjab’ held that its own well-developed jurisprudence that "Bail is the rule and jail the exception" will not apply to those charged under the UAPA.

Will Budget 2024 help empower city govts, make them India's growth engines?

By Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, Arjun Kumar* Cities in India are envisioned as engines of growth. Any meaningful long-term vision for India would be incomplete without planning for the cities and quite rightly, urbanization is considered as one of the country’s top developmental challenges. Realization of full potential of cities depends crucially on their ability to provide ‘enabling’ environment especially in terms of sustained provision of a wide range of urban infrastructure and services.

A 'distorted narrative' of Indian politics: Congress failing to look beyond LS polls

By Prem Singh*  About 15 days ago, I told a senior journalist friend that there are not even two   months left for the Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi is roaming around on a delectation (tafreeh). The friend probably found my comment exasperating and replied that he is not on a delectation trip. The conversation between us on this topic ended there.