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Media reports claiming govt of India has not placed any new orders for coronavirus vaccines since March 2021 false. Here are the facts

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The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare today dismissed media reports alleging the Centre placed no new orders for Covid-19 vaccines since March as bogus and incorrect.

Several media houses such as the Business Standard and the Forbes published reports claiming that the Centre has not placed any fresh order for COVID-19 vaccines either with Serum Institute of India or with Bharat Biotech. The reports claimed that the last order placed with the two vaccine makers (100 million doses with SII and 20 million doses with Bharat Biotech) was in March 2021.

Business Standard’s report on ‘no new orders for Covid-19 vaccines placed by the Centre’

Calling these reports devoid of facts, the Ministry issued a press release which provides an in-detail account of the new orders of Covid-19 vaccine doses placed and received from the vaccine manufacturers- Serum Institute of India and Bharat BioTech respectively.

Government data on order for vaccine doses placed

The Ministry informed that 100% advance of Rs. 1732.50 cr was released to Serum Institute of India on April 28 for 11 crore doses of Covishield vaccine during May, June and July. As on date, against the last order of 10 crore doses for supplies of Covishield vaccine, 8.744 crore doses have been delivered till May 03.

Additionally, 100% advance of Rs. 787.50 cr was released on the same date to Bharat Biotech India Ltd for 05 crore Covaxin doses during May, June and July. As on date against the last order of 02 crore doses for supplies of Covaxin vaccine, around 83 lakh doses have been delivered by the manufacturer.

This diffuses the claims of no fresh order of vaccine doses placed by the Government of India.

Government data on vaccine doses made available to states/ UTs

Elaborating on the vaccine doses made available to states and UTs, the response revealed that as of May 02, the Government of India has provided more than 16.54 crore vaccine doses to States/UTs for free of cost. Around 78 lakh doses are still available with the States/UTs to be administered while more than 56 Lakh doses, in addition, will be received by the States/UTs in the next 3 days, said the press release.

The reports were allegedly based on the inferences drawn from SII CEO Adar Poonawalla’s interview to The Financial Times. Poonawalla, on being asked why the manufacturing capacity was not expanded, said that he received no additional orders from the government and that his company did not think it needed to make more than 1 billion doses a year.

SII’s response

Shortly after the government issued a response, the Serum Institute of India released a Tweet endorsing the government’s response. The tweet read, “We endorse this statement, & the authenticity of the information. We have been working closely with the Government of India for the past year & thank it for its support. We remain committed to ramping up our vaccine production to save every life we can.”

Further, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla also took to Twitter to refute the claims.

In a statement, Poonawalla said that his comments were misinterpreted. He said that vaccine manufacturing is a specialised process and hence it cannot be ramped up overnight. India’s population is huge and hence will require a great number of doses to inoculate so many citizens. He added that the company has been working closely with Government of India since April 2020 and has been given every kind of support to speed up the process.

He added that as of today, SII has received order of 26 crore doses of which over 15 crore doses have been supplied. He also said that SII is working hard to ensure the vaccines are made available in quickest time possible.

India is currently running the largest vaccination drive with over 156 million Covid-19 vaccine doses administered already.

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All India Parisangh shares image from 2008 to target Modi govt

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On Saturday (May 15), Dalit organisation All India Parisangh (AIP) sparked controversy by taking potshots at the Modi government using a 13-year-old image. The organisation was founded by Dalit activist and Congress leader Udit Raj.

In a tweet, AIP wrote, “Unke ‘Mann ki baat’ kyu sunna, jab Ganga pe terti lasho par bhi khamosh raha.” It loosely translates as “Why should we listen to PM Modi’s monthly radio programme ‘Mann ki Baat’ when he is silent on dead bodies floating in the river Ganga?”. The Dalit organisation shared a picture of a dog mauling a human skeleton, along the banks of a water body. At the time of writing, the image was retweeted 167 times and had 463 likes.

Screengrab of the post by the All India Parisangh

By posting the image, the organisation tried to insinuate that it is a recent image showing the mortal remains of a Covid-19 victim whose last rites were not performed. Reports of bodies of Covid victims floating on Ganga river have emerged in the last few days, and All India Parisangh tried to say the image also shows such an incident.

What is the Truth?

