Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high level meeting to review the availability and supply of oxygen and medicines on Wednesday. He was informed that the Government is actively monitoring the supply of drugs being used in the management of COVID as well Mucormycosis. Various Union Ministers also informed the Prime Minister that they are in regular touch with the manufacturers to enhance production and extend all help needed. Modi was also informed about the current production and stock of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients for each such drug. The Prime Minister was also apprised that the production of all drugs including Remdesivir have been ramped up significantly in the last few weeks. Modi said that India has a very vibrant Pharma sector and that the Government’s continued coordination with them will ensure proper availability of all medicines. The Prime Minister also took stock of the oxygen availability and supply in the country. It was noted that the supply of oxygen is now more than three times the supply during the peak of the first wave. He was briefed about the operations of oxygen rail and sorties by Indian Air Force planes. He was also informed about the status of procurement of Oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders and the status of Pressure Swing Adsorption, PSA plants being installed across the country.
-The Union Cabinet has approved the Production-Linked Incentive Scheme for the Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery Storage with an outlay of 18 thousand 100 crore rupees. Briefing media in New Delhi after the Cabinet meeting, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said, the move aims to achieve a manufacturing capacity of 50 GigaWatt Hour of ACC and five Giga Watt Hour of Niche ACC with an outlay of 18 thousand 100 crore rupees. Javadekar said it will also give a big push to electric mobility, benefiting three-wheelers, four-wheelers and heavy vehicles. He said, India is currently importing Battery Storage Equipment worth 20 thousand crore rupees and the scheme will be helpful in making the country self-reliant (Atmanirbhar).
-Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday held a meeting with Health Ministers of seven States and one Union Territory and reviewed the progress of the COVID-19 vaccination drive. These States included Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Telangana along with the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. During the meeting, he discussed the steps to accelerate the vaccination drive.Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, the country has administered more than 17.52 crore COVID vaccine doses to the beneficiaries, so far. He asked States and Union Territories to ensure that all beneficiaries who have already taken the first dose are prioritized for the second doses. Dr Harsh Vardhan urged States and Union Territories to ensure that the health care workers and frontline workers are fully vaccinated. The Minister said, the government is supporting the companies to ramp up the production of vaccines in the country.
-Leaders of 12 opposition parties wrote a joint letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting several measures to combat COVID-19 pandemic. They have demanded to procure vaccines centrally from all available sources and immediately begin a free, universal mass vaccination campaign across the country. The letter signed by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, TMC Chief Mamata Banerjee and others also asked the government to invoke compulsory licensing to expand domestic vaccine production. They have also demanded that all jobless people be given at least Rs 6000 per month.
-Teachers of government-run medical colleges in Gujarat went on a strike on Wednesday, accusing the administration of failing to fulfil its assurance about their demands.Hundreds of professors and lecturers affiliated to the Gujarat Medical Teachers Association (GMTA) joined in the protest.GMTA members had proceeded on strike last Friday demanding pay hike among other things but withdrew it hours later after the government promised to find a solution. "We had a high-level meeting with the government's representatives on May 7, and we were happy that our demands were heard and the attitude of the government was positive. But we have not yet received any written proof of which demands have been accepted by the government. "Which is why we have called a new strike," said Dr Rajnish Patel, president of GMTA. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said "all justified demands have been accepted". Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who holds the health portfolio, said in a late night statement that he had approved steps to resolve the ten issues raised by striking teachers, and expressed hope that they will resume duty.