A group of 116 former Indian civil servants on Thursday wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising questions over the management of the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic.
They said that the failure on the part of the Centre to take the timely advice of expert committees and the absence of effective coordination with state governments have had disastrous consequences for the poor and disadvantaged and subsequently for the better off sections of society.
“Despite warnings from the international community and our own scientists, the breathing space between the first and the second waves was not used to augment critical resources such as medical staff, hospital beds, oxygen supplies, ventilators and drugs and other medical supplies,” they rued in the letter.
“The complacency displayed by you and your ministerial colleagues at various forums not only diverted attention from the looming threat but probably also contributed to both state governments and citizens letting down their guard at a crucial juncture. As a result, your Atmanirbhar Bharat is today compelled to seek the help of the outside world to lessen the agony inflicted on its own people by your government,” they added.
The former bureaucrats said that right from the outset of the pandemic in March 2020, the Modi government has never systematically assessed the funds that state governments would need to tackle the pandemic.Open Letter to PM_Pandemic_May 2021 (1)
“The PM-CARES fund was set up when there was already a Prime Minister National Relief Fund in place. No disclosures have been made regarding the funds collected and the expenditures on various items. This fund attracted to itself moneys which would otherwise have gone from corporates and the public to the various CM Relief Funds and to NGOs,” they added in the letter.
They also urged the Centre to provide free for free to all citizens of the country.
The letter was signed by former IAS officers Anita Agnihotri, Ashok Vajpeyi, Shivsankar Menon, Aditi Mehta, Sushil Dubey, Nitin Desai, Meena Gupta, Deepa Hari, Amitabh Mathur and Aditi Mehta among others.