The embezzlement of the PM Cares Fund has left the citizens stranded, and many lost their lives due to undelivered promises by the central government. In May 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that around 2,000 crores from the PM Cares Fund would be allocated to the procurement of 50,000 made-in-India ventilators to government hospitals running under the jurisdiction of the central or state government.
A year back we all were bemused by the enormous amount of funds being contributed into the PM Cares Fund, and the apprehension was that the disseminated allocation of the funds would pave our way towards combating the virus. The filching prospered as the government’s lack of auditing of the funds provided a suspicious dilemma to the state of affairs.
Many hospitals across the nation were summoned to the mishap of not venting the ventilators in time, which could have saved thousands of lives. The tides have turned for the worse, as Quint reported in an article on Friday that 9,000 Low Flow Oxygen ventilators have been rescinded of supply due to the non-payment of dues to the designated manufacturer. The argument that pops up is, in the middle of the predicament, how can the central government not allocate the funds effectively, which could have palliated the stumbling of distinctive families.
A year has passed by, and still, the government does not have a progressive approach to delineate the supply of ventilators to Indian hospitals. The storyline has gauged up in numbers as cases of shortage of medicines, oxygen-deprived hospitals for providing efficient treatment to the ailing patients. Today’s scenario comes from a Chennai-based company called Trivitron Healthcare. The officials claimed that the supplies had got prevented from reaching the hospitals due to the Red Tape constraint.
Astonishingly, the state of affairs has incurred at such a dire time when the second wave of the virus is at its peak. India’s health infrastructure has been asked pertinent information about the failure, but they seem to have no answer as they continue to maintain perilous silence. Where are the medical supplies that have been the long-standing commitment of the central government? Who should get contoured to the blame and the agitation across the citizens?
The Right to Information Act queries popped up in numbers, but the government’s stance was untethered. They further claimed that the PM Cares Fund is not a public authority, and they need not divulge in seeking information. The boasting of the central government in the matter got hyped so much that the citizens were perplexed by the approach adopted amid the troublesome scenario. As the retrieved information was not available, the news outlets proceeded with their investigation with scattered information.
PROCUREMENT TRIAL REPORTS THAT PM CARES FUND WEREN’T ALLOCATED
Moving ahead, we need to have a conception about how the government trailed back on its promises even after affirming the proclamation to the manufacturing industries. Rumors swirled around saying that Rs. 2,000 crores were allocated to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare from the PM Cares Fund to the procurement of ventilators. The propaganda was there was a multitude of conglomerates interested in the project. It was the duty of the MoHF to select the advanced technology-based company that has the prowess to move ahead with the ventilator project. After guarding different suggestions, the MoHF allotted the project to HLL Lifecare Limited for further dialogue.
HLL was the beneficiary name selected, who then parcelled out the consignment for the ventilator manufacturing to multiple private companies and different public sector units. The contracts were signed long back in April 2020. So where did the problem arise, and what repercussions got imposed due to the negligence of the central government and the healthcare system?
We have come across various stories of lack of oxygen supply, medicines across the country, and it all comes down to the initial handling of the situation. When the HLL Lifecare Limited hired different PSUs, a prominent force in Andhra Pradesh Medtech Zone Ltd (AMTZ) was entitled to be leading the charge.
Trivitron Healthcare received the order of procurement of around 9,500 Low Flow Oxygen ventilators that could help as life-saving drugs in consideration of medical emergencies. In case, if the high flow ventilators were occupied by critical patients, the procurement of these services would have proven beneficial. Doctors asserted that the low-end ventilators would be extremely salient in saving thousands of lives of people who have incurred relatively lesser lung infections.
Trivitron Healthcare provided more intricate details on the matter. The organization got allotted by the AMTZ for sending out the ventilators to the government hospitals. On further dissemination, Trivitron Healthcare proposed some significant news on the healthcare situation in the nation. The manufacturing company received an order of developing 7,000 LFO, and over the year, only 650 ventilators have got progressed to the government hospitals. If we compile the statistics of every other organization across distinctive states in the country, the conundrum is happening on a large scale. And it is causing citizens pillorying on roads in need of supplies.
Trivitron received the order for ventilator manufacturing back in April 2020, and it got rumored to be worth Rs 104 crore. The order got delineated in two tranches- 2000 and 5000 ventilators respectively. Meeting the specifications provided by the health ministry took time as the company had to reassure that there is no scope of vulnerabilities once it gets transferred to the government hospitals.
According to reports gathered from Trivitron Healthcare, the Health Ministry’s Technical committee selected the prototype in July, but the finalized integration was subject to clinical trials in government hospitals. The prolonged hubris adopted by the Health Ministry was seen as a sign of negligence by many. Rajiv Nath, Forum Coordinator Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMeD) stated that it generally takes one month for necessary testing of the medical equipment. If the sources are believed, the health ministry took a long five months to designate its approval to the prototype.
Nath further added that five months of elongation for clinical evaluation is quite tormenting, particularly for the device, which prompted an urgent pent-up demand amid the emergence of the second wave of the pandemic. The pandemic has stalled in seriousness, and the situation is getting ridiculed with time.
The government oversaw the opportunity of declining cases in August-September 2020 to delay the procurement of clinical evaluation and delayed payments from the PM Cares Fund to the manufacturers. They sought the thought that they might have ordered extra ventilators and went on the complacent mode, and the efforts of the investors who have procured funds in an emergency due to the criticalness got disregarded explicitly. Eventually, the Covid-19 cases surged up, and the production wasn’t astute, which led to many demises across states. The incompetence in delineating the PM Cares Funds to the right place again highlighted the government’s failure.