It may be noted that the image posted by All India Parisangh has the watermark of Alarmy on it, an stock image platform. Popular Twitter user ‘Befitting Facts’ pointed out that the stock image from Alarmy dates back to February 20, 2008. The disturbing picture was taken by one Dinodia Photos RM and captioned, “Dog eating dead man on Varanasi ghat, Uttar Pradesh in India.” Given the picture dates back to 2008, it must be remembered that the BJP did not have its government at the Centre nor at the State level. And as such, the unfortunate incident is not the result of PM Modi’s negligence.

Screengrab of the image via Alarmy

Earlier, close to 100 unidentified and decomposed bodies were found floating in the Ganga, sparking fear among the locals in several districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. While 71 bodies were recovered from Bihar’s Buxar district, other 25 bodies were fished from Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur district with locals suspecting them to be the bodies of Covid victims.

After Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, in a horrifying video, at least half a dozen corpses were seen floating in the Runj river in the Panna district of Madhya Pradesh. Buxar police suspected the bodies might have floated from the neighbouring Ghazipur district of Uttar Pradesh. Authorities of both the districts were yet to confirm if the bodies were of Covid victims. As such, All India Parisangh seized the opportunity and shared a 13-year-old picture to blame the Modi government.

All India Parisangh compared Brahmins to pigs last year

Besides fake news, the Dalit organisation has been at the forefront of peddling Anti-Hindu hatred. It has time and again resorted to such vile derogatory casteist hurls targeting Brahmins, and resorted to the anti-Brahmin propaganda by posting an image of a pig wearing ‘Janeu’ – the sacred thread in July last year.

By openly propagating anti-Brahmin sentiments and comparing Brahmins to ‘pigs’, the Parisangh claimed that the Indian judiciary is only comprised of Brahmins. Expressing its contempt for the country’s judiciary, the Dalit organisation claimed that ‘Brahmin’ judges in the Indian courts only recommended fellow people from the community, who were then selected as judges by the third set of Brahmins. The derogatory comments were not only directed at the Brahmins of the country but also an attack on the independence of the judiciary.

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Govt, Admin, Public – All Dropped Guard After First Covid-19 Wave: RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat

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File photo of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

File photo of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

Bhagwat said the country should stay united and work as a team in these testing times, instead of pointing fingers at each other.

  • PTI New Delhi
  • Last Updated:May 15, 2021, 19:21 IST
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After the first wave of COVID-19, the government, administration and public dropped their guard which led to the current situation, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said on Saturday and urged people to stay positive and proactive to fight the pandemic. Addressing a lecture series Positivity Unlimited’, Bhagwat said the country should stay united and work as a team in these testing times, instead of pointing fingers at each other.

“We are facing this situation because, whether it was the government, administration or public, everyone dropped their guard after the first wave despite indications from doctors, he said. Bhagwat said there is talk of a third wave. But, we will not be scared. We shall stand like a rock.

We have to stay positive and take precautions to keep ourselves COVID negative in the present situation, he said. The RSS chief said that this is not an appropriate time to point fingers and all should avoid making irrational remarks.

Citing England’s situation in World War II when everything seemed going against it, Bhagwat said a quote was written on the then prime minister Winston Churchill’s desk which read, “There is no pessimism in this office. We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat. They don’t exist”. Similarly, he said, in this situation we can’t give up on courage. We need to also have steely resolve.

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12-Year-Old Among 4 Killed as Slabs Collapse in Ulhasnagar Building, 1 Missing

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Rescue operation at the Ulhasnagar building. (Image: Twitter/ANI)

Rescue operation at the Ulhasnagar building. (Image: Twitter/ANI)

The incident took place in a ground-plus four-storey residential building in camp no 1 around 1.40 pm.

  • News18.com Thane
  • Last Updated:May 15, 2021, 19:16 IST
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At least 4 people were killed after slabs of a residential building collapsed in Ulhasnagar town of Maharashtra’s Thane district on Saturday, Thane Municipal Corporation said. A 12-year-old child is among the four people who lost their lives. According to latest update, one person is still missing.

The incident took place in a ground-plus four-storey residential building in camp no 1 around 1.40 pm, said Santosh Kadam, chief of the regional disaster management cell of the Thane Municipal Corporation.

A slab on the fourth floor came crashing down on other slabs, trapping people in the process, he said. Local firemen rushed to the scene and rescued 11 residents, who were taken to a local hospital for first aid, the official said.

A team from the Thane Disaster Response Force is at the scene to help firemen remove the debris and rescue five others who are trapped, he added.

(With inputs from PTI and ANI)

